Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Liam Sharp
Published by DC Comics
“There’s me. Right by your side. Never apart.”
In case it wasn’t evident last month, this issue of The Green Lantern happens inside of Hal Jordan’s power ring.
And the utterly mystifying territory within.
Silver Age heroes offer some of the most unusual material for modern writers to draw upon, something Grant Morrison has managed to great effect over the years. The history of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, is no exception.
On the contrary, Hal Jordan’s exploits have always been some of the most bizarre of the bunch, given the leeway given for the fantastic at the time, and the added realms of giddy possibility that outer space provided for such iconic authors as Gil Kane and Gardner Fox.
And so, we get stories like that of the Wizard Myrwhydden. An evil magician whose enslavement of his planet, brought him the judgement of Abin Sur, who defeated the distinctly impish alien wizard… and imprisoned him in his power ring.
Which then became Hal Jordan’s ring.
In a fascinating little concept story of 1964 Fox and Kane take us inside GL’s power ring for the first time, where we discover that Myrwhydden has created a viridian fantasy landscape of his own imaginings. But when he over-reaches and tries to kill Hal with a clone of Abin Sur himself, Jordan shrinks himself into the ring to fight the evil mage, with a will that is similarly nigh-omnipotent in a land created entirely of green lantern light.
Myrwhydden’s inevitable defeat results in a memory wipe and solitary confinement, once again within the power ring.
Where Hal Jordan finds himself this month after diverting the universe-destroying power of Controller Mu’s U-bomb last issue, which rockets the ring across billions of miles of uncharted space.
Now all of this backstory may be quite understandably obscure to the modern reader, so you’d be forgiven for having a hard time following along at the start of our story. But Morrison manages nonetheless to tell this tale of the very strange and utterly fantastic without too much troublesome confusion. In part because, aside from a range of narrative details with almost no initial context for us to wonder at, at its core this story is a familiar one: a heroic damsel in distress, in a faraway fantastical land, hoping against hope for the one dashing hero she needs to help her regain her memories, her power, and her life.
The tropes are familiar, but the circumstances are anything but. And the twist in the plot that explains it all, and just in time for Hal Jordan to win the day, provides us with a brand new, previously unrealized depth of connection between Hal Jordan and his power ring.
One that is simply perfect for our swashbuckling space-cop hero. One with a whole world of possibilities that may yet one day be explored. One day, perhaps.
And in the meanwhile, the Lady Pengowirr reigns, and serves, and shapes the light fantastic.
Next Month: Who is the traitor in the company of the Corpsmen?