Deep Dive: Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern Issue 3

We’ve reached the third issue of Liam Sharp and Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern and, wowza, is it a doozy. This one is a little more compact in scope. It mostly takes place at a Dhorian planet auction and aboard the spaceship of this issue’s main antagonist, The Shepard. What it lacks in locales it more than makes up in character appearances.

Cover The Green Lantern 3
Cover The Green Lantern #3 | Art: Liam Sharp

Before we start gutting this issue here are the links for the previous deep dives.

Let’s jump in!

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Who is DC’s Queen Bee Zazzala?

There are several Queen Bee’s in the DC Universe but there’s only one Zazzala of Korll. Queen Bee was a mostly forgotten Silver Age Justice League villain until Grant Morrison brought her back in the pages of his run on JLA.

Queen Bee Zazzala
Queen Bee Justice League of America #23 | Words: Gardner Fox | Art: Mike Sekowsky

Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, her first appearance was in Justice League of America #23.  Queen Zazzala hides a machine in the core of the Earth and threatens to blow up the planet unless the League helps her acquire an elixir of immortality (blackmailing the JLA into helping was a fairly common trope in those early days of comics). They don’t have a choice, so they agree to become “drone-workers” and help the villain. The team locates the vial but before handing it over Green Lantern secretly uses his power ring so she’ll never be able to open it (this is a questionable plan).

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Who Are Earth’s Green Lanterns?

The first issue of Young Justice introduces the Earth’s newest Green Lantern. Although she isn’t officially a member of the Green Lantern Corps (yet) it makes her the third new power ring wearer in six years and one of seven Earth heroes currently flinging green light. It can all get confusing. Now consider a new comic fan who’ll likely discover the Green Lantern Corps sometime in the next two years through the very probable introduction in the DCEU, as part of the Arrowverse, or in Krypton (and not to mention anyone who stumbles upon Ryan Reynolds in 2011’s Green Lantern film).

Earth's Green Lanterns

This is an attempt to clear up some of the confusion around the Earth’s Green Lanterns.

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Why You Should Start a Comic Pull List

A comic pull list is a customer subscription system offered by most comic book retailers. The system provides readers with the assurance that a title will be available even if it sells out on the stands. Additionally, it provides the retailer with a helpful ordering gauge so they don’t end up shorthanded or get stuck with copies that might not sell. The first step to becoming a reliable regular customer at a local comic shop is to establish a pull list.

Why start a comic pull list?

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Comic Book Shows: The Definitive Live-Action List

Have we reached peak comic book shows?

We’re living in the heyday of shows based on comic book properties. There was a time when live action shows came out every couple years and the quality was always questionable. Shows like Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, and Smallville were few and far between. We’d gnaw on every little morsel thrown our way in hopes it would boost ratings leading to more adaptations. Remember Ultraverse’s Night Man? Or The Crow: Stairway to Heaven?

How the times have changed. In the first half of 2018, there are were nearly 30 shows based on comic books. It isn’t slowing down. The already long list will be joined this fall by Titans (please be good enough to justify a “Titans Hunt” storyline), Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and possibly Umbrella Academy. 2019’s new comic book shows include Doom Patrol, Deadly Class, and The Boys. If we want to keep our sanity (and have a social life) we need to now make sacrifices of shows instead of sacrificing our free time for questionable quality.

With impending comic book show doom on the horizon, I thought it might be a good time to take stock of what’s out there and what brings me joy. Below is a list of live action comic books shows I’m currently watching and what I think about each one. At the end are shows I stopped watching and shows I’ve yet to watch.

Note: This article about comic book shows is full of spoilers about every single one of these shows.

Note II: Updated November 28, 2018 to include The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. December 26, 2018 to include Titans.

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Endgame Plus Dark Phoenix Equals A Secret Wars Film

We can preserve the X-Men and Avengers Universes while still bringing all of the heroes together. The stingers for Avengers: Endgame and X-Men: Dark Phoenix should start setting up a Secret Wars film. Here’s how…

Avengers Endgame plus Dark Phoenix equals Secret Wars film

Disney has acquired Fox and with it comes the Marvel’s X-Men and all of the related properties. We don’t know when we’ll start seeing mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we do know it’s coming. This fact is cause to celebrate for fans who believe the MCU should reflect the comics. For others, (*raises hand*) there’s some hand-wringing as to what Disnification might mean for what’s become one of the more cinematically adventurous Universes under the superhero film genre. We’d be happy if the X-Men stayed in their own Universe (also, I’ll admit I’m one of the few people who would be totally fine with the Spideyverse staying with Sony).

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Deep Dive: The Green Lantern Issue 2 (2018)

The Green Lantern issue 2 was released on December 5 and, much like the first issue, has been met with wide critical acclaim. The story is packed with nods to DC history and little nuggets suggesting a larger mystery is unfolding in the background. Once again, I’ve attempted to dive deep into the ink to puzzle out and annotate the many references Liam Sharp and Grant Morrison have packed into the issue. If something previously appeared in the deep dive for The Green Lantern #1 I’ll refer you to that post for the meat, but will add any second issue specific comments below. If something is new it’ll receive the full annotated The Green Lantern treatment.

The Green lantern issue 2 cover art

Liam Sharp’s cover The Green Lantern #2

In case you’re curious about a timeline on these articles, my personal deadline is to have them completed and posted at the least 10 days after the issue hits comic shops. Mileage will vary depending what’s in the issue and whether or not my personal life allows time to dig through old floppies. The Green Lantern #3 drops on January 9, so the deep dive should land right around January 19.

Let’s get to it…

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Deep Dive: Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern Issue 1

Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern issue 1 hit shelves this month. The highly anticipated comic, with beautiful art and design by Liam Sharp and stunning colors by Steve Oliff, is Morisson’s first time writing Hal Jordan and diving into the rich history of the Green Lantern Corps. The writer, who’s previously tackled Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and the JLA, is notorious for his encyclopedic knowledge of DC canon and how he uses that knowledge to pack obscure references into his stories. This monthly feature (over)analyzes each issue and seeks to provide context and history to the characters, places, and things. So make yourself a Hal Jordan cocktail and enjoy this annotated break down of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s The Green Lantern issue 1.

the green lantern

Seeing as this is issue one, we first need to catch everyone up on how Hal Jordan ended up where he is at the start of The Green Lantern issue 1.

How we ended up here.

Hal Jordan’s been having a rough few years. A sacrifice was required after a series of incidents that basically turned the Universe against the Green Lantern Corps. That sacrifice was the leader of the Corps, Jordan, who made himself a fall guy to save the reputation of the Lanterns. Working under secret orders from the Guardians he stole Krona’s power gauntlet from the Corps and went on the lam. During this time, the Corps disappeared from this Universe for an assortment of complicated reasons. Jordan’s continued use of the gauntlet slowly starts to transform him into the living embodiment of Will.

green lantern krona's gauntlet

Hal Jordan becomes living Will. Green Lantern Vol. 5 Issue 52 Art: Billy Tan | Color: Alex Sinclair

In an effort to save himself, he uses the last bit of his true self to become the first non-Guardian to craft a power ring. It was a badass moment in Jordan history (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth).

He manages to find the Corps and bring them back. Their numbers are significantly reduced, so they need to rebuild. This effort is documented in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps which ends with an epic battle against the Darkstars. In order to beat the Darkstars, the Corps teams-up with unlikely allies including General Zod, Hector Hammond, and Orion of the New Gods. Phew.

After all of this Jordan is understandably exhausted and decides to head back to Earth for some “unfinished business.” Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps concludes with Jordan darkening the doorstep of Carol Ferris. They make-out. End scene….

but wait! It doesn’t end there. His story continues in Green Lanterns. After what seems to be a rather short time reuniting with his longtime on-again-off-again girlfriend, Jordan decides to go on a trip to Space Sector 066 to unwind some more. His vacation is short-lived when the Corps finds itself against the wall thanks to a brilliant bit of subterfuge by Hank Henshaw, a.k.a Cyborg Superman, and the Ravagers. 

The story, by Dan Jurgens, is a long overdue full circle redemption moment for Jordan. For the last *squints and cries* 25 years, the destruction of Coast City and the resulting fallout has sort of been a weight around Jordan’s neck. In Green Lanterns, Henshaw is hell-bent on once again reducing Coast City to rubble. This time, Jordan, with the help of a cadre of Lanterns, is strong enough to defend his home city. Henshaw finds himself on the verge of losing to the Lanterns and is forced to flee with the Phantom Ring.

Here’s the status of the Corps right before Morrison picks up the storyline:

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Establishing the DC Shared Universe: Zatanna’s Search

In this modern age of comic-influenced pop culture we’re neck deep in shared universes and, increasingly, shared multiverses. It can be hard to imagine a time when that wasn’t the case. It can be even more difficult to believe we didn’t see the first true comic book shared universe until the mid-1960s. That’s when the daughter of the third most important character to debut in Action Comics #1 arrived on the scene in a quest to find her father. Zatanna’s search would take her on a winding path through six DC titles. As a result, it impacted several heroes and had repercussions on the DC Universe as a whole.

Zatanna's Search Justice League issue 51

Justice League of America Vol. 1 #51

Characters with their own titles crossing over with other characters is a common occurrence going all the way back to the birth of superhero titles. It’s difficult to pinpoint who can lay claim to the first ever superhero crossover.

The honor could possibly go to Lev Gleason Publications in 1940. That publisher teamed up the characters Silver Streak and Daredevil (not that Daredevil). It just barely preceded the first known team up of Marvel characters.  Marvel Mystery Comics #8 featured Namor and Human Torch going head-to-head for the first time. For DC characters, the first crossover medal goes to All-Star Comics #3 which saw the first appearance of the Justice Society of America. At the time, it was likely the biggest crossover in terms of number of characters featuring Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Hourman (Rex Tyler), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Doctor Fate, and Atom (Al Pratt).

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Liam Sharp Signing “The Green Lantern” at Cape and Cowl’s 3rd Anniversary Party

Liam Sharp, fresh off his critically acclaimed runs on both Wonder Woman alongside Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott and his dual writer/artist gig on The Brave and The Bold, is turning his artist pen skyward. He’s joining forces with comics maestro Grant Morrison to tell new stories about Space Sector 2814’s first Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. As part of the kick-off for the new title, Sharp will be helping celebrate the third anniversary of Oakland’s Cape and Cowl Comics on November 18.

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