While the first major story arc of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp's acclaimed series The Green Lantern has come to a reality-bending end, the larger story continues in the three-issue miniseries Green Lantern: Blackstars. Joined by artist Xermanico, Morrison picks up right where he left off, with an opening issue that dives into the startling new vision of the DC Universe created in the final moments of The Green Lantern's final issue. A reimagined Hal Jordan is smack dab in the middle of a coming conflict that will determine the fate of reality as he knows it.
Following Controller Mu's use of a prototype Miracle Machine to rewrite reality, the Green Lantern Corps and Guardians of the Universe are seemingly no more and Oa is reduced to a graveyard of a planet within the cosmos. Now a member of the eponymous Blackstars, Hal Jordan is part of a more lethal, sinister peacekeeping force that seeks to extend Mu's iron-fisted will across the universe. Meanwhile, the former hero finds himself haunted by a life he once knew and defended as the greatest Green Lantern of them all.
Despite the rebranding and change in art team, Blackstars really is a direct continuation of Morrison's previous work with the character. As such, new readers who haven't read Morrison and Sharp's The Green Lantern may be lost by the sudden change in status quo for Hal. This miniseries also sets up the next volume of the creative team's space epic. Morrison wastes no time in introducing readers to this vision of the DC Universe, as Hal is quickly plunged into a new mission to further extend Controller Mu's rule of the cosmos.
As with previous issues, the exposition runs a bit heavy here to setup the new reality but Morrison is sure to bring plenty of action too. Given the more brutal nature of the Blackstars and the characters who serve in its ranks, the violence is more graphic than more conventional, mainstream superhero titles, occasionally skirting the edge of horror; this a universe where the bad guys have won and literally rewritten history, after all, so that very premise leads the entire tone to be darker throughout . And Morrison utilizes a classically cosmic DC supervillain to illustrate how powerful and hard-hitting this new spacefaring team of peacekeepers really are.
Xermanico's work here, joined by colorist Steve Oliff, feels like a natural extension of Liam Sharp's artwork in the previous volume; the transition in penciler undoubtedly aided by Oliff seamlessly working with Xermanico as he did earlier with Sharp. The art team's work features worlds much harsher and foreboding than those seen in most of Morrison's previous run and that tension is there even in the issue's quieter moments. And when the action kicks in, Xermanico captures both epic space battles and grueling gladiatorial fights without pulling punches.
Green Lantern: Blackstars is very much the direct progression of The Green Lantern, both in terms of writing and visuals, and will certainly be required reading to prepare for the next volume in which Morrison and Sharp will reunite to resume their larger story sometime next year. A darker, more violent story than the earlier twelve-issue run, Morrison and Xermanico have created a new nightmarish vision of the DC Universe that takes its character deeper into horror as Controller Mu continues his sinister plans to bring all of reality under his will, with Hal Jordan as its only hope.
Green Lantern: Blackstars #1 is scheduled to go on sale on Nov. 6 from DC Comics.