Deep Dive: The Green Lantern Issue 3 (2018)

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!

The Green Lanterns

In this issue most of the Green Lanterns are familiar faces. Sharp makes it easy to identify all of the active players by putting them in a beautiful spread as they spring into action.

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

Green Lantern Lashorr (1)

Space Sector: 3453
Home World: Slyggia
First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 4, #12
Creators: Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis

The six-armed Slyggian was discovered in stasis on the Manhunter homeworld. She, and several other Lanterns who had disappeared or were thought to have died, were brought to the planet to act as batteries. Most everything else we know about this Lantern comes from 2008’s Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files and Origins. Apparently, she had an affair with Green Lantern Salaak when he was a rookie. the affair was cut short when Lashorr was thought to have been killed at the Battle of Breathwit-Marne (no relation to the Breathwit Marine Shipyard in Galveston, Texas). After being rescued from the Manhunter’s she returned to her home planet of Slyggia.

Green Lantern Gorius Karkhum (2)

Space Sector: 2828
Home World: Psion Homeworld
First Appearance: R.E.B.E.L.S. #16
Creators: Tony Bedard & Claude St. Aubin

Psion Gorius Karkhum is an important member of the Green Lantern Corps for her role in returning the Coprs to the Vega System. There was a long ban on Green Lanterns entering this system (reasons for the ban have changed over time) which to the system becoming a haven for scum and villainy. The Psion, along with her Okaraan partner Altin Ad’Ms, were the first Green Lanterns chosen by rings to represent the Vega System after the ban was lifted.

The duo’s first outing put them on the recently relocated planet of Rann (why Rann had to be relocated is complicated). Vril Dox II Zeta-beamed the planet into the orbit previously traveled by the exploded Tamaran . As a result, Tamaran militants tried to reclaim the planet in a battle with the Rannians. Karkhum and Ad’Ms arrive call for a ceasefire stating that the Vega System is now under the authority of the Green Lantern Corps. This doesn’t go over so well with the Tamarans who don’t think the Corps has a place in the lawless system.

gorius karkhum banished
R.E.B.E.L.S. #17 | Art: Sergio Arino | Words: Tony Bedard

The Tamaran leader, Blackfire (Starfire’s big sister), made a deal with Adam Strange to kick the Lanterns out of the Vega System so they could settle their differences out of the eyes of the space police. Before they can finish banishing the Lanterns the Thangarians arrive under the command of Dox. He brings peace to the planet and the Lanterns report success back to the Guardians. The Guardians were not pleased that a clone of Brainiac was allowed to bring peace and reprimand the rookies.

The next time the Okaraan and Psion crossed paths with Dox they tried to arrest him for not recognizing the authority of the Book of Oa. When Lobo shows up, Ad’Ms allows his warrior nature to get the best of him and he rushes into battle with the Czarnian. Dox turns the battle into a publicity opportunity for L.E.G.I.O.N. and a public relations nightmare for the Corps.

Meanwhile, Karkhum runs of to find Starfire because they share something in common. See, Psions are really the worst of the worst. Not only did the male Psions blow up the Tamaran planet and kill Starfire’s parents, but they experimented on her and her sisters. Karkhum told Starfire that the female Psions were often murdered at birth, but those who were spared were saved for the “breeding nexus.” While Karkhum was in the nexus, she vowed that no matter what the male Psions did to her body, her spirit would remain unconquered. That expression of will is what brought the Green Lantern ring to her.

Starfire and Karkhum bring the hammer of vengeance down on the male Psions. Before they’re all slaughtered, one of the male Psions managed to detonate a bomb. It kills all of the female Psions in the nexus but in Karkhum’s mind, it also set them free. It was truly an epic moment in Green Lantern and R.E.B.E.L.S. history.

Gorius Karkum Psions
R.E.B.E.L.S. #22 | Art: Claude St. Aubin | Words: Tony Bedard

The Guardians aren’t thrilled with the mass slaughter but they let the rookie’s actions slide. Enter: John Stewart. Earth’s third Lantern is charged with rebuilding the tarnished reputation of the Corps by meeting one-on-one with Dox. During negotiations, Stewart learns a militant faction plans to blow up a sun. He sends the rookie Lanterns to investigate the doomsday bomb. After saving the day they’re officially welcomed into the Corps. I believe that’s the last time we saw her in action.

Green Lantern Medphyll (3)

Space Sector: 1287
Home World: J586
First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #11
Creators: John Broome & Gil Kane

Medphyll’s history with Hal Jordan takes us all the way back to 1962. Medphyll is likely one of those concepts born from the pen of Gil Kane who went on to take on a life of his own. Over the years the plant-based Lantern’s story has expanded to the point where he’s even broken out of Green Lantern titles without the help of Earth’s Lanterns.

Perhaps his most important story occured in Swamp Thing, Vol. 2, #61. This story, written by Alan Moore and beautifully drawn by Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala, goes deep into the lore of Medphyll’s home planet of J586. Swamp Thing, lost among the stars, finds himself trying to merge with the plant life of J586. He didn’t realize life was sentient on the planet and when he tried to form a body out of it was consumed by mass panic.

Medphyll and Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #61 | Art: Alfredo Alcala & Rick Veitch

In an effort to help Swampie, Medphyll suggests the Earth creature inhabit the body of his dead predecessor Jothra. Entering the body gives Swamp Thing time to learn how to adjust his wavelength so he can return to Earth.

Green Lantern Venizz (4) & Tagort (7)

Space Sector: 2812
Home World: Unknown
First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 4, #6
Creators: Geoff Johns & Simone Bianchi

Tagort and Venizz are, respectively, Green Lanterns 2812.1 and 2812.2. Hal Jordan was put in the awkward position of saving The Shark and Hector Hammond from being harvested by Black Hand and Krolotean Gremlins. Afterward, he handed the Kroloteans off to Venizz and Tagort for processing.

Once again, the one-off Lanterns had their backstories fleshed out in the invaluable Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files and Origins (you can usually find copies on Ebay for less than cover price).

Green Lantern Hal Jordan (5)

Space Sector: 2814
Home World: Earth
First Appearance: Showcase #22
Creators: John Broome & Gil Kane

He’s the title character.

Green Lantern M’Dahna (6)

Space Sector: 2751
Home World: Zanner
First Appearance: Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2
Creators: Len Wein & Mike Barr

The bulk of M’Dahna’s history was fleshed out in the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files and Origins. He’s one of the oldest Green Lanterns with his history going back more than a millennium. After the Tristram-Zanner Imperial War his race disappeared. Now, alone, he patrols his sector hoping to find any remants of his people.

Green Lantern Chriselon (8)

Space Sector: 1416
Home World: Barrio III
First Appearance: That’s complicated.
Creators: Bill Keane and John Broome (conceptually)

Chriselon’s history is complicated and a bit confusing. I think I helped clarify it during my first deep dive (linked above).

The Villains

Blackstars

The Blackstars were extensively covered in the deep dive for The Green Lantern #2. The Durlan Blackstar we first saw in issue 2 doesn’t make an appearance in this issue, but the two below return. They appear to be Blackstar Commander Countess Belzebeth‘s primary Lieutenants.

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

There are two interesting developments for the Blackstars in the issue. First, the character on the left expresses doubts because they’re helping slavers. This suggests these Blackstars, like the 90s Darkstar predecessors, aren’t intended to be purely evil (simply overzealous in doling out justice).

Additionally, for the first time, we see acknowledgement that Grant Morrison’s Blackstars are, in fact, an updated version of the Darkstars.

Volgar Zo

Volgar Zo and the history of the planet stealing and population enslaving Dhorians were both covered here. The only new information that we have regarding Volgar is that he’s Dhor’s “Slaver Supreme.”

Spoiler Alert: The fact that “Hal Jordan” seemingly kills Volgar at the end of this issue explains why Morrison didn’t use the more infamous JLA villain the Dhorian Dictator Kanjar Ro.

Esteemed Customers of Dhor

I’m setting this section off from the rest of the Villains section because, like the Green Lanterns above, it was a lot of ground to cover. I’m also choosing to not get into the second panel on page one because within that there is nothing but madness. It looks like Liam Sharp mined the depths of DC history to populate that panel (and the third panel). Instead, we’re focusing on the third panel and the glorious bounty of delightful intergalactic villains. Before I start, a quick thank you to AIPT, Deep Space Transmissions, and this Reddit thread for helping fill some holes or confirm theories.

The Green Lantern #3’s Villains

The Shepard (1)

First Appearance: The Green Lantern #3
Creators: Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

The Shepard is a new creation of Morrison and Sharp. According to Jordan he’s “a terravore, a planet-eater, an omnivorous undying horror from the Urma-Annexate.” He acquires planets and fattens them up over a thousand years so he can eventually eat them. His creates an illusion that he’s the God of the planet he’s caretaking, so they’ll be more comfortable as they grow. His story isn’t over as this issue ends (SPOILERS) with the Earth representatives choosing to stay in his care because “we have superpowers!!!”

Ulala the Uranian (2)

First Appearance: All-Star Comics #13
Creators: Gardner Fox & Cliff Young

This one was figured out by Deep Space Transmissions. He speculates the Ice Man looking alien might be a Uranian or, more specifically, the Uranian King Ulala. Uranians made their first appearance in All-Star Comics #13 when they met the Golden Age Sandman. Uranians, at least in this iteration, are human ancestors. Instead of being made of soft flesh and bone they’ve evolved to be “pure brain encased in a crystal body.”

There’s a wild remix of the original story in All-Star Squadron #55. Roy and Dann Thomas tweak the 40-year-old story for the audiences of 1986 while Tim Burgard updates the art.

Evil Star’s Starlings (3)

First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #37
Creators: Gardner Fox & Gil Kaine

The Starlings were briefly touched on during issue 2’s deep dive into Evil Star. It’s interesting to see them here because they’re basically mini-Evil Stars constructed by his starband. It’s a delightfully, absurd Silver Age concept and I love it. Historically, when he loses his starband or is away from sunlight, they fade away. Perhaps whatever the Blackstars did to mass produce the starband resulted in these three Starlings remaining in existence.

Mikrid and Bowerd (4 & 5)

First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #20
Creators: John Broome & Gil Kane

The Mikrids had their first and only appearance in an issue featuring the second ever team up of Barry Allen (The Flash) and Hal Jordan. They’re a race of subatomic beings (so this guy had to size up for the auction) from a world known as Mikridion. After being captured, Green Lantern learns the Mikrids have enslaved a race known as the Bowerds to do all of their manual labor. There’s a Bowerd standing next to the Mikrid above. You can tell by the bright light radiating out of his head suggesting mind control.

mikrid and bowerds
Green Lantern Vol 2, #20 | Art: Gil Kane

The Mikrids are kidnapping humans to steal their brain power which they use to power the device that keeps the Bowerds enslaved. Pus, if Flash or Green Lantern use their powers it’ll trigger a “devastator” that will kill Carol Ferris and Iris West. It’s such a ridiculous and convoluted scheme. Kids must have been smarter in the 60s cause I’m an adult and confused AF.

Slug Alien (6)

First Appearance: The Green Lanterni #3
Creators: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp

Currently all of the Green Lantern scholars seem to agree that this return customer of the Dhorians is new to this issue.

Overmaster (7)

First Appearance: Justice League of America, Vol. 1, #233
Creators: Gerry Conway & Chuck Patton

Overmaster is a self-styled celestial judge. He’ll show up at your planet, observe it, decide if the planet is worthy of existing, if he judges that it isn’t he’ll collect the species and destroy it.

One of the ways he judged Earth was by creating a group known as the Cadre. He did this twice. After the Justice League defeated him the second time and he was, supposedly, killed by Amazing Man.

In Justice League International, Vol. 2, #66, the League would make one of his escape pods their home base (aka the Justice League Refuge). It would serve as a base for three years until Morrison had the White Martians destroy it in JLA #1.

Gelgoth (8)

First Appearance: The Green Lantern #3
Creators: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp

Much like the unnamed slug alien above, we’re fairly certain this is a new character. Other than Volgar, at the end of the issue it appears he’s the only villain the Lanterns were able to capture.

Mongal (9)

First Appearance: Showcase ’95 #8
Creators: Peter Tomasi & Scot Eaton

No one stays dead in the DC Universe. Especially when we’re dealing with rebirths, reboots, and doomsday clocks. Mongal is the tyrannical daughter of the equally tyrannical Mongul. Her father is best known in Green Lantern lore for destroying Coast City and kicking off the events that led to Parallax. She’s best known for, well, being beheaded by her brother, Mongul II, in Green Lantern, Vol. 4, #8.

Zerno of Y’Bar and his Gzann Creature (10/11)

First Appearance: World’s Finest, Vol. 1, #127
Creators: Jerry Coleman & Jim Mooney

Zerno, the Sorcerer from the Stars, has only made one appearance in a DC comic. Alongside his creatures, he put up a surprisngly decent fight against Batman, Robin, and Superman. Fortunately, Robin discovered Zerno was allergic to bronze, so he *squints* threw a bronze football at the villain. Comics!

H’San Natall (12)

First Appearance: Teen Titans, Vol. 2, #1
Creators: Dan Jurgens & George Perez

In 1996, DC tried to launch an all new Teen Titans series without any of the sidekicks we’d typically recognize as teenage titans. The series introduced us to the alien race known as H’San Natall. Remember how I said above that the Psions are the worst of the worst? Well, the H’San Natall are the worst of the worst of the worst (because “worstest” isn’t actually a word). The Psions are often enslaved and experimented on by the H’San Natall (which, considering the Psions were originally science experiments of the Guardians of the Universe, you can probably draw some deep psychological connections as to why they act the way they do). They even kidnap and impregnate the female Psions which, holy cats, again, see Green Lantern Gorius Karkhum’s entry above.

The Teen Titans the new series were all part of a H’San Natall sleeper program on Earth.

Kromm (13)

First Appearance: Justice League of America, Vol. 1, #3
Creators: Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky

Kromm is the Gromar of Mosteel. As a neighboring planet of Dhor, he has a long history with the slavers and most notably the dictator Kanjar Ro. We told you everything there is to know about Kromm while discussing Dhor in the previous issues deep dive.

Steppenwolf (14)

First Appearance: New Gods #7
Creator: Jack Kirby

Hoo-boy am I glad I decided to take the easy way out and not do a complete deep dive into these background characters, because Steppenwolf’s history is the definition of complicated. If Darkseid’s commander returns in future issues I’ll take the leap. For now, all you need to know is this bad ass Kirby creation was killed, pre-New 52, by the freakin’ Clock King. He came back thanks to Jim Lee and Geoff Johns in Justice League, Vol. 2, #6. This version of Steppenwolf was the very weird choice for the big bad for the Justice League film.

Steppenwolf is also the Great Uncle of number 17 on this list. Sometimes.

Pale Martian (15)

First Appearance: Justice League of America, Vol. 1, #61
Creators: Dennis O’Neill & Dick Dillin

If you had told me 10 years ago that the White Martians would be part of popular culture I wouldn’t have believed it. However, thanks to the CW show Supergirl, the White Martians are almost as well known as our beloved Justice Leaguer Martian Manhunter. What a time to be alive and a comic book fan….

Anyway, the White Martians are warlike while the Green Martians are peaceful. They were thought extinct until Morrison brought them back as the Pale Martians in the first arc of JLA. They were introduced as a tribe of Martians imprisoned in the “Still Zone” a “homeostatic continuum existing outwith conventional spacetime.”

It is unclear the status of the White Martians after Rebirth.

Zuggernaut (16)

First Appearance: Firestorm, The Nuclear Man, Vol. 2, #69
Creators: John Ostrander & J. J. Birch

Zuggernaut came to Earth in a meteor and found a host body in the form of Matvei Rodor. He pledges to help his host defeat his enemies. Unfortunately, Firestorm happens to be in Moscow at the time and stops him. Zuggernaut retreats and is infused with, uh, Venomous anger at Firestorm.

Zuggernaut is Venom
Firestorm #69 | Art: J.J. Birch | Words: John Ostrander

Grayven (17)

First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 3, #74
Creators: Ron Marz & Darryl Banks

SPEAKING OF DARKSTARS…

In an attempt to overcome an inferiority complex as Darkseid’s youngest son (after Orion and Kalibak) Grayven goes on a genocidal spree across the cosmos. It culminates in a battle near the planet of Rann that, essentially, sees the decimation of the Darkstars (the few remaining Darkstars were killed by Starbreaker who I have a feeling I’ll be writing about in my issue four Deep Dive). It’s actually a little surprising to see him here because I’m guessing those Blackstars might be a little raw.

Agamemno (18)

First Appearance: Silver Age #1
Creators: Mark Waid & Terry Dodson

Agamemno is a Silver Age villain only in the sense that he was from a limited comic series by Mark Waid called “Silver Age.” In the first issue he claimed to be a child of the Big Bang and his father “the earliest of the sentient creatures, mightiest being in all creation…” He enlists Lex Luthor in a plan that includes body swapping villains and heroes. After a series of ridiculous battles that included the Doom Patrol and Dial H for Hero Agamemno was captured and imprisoned in the Green Lantern Central Power Battery.

Queen Bee Zazzala (19)

First Appearance: Justice League of America, Vol. 1, #23
Creators: Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky

Thanks in part to Grant Morrison’s take on Zazzala in JLA I’m already a big fan of this Silver Age villainess. I’m disappointed we don’t get to see more of her, because Morrison’s take is second only to Gardner Fox’s original creation. I already did a separate dive specific to Queen Bee here.

Dominators

Dominators
Dominators in The Green Lantern #3 | Art: Liam Sharp

First Appearance: Adventure Comics #361
Creator: Jim Shooter

The Dominators are an alien race best known for being the organizing force behind 1988’s line-wide crossover event Invasion! Prior to that they were occasionally used in a handful of Legion of Super-Heroes storylines.

They’re generally fearful of other races. That xenophobia drove them to destroy a twin planet in their solar system simply because the population could become a threat. The constant rain of debris from the destroyed planet on the Dominion Homeworld is a point of pride for the Dominators.

One of the ongoing concerns of the Dominators is the fact that Earth has so many damn metahumans. This was the basic concept for why they put together the Alien Alliance and launched the invasion of Earth. It didn’t go so well for the Dominators, but it did work out for Morrison. The gene bomb unleashed during Invasion! Provided the writer with a McGuffin for wiping out the previous version of the Doom Patrol so he’d have a clean creative slate as he took over writing duties.

Over the years, we’ve learned some Dominators aren’t completely evil. Notable sort of anti-hero Dominators (but they’d probably still stab you in your sleep) include Gunther of from the Invasion! spawned team Blasters and  

Xylon who, after Starro decimated the Dominion Homeworld, ended up as part of R.E.B.E.L.S.


Other Characters

The third page of this issue has a lot going on in character terms. Basically everyone below is pulled from that page.

Eve Doremus

During the analysis of The Green Lantern #1 I went deep into the unexpected reappearance of Hal Jordan’s girlfriend Eve Doremus. Something worth noting is that Doremus appears to know Jordan is a Green Lantern. As far as I’ve researched, she never knew he was one and the same back in the day. In fact, one of the traits that attracted Jordan to Doremus in the first place was the fact that she loved him and not Green Lantern (which was the opposite case for Carol Ferris).

Tom Kalmaku

First Appearance: Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #2
Creators: John Broome & Gil Kane

Tom Kalmaku is one of Hal Jordan’s oldest friends on Earth. He kept a journal of his adventures and eventually published a book. Although through most of the Silver Age he held a sidekick sort of role to Jordan, he’d eventually receive powers of his own in the Millenium crossover event spin-off New Guardians.

One of the Guardians of the Universe chose Kalmaku to be part of the team and gave him the power to “bring out the best in people.” He didn’t last long, choosing instead to spend time with his family. He never felt much of a need to be the hero. Even when he was offered a proper power ring he turned it down.

In the Green Lantern film he was played by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.

Carol Ferris

We get our first mention of Carol Ferris! As mentioned during our issue one annotation, the last time we saw Jordan’s longtime girlfriend was on the final page of the last issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. We saw Jordan and Ferris reconciling on her doorstep with a long overdue kiss. Morrison’s commission of Ferris and inclusion of Doremus hasn’t sat well with some Jordan/Ferris fans. They fairly point out that writers taking over Green Lantern titles tend to drop any romantic storylines started by the previous writer. This seems like a similar case with Morrison but school’s still out. We’ll get into her history once she makes a proper appearance in the comic (I have it all ready to go).

Ray Palmer

Doremus mentions the alias of DC’s Atom while on the phone with Kalmaku. Not much to say unless he plays a bigger role in future issues of the series.

Justice League of America

The appearance of the Justice League of America is one of our first clearest indications that The Green Lantern likely takes place in canon. This page shows: Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern John Stewart. The inclusion of Stewart suggests this is likely the one currently featured in Scott Snyder’s Justice League. They appear to be frozen in action thanks to the Gamme Gong.

Places and Things

Gamma Gong

The Gamma Gong first appeared with Kanjar Ro in Justice League of America #3. Typically, the power of the Gamma Gong has been to freeze targets in place. The Dhorian dictator has used it a couple times against the Justice League.

Green Lantern Intergalactic Police Patrol

Green Lantern Intergalactic Police Patrol
The Green Lantern #3 | Art: Liam Sharp | Words: Grant Morrison

I didn’t think much about this phrasing when I first saw it. However, I couldn’t help but take the bait and click on the ComicBookResources headline: “DC May Have Just Renamed the Green Lantern Corps.”

The argument: “Given the context of his comments, it’s not clear whether the GLIPP is the GLC’s new, official name or simply a new division within the traditional GLC. Either way, the GLIPP reasserts the Green Lanterns’ central mission and larger role in the DC Universe.”

First of all, okay, I fell for clickbait. I’ve been CBR’d.

Second, the context of the comment implies several possibilities beyond the two stated by the CBR blogger.

Third, the thesis of the headline can be disproven by a simple analysis of issues one and two. In the first issue, Green Lantern Maxim Tox quotes his family as saying he’d have a “distinguished service in the Green Lantern Corps.”

Perhaps more telling is Liam Sharp’s stunning spread of New Oa in issue two which carries the caption: “Planet Oa, Central Precinct of the Green Lantern Corps”.

So, did they change the name of the Green Lantern Corps? No. Is Jordan leading up a subdivision within the Corps called “Intergalactic Police Patrol”? Possibly. Was Jordan being hyperbolic and showy to intimidate The Shepard? Likely.

Next Issue

The Green Lantern #4 Solicitation

Release Date: February 6, 2019

In a bar on Rann, two shrouded strangers recount two blood-chilling narratives—one in which a Blackstar heavyweight demands access to a secret vault on planet Weirwimm, threatening its gruesome annihilation with Sun-Eaters; and the other about maverick Hal Jordan and his small cadre of GLs struggling to destroy those same Sun-Eaters. And the cliffhanger—as any TGL fan will tell you about this book—may stun you enough to buy two copies!

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