“That nose I’m about to break? That’s yours.”
This week sees the release of The Green Lantern: Season Two #5 and a return to better form compared to the last issue. The main plot to the second season is firmly in the spotlight, perhaps in part due to the planned shortening of the season to eight issues. Hal Jordan is once again up against an incredibly powered adversaries and it doesn’t look like he’s going to get out of this one without a few battle wounds.
I normally start my reviews talking about the writing, but the art is so much of a star this issue that I feel I have to lead off talking about the work done by Liam Sharp, Steve Oliff, and Steve Wands in this issue. We’ve seen the art team pay tribute to different classic art styles in the past but this time they’ve outdone themselves. This issue is a love letter to Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko with the classic panel layout, simple clean lines, and the terrific use of Ben Day dots to give this book a retro look that really appeals to me. The action-packed nature of the story provides Sharp with a lot of room to get creative and evoke the simple yet dynamic art styles of days gone by. I really love the image of Hyperwoman getting hit by a train construct and the army of fists flying at Hyperman is a real treat. The arrival of Tops and the Orintho-Babies (maybe now the Orintho-Teens!?) looks like it could have been taken straight from a New Gods comic. Along with the throwback art style, the simplified color palette and minimal lettering style underscores Sharp’s pencil work. This feels like an old school comic, and I mean that as a great compliment!
Storywise this is pretty much a straight forward action piece with Hal fighting Hyperman, who has some assistance from Hyperwoman and Klypso, the Hyperdog. This issue says Green Lantern on the cover, but there are more connections to classic Silver Age Superman and Superboy lore in between the covers. The issue opens with Lanterns Trilla Tru and Rykaktoro talking to Hal Kar and Maxima, both characters who made their debuts on the pages of Superman books. Like Hyperman, Hal Kar is one of many Superman analogs that have appeared in DC Comics over the years.
The four of them team up to confront Powerlord, a mystery character that turns out to be the new name of the adult Power-Boy. Like Hal Kar, Powerlord first showed up in this series back in issue nine of “Season One” during the big battle between that left the Superwatch battered and bruised. The Lantern/Superwatch team up against Powerlord is an extremely short affair, but it does trigger the segue back to Earth where we see Craig Quentin, Morrison’s version of Hyperman, having a very ominous conversation. Morrison alludes to Hyperman’s sinister turn being a side effect of Kryptonite poisoning as Hyperwoman goes on the offensive against Hal, critically damaging his power ring.
The story points to the ring “dying”, and while we don’t know at this point if Pengowirr is still in the ring or not at this point, the dialog between Hal and his ring implies that she is. I normally wouldn’t be too concerned about the near destruction of a power ring, I found myself feeling concerned for Pengowirr after we got that great story of Hal’s adventures inside his ring back in the seventh issue of “Season One”. Despite the damage done to the ring, Hal rallies back to hold his own against the Hyper-couple.
I found the dynamic between the Hypers interesting and I got the impression that whatever damage was done to Hyperman by the Kryptonite put his wife in the position of covering for him, leading them to this odd relationship where she just sort of tolerates him at this point. Morrison does use their squabble to make another throwaway reference to Superboy’s past adventures by evoking the name of Charise Kaan. Like a lot of his callbacks don’t add special meaning to the events of the story, but I do respect Morrison for utilizing his knowledge of DC history to drop these Easter Eggs rather than just create new characters. Not knowing the history doesn’t impact the reading experience but I do feel like they add to the feeling that “everything matters”.
This gives Hal a chance to catch his breath and strategize a bit, with the ring providing information vital to defeating Hyperman while struggling to stay functioning. With Hyperwoman leaving her husband behind with Klypso to finish off Hal, Green Lantern launches an offensive of his own. I love seeing Hal do things with his ring, but I also enjoy seeing him go mano a mano with people. With a timely arrival of the growing Orintho-Babies Hal is put in a position to triumph, but the battle is taking a heavy toll on his body.
Tops and the rest of his golden bird siblings have aged a bit since they first debut two issues ago. It’s pretty cool seeing them mature a bit watching Tops’ youthful energy as they come to the defense of their “Unca Hal”. The Green Lanterns, Maxima, and Hal Kar arrive just as the bloodied Hal makes his arrest of Hyperman. They help bring the issue to a close as they announce that the ring has died and that Hal needs major medical attention. More alarming is the statement from the Guardians that the Ultra War is about to begin, setting us up for the next issue.
The Green Lantern: Season Two #5 feels much more like a straightforward superhero adventure than some of the heavy mental lifting that characterizes Morrison’s writing. I enjoyed seeing Hal Jordan use his wits to overcome his powerful adversaries and given that the Hyperfamily are analogs for Superman this issue really showcases why Hal is just as much of a powerhouse as the big blue boy scout. The fun script is given fantastic visual support by Liam Sharp, who along with the rest of the art team creates a beautiful love letter to Kirby and Steranko. Nine out of ten lanterns.