“Uncle Hal wants a word!”
Hal Jordan is back on Earth whether he wants to be or not and in this week’s The Green Lantern: Season Two #2 Liam Sharp and Grant Morrison bring us an adventure straight out of the Silver Age. Reunited with Eve Doremus, Hal responds to her call for help in a tale titled “The Cosmidor Conspiracy”.
Hal and Eve journey to Cosmidor City after the disappearance of all the people lured there by Eve’s father, the owner of the futuristic city. The only clue Eve has regarding the missing people is a giant feather, but fortunately for Hal it doesn’t take long before what appears to be an alien threat appears. Of course, things are what they seem but either way the situation warrants Green Lantern to take action and free the captive people who threaten an ancient race who’ve been uncovered by Mark Doremus’ ambition. Hal makes quick work of the Orintho-Men and has just enough time to get cozy with Eve before the Young Guardians call Hal away to investigate more alien activity. Eve has appeared a few times in the series, serving as Hal’s main romantic interest in the first issue.
This issue was fun to read because it really harkened back to those days where you got a one-issue adventure that wasn’t too deep, in fact this issue is on the surface a simple adventure story, seemingly void of the depth of layers one would normally expect from a Grant Morrison book. I say that cautiously because if my experience with Morrison’s work tells me anything it’s that you can’t take anything on the surface only. This is only the second issue of the “season” and there’s plenty of opportunity for events and people from this issue to re-emerge as something important to the greater whole that will make us the overarching story.
Morrison draws inspiration from two sets of master storyteller creative teams for this issue. The Orintho-Men originally debuted back in 1961’s The Flash volume 1 #125, as a time-traveling Wally West encounters the half-bird, half-man species which inhabited the Earth in ancient times. It’s a story written by the legendary John Broome and Carmine Infantino, with inks by Joe Giella. Cosmidor City originally appeared in Green Lantern volume 2 #58 in 1968, by another set of comics royalty, Gardner Fox and Gil Kane. That issue also served as the introduction of Eve Doremus as Hal’s rebound girl from Carol Ferris in the days when he left the cockpit behind in favor of working for an insurance company. It’s not important to know the background to enjoy the book, but knowing what the roots are gives me a different appreciation for what Morrison and Liam Sharp do with the issue. The story is almost an anachronism when compared to other books on the shelf today, with Liam Sharp doing a great job of making the Orintho-Men appear more menacing than their initially goofy appearance would belie.
I think one thing that some fans will have a hard time with is Morrison’s portrayal of Hal as a man who almost resents being from Earth. There’s a kind of cynicism in his version of Hal when it comes to his native planet which is contrary to what we’ve seen from Hal. I admit that I wrestle with it a little bit as well, but then I start to think about what it would be like to encounter all the things Hal has and if he’s losing the battle of keeping his humanity in a universe where every day he experiences wonders that are almost beyond the comprehension of those of us stuck on this little ball of mud. And maybe that’s part of Morrison’s exploration of Hal as a character and I’m willing to go on this journey with him to see where it goes. This run ends with the twelfth issue and then who knows what the future holds for Green Lantern and Hal Jordan, but as we all know when another creative team takes over the character it’ll be their version which supplants this one.
Liam Sharp had to have had fun with this issue, reimaging the Orintho-Men for the 21st Century and playing around with some crazy imagery between the avian adversaries and the mask creatures they Orintho-Men used to control people. If you missed the news we had an exclusive conversation with Liam recently, which you can listen to by visiting the page for episode 157 of The Podcast of Oa. Liam is a tremendous talent and his contributions to the series are key to its quality and success.
The Green Lantern: Season Two #2 is an homage to Silver Age that manages to accomplish something that has increasing rarity these days, a simple one-issue tale that lets us forget about whatever ails us for a little while and enjoy a tale of the fantastic. Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp have just begun the second season and if this is any indication we’re in for as wild of a ride as the first twelve issues were. Eight out of ten lanterns.