The Green Lantern #5 Comic Review
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Liam Sharp
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Cover: Liam Sharp & Steve Oliff
Variant Cover: Joe St. Pierre with Steve Firchow
Blackstar at Zenith
“Outer Space Undercover”
What You Need to Know
Hal Jordan has turned his back on the Green Lantern Corps. Even worse, Hal has joined up with Belzebeth and the rest of the Blackstars. What has caused this turn in Hal? How do the Green Lantern Corps respond to one of their greatest members has seemingly turned to the dark side?
What Just Happened
The issue begins with Hal Jordan being a prisoner of Blackstar Countess Belzebeth on her home planet Vorr. Vorr is described as a “Planet of Vampires”. In order to become a Blackstar, Hal must complete a series of tasks to gather sections of the Blackstar mantle. The atmosphere of the planet eats away at Hal’s willpower, but he is able to obtain the Blackstar visor. Hal is attacked by the creatures of Vorr and realizes with help from hints from Belzebeth that his shackles are actually the Blackstar gauntlets that are controlled by thoughts. During the battle, Hal is stung by one of the creatures and poisoned. Hal continues to fight through Vorr to obtain the rest of the Blackstar mantle and the denizens of Vorr summon the enormous Watch-Maggot to devour Hal. Belzebeth reveals to Hal that she is wearing the last piece of the mantle Hal needs, and he must fight her to the death to obtain it. Belzebeth also informs Hal that Blackstars are a single unit and fight for each other, and destroys the Watch-Maggot. Hal has completed the Blackstar initiation.
The issue next flashes back a week in the past where Hal is meeting with one of the Guardians of the Universe. The Guardian has tasked Hal with going undercover as a Blackstar to infiltrate their ranks to expose the double agent within the Green Lantern Corps. Hal is given permission to do whatever it takes, even murder, to uphold his cover. Hal is also tasked with sabotaging the weapons Controller Mu and the Blackstars are creating. Hal is also given orders to neutralize Controller Mu. Hal is informed by the Guardian that he will be disowned by the Guardians if his cover is blown.
The issue returns to the present where Belzebeth and Hal are on the planet Rann. Hal is fully immersed in his cover as a Blackstar. Hal even renames himself Blackstar Parallax. Belzebeth states that the Blackstars must be able to trust Hal and before Hal can meet with Controller Mu he must prove his loyalty. Hal is ordered to kill an imprisoned Adam Strange.
This was a slightly uneven chapter in Grant Morrison’s Green Lantern saga that gets stronger as the issue goes on. Hal’s experiences on the planet Vorr came across as kind of campy to me when it seems Morrison wanted to establish a sense of dread. I never got the sense that Hal was ever in danger. Hal running from a giant maggot was a pretty cool sight however. Countess Belzebeth being the voice walking Hal through his “scavenger hunt” was distracting and the dialogue Morrison rights for her can be confusing and hard to follow. Belzebeth’s presence does not enhance this issue even though she has been a menacing character in past issues.
The issue improves dramatically when a pretty obvious reveal is made. Hal Jordan has infiltrated the Blackstars as an undercover agent for the Guardians. Not even Hal’s fellow corpsmen know he is undercover. I assumed Hal was going to go undercover after last issue but it seems seeds were planted in even earlier issues. Morrison writes a great exchange between Hal and one of the Guardians. Hal is pretty much given free reign to channel all of the aspects of his personality that the Guardians hate and use it to gain favor with Controller Mu and his Blackstars. Hal even has permission to kill if necessary. Morrison characterizes Hal as embracing this challenge as evidenced by Hal renaming himself “Blackstar Parallax”. I may be reading into things a little too much as well, but it seems that there may be a potential romance brewing between Belzebeth and Hal, or Hal is probably manipulating her for information. Hal is already faced with a huge test of his cover, as he has to kill Adam Strange. I’m excited to see how Hal is able to maneuver out of this situation without killing a fellow hero.
The art in this book continues to be consistently awesome. Liam Sharp and Steve Oliff may have contributed their best work on this book so far. The depict Vorr as a morbid and gothic planet filled with bloodthirsty creatures. Rivers of blood and deteriorating buildings span the environment. Sharp probably had fun designing creatures such as the Watch-Maggot. I got a kick out of some familiar characters in the background of this book. I’ll let you guys see what I mean but I saw some pretty popular vampires in pop culture in this book.