It took only two volumes to get there, but it looks like “The Green Lantern” is going to be one of those rare Grant Morrison projects that don’t quite click. These kinds of projects are where the writer gets so focused on conjuring up as many crazy ideas as he can that he forgets to ground them in recognizable human stakes. The first two stories in this volume manage that that best here as Hal Jordan has to find his way out of a mysterious place lorded over by the wizard Myrwhidden and then goes on to have a team-up with (who else but) Green Arrow in the next issue. Even if the first one feels overwhelmingly inscrutable at first, it all clicks once the big reveal happens while Hal’s personal connection to the mysterious green girl takes on a special resonance. The Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up is also good straightforward superhero fun, even when the story revolves around obscure giant alternate-dimension versions of the characters towards the end.
After these opening issues, the floodgates of madness proceed to open. We’re introduced or re-introduced to concept like the United Planets Superwatch, an antimatter border guard, charming rogue Sinestro, a sword-and-sorcery alternate-universe Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the Qwa-Man of the antimatter universe, Zundernell the Golden Lantern guardian of the cosmic grail… I could keep going because there’s so much more where these came from. Morrison’s imagination is one of his greatest assets as a writer, but only when he remembers to temper it with some kind of human concern. Which is why the volume’s back two-thirds isn’t a complete wash -- I hope hippie stoner Green Lantern sticks around in some form -- just disappointing. Even artist Liam Sharp seems like he’s struggling to keep up as vol. 2 wears on. This isn’t enough to make me give up on this series yet as there are far worse sins than having too much ambition. Still, it’d be nice to see Morrison dial things back just a tad to give his concepts some actual room to breathe.