“First, I punch the Batman guy in the face –“
This week marks the release of The Green Lantern #11, the penultimate chapter in Grant Morrison’s first “season” of his cosmic police procedural, setting the stage for next month’s promised cataclysmic conclusion. While on the surface this issue doesn’t seem to propel the overall narrative of the story, it does serve well as a fun adventure with the wildest assortment of ring bearers ever collected on the printed page.
The issue opens back on Weirwimm, now a literal fraction of its old self. Eagle-eyed readers may recall that Weirwimm is the planet where Countess Belzebeth went to retrieve the anti-matter Green Lantern back in the fourth issue. The planet hasn’t been so much destroyed as devoured, and visually Liam Sharp delightfully depicts the planet as an apple literally eaten to its core. While they are there, Stel, Bzzd, Trilla-Tru and Tuebeen encounter Sinestro, or at least a version of him considering we’re dealing with a literal multiverse of characters here. Sinestro warns the Green Lanterns that the Qwa-Man spells doom for everyone right before the scene shifts back to Earth 15.
Continuing from last issue, Hal quickly puts a stasis field around the Tangent Universe Green Lantern, much to the chastisement of Bat-Lantern. This leads to one of the issue’s most amusing moments as Hal makes a humorous evaluation of his ally that might ruffle a few capes. There is a little verbal jousting between the two as they try to deal with their large golden adversary, Zundernell. I’ve searched high and low and cannot find a trace of this character so I’m assuming that he is a new creation. One thing I did find interesting is that he is a self-proclaimed “Golden Lantern” – something that could potentially tie into the new Legion of Superheroes book which implies that there is a Gold Lantern among them.
Zundernell is an oddly interesting character who talks about a coming “multi-crisis” as justification for collecting various Green Lanterns to serve as his knights. Just as Hal is about to join Zundernell’s collection he blanks out, only to come to face to face with Carol Ferris, well the Earth 11 version of her. Morrison again has some fun with the multiverse as both Carol and Hal are both instantly attracted to each other and recognize how a relationship would allow them to avoid the baggage with their own versions of each other. I do like Sharp’s design of Carol’s outfit which is a modern take on the Silver Age Gil Kane design.
Zundernell’s collection of Green Lanterns does contain the newer version of Earth 2’s Alan Scott as well as the Earth 22 Kingdom Come version. I really like seeing all the different Green Lanterns that Morrison has chosen to use, including some that seem to be completely new. One, Spectra, is a really interesting character who seems to focus light beams from her body through her ring, creating a powerful blast of energy with bands of color, like light shooting through a prism. There have been several characters using the Spectra name throughout DC’s publishing history, but this is clearly not one of them.
In the end Zundernell’s mission is played off as the folly of a lost soul who’s only purpose is to tilt at a cosmic windmill, and he’s quickly taken down by the Guardians of the Multiverse. As much as I enjoyed the fun banter and found the issue entertaining, I do feel like Zundernell’s story was over a little too quickly and I”m not sure that I buy that his story was a simple as it seems on the surface. The cosmic grail story and Zundernell himself seem full of potential and I feel like it deserves more that what we get here. I’m left both wondering and hoping that Zundernell’s resignation is more a result in his disappointment that his “knights” are unable to grasp the significance of what is coming than it is an admission that his mission is nothing but pure folly.
The issue ends with the return of the Qwa-Man and an ominous countdown that begins on the final page. Knowing that we are about the have the history of the Green Lantern Corps erased from history by the end of the next issue I’m really not sure how Morrison is going to get us there. I”m absolutely fine with that and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. As for this issue, while I enjoyed it I wouldn’t say it’s one of the stronger issues in the series.
I do need to comment on the variant cover by Paul Pope and Bruno Seelig which shows Hal Jordan making a stylized infinity symbol. Back in the 1980’s Green Lanterns used to create a more rounded variation as a greeting to each other. I don’t think we’ve seen it since then so it was a neat bit of nostalgia to see it once again. Liam Sharp and Steve Oliff continue to turn in one stellar effort after another and I find myself going back to look at his work after I’ve read an issue just to admire all the detail and effort they put into every issue.
The Green Lantern #10 may not be the strongest issue of Grant Morrison’s run so far, but it is nonetheless an entertaining and dare I say it, fun, issue. The stage is set for the end of the first twelve issue “season” and we know something big is just one month away. From the great Batman dig to seeing Hal and Carol together again for the first time it’s still one of DC’s best books on the stands. Eight out of ten lanterns.