“Only Love. Only Will. Only together”
A lot has been said about the Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp collaboration on The Green Lantern. Some have enjoyed it and some have not, but now that we’ve seen the release of issue twelve I don’t think anyone’s mind will be changed either way. But say what you will about this series, it’s been one hell of a trip!
From a pure plot perspective, the series finale is a very straightforward conclusion in which the protagonist faces overwhelming odds and emerges triumphant in the end. Hal Jordan faces down Hector Hammond and an army of toy soldiers before making a deal with the Majistry which sends them back where they came from. In doing so Hal ends up with a supercharged ring and an apology of sorts from the Young Guardians who have realized that they were wrong to think that there was no place for Hal in their plans for the Green Lantern Corps.
But like anything we’ve come to expect from Mr. Morrison, the meat of the story is in the meta-commentary that he layers on top of the story. In this conclusion, there are a lot of things that readers can draw conclusions about, but at the same time there’s more than one way to interpret what’s going on, and in the end, the interpretations of what Morrison is really saying could fuel fan discussion for some time to come.
On one hand, there’s the notion that Hal Jordan is realizing that he has to let go of the past and make way for new ideas. In Athmoora there is a world being held back from moving forward by those who wish to keep things just the way they are, but Hal comes to the realization that the only way to move ahead is to let go and let the future unfold how it will. The series conclusion ends with Hal flying off after turning down a promotion, and one could view that as Hal setting aside his role as a Green Lantern and set course for the great unknown to see what lies “out there” which the next generation forges the next chapter.
Flip that coin and you realize that Hal has just proven the Young Guardians wrong; that he is needed now more than ever because he can do things that no other Green Lantern can do. Hal continues to grow and not only change with the times but help make them more than they can be without him right there in the center of the mythology. The Young Guardians, and the Majistry, are wrong to change things for the sake of change, to make things different by “upgrading” them so that they no longer represent the values that made them what they are. This conclusion ends with Hal flying off after turning down a promotion, and one could view that as Hal going back to what he does better than anyone – making a difference. That’s the narrative that resonated with me, that Hal represents the purity of the fun and escapism to be found through the joy of reading comics and that there are a lot of entities like the corporations and current creators who see comics as either nothing more that a money making machine or a pulpit.
So too is the commentary on the Ultra War, here shown with a more “on the nose” representation. One panel, in particular, perfectly encapsulates some of what’s gone wrong with our oh-so-polarized society brandishing labels as weapons. The war of everything against everything else – an intergalactic war or just another day on Twitter? Morrison points to Hal’s great strengths that, if we all armed ourselves accordingly, we could overcome the idea that our differences divide us and realize that they are what makes us stronger. Will in one hand, love in the other is the answer.
Let’s not also overlook the idea that Morrison could just as easily be using Hal as an avatar for himself as he finds himself in a comic book industry that seems to be moving in a direction which may not embrace the talent he brings to the table. I cannot read some of this issue and not think that in some ways Grant is talking about himself. “This is the tale of the world’s ending. A tale of deals that were made and broken…of lies told for the good of all and of change that had to happen.” Seems like he’s talking about something far more personal than the Ultra War here.
As much as fans have discussed Morrison on this series, there’s so much to be said of Liam Sharp’s herculean efforts on this book. I’m sure that these past twelve issues have seems like the twelve labors of Hercules to him, but you tell that all of the creative energy Sharp has poured into this book comes from trying to push himself to new places. That his creative input on The Green Lantern has been fantastic is an understatement and I’m honestly stuck for a description that is adequate to demonstrate how tremendous his involvement in this book has been. Looking at the book in hindsight I think the only way I could convey this effectively to Mr. Sharp is to say that this series would have been significantly reduced if he was not the one who drew it.
In the end The Green Lantern: Season Two #12 might seem anticlimactic in some ways with no clear ending, no sense of how this particular baton is being handed over. That in itself may be one last piece of commentary on the state of DC Comics as a whole. Hal Jordan has once again saved everyone, not just our universe, but the entire omniverse this time around. For now, this space cowboy rides off into the sunset looking for more adventure. Nine out of ten lanterns.