“You’re like some mad cat lady..except the cats have wings”
It’s been about two months since we’ve had a new Green Lantern comic, so I’ve really been looking forward to reading this week’s The Green Lantern: Season Two #3. This back half of the Grant Morrison / Liam Sharp run promised to be more Earthbound and categorized by single-issue stories and this issue holds to both of those descriptions while still managing to be as otherworldly and interconnected to the overall arc at the same time.
Morrison’s “everything counts” approach to the series has worked so far, with so much of his attention on the Silver Age trappings of Hal Jordan. With this issue Morrison plays more with some of the Geoff Johns era concepts and characters, reuniting Hal with Jillian “Cowgirl” Pearlman, Jonathan “Herc” Stone and Shane “Rocketman” Sellers. Herc, a guy who flew with Martin Jordan, has Hal back return to the cockpit of an experimental craft on a mission to find Cowgirl and two other pilots who went missing during a test flight which put Rocketman in the hospital. Hal ditches the power ring as well, not wanting to have himself rely on anything but his own skill should he get in a bind, which of course he does.
The main plot of the issue circles around the repercussions of the new experimental X-300 planes teleportation drive and the arrival of a sentient cloud creature that appears to attack a nearby city. Hal’s plane lands in an otherworldly dimension where he finds Cowgirl, and Pearlman becomes a key factor in understanding exactly what the connection is between their location and the strange goings-on at Wonder Mountain. In the end, Hal’s duty as a Green Lantern has to trump the technological advances of the X-300 and all ends well with Hal and Cowgirl sharing a couple of cold ones. Then there’s the epilogue which I’ll unpack a little later.
As far as the main story goes, it’s a pretty straightforward tale which stands on its own, and Morrison does enough to let readers know that there is history between Hal and his fellow pilots that one doesn’t need to have read the Johns run to get that there’s a personal connection there. One plot strand left over from the second issue is the children of the Orintho-Men who have taken more than a casual liking to Hal. Morisson uses them as comic relief for the most part, however, they do play a role in the story even it does seem a little forced. The Orintho-Babies reminded me a little of the days when Hal shared adventures with Itty, the little space starfish. I loved that Hal gave them goofy names like Lucky, Plucky, Chucky, Bucky and Tops!
The one odd thing to me was how Hal pieced together the cloud being he and Cowgirl encounter with the events on Wonder Mountain, a series of events that Hal wasn’t privy to. From a reader’s perspective, Hal’s understanding of the situation comes from nowhere and it makes the reading experience feel a little disjointed. I thought that I’d somehow managed to skip a page on Comixology realized I hadn’t and it took me out of the story for a moment. I realize that part of Morrison’s take on the character is that we are seeing Hal through the eyes of others, with the lack of thought balloons being a hallmark of the series, however in this issue it left a lot of blanks for the reader to have to fill in.
Back to the epilogue, the last page of this issue revealed some interesting details about the murder of the as-yet-unnamed Green Lantern. The scene is a quick one, but the revelation that the murderer comes from within the ranks of other members of the Superwatch is a total surprise. Four characters are mentioned here which will require either an excellent memory or some research to understand where they come from: Lady Q, Powerlord, Hyperboy and Princess Illistra. Knowing who these people are doesn’t add anything to the story, nor does not knowing hinder it – but it’s always interesting to see what corners of DC history Grant is mining. Let’s start with the two easy ones.
Hyperboy is a character with a singular appearance in DC Comics history, Superboy #144 from 1968. Like Kal-el, Kirk Quentin escaped the explosion of his home planet, although he escaped along with his parents. Landing on Trombus the Quentin family discovered that the planet’s red son imbued them with Superboy like powers. The Quentin family became known as the Hyper-Family. Lady Q is shown in shadows, but has the same logo on her chest and belt as the Hyper-Familly, so she is likely Mrs. Quentin, Hyperwoman.
Powerlord is an interesting one. The only reference I can find to that is a DC Comics three-issue miniseries that was a tie-in to a toy line called Power Lords. The character in this issue, again mostly in shadow, has a gem on his head which is strikingly similar to the protagonist of the toys and comics, Lord Adam Power. It’s an odd reference to be sure and I may certainly be wrong, but it seems like a possible connection. Princess Illistra is a total mystery.
The art for this issue really stands out as Liam Sharp tries something new this time around. Sharp does the pencils and colors for this installment and takes a very painterly approach which results in a very otherworldly look that’s really effective, particularly when Hal and Cowgirl are in the other dimension or during the issue’s opening when Alto Linda is visited by Ummiu, the cloud being. I like how the approach also adds depth and definition to the characters themselves. There are times when the issue reverts back to a more traditional style which I found a little distracting because I couldn’t discern a reason for the switch. If perhaps the more painted style was only used in the presence of the cloud beings it would have underscored the connection between what was happening on Wonder Mountain and where the pilots went, but as it is I can’t quite see the reason for the style change. One image that really stood out to me is the image of Ummiu with lightning coming from what looked like eyes, giving the impression of crying. And Liam’s portrayal of the Orintho-Babies is adorable!
Green Lantern: Season Two #3 is an interesting Earth-centric adventure that brings Hal back to familiar surroundings. While the main story doesn’t further the second season’s overall plot, the intriguing epilogue acts as the connective tissue that reveals the unlikely source of Green Lantern’s mission. Liam Sharp provides some very artistic visuals which enhance the overall experience. I’m looking forward to what the creative team has in store for us with next issue’s Flash team-up! Eight out of ten lanterns.