Review: Green Lantern: Blackstars #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Grant Morrison
Colors: Steve Oliff
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Learn the origin of Belzebeth! And after, see Hal Jordan wed to her as Controller Mu’s secret is revealed just in time for some classic Hal Jordan shenanigans. First the Air Force, then the Guardians, now the Blackstars. Hal just has trouble following the rules…
There’s a lot of story in this issue, a lot. It’s not that the page count is higher, but Grant Morrison manages to pack a lot in and really develop the plot. At its core its fairly simple, but Morrison spends enough time on this “new world” to distract the reader with some interesting ideas and meta-commentary that when the obvious happens, it doesn’t feel obvious. But with that, the moment is a marvellous character moment for Hal Jordan. In the given situation, OF COURSE that’s what he do. It’s funny and serious all at the same time.
In the opening sequence as the “new world” that’s been created is explored, Morrison takes a few shots at the history of the DC Universe. It’s not necessarily “in story” moments he lambasts, but rather the creative direction that would make such decisions. There’s humour, there’s scholarly insight, and most importantly there are moments that one can’t distinguish tongue-in-cheek from genuine criticism. This could’ve been the whole issue and it would’ve been laudable, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
My favourite has to be the jab he takes at Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis. Morrison has a love of classic DC, and while he writes with a modern sense, it’s always enjoyable when he utilizes some bizarre element of the company’s past. In this case, it seems that Morrison truly finds the notion of the mental health of super-heroes to be a wasted effort as he has Superman tell Hal Jordan that it must come first before they can save anyone. It’s funny and slightly absurd, but still a true knock on Heroes in Crisis. Morrison even references his own All-Star Superman, to great effect.
Morrison is even able to make Belzebeth a sympathetic character when exploring her history. It doesn’t make her any less of a terrible monster intent on destroying the earth, but at least the reader can find some understanding having learned her sad tale.
While everyone knew that Hal was going to turn on the Belzebeth and the Blackstars at some point, it wasn’t obvious how it was going to come about. The story has made it pretty clear that Hal had to join the Blackstars and swear a loyalty to them. He even gets Belzebeth to talk a little about, “why him?” When Hal finally does turn on Belzebeth, it is in classic fashion. If one thinks back to every time Hal has gone rogue and been reprimanded, this has the same sort of quality. Morrison has set it up nicely with Jordan’s visit to Earth at the beginning of the issue and sells it on the last two pages!
Not many comics are structured like this anymore. There’s plenty of story here for the 6-issue story arc that is so common in today’s market. Yet, like comics of the past, Morrison fits it in a single issue so the reader really feels like the amount of story fits the price tag. Morrison fleshes it out with lots of ideas, but at the same time successfully delivers the goods.
It’s difficult to find a negative here, the issue is so well executed.
Morrison has spent a lot of time developing the history of Belzebeth and how her past has informed her motivations and actions. It even appears that there’s a lot more to it than he’s giving the reader at this point. Perhaps, it will appear later, beyond this 3-issue series. Green Lantern: Blackstars #2 is even better than last issue. Morrison touches on so many ideas that will most likely remain undeveloped, but they enhance the “new world” created by the Miracle Machine. It’s Morrison’s love of the DC Universe that shines through and create the sense of fun with his references as well as being able to get to the core of Jordan’s character.