Green Lantern: Grant Morrison on Hal Jordan, the virus Lantern and God

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The biggest, unexpected return in the comics world this week isn’t a long forgotten villain or a resurrected hero — it’s Grant Morrison taking on a monthly ongoing series for the first time in years. The writer behind Batman Inc., All-Star Superman, New X-Men and too many others to name will lead readers through the lawless interstellar wilds of the DC Universe and the lawmen who patrol them, in The Green Lantern.

For Morrison and his collaborator, artist Liam Sharp, The Green Lantern is all about taking the elements of police stories that we’re familiar, then blowing them out to an interplanetary scale with tons of alien weirdness. Case in point: When the cover of The Green Lantern #3 was revealed in October, fans couldn’t help but notice that it … well …


The cover of The Green Lantern #3, DC Comics (2019).

Liam Sharp/DC Comics

The Green Lantern #3 appears to depict Hal Jordan arresting God. So, of course, Polygon asked Morrison about it.

The writer neither confirmed nor denied that Hal Jordan was trying to arrest God, but, he said, “Even if Green Lantern is trying to arrest God, he’s still trying to arrest someone for presumably a crime.”

“We know what a heist is,” Morrison said during our interview, “we know what kidnapping is, we know what blackmail is, we know what all these crimes are, these classic crime tropes. But to see them occurring on this giant planetary scale was what gave it the particular flavor. And then [our goal is] to contrast that with Hal Jordan’s life on Earth and the open roads of New Mexico, and the emptiness and the kind of quietness of that. To show that the Earth in this universe is a kind of backwater planet where not really a lot goes on.”

[Editor’s note: The rest of this post contains minor spoilers for The Green Lantern #1.]

In The Green Lantern #1, which hits shelves today, Hal Jordan is called back into action by his alien bosses after a Green Lantern prisoner transport crash-lands on Earth near his home. But that all happens after we meet Green Lanterns Maxim Tox and Floozle Flem, who are in hot pursuit on the planet of Ventura, home of the Luck Lords — the Las Vegas of space.

While Maxim Tox is your typical humaniod alien, Floozle Flem is the latest in a long line of “creative” Green Lanterns, like the blind alien Rot Lop Fan and the sentient planet, Mogo. Flem is a sentient virus. He doesn’t catch perps: Perps catch him.


From The Green Lantern #1, DC Comics (2018).

Maxim Tox, bargaining with a spider-pirate who is feeling the effects of Floozle Flem.
Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp/DC Comics

Morrison was inspired by previous mentions of viral Green Lanterns, but wanted to show how one might actually do the every day job of police work. The thought experiment led to the scene in The Green Lantern #1 in which Maxim Tox plays “good cop” to the stomach flu. Morrison teased that this won’t be the last we “see” of the invisible-to-the-naked-eye Lantern.

But we had a follow up question: How does a virus wear a Green Lantern ring?

“Well,” he responded easily, “they can manufacture very small, nano-rings that easily fit ‘round viruses. […] When we show you Floozle Flem and all the little viral components that make up Floozle Flem, every one of them will have little Lantern sign and its own ring.”

“It’ll make total sense,” Sharp added.

And you know what? We believe them.

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