Right now, there are no Green Lanterns protecting Earth. While DC’s flagship Green Lantern comic is currently on hiatus, the miniseries Green Lantern: Blackstars is portraying a world where the Green Lanterns no longer exist. Hal Jordan, the longest-serving character to hold the Green Lantern mantle, was forced to wish his own organization out of existence at the end of last month’s The Green Lantern #12. But rest assured, things will be back to normal soon enough, and when they resume, writer Grant Morrison and artist Liam Sharp have an even crazier “season 2” planned for The Green Lantern. You can see some exclusive preview pages below.
“We know each other’s strengths now,” Morrison tells EW. “I know what Liam can do, so it’s seeing how far to the limits I can push that. For me it’s a great book because if we were doing Spider-Man we’re stuck in New York, with the Daily Bugle and the supporting cast. With Green Lantern you can go anywhere. It’s like Doctor Who where we can go anywhere in space or time, the future or past, alien planets. It’s wide open for just continually surprising yourself and coming up with novel ways to do it.”
Over its first year, The Green Lantern distinguished itself by combining Morrison’s characteristically bonkers storytelling and intimate knowledge of arcane DC lore with Sharp’s mind-blowing visuals reminiscent of prog rock album covers and classic sci-fi pulps. When the series began, Morrison told EW that it would focus on “day-to-day life” of a space cop, but by the third issue Hal was arresting the Biblical God. There were one-off issues, such as a brief team-up with Hal’s old ally Green Arrow, but also an overarching story arc about the machinations of the Blackstars, culminating in the events of the current miniseries.
Morrison, who has now spent time in the writers’ rooms of both SyFy’s Happy and the upcoming Brave New World, says that the TV experience has influenced the way he’s breaking down The Green Lantern into year-long “seasons.”
“Working with those writers was great,” Morrison says. “Watching how seasons were crafted to work and have a story based around one episode, and then many episodes would link up into bigger backstory, that experience totally influenced what I’ve been doing on The Green Lantern. Tighter control over the material also comes from working in television. When I was doing New X-Men I wouldn’t always tell you why things were happening, but now I feel I always have to explain things.”
Morrison says that season 2 of The Green Lantern will focus much more on one-off stories (though as mentioned above, you can’t always take him at his word). Characters from the first year will reappear, such as the inhabitants of the Game of Thrones-like fantasy planet glimpsed in issue #9. Just as Green Arrow made an appearance last year, the Flash will be available for a team-up this round. The first issue will introduce a new dynamic to Hal’s life, however: Young Guardians.
“The first issue is about Hal Jordan going in search of replacements for the Guardians of the Universe,” Morrison says. “It ties into all the big stuff that’s happening in the DC Universe next year, so there’s a little bit of that but the fun was ‘let’s mess up the status quo.’ It’s a little bit like PC Principal from South Park, where suddenly everything’s changed at the top. These are new Guardians with very different ideas of what’s right and wrong. Instead of Hal butting heads with these geriatric space dudes that he always had problems with, where he was the young cocky guy and they were the old heads, suddenly we have Young Guardians. It’s also having a little bit of fun with this ‘ok boomer’ thing.”
This occasion matches up with a meeting of intergalactic lawmen from across the universe, seen in the beautiful two-page spread by Sharp below. The series is colored by Steve Oliff, but any fans who follow Sharp on Twitter know he loves to post his black-and-white drawings as well. He puts as much detail as possible into them even before the coloring stage.
“It’s a convention for the lawmen on Oa. Liam’s made up about half of them, some of them are from old Batman books or ancient Adam Strange stories,” Morrison explains. “We’ve tried to find every guy who’s been a space cop in DC history. It’s great because they all fit in, even the ones designed by Dick Sprang, because they’re all aliens. Even goofy ‘50s alien designs look like, well on that planet that’s what they wear! They all seem integrated into that world. That has been one of the great things, to consolidate that whole DC space universe and put in characters that haven’t been seen in decades. I’ll describe who’s talking to who and who’s in the room, or as many as I can think of, and then Liam just populates it and gives them all something to do.”
“It’s kind of like Comic Con, that shot,” Sharp says. “The fun of stuff like that too is when you look at that spread, there’s so many little details going on. There’s a giant polar bear character. I don’t know where the hell he came from, but he’s a badass and we fell in love with him. There’s so many weird things happening if you look. There’s a couple reenacting the Jewel on Rann in the back. There’s two sorts of Japanese-style superhero characters playing rock scissors in the back. I was just riffing.”
The Green Lantern isn’t the only Green Lantern comic currently being published by DC, however. Just this week saw the release of Far Sector #1, a new series from award-winning fantasy writer N.K. Jemisin and artist Jamal Campbell that focuses on a new Lantern named Sojourner “Jo” Mullein. Hal Jordan was first created in 1959 by John Broome and Gil Kane, and though many other characters have worn the Green Lantern ring since (from DC Animated Universe favorite John Stewart to newer characters like Jessica Cruz), both Morrison and Sharp see virtue in longevity.
“The thing I like most about Hal is something that people in comics generally dislike: He’s been around for so long and he’s super competent,” Morrison says. “When it comes to superheroes I love characters like Batman and Hal who have been around so long, the only way they could still be alive would be if they were the most hyper-competent men on the planet. Hal gets things done, he thinks fast on his feet, he’s been around the block a few times. I love to watch that guy going about his work. Rather than explore the frailties and flaws, what I love about superheroes like Batman or Hal Jordan is the fact that they have almost destroyed all their human flaws and they’ve become different than a normal human being. That fascinates me and gets them closer to the idea of a ‘superhero’ than trying to make them like us.”
Sharp adds, “in a way it’s not that Hal Jordan is a superhero amongst humans, he’s a superhero amongst Green Lanterns. Whether he’s our favorite Green Lantern or not, it’s established in the tomes of Green Lantern lore that he’s the greatest Green Lantern of all time. You go to the future, they’re still talking about Hal Jordan. We’re in the midst of telling the story of the greatest Green Lantern of them all. That’s amazing, to show what that means.”
The first issue of The Green Lantern: Season Two hits stores on Feb. 12. Check out exclusive pages by Sharp above and below.