In this week’s The Green Lantern #1, Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp included a tease that promised the reunion of Hal Jordan and Green Arrow while also thrusting Hal into a cosmic murder mystery.
But Morrison also established that the new title would highlight the day-to-day police-like tactics employed by the Green Lantern Corps as they enforced the laws of the Guardians of the Universe.
Not only is Morrison is bringing Green Arrow back into Hal Jordan’s life, but there will be many of the love interests and friends the character has interacted with in past series. “There are a lot of people in his life. A character who’s been around this long has had all kinds of relationships and we wanted to bring them all back,” Morrison said.
“But that’s his big guilt, is that he doesn’t hang out with people enough,” he continued. “Like, Green Arrow and Hal, they would go on road trips together for weeks on end and now he never sees Hal. So that’s the one piece of guilt that he has, that he has all these relationships and tries to keep the plates spinning. It’s like trying to keep your emails going and you’re failing miserably.
“I wanna play with a lot of the inversions of what was taken as the basis of their relationship back in the '70s, whereas in actual fact one guy's an unemployed toy salesman and the other guy's a millionaire who just lost his money, but he'll get it back again,” Morrison said.
“So I kind of want to invert a lot of the things, where suddenly, well, maybe Hal's the kind of left-wing guy, well, that doesn't make sense, maybe there's a bit of bullsh*t about Oliver Queen, and to do a kind of story which looks at a lot of the issue-style comics, the relevant comics and set it in the modern world, and just see these two clashing in very different ways and again, lots of angles that you may not expect,” he said. “It's to dig in deep to that relationship, which I've always loved, but to play with different aspects of it.”
Morrison said he imagines that Hal enjoys going to other planets where no one knows that he’s Hal Jordan and has responsibilities.
“He could spend, you know, six months on that planet we don’t even know about and have an alternate life,” Morrison said. “We have issues where we see that, where he has other lives on other planets.”
And having so many experiences on other worlds will make it difficult for Hal to connect on Earth. “Here’s this guy who’s like, why would you hang about the Earth? It’s like the pig-sty, you know?” Morrison said. “You can go to planets where there’s just perfect peace and people have lived for a million years in happiness.
“I think he seems to be this guy, but in actual fact his friends are like living jellies, and when he comes back, he probably can't even tell the difference between people anymore,” Morrison said.
“They are all humans,” the writer explained, “but that other guy he hanged with was made of crystal, and I can tell the difference between two crystal guys. He's embraced a kind of diversity beyond anything we even have on the planet Earth. And when he comes back again, we're all one species, he doesn't see the differences. He can't enter the discourse, he doesn't know how to talk about that, he doesn't know how to talk about things that are important to us, because he's so far in another place. Dealing with other living creatures, intelligent creatures that are nothing like us. I think that's an important aspect of him, for all he seems, as I say, old-fashioned and unreconstructed, he's actually wide open, you know.”
The superstar writer has spoken before about how he thinks comic books are in the midst of the “Prismatic Age” of comic books (a term that he acknowledges he got from someone else, but has latched onto).
Using the idea of characters being re-interpreted as though through a prism, he said The Green Lantern may bend Hal Jordan’s light, but it’s still from the same source.
“It’s the same light fractured through the prism. We haven’t changed the history of the character; we haven’t rebooted. It’s all there,” he said. “But we’re just shining the spotlight on really different areas of it and trying to make it feel a bit odd.”
Morrison compares his approach to Hal Jordan in The Green Lantern with what he did during his Batman run — taking the various incarnations of Hal Jordan from throughout DC’s publishing history and incorporating them into something new, from the John Broome version that Morrison calls “DC’s own version of the Beat Generation in the ‘60s,” to the Denny O’Neil version that Morrison describes as “the bone-headed right-wing cop up against a changing America as portrayed by Green Arrow.”
“So taking all of those contradictory aspects to the character, like with Batman, if you combine them as one person, it's like a real person, because all of us have these shades, these contradictions in us,” Morrison said. “And I think the most effective characters are the ones who seem, ‘Hal Jordan wouldn't do that!’ Oh yeah, he kind of might, because he's reacting to something in a way we didn't expect him to. So we're very much playing that, you know, I think in the first four issues in particular, people will be saying, ‘Hal Jordan wouldn't do that, Grant! You do not understand this character!’ And then you'll see, you'll kind of see what we're aiming towards.”