The Green Lantern: Season Two #7 puts Hal Jordan in an all too familiar position – dead, again. But this time there’s no Emerald Space or Dead Zone for Hal to meet up with dead comrades, no Hal’s revisiting another chapter from his past as Grant Morrison turns Hal into the Dead Lantern, complete with a Spectre inspired cloak.
But before we get there, we get a brief history of the universe by the new Guardians, complete with a bit of a new angle which shows up one of the major differences between them and the Guardians of old. One thing in particular about the opening page that is very striking is Liam Sharp’s depiction of the emotional spectrum as it coalesces from the nothingness. I love the design work on the various faces that symbolize each of the seven core “emotions” in the spectrum which do a real nice job of reflecting what they represent without Morrison having to explain them all. We learn that while the old Guardians only saw reality as creating order from the positive, “living” side, the new Guardians seek balance between both the positive and negative sides – that stability in the ultraverse can only come when both sides of the equation are equal.
Meanwhile Sector General is falling fast and Hal cannot do anything from his position since he has no corporeal form. Morrison also takes us back to the Uugo and the Guardians of the Multiverse who we have not really seen since issue ten. There we see Zundernell, whom the Guardians defeated in the eleventh issue. Zundernell remains a fascinating character and this time around he issues an ominous warning about the “Nomad Empire”.
As those events unfurl around us, Hal and one of the New Guardians seek out one of the older Guardians and this is where we finally get to see the Cosmic Grail, a larger version of a power battery. Hal charges his ring there and we learn that the two are there to rescue Rami, one of the Templar Guardians. The crux of the issue is an exploration of Hal’s past roles and how they all fit together to make Hal who he is. The Guardians see Hal as a man divided, however Hal tries to explain that he’s not full of contradictions and that he has learned how to be all of those things, to acknowledge his complex past, but not be bound by them.
There is another fascinating interpretation of the emotional spectrum, this time using various women from Hal’s past as representatives of the emotions. Red is Oliva Reynolds, who we just saw recently in the pages of this series. Orange is Joan Colby, who Hal rebounded with after his first break with Carol back in issue 50 of the original series. Yellow is Jill “Cowgirl” Pearlman, who we also saw a few issues back. Green is Carol Ferris. Blue is Eve Doremus, another woman from Hal’s past who re-appeared in Season Two #2. Indigo is represented by Dorine Clay, an alien who partnered with Hal back in issue 36 back in 1965. Rounding out the list is Kari Limbo who represents Violet. Kari was Guy Gardner’s girlfriend who fell into Hal’s arms when Guy was the victim of a power battery explosion that sent him to the Phantom Zone.
Hal at one point battles past incarnations of himself and I appreciated that Morrison and Sharp included Pol Manning, Hal’s 58th Century identity, in part of this as it’s a chapter of Hal’s past that has been completely ignored by writers for a very, very long time. I also like the conflict between Hal and the New Guardians, particularly in a couple of lines of dialog that occur in this issue. Hal tells the Guardians that they’re “too young to understand how the universe works.” The Guardians, however, feel that Hal is “too old to realize it can change.” It personifies the ever-present tension between the young and the old who are forever repeating the cycle when the young become the old, only to be challenged by their successors.
As usual, Hal has as “get out of death free” card which returns him to the land of the living in time to help rescue the survivors of the attack on Sector General. As the issue closes Hal departs with the Green Lanterns in the launch of an attack on the anti-matter universe while we get a peek at the happenings on Qward. Qwah-Lah is getting reprimanded for his actions at Sector General, but he actually seems to be happy about it for some reason.
All in all The Green Lantern: Season Two #7 is an interesting character study, but it almost feels like filler. The overall plot doesn’t advance much, but while I do find that a negative point about the issue there are enough philosophical and character beats to keep it interesting. I enjoyed seeing the references to Hal’s rich history as I always do, and as we’ve come to expect, Liam Sharp does a fantastic job from cover to cover. Seven out of ten lanterns.