This may be classed a a science fiction leaning title, but issue #5 of The Green Lantern is more like a masterclass in horror comics from veterans Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp. It’s practically dripping with visceral gore and grim as undercover cop Hal Jordan is transported to the vampire planet, Vorr, and undergoes the trials and tribulations that will see whether he is successful or not in his quest to become a Blackstar. The encroaching darkness and gloom – brilliantly enhanced by the deft-touch of Steve Oliff’s colours, which really, really add a LOT to this particular issue in terms of tone, chills and atmosphere – only adds to the overpowering feeling of encroaching terror, squalor and decay.
If this was a film, it’d be classed as a ‘video nasty’ (ask yer dad), reminding me of films like Zombie Flesh Eaters and Necromantic, which glisten with gore. Add to this a parade of gnarly, gruesome ghouls and the like, and you have a book Bernie Wrightson would be giving two thumbs up to. I now want Sharpie on a Swamp Thing book! I mean, he’s done Man-Thing, so why not the real deal? Just planting a little Swamp Thing sized seed there, DC.
Grant Morrison, of course, provided the script but I wonder who’s idea was it to fit in such great Easter eggs as we have here? I certainly know that this is a very personal issue for Liam Sharp, adding in a nod to a departed friend, Jon Schnepp, in the background, but who decided to add a parade of recognisable vampires on that first page (see our preview here) as well as a huge nod to Frank Frazzetta’s DeathcDealer? That, and some well placed humour makes this another class issue and one hard to beat for bang for your buck, in this twisted fairytale. I say, ‘fairytale’ as the challenges and quest Jordan must endure to gain three important components that will make up his Blackstar costume are not too dissimilar to many stories we all know from our childhood.
I always have to re-read this book each month just to soak it all in. The detail, the majesty of this huge, grand space opera still amazes me with very issue. But then, Sharp seems to outdo himself time and time again. And, Morrison seems to be happy to work to Sharp’s strengths here too, but not to the detriment of the story. There’s a revelation at the end that puts the last five issue and Jordan’s behaviour into perspective, as well as one Hell of a final page that’s one nasty way to introduce your next DC guest star.
The Green Lantern #5 is out now from DC Comics.