THIS REVIEW OF ‘THE GREEN LANTERN’ #8 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Clyde Hall. Grant Morrison continues his tour of cosmic cop duty with The Green Lantern #8 by proving you can patrol home again: Hal Jordan, the star-faring emerald law enforcement officer of Space Sector 2814, returns to Earth for a visit. Morrison’s run has centered on the problems of a GL on regular duty. No suicide charges to end a grand universe snuffing. Instead, regular peacekeeping is the plat du jour. Settling disputes, responding to calls for backup, or handling a special undercover assignment.
It’s exactly the space patrol stuff Hal came under fire for in Green Lantern #76. In that Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams story, Oliver Queen as a street-level Green Arrow coming to terms with the loss of his fortune accuses Hal of being too involved in alien menaces while injustice runs rampant on Earth. Queen even tells the Guardians of the Universe to sit and spin on their Central Battery as they preside in pious judgment of ‘lesser species’. It was the start of a cross-country road trip exploring the human experience, a disguised Guardian in tow, known as “Hard Travelin’ Heroes”.
Issue #8 in the Morrison and Sharp run revisits the Hill Street Green concept by turning it about. Cosmic cop duty brings Hal home for a reunion with a Green Arrow more understanding of how evil beyond the stars begets evil here. As Hal’s Green Lantern refocused on the plight of everyday terrans in the original stories, this time we’re reminded that Arrow has had his own turns setting an otherworldly example or two.
The latter allows for obscure references from Queen’s past, a nostalgic turn presented in that fine Morrison style. The shared history of the Greens is the heart of the tale, and the cover reminiscent of their combined envelope-shoving series from the 1970s. It’s a buddy movie of two exceptional heroes who rode some together, spilled blood together, and saved each other’s lives at least once but never talk about it.
When an alien crime lord puts out a contract on a competitor who’s taken the hottest new drug on the interstellar road to peddle it off-world, Earth becomes a target. Because that’s where the upstart’s gone, and the throngs of terrans wanting life made better through chemistry have opened a new market. That makes matters difficult for streetwise heroes like Green Arrow, and for his equally emerald associate in high places. It’s an over-the-top story that revels in Silver Age silliness, especially when the alien crime lord decides he’s paying not to have just his competition whacked, but the entire planet.
In the course of this crime drama (transposed to a galactic scale), Hal and Oliver catch up while tackling the problem together. Can the Green Lantern/Green Arrow Team still overcome criminal scum preying on the weak, even if that scum is not of this world? They can, with a finale of satisfyingly goofy coolness.
Friendships grow over time and shared experiences, and it’s satisfying to see Hal and Ollie back together as mature heroes who still have different styles but are comfortable with who they’ve become. Their patter is top-rate, with humor applied through remembering their shared history as youths. Morrison makes the duo feel like connecting with a best friend from college and instantly returning to the pattern of camaraderie from days gone by.
Liam Sharp retains his own art style but also channels Neal Adams in many panels. It adds to the overall effect of a friendship renewed. His supervillain cameo shot offers devious, devilish anticipation of conflicts to come. Steve Oliff’s colorations are again muted and edgy, befitting the low-profile crime element our heroes are battling. Tom Orzechowski’s lettering dauntlessly dances the dialogue around some of Sharp’s more psychedelic panels without stopping the flow. Orzechowski also creates a charming little lettering style for alien characters in support roles.
Including Dinah and Carol on this voyage into the Memory Lane Nebula would have added to the piece’s updating. What was originally a guy’s road trip would benefit from the women in their lives participating, but the story arrives at its intended destination. A dual ‘Green’ cover logo would’ve made a pleasant touch.
The O’Neil & Adams run was an attempt by the DC of the day to present socially relevant concepts in their superhero stories, usually with the subtlety of a trowel. In The Green Lantern #8 we get a light dose of that as well. The book is an enjoyable re-creation of the era it embraces, and not afraid to take sniggering shots at some of the zanier elements abounding in the wayback. It also raises the question: Could a chain of Oliver Queen Capsaicin Quisine restaurants help rebuild his financial foundations? If they keep making Alka-Seltzer, it’s a possibility.
DC / $3.99
Written by Grant Morrison.
Pencils by Liam Sharp.
Colors by Steve Oliff.
Letters by Tom Orzechowski.
7.5 out of 10
Check out this 5-page preview of ‘The Green Lantern’ #8, courtesy of DC!
Variant cover by Toni Infante.