10th Jun2019

‘Green Lantern #8′ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Grant Morrison | Art by Liam Sharp | Published by DC Comics

green-lantern-8-cover

It’s been a while since I checked in on Green Lantern. One of the mainstays of my younger comic reading days, the Green Lantern run by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons remains one of my favourite runs on a book ever. Since then, Green Lantern has had some ups and downs, the lowest point probably being the whole Parallax/Hal Jordan as Spectre era. Think DC’s Clone Saga for popularity level. Luckily for Hal, and the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe Geoff Johns happened along and managed to restore everything that was good, and actually expand it all in a good way. He actually made me like Guy Gardener. So why dip back into Green Lantern now? Curiosity to see where he is, quality wise, and whenever I see Grant Morrison’s name on a book I know I’ll either love it or hate it. So let’s spin that wheel.

The most basic way to sum up this issue is to say that Green Arrow needs Green Lantern’s help to bust a drug cartel flooding the streets of the city with its product. Moderately interesting? Seen it all before? What if I mention it’s an inter-planetary drug cartel, flooding the streets with drugs and taking people’s souls as payment? How about a Sinestro cameo? a guest appearance by Xeen Arrow, a telepathic giant from another dimension who first appeared back in the 1950′s. I think you get the picture. Grant Morrison can take what sounds like a mundane plot and inject it with every kind of Silver Age goofiness, obscure characters, fantastic dialogue to elevate it to greatness. In a way not a lot happens this issue, but it’s the way that not a lot happens that makes this so fun.

Firstly, this is a fantastic homage to those great Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories of the past. The banter between the two, the social commentary, the dynamic art, it’s all there. It’s like the last few decades never happened at all. Green Arrow is once again the street level vigilante railing against ‘The Man’, Green Lantern the slightly removed from it all space cop trying to stay grounded by popping by Earth more often. It’s actually quite scary seeing the parallels between the 1970′s and now, how some of those same issues are rearing their ugly heads again. Poverty, breakdowns in society, morally questionable Presidents in the White House, and so on. What’s old is new again, and Grant Morrison has taken full advantage of that.

The art by Liam Sharp is a pitch perfect homage to Silver Age Neal Adams, before some of those stylistic excesses drifted into Neal’s later work. It’s not just the figures and faces, it’s the layouts, panel placement, beads of sweat on brows, dynamic figure work as people swing into action, camera shots from low level facing up etc. As I said, pitch perfect, and affectionately done. I loved the little in joke too, where Hal admires Ollie’s original Adams hanging on his wall in his apartment. Xeen Arrow was used mainly as an excuse for some amusing banter between the two, and it pays off nicely. I can’t believe Grant Morrison regarded this as working when writing this, there’s so much affection for the characters and the era spilling off the pages.

I absolutely loved this issue, as mad and nutty as it was. In fact that’s precisely why I loved it. Letting Grant Morrison just run with ideas always pays off, his affection for DC and its characters is there on every page. In Liam Sharp he has found a willing co-conspirator who delivers exactly the art his script needed. The churlish out there may feel this crossed over a little into parody at times, but I disagree. This evoked the 1970′s heyday of the Green Lantern and Green Arrow partnership, with a healthy dash of those 1950′s nutty stories, a treasure trove that Morrison goes back to from time and time again. This was fun. Comics need books like this.

I read the entire issue with a smile on my face. Can’t give a book a better recommendation than that.

***** 5/5

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