“Will allows us to resist the forces that try to drag us down”
Writer’s note: Sorry for the lateness of this review. Caught a nasty bug and was out of action for a couple weeks!
The three months of Blackstar dominance come to a close with January’s Green Lantern: Blackstars #3 as we see Grant Morrison unveil Hal Jordan’s master plan to take down Countess Belzebeth. It’s the Blackstars vs. the world’s greatest superheroes in a battle for the survival of the Earth – with reality seemingly in the balance.
When I reviewed the second issue of the series I was speculating that I thought that Superman and/or Hal would make use of the Miracle Machine and that I thought Pengowirr might have something to do with how reality gets reshaped. I was happy to see that I was right, but also that I was wrong at the same time. What I didn’t guess was that this whole thing was a strategy by Hal the whole time. As this issue progresses we learn that Hal didn’t rewrite our universe’s history, but rather he made a new universe from a dead one and moved the Blackstars to it in a risky gambit to save our reality.
It’s a typical classic Hal Jordan that I was caught totally off guard by that is such a great bit of imagination. Hal seems to be putting everyone at risk by rewriting history when in actuality the only person in danger is Hal himself if he doesn’t get himself out of the trap he’s built. And who better to nudge Hal along when he needs it most but his beloved power ring.
Before Belzebeth gets her comeuppance we get to see more of the dystopian future that Hal has imagined our planet would be under the rule of the Blackstars. As Earth’s heroes go to battle under Superman’s command Morrison gives us a glimpse at what Hal must really think about the DC Universe. Earth’s heroes fall easily after the defeat of Superman at the hands of his own son, with only people like Batman and Lex Luthor posing a resistance, “fighting for their right to stay the same forever in a changing world.”
Belzebeth never completely trusted Hal, and it’s only a matter of time before she discovers that Hal is undermining her, building his own resistance within the growing Blackstar army. There is a really great scene of Hal making a speech about will and how we can all rise above whatever is dragging us down that underscores the very heart of the Green Lantern mythology. It’s inspiring on several levels and it reminds me of why I’ve always felt that Hal was the perfect symbol for the mythology whose will to resist and rise above speaks to every doubt and fear that holds us down regardless of sex, nationality or any of the other man-made labels we use to divide us into neat little buckets of humanity. In the rise of dissent Belzebeth strikes with her own forces and the series rushes towards it end with a brutal battle between two ideals.
It’s then that we finally see the reality behind this reality, that Hal used the Miracle Machine to create a new Earth 15, remade from the one time home of Volthoom. Hal was on Earth 15 back in The Green Lantern Season 1 Issue 10 and this is the planet where the supposed Cosmic Grail was to be found. As Hal makes his escape back to our reality Belzebeth comes to realize that even though she now has a new universe to devour she will be hunted down by the remaining Blackstars, now aware that she killed Controller Mu. Well, that’s not quite right since Mu’s consciousness is now share amongst all the overmaster computers and has revenge on his vast mind. Belzebeth’s fate is left intentionally vague so that she can be used again if desired, and if she survives she will certainly have an agenda if she ever makes it back to Earth Prime.
Xermanico’s pencil work looks really good, and I particularly liked how he portrayed the visceral elements of the last quarter of the book, visually representing the violence in a way that let the reader know that everyone is playing for keeps. The fate of Mongul is also a vile piece of business and Xermanico downplays what could have been a gore fest, instead letting Morisson’s dialog provide the horrific details without the need to show the reader more than is needed. I also thought he did a great job in the opening of the book, showing the looks of surprise on the faces of Superman and Jon Kent as both realize that this is their final goodbye. But perhaps what I loved most about the art in this issue was the moment when Hal Jordan denounces the mantle of Blackstar Parallax and becomes the Green Lantern of Sector 2814.1 once again.
Green Lantern: Blackstars #3 is a fitting end to this three month detour, wrapping up everything with a nice little bow and setting things right for the start of “Season 2”. Eight out of ten lanterns.
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