Grant Morrison’s revival of Hal Jordan in THE GREEN LANTERN last year introduced an intriguing, otherworldly horror to the character’s mythos. He and artist Liam Sharp crafted storylines that tackled all that is weird and unsettling in our cosmos, including an intergalactic slave trade, drug trips, and parallel versions of the hero (and a not so heroic doppelganger). Now the hero finds himself enlisted in the Blackstar militia, seemingly brainwashed to do their bidding.
When Hal agreed to the Guardians’ plan to infiltrate the Blackstars ranks as a mole back in THE GREEN LANTERN, he didn’t expect to be with them long. The goal was to learn what diabolical plan Mu was setting in motion and report back. But through a series of betrayals and cataclysmic events, Hal (adopting the name “Parallax”) finds himself in the hands of Countess Belzebeth once more. And the duo is tasked with planning housewarming party for Controller Mu.
The location? Planet Oa.
The godlike Guardians are no where to be seen. In their place lie horrific monsters of a Lovecraftian nature, poised to inflict existential terror upon the protagonists and readers alike. But before a Nyarlathotep look-a-like can finish its threat, Belzebeth unleashes her own brand of terror by biting into it like an afternoon snack. Such a display allows her, a single Blackstar warrior, to gain control of these creatures trapped on an abandoned Oa and prepare for Mu’s arrival.
Morrison’s depiction of Belzebeth is inspiring despite her obvious villainous nature. It’s refreshing to see a story with a woman taking the reigns in and of herself without a “strong man” leading the way. In fact, our strong man (Hal) in this scenario sits back and enjoys watching her taking the lead.
This book looks to continue upending more expectations as the two Blackstars “domesticate” more of the monstrous features of Oa before the grand master behind it all arrives. However, the question remains: Is Hal is ready to usher in a universe ruled by Mu?
Xermanico’s penciling, Steve Oliff’s coloring capture both the sci-fi and horror elements beautifully in this inaugural issue. Xermanico brings these horrific creatures living on Oa to life with detailed views of their appendages and fangs, then quickly transitions to the sleek, clean lines found on the Blackstar ships. The colors used highlight these transitions even more, moving between the darker, earthy tones of the monsters to the industrial grays and greens characterizing Mu’s technology. One feels as if they’re caught in an imperial takeover, reminiscent of humankind’s forced control of the otherwise uncontrollable natural forces.
Steve Wands’ lettering is another great feature of this piece. His fonts often burst out of the bubbles meant to contain them, most clearly seen when the monsters of Oa scream in agony. This leaves readers doubting who the real monsters are—the creatures on Oa, or the Blackstars?
Liam Sharp, the master artist behind the recent THE GREEN LANTERN run, crafts an action packed title in the original series’ style. This helps establish a clear continuity from the former series into Morrison’s new chapter.
Diego Rodriguez and Darick Robertson’s variant cover gives readers a clearer look at Hal and his new Blackstar teammates. The former hero is standing front and center with a determined look, showing us he’s ready for the inevitable challenges lying in wait with this team.
The first installment to the GREEN LANTERN: BLACKSTAR series is a hit right out of the park. Our expectations were not only met but surpassed by the in-depth characterization of Belzebeth and the beautiful artwork.
Do you think Hal has completely left his life as a Green Lantern behind? Let us know in the comments below!