And so we reach the halfway point in Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s grandiose run on The Green Lantern with issue #12 out now from DC Comics and I must say, I did not see that ending coming, or the revelations and answers we get in this season finale. And to think, so much of it was laid out in the very first issue of this volume those many, many months ago. Well played, Mr. Morrison, well played.
There is a dark, ‘fearful symmetry‘ at play here and it creates for a very satisfactory read. Morrison was building to this moment from the very beginning with clues thrown in along the way. Clues as to who the traitor within the Green Lantern Corps is, clues as to the identity of the Qwa-Man (spoiling this on the cover, unfortunately); but with all the cosmic-scaled action we’ve witnessed, Morrison has shown himself up to be a grand illusionists all along, with Sharp his willing sorcerer’s apprentice. While we looked one way, this pair skillfully threw everything we ever needed to solve the mystery right in front of our faces and we didn’t even know. Just like Hal Jordan, who learns – like us – far too late for himself, or for many of his compatriots. And, while the resulting fallout of this epic battle is already know to some extend thanks to DC’s announcement of a Blackstar mini-series featuring Hal Jordan as one of their rank and file, it’s the journey of getting there that fascinates me.
While at the heart of the GL mythos is the central conceit of will power and free will, Controller Mu has always been about control and crushing such frivolities as free will. And it would seem, looking back at this run thus far, control has been there from the very start. For the seemingly accidental crash-landing of Chriselon in issue #1 that brought Hal back into the GL fold, to the inclusion of certain talismanic devices we’ve witnessed in isolation from one another – never thinking they were commented in any way whatsoever – Morrison has always had a master plan. A plan that shows Controller Wu was always in, well, control, as his name always suggested. And, with echoes that go back to that debut issue – there’s even a further example of one GL member giving the finger – we have come full circle in some ways. The wheel has turned, but its a darker reality than that of the series’ start.
The results of this carefully plotted and planned story arc is far more than simply the slugfest at the heart of this issue’s narrative. Which itself is a gnarly, dark, sludgy affair all organised in the most dynamic of panel and page layouts that often spill out into double page spreads, courtesy of Sharp why has shown across this series why he has gained his status, once more, as one of the industry’s leading artists.
Morrison mines not only the more bizarre corners of the DCU but his own writing as well, with one particular artefact making an appearance that will be very familiar to those who’ve read his Final Crisis or long-the readers of The Legion of Super-Heroes. The former being a series that was very much underrated, but also dealt with the power of not only free will/will power but the power imagination too. He’s like a contemporary Gothic writer – a modern day William Blake – in his championing of the power of the mind and what it can achieve. Something that has always been a large theme fo his writing going way, way back to Animal Man and his short-lived Dan Dare strip in UK magazine Revolver. Hell, Jordan’s ring works on this idea. What he wishes for becomes physical. What a power to wield. In the right hands. Will it be this that ultimately overcomes the ‘mind-forg’d manacles‘ that Controller Wu has shackled upon his acolytes? After all, he has built his Miracle Machine out of 5 will-powered components. Methinks Controller Wu is only asking for trouble, but with a mini-series and the promise of a second twelve-issue run, and the introduction of a new villainous anti-matter super-team, this is one story that ain’t over yet.
But, for Controller Wu, it may well be. All that’s left, it seems, for his final domination is to wish upon a star. A blackstar that is.
Looks like the DCU is getting yet another beating very, very soon.
The Green Lantern #12 is out now from DC Comics.