The Green Lantern No. 4 review: Two strangers walk into a bar


Two strangers, in a bar on the planet Raan, recount to separate stories to each other, one of the monstrous leader of the Blackstars, and the other of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern.

This issue really feels like a turning point for The Green Lantern. It sounds weird to say that for a series that is relatively early on in its run, but it definitely does. There’s a lot going on with this issue that feels like Grant Morrison is about to do what he always does with whatever he’s working on, go absolutely crazy with it, which is what this issue feels like.

The series had already been extremely weird (in a good way) in the first place, but here, it seems like Morrison is going to take his trademark zaniness and philosophical musings and put them to use in the world of Hal Jordan. Who can say if it will turn out well or not because while the previous issues have generally been pretty great, this issue has some pretty major flaws.

First off though, like every other issue of this series, the art by Liam Sharp in this issue is absolutely stunning, with some fantastic coloring by Steve Oliff as well. The amount of scope that Sharp is able to put into every single page is outstanding and mindboggling at times. The amount of detail that he has in his figures, whether human, humanoid, or alien, is incredible. There are very few artists who would be able to do what he does issue in and issue out simply concerning the number of minute details featured everywhere in everything he draws.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Liam Sharp

The way that he structures several of the pages throughout the issue are very fun as well. The structure is different from most other comics with how and where panels are placed on the page in accordance of the border, which sometimes can slow the flow of reading, but not here. Here, it’s inventive and is all the more immersive with the world and universe that is being presented.

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The real flaws of this issue come from Morrison’s writing. While the page structure for the art is generally great, the same can’t be said for the story structure. While reading this issue, something just felt off, finally, after finishing it, there was a realization, the stories being told overlapped too much. The way that the story was being told makes sense after finishing the issue, but the problem was in the execution. The issue would jump back and forth from one story to another with no real proper transition to ease the reader into the next scene, which is frustrating to read. It’s an interesting approach, which should be applauded, but the execution could have been much better.

Morrison’s use of symbolism, theology, and social commentary is all still present in this issue despite the actual storytelling issues. They do take a backseat to moving the plot forward in this issue, which is something that needed to happen, but they didn’t disappear completely, which is nice.

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Despite some great art, The Green Lantern hit its first major speedbump in Morrison and Sharp’s run on the series.