I’ve been enjoying the new Green Lantern book – Grant Morrison’s talents and interests make for memorable space operas, while Liam Sharp’s wild imagination generates fabulous images. The only issue that hasn’t worked for me was last month’s storybook-style fantasy – the twee script looked beautiful on the page but it was a slog to read and I simply didn’t get through it. I know many readers adored the experiment, and I do like that the creators were trying something different.
We’re on firmer ground this time – literally. The prosaically titled ‘Space Junkies’ sees Green Lantern Hal Jordan visiting old pal Oliver Queen, Green Arrow. This isn’t how the book opens, though. Meet interstellar warlord Brotorr, who’s after a volunteer to crush a business rival.
On ‘Soil’, Green Lantern and Green Arrow are relaxing with a spot of Ollie’s legendary chili after stopping a very unusual back street deal.
Following the evidence, they wind up on the Star City waterfront, where they come across sizeable clues.
If you’re of a certain vintage, or have the right reprints, you may well guess which thrillingly obscure Green Arrow supporting character shows up here. Seeing such a prime example of Silver Age silliness in a book unashamedly calling back to Hal and Ollie’s Bronze Age glories is a real case of ‘two great tastes’.
In this case, they rub along as nicely together as Morrison and Sharp, who produce my favourite issue of The Green Lantern to date. It’s all about the chemistry; Morrison captures Denny O’Neil’s classic friendship between the old Justice Leaguers without piling on the angst of their original team-ups, while Sharp produces a frighteningly good pastiche of the artwork of Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. Before Hal joins Ollie’s opening adventure, Sharp is very much his own man, producing the kind of out-there space images that have helped make this series such a treat, with inking that’s more organic than Giordano-precise. (There are also Gil Kane ‘upnose’ shots – Adams used to homage that affectation of Hal’s original artist too.) The issue is a fascinating showcase of Sharp’s adaptability, while Morrison’s script references DC history in a way that shouldn’t alienate the younger set.
Steve Oliffe seems to be tweaking his colouring style to evoke the recoloured reprints of Neal Adams’ work in various collections, with impressionistic, daubed backgrounds, but that may be just me overthinking. Master letterer Tom Orzechowski eschews his famous ‘X-Men style’ – the one so beloved it became an official font – for a more John Costanza look in keeping with this issue’s Seventies nostalgia, and the decision works well.
Talking of history, addiction isn’t funny… but that cover certainly is. What can I say, the overwrought drama of the well-meaning, and certainly important, Relevance period merits the odd giggle.
All in all, this is a wonderful issue. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Ollie while Morrison and Sharp are running the GL show – and if they could work Black Canary in next time, so much the better!