Thursday Comics Hangover: Illegal, aliens

Grant Morrison is two issues into a run on Green Lantern, and it's a glorious mix of Silver Age DC Comics and Heavy Metal magazine. The book is aggressively weird — one Green Lantern is a virus, another is a big, muscular body with an exploding volcano for a head — but it is at its heart a police story. There's an interrogation scene and a deathbed confession and all the tropes you'd find in a Law & Order episode, only with magic rings and bird-people.

Artist Liam Sharp is doing the work of his life on this book: in the past, his art has seemed better-suited for horror, but the weird sci-fi of Green Lantern is something else again. There's enough detail on every page to take out a reader's eye, and very few artists in general seem as uniquely skilled as Sharp at getting Morrison's enormous concepts down smoothly on paper.

Still, I have to admit to some uneasiness with the book. Green Lantern here is presented as a bit of a prick. (He calls himself a "bastard" at one point.) And his respect for the rights of criminals is, shall we say, less than robust. Morrison is hardly a rabid conservative, so the weird authoritarianism in Green Lantern is likely to be a setup for some kind of a revelation later on. It's surely the most beautiful book that DC is publishing right now, and there are high-concept ideas on every single page of the book, but this isn't the time to elevate a hardline law and order agenda in a comic book.

This week also saw the first issue of a new comic series written by sci-fi writer Nnedi Okorafor. Like Green Lantern, Laguardia features bizarre aliens and high-concept sci-fi throughout. But unlike Green Lantern, Laguardia is interested in the personal struggle against law enforcement.

Beautifully illustrated by Tana Ford, Laguardia is the story of a very pregnant Nigerian woman named Future who flies in to the Laguardia International and Interplanetary Airport ("the only airport with interplanetary travel services in North America.") There's a complex and thoughtless customs process to navigate, and the airport is teeming with aliens making their way to and fro: small, green germlike creatures, a man with a carrot for a head. They're coming to America.

Laguardia is a futuristic story about one of the oldest human concepts: borders, and what they do to us. Future has a plan to upturn America's anti-alien culture (it involves an alien named Letme Live) and she's not afraid to break a few laws to do it. Between Future and the Green Lantern, I know where my loyalties lie.