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.
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.
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:
- Jessica Cruz goes on a space journey to find herself (see Justice League Odyssey). Her departure leaves Simon Baz as the sole Lantern of Space Sector 2814 leaving room for Jordan to take back the mantle.
- Mogo is severely damaged and can’t sustain itself as the home base of the Lanterns.
- That’s okay! The Guardians, always full of surprises, have been secretly building a New OA.
- Henshaw corrupted the power batteries, so the Guardians collect them for repairs. That’s why Jordan starts off The Green Lantern without a power battery.
- Jordan’s storyline in Green Lanterns concludes with these ominous words from Ganthet.
And that brings us to the start of Morrison’s story…
The first issue of The Green Lantern makes Morrison’s mission clear: He wants to bring us back to the days when the Green Lantern Corps was wild and weird while pioneering strange, new territory. The stage is set when Jordan goes to New Oa and Ganthet reiterates out the purpose of the Green Lantern Corps. Perhaps most importantly, Ganthet explains what type of beings might be tapped to wear a ring:
“From the lightless obsidian deeps of the supervoids. To the shattered Source Wall that separates our material universe from sublime and non-dual omni-awareness. In our service, there are x-ray Lanterns, radio Lanterns, gamma Lanterns, microwave Lanterns. The reach of our peacekeeping force extends across all scales and wavelengths. From the nanoscopic to the unspeakably immense. We have chained demons, banished death, conquered fear. We have welcomed all sentient life into our Corps…”
The statement is punctuated by three panels featuring four different types of Green Lanterns. The top panel shows the blind Green Lantern of the Obsidian Deeps, Rot Lop Fan. This Lantern, a creation of Alan Moore and Bill Willingham, doesn’t have an understanding of color and light. In order to manipulate his ring, Rot Lop Fan focuses on a sound in the range of f-sharp. For this reason, he has a bell insignia on his ring and costume. He calls himself a member of the “F-Sharp Bell Corps.”
The second panel, pictured above, shows the reader the new direction Morrison might take us in future issues. That currently unidentified Lantern definitely resonates on a wavelength we’ve yet to see.
Finally, we have a panel which I believe shows two Green Lanterns. Dead center is the infamous living planet Mogo. On the right is possibly the Lantern Flodo Span. Flodo Span, a creation of Steve Englehart and Joe Stanton, was a gaseous form held together by his power ring. During a battle with the sentient Sector 3600, we learned Flodo Span can increase in size to overcome an entire space sector. This would have made Flodo Span briefly the largest Lantern in history. Tragically, Flodo Span is believed to be dead after his ring was sucked into the power battery causing his form to dissipate.
As Morrison explores these Lanterns in coming issues, I’ll dig deeper into their history and possible futures within the DC Universe. For this post, we’ll focus on the Lanterns who received the most ink in The Green Lantern issue 1.
Green Lantern Chriselon the Barrite
Space Sector: 1416
Home Planet: Barrio III
Creators: Bill Keane and John Broome (conceptually)
If you’ve been anticipating this title than you’re familiar with the above panel. It was part of the sneak preview released to EW and, in many ways, was the catalyst for this blog series. In all of my time reading Lantern comics I only knew of two Corps members from Barrio III: Chaselon and Diamalon. I had to know if Chriselon was already part of the established canon or a Morrison creation. That investigation opened the door to madness.
Chrisleon, as far as I’ve been able to determine through way too much research, has never appeared in DC comic continuity. He did, allegedly, make his first appearance in the Justice League Unlimited episode “The Return.” The weird thing about the name is it isn’t actually mentioned in the show and I can only find a handful of references online. There’s this Justice League forum, the archived Justice League Resource, and some Pinterest boards. Even Google thinks I mean the better known Barrite Lantern Chaselon.
My theory here, and I stress that this is simply a theory, is either Justice League Resource or the Justice League forum misidentified the Green Lantern of Space Sector 1416. The episode aired on September 18, 2004. The forum post is from May 14, 2005. The archived JLR page is from October 18, 2005, but it could have been posted earlier and simply not mirrored until October.
One of those sites must have typo’d “Chriselon” instead of the actual Green Lantern from of 1416, “Chaselon.” If this is the case, I don’t think Morrison made an error. I believe one of three things must have happened: DC codified the fan error as canon, one of those sites found an official reference that’s not online and it is, in fact, the JLU character’s name, or (the cooler of the three theories) Morrison saw Chriselon has taken on a life of his own in the JLU fandom so he decided to make him canon. If the latter is the case, it fits, because Space Sector 1416 has lost both of it’s Green Lanterns during the last 15 years of galaxy-wide chaos.
Diamalon was Green Lantern 1416.2 and he had a brief existence in the Corps. The crystal based lifeform met his end when he was brutally sniped by Yellow Lantern Bedovian during the Sinestro Corps Wars.
The best known Green Lantern from Barrio III is Chaselon. He’s one of Jordan’s oldest allies making his first appearance way back in Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #9.
So many senses. Chaselon has a rough history. On one hand, he’s a Barrite so he’s probably made of, well, baryte. That means he’s rather soft (and probably smells like bologna) which explains why he’s terrified of drills (Green Lantern Vol. 2, #55).
He’s also not great at defending his home planet of Barrio III. Remember that time the Missle Men attacked and blew it all to hell?
Note: The DC editors made a mistake above. Did you catch it?
Fast forward to the DC Universe shaking events of Blackest Night and our dear friend Chaselon (likely) meets his demise when his power battery is ripped out by Black Lantern children.
The ring never said: “Green Lantern 1416 deceased. Space Sector 1416 scan for replacement sentient initiated.” Sadly, The Green Lantern seems to finally confirm the demise of one of the greatest Lanterns of all time. Ganthet tells Jordan, “Lantern 1416.1 owes you his life.” That statement suggests Chriselon replaced Chaselon. Those of us who were holding out hope that Chaselon was still among the living can pretend he’s retired and has joined the Corps Honor Guard.
Green Lantern Maxim Tox of Melmoor
Space Sector: 2018
Home Planet: Melmoor
Creator: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp
The first issue starts off by throwing the reader into a battle between a “Spider-Pirate” and a member of the Green Lantern Corps. The Corps member identifies himself as Lantern 2018.2 Maxim Tox. He is, I believe, an invention of Grant Morrison. As far as I’ve been able to determine this is the first reference of Maxim Tox and Space Sector 2018 (this is not the first reference of a Lantern with the surname of Tox, more on that later).
In only a handful of panels, Morrison manages to give us a quick backstory for Tox. We know he’s the “13th Earl of Everglow on the planet Melmoor.” He doesn’t particularly enjoy being a member of the Corps. At one point he states “this whole ‘distinguished service in the Green Lantern Corps’ thing was my family’s idea.”
This statement is interesting. Typically, at least in recent Lantern lore, ring bearers are chosen by the best possible candidate in proximity to the ring. Digging back into history, however, we know this isn’t always the case. Occasionally, a ring has been passed along family lines. In other cases, the Guardians have been much more hands-on with choosing a successor (see the backup story “Successor” in Green Lantern Vol. 2, #167 where the Guardians head to Space Sector 1324 to handpick a new Lantern).
If we’re running with the ring staying in the family we may have a contender for a predecessor. Grant Morrison was one of the co-conspirators behind the weekly 2006 epic series 52. The writers shared the bylines so we don’t know who wrote or invented what but we do know that in issue 31 we’re introduced to Green Lantern Thorman Tox. The Lantern, along with his partner Xax, were defeated by the forces of Lady Styx during the battle of Space Sector 3500.
Multiple sources attribute Thorman Tox and Xax as being the Lanterns of Sector 3500. I believe this is inaccurate because at one point Tox says they were investigating the disappearance of the Green Lantern of Vengar. Therefore, the sector designation of Thorman Tox is still unknowns he could very well be related to Maxim and a previous Lantern of Sector 2018. Sadly, the Tox Lanterns tend not to last more than a handful of panels.
Green Lantern Floozle Flem
Space Sector: Unknown
Home Planet: Unknown
Race: Unknown (Virus)
Creator: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp
Floozle Flem, a virus, is a Morrison character invention but, surprisingly, isn’t necessarily a completely original concept. In previous storylines, we’ve come across both Green and Yellow Lanterns who are bioviruses. Perhaps most famously are Green Lantern Leezle Pon and Sinestro Corps member Despotellis. Not only did Despotellis kill Kyle Rayner’s mother, but the virus allegedly murdered billions across the Universe. One of those murdered was Green Lantern Reemuz of Space Sector 119. Reemuz’s partner, Leezle Pon, finally had an opportunity to find justice when Despotellis infected Guy Gardner.
We don’t know what happens to Floozle Flem after (spoiler) Maxim Tox is mysteriously murdered. Due to the Lantern’s size, it’s possible he went unnoticed by the assailant. Chances are the super-intelligent virus will make an appearance in a future issue as a key witness during Jordan’s investigation.
Green Lantern Trilla-Tru
Space Sector: 2813
Home Planet: Xudar
Creator: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp
Xudarians have a long and storied history as the Green Lanterns of Space Sector 2813. The most well-known Xurdian is Tomar-Re who was close friends with both Hal Jordan and his predecessor, Abin Sur. During Crisis on Infinite Earths Tomar-Re was struck down by one of Jordan’s oldest enemies, Goldface. Tomar-Re’s son, Tomar-Tu would go on to become a Green Lantern. Tomar-Tu’s life takes a dark turn when the Green Lanterns briefly make a pact with the Sinestro Corps. He’s sent on a mission to apprehend the genocidal Xurdian Romat Ru and, filled with rage, he executes the criminal. Murder is a no-no for a Green Lantern, so the Guardians strip Tomar-Tu of his power ring and send him to the Science Cells. His ring is passed on to a Xurdian child named Somar-Le (Tomar-Tu would later go on to become a Darkstar, murder Goldface, take on the Corps, and kill himself). Somar-Le is an important addition to the Corps. She arrived when the Corps was facing an existential crisis and brought with her a sense of childish joy. After Stewart’s attempt to unite the Yellow and Green she gave him a rare moment to smile.
All of that background brings us to Trilla-Tru. The Morrison invention creates an interesting paradox in the Corps. Each Space Sector typically has two active Corps members (all of the Terrans make this a confusing rule, but, technically, the official Lanterns of 2814 are currently Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Everyone else is an honorary Corps member). There is, as far as we know, a third Lantern representing Space Sector 2813: Dalor. The official predecessor of Tomar-Re has been missing in action for decades.
If Dalor, who should be Green Lantern 2813.1, is still MIA and isn’t policing his sector it’s possible the Guardians brought in Trilla-Tru as a replacement or she’s simply Lantern 2813.3 (the designation thing can get confusing).
Is he still out there? Will Morrison solve the mystery of Dalor? By the way, the Lantern who falsely accused Dalor was Jordan. Not sure why this book of origins is trying to bury that fact! Conspiracy!
Controller Mu and the Blackstars
Creators: Jim Shooter, Mort Weisinger, & Curt Swan
If you aren’t picking up DC Nation each month I highly recommend it. The comic company’s publication is packed with juicy tidbits about your favorite titles and provides advance insight into what’s coming up. Case in point, in the October 2018 issue DC Nation featured this character card of The Green Lantern #1 big bad Controller Mu.
This is invaluable content! If you aren’t receiving DC Nation make sure you add it to your pull list.
As the bio notes, “the Controllers are an alien race with ties to the Guardians of the Universe.” Yes, this is true but it sort of glosses over the relationship between the Controllers and Guardians. They are, essentially, all Maltusians. Millenia ago a Maltusian, Krona, broke laws and accidentally broke the Universe. His experiment led to the creation of the Multiverse and the Anti-Matter Universe. The faction of Maltusians who broke off to become the Controllers believe Krona also unleashed evil. The Guardians and Controllers disagreed on how evil should be combatted. The Guardians chose the Manhunters (and after that experiment went south, they created the Lanterns) while the Controllers developed weapons of mass destruction and the Orange Lanterns. A number of Controllers were consumed by the one and only Orange Lantern, Larfleeze.
When last we saw the remaining Controllers they had reactivated a new version of the Darkstars. Alas, as is often the case with Controller plans, things went awry. The Darkstars rebelled and turned the Controllers into a sort of living battery. The Darkstars, believing the Lanterns to be too lenient, went on a criminal execution spree across the Universe. Although released thanks to Jordan and Hector Hammond, at the end of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps the Controllers were in a coma. John Stewart noted that if they woke up they’d stand trial.
Well, they’re clearly awake and managed to escape without a trial unless this is a previously unknown branch of the Controllers (which is totally possible). Or those are Blackstars in the background.
Creators: School’s still out
The Anti-Matter Lantern isn’t doing anything more than hanging on the wall with his chest cut open but I’m slotting him under villains because it’s a safe assumption that anything from the Anti-Matter Universe would be an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps.
When DC started teasing this issue the variant cover by Frank Quitely raised quite a few eyebrows. What happened to Hal? The cover is explained in the final panel of the first issue when we see a character who looks an awful lot like Hal Jordan but with a partially skinned face and a yellow lantern uniform. Commander Mu commands “extract the heart of the Weaponeer!”
The Weaponers of Qward, who exist at the center of the Anti-Matter Universe, have been foils of the Corps since the second issue of Green Lantern Vol. 2.
The Weaponeer could also be a concept Morrison dreamt up during his run on JLA but never followed through. In issue #9, members of the JLA were trapped in a virtual reality simulator. While looking for a way out Batman discovered the exit. His path was blocked by Kyle Rayner who thought he was “Weaponeer 500, Sector-Dictator for the Qwardians of the Galaxy.” Perhaps a Weaponeer, with two letter ‘e’s, is some sort of leader or protector of that Universe?
Going back even farther, Pre-Crisis, we come to Green Lantern, Vol. 2, #150. In this double-sized issue, Jordan pretends to quit the Corps and heads to Qward. There he discovers the Qwardians have formed a Anti-Matter Green Lantern Corps. If a Green Lantern touches a Anti-Matter Green Lantern death is nearly instantaneous. As Jordan tries to stop the Anti-Lanterns he’s stopped by a Qwardian, St’nill, who’s gained the power to essentially turn anyone he touchs into a negative of who they are. Briefly, until the other Green Lanterns arrive and save him, Jordan is turned into an evil Anti-Lantern.
He almost kills Arisia. This seems like the closest connection.
honestly, he looks a great deal like Bizarro’s Yellow Lantern who made his first appearance in Superman Vol. 1 #379. There’s been evidence that the Bizarro Lantern’s power ring functions the same as a legit Qwardian power ring. The Anti-Matter Lantern could be Bizarro Lantern? Probably not, but who can pass up a chance to post a panel featuring Bizarros? Bizarro’s the best.
Creators: Bill Finger & Sheldon Moldoff
This was a seriously tough reference to dig up (thanks to the Comics Lighthouse). This Space Pirate made his one and only appearance waaaay back in 1959 when he turned up in the pages of Batman, Vol. 1 #128.
Creator: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp (if we’re talking Spider Guild, tangentially, Joe Cavalieri)
I’m not 100 percent certain this gal is actually named Spider-Pirate but that’s what Rokk and Sorban (more on them later) are calling her, so we’ll run with it. The Spider-Pirate, apparently vegan, is a member of the Spider Guild. (note: I had to update the gender after reading this interview with Morrison and Sharp where they keep saying “she.” Never assume alien gender!).
Who or what, is the Spider Guild? This species has a long history with the Green Lantern Corps stretching all the way back to Green Lantern Vol. 2 Issue #167. They don’t have a primary homeworld and travel through space in spider-ships (yes, spider-shaped spaceships, look at that beautiful Dave Gibbons space art!).
The primary nesting place of the Spider Guild is located in the Vega System. The system has for various reasons been kept off-limits from the Green Lantern Corps (for a time it was an agreement with the Psions, for another time it was an agreement with the Spider Guild, more recently it was due to an agreement with the Orange Lantern, Larfleeze). Whatever the real reason, due to the lack of a Green Lantern presence the system became fertile ground for the Guild to grow and spread. It was essentially a lawless region of space (side note: I believe Green Lanterns are now allowed in the Vega System but I’m not 100 percent sure…anyone know?).
The biggest confrontation between the Corps and Spider Guild was in the miniseries Green Lantern Corps: Recharge. In this series, we learn how the Guild is using a web of black holes to plot a conquest of the Universe. They’re stopped when the Space Sector 2814 Lanterns and Kilowog violate the Vega accord and learn the secret. The Guild launches an all-out attack on Oa, but thanks to quick thinking by Guy Gardner the Lanterns use the black hole against the Guild and, seemingly, eradicate the Spider Guild’s home planet in the Vega System.
Last time we saw the Spider Guild was during the Rise of the Third Army storyline. In a beautiful, creepy sequence the Third Army invasion of a Spider Guild planet in the Vega System showed readers how exactly the Third Army assimilated species.
Worth mentioning, the Omega Men also occasionally clash with the Spider Guild. Perhaps the best storyline featuring the Spider Guild, specifically the Spider Emperor and Lady Styx, was the 2007 Omega Men miniseries. This six-issue series, drawn by Henry Flint and colored by Dominic Regan, is an engrossing piece of art. The storyline sees a time of “peace” in the Vega System brought by Lady Styx (a character partially created by Morrison during the events of 52) who turns the populations of planets she conquers into mindless drones. The Omega Men come into conflict with the mysterious God-like being when she attempts to use “heartstones” to expand her influence across the Universe. In an attempt to win favor with Lady Styx, the Spider Emperor captures Vril Dox.
Retlops & Klikkit
Creators: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp
Not much is known about the robot pirate who the Internet has dubbed “Klikkit.” He speaks in clicks, clacks, and binary. His life of pirating is rather short with Jordan dropping an Acme style 16-ton weight on his head.
As for the hamster-like “meganthrope,” once again, DC Nation to the rescue. She isn’t named in the comic, but the DC insider publication provides. Sharp says in the issue, “Retlops is certainly not sure of herself…” We also know Retlops loves the smell of limes. Fun trivia: This isn’t the first time Morrison has dropped the “meganthrope” concept. That first mention arrived in the first issue of the non-canon All-Star Superman.
Horminth Collective from Cluster-World 3
Creators: Grant Morrison & Liam Sharp
A new species from a new world. They appear as a group of hobos after crash landing on Earth in Chriselon’s ship. However, I believe we see them in their natural state trapped in a Lantern construct behind Klikkit. They dislike guacamole.
Creators: Gardner Fox & Gil Kane
Poor Eve Doremus. In the long history of Green Lantern, she was barely a footnote. Doremus, who first appeared in Green Lantern #58, was the victim of hero duality. Does the romantic interest love the hero or the secret identity? The primary struggle between Carol Ferris and Jordan was the fact that she was madly in love with Green Lantern. Not knowing his secret identity she constantly rebuffed the advances of Jordan. That script was flipped with Eve Doremus.
It was a relationship Jordan long desired and seemed to be going well for half a dozen issues. I mean, apart from the fact that the subplot of every storyline featuring Doremus involved Jordan trying to cover up the fact that he was Green Lantern.
Like so many secondary characters, the existence of Doremus could have been erased during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Steve Englehart kept her alive in Green Lantern Corps #206 when Jordan was trapped in a cave with Arisia Rrab of Space Sector 2815. The Graxosian asked Jordan if, besides Ferris, there were many other women in his life. He briefly mentions Doremus and explains it didn’t work out because he “wasn’t ready to settle down.” A few panels later Jordan and Arisia make out.
Note: This seems like a good time to mention that Jordan’s relationship with Arisia was always a little creepy. The Lantern of 2815 was a teenager when she joined the Corps but developed a crush on the ring-slinger of Earth. Thankfully, Jordan wouldn’t date her because she was too young. She somehow used the ring to will herself to mature. That made it okay? I guess? I mean, not only does she hook up with Jordan but she later becomes the love of Guy Gardner’s life. Alas, comics.
Doremus exit from Jordan’s life was abrupt. One day he’s buying her gifts and pontificating about how happy he is to find someone who loves him for the man he is and not the hero. Suddenly, after only appearing in five issues, she’s gone. Who’s to blame? Carol. It always goes back to Carol. In Green Lantern #69, the lovelorn Carol Ferris shows up to give the Green Lantern one last chance or else she’ll get married to someone else!
In all honesty, that’s kinda manipulative and should be a big red flag. Our hero, still distraught that Ferris won’t love him as Hal Jordan, rejects her declaration. She runs off crying. Don’t worry, she chooses to not go through with the marriage. Four issues later she returns as Star Sapphire.
Sigh, the Silver Age, so weird.
Speaking of Ferris, bringing back Doremus is an interesting decision. As noted in the “How Did We Get Here” synopsis above, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps ended with Jordan reuniting with Carol Ferris. By this point in history, the women in Jordan’s life must know he’s a bit tough to pin down. I like to think he’s now living his best open and honest non-monogamous life and treating all of his partners with respect and dignity.
Luck Lords of Ventura
Creators: Edmond Hamilton & Curt Swan
The Luck Lords of Ventura would usually appear in the villains’ section of a post. However, in this case, they’re simply going about their business when a bunch of pirates steal a “Luck Dial.” They’re an alien race who run the casino planet of Ventura. They’re obsessed with luck and finding ways to shift the timeline to make things go their way.
Typically, the Luck Lords appear as bodies with eyeballs as heads (think indie rock band The Residents), so I’m not sure we actually see the Luck Lords of Ventura in this issue. The Legion of Super Bloggers has a comprehensive history of the Luck Lords of Ventura.
Rokk and Sorban
Those two blue dudes in the Spider-Pirate panel above are Rokk and Sorban. They made their first appearance in Superman #171 where they gamble that they can make Superman murder someone. Sorban wins the bet because, it turns out, Superman won’t kill. At the end of the issue, they name drop Ventura where they’re part of a “dying race.” They have so much super-science the only way they can find enjoyment is through gambling (hat tip to Babbling About Comics). They’ve had a number of adventures in the DC Universe since including the less famous Superman/Flash race in The Flash #175.
Update 12/14/18: Thanks to LuizFelipeOC1 for directing me to this fun little Easter Egg. According to Luiz, his Facebook friend Carlos Reiva posted the below image on Facebook:
The panels appear to be from issues of Marvel Preview featuring one of the earliest appearances of Star-Lord a.k.a. Peter Quill (possibly second). Star-Lord would famously go on to become a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m woefully ignorant when it comes to this era of Marvel cosmic history, so I’m leaning heavily on the Fandom Marvel wiki. The characters from left to right at the table in the Liam Sharp drawn panel: Dirac, a Captain of the guards, and Arak or Arion. The other panels were drawn by John Byrne with words by Chris Claremont. It was one of the first times the legendary artist/writer team worked together.
When I sat down to write these Deep Dives I told myself I’d stick primarily to the foreground characters. Not having the rule could lead to madness. Now that this fun insertion by Sharp has been pointed out to me I fear I’m doomed. I’ll likely spend the rest of my days trying to puzzle out every single reference in the background.
Places and Things
As mentioned above, New Oa was revealed at the end of Green Lanterns #57. Guardian Kada Sal was secretly leading the rebuilding effort (he died before the Corps could move in). This is at the least the third version of Oa. The original Oa had a long existence until Kyle Rayner blew it up while fighting Jordan. It was rebuilt but didn’t last long because Relic came along in 2013 and obliterated it. After that, the Corps and Guardians moved to Mogo and spent the last five years living on his back like fleas (and subjecting him to numerous invasions by armies hoping to see the destruction of the Corps).
The Book of OA
The Book of Oa contains the laws and history of the Green Lantern Corps. We learn in The Green Lantern that the book has been corrupted and rewritten. On the cover is a baby blue Hydrogen atom symbol that most have recognized as being the same mark on Doctor Manhattan’s forehead. We know the Watchman character has been messing with the DC timeline for the last two years.
Less likely, the symbol could belong to Morrison’s Multiversity character Captain Allen Adam, the Quantum Superman of Earth 4. The main difference is the positioning of the electron. The Book of Oa’s electron is positioned to the North like on Doctor Manhattan’s head. On Allen Adam’s forehead the electron is positioned to the West.
The ‘Luck Dial’ appears to be a new invention of Morrison. My fingers are crossed that it might be related the H-Dial, but that appears to be unlikely. We do know, thanks to China Miéville’s amazing, bizarre, and underrated 2012 run on Dial H, that there are a number of dials in the Universe including a J-U-M-P Dial which allows for inter-dimensional travel and the badass D-O-O-M dial which creates apocalypses.
The Crane Wife T-Shirt
I started writing this post as soon as the first previews landed on the Internet. I wrote the following assuming I’d never have the actual answer: Why does this man have “The Crane Wife” on his shirt? Is it a band in the DC Universe? Are Sharp and Morrison fans of the critically acclaimed Decemberists 2006 album of the same name? Or is it a nod to the tragic Japanese folk tale, Tsuru Nyōbō, where a man marries a crane disguised as a human woman?
This is a Grant Morrison comic so it’s fair to think anything could be a hint to a storyline cookie crumb. However, thanks to the November issue of DC Nation, we know this is an incredibly innocent reference. Sharp writes, “I was listening to The Crane Wife by the Decemberists when I drew this page. An excellent album by an excellent band.” There you have it. Sometimes a red door is simply a red door.
The Green Lantern #2 Solicitation
Release Date: December 5, 2018
Someone is transporting a mysterious cargo out of the Great Void, and it spells trouble for the universe at large! Hal Jordan interrogates a member of the Spider Guild for answers and uses his pheromones as an interrogation tool, but can he extract the info in time?! Meanwhile, Volgar Ro makes a play for Earth while its emerald protector is off-world!
Quick Note: Liam Sharp’s The Green Lantern
I write “Grant Morrison’s The Green Lantern” but Liam Sharp certainly deserves co-ownership credit. You don’t need to look much farther than the first page with the Guardians of the Universe and the second page with Spider-Pirate and Maxim Tox. Those two pages quickly define the two of the three visual aesthetics Sharp brings to this series. We have the hard science fiction splash kicking the title off followed by the pulp 2000 AD pop of the casino. That latter style carries us on a roller coaster of action to the middle point of the book and the introduction of our hero. He’s grounded, so that calls for design that also grounds the reader. We catch our breath as Sharp gives us a minimalist series of panels with little background noise and a heavy focus on Jordan and Doremus. However, once he meets Chriselon in a crashed ship nod to Jordan and Abin Sur, we see the sci-fi visuals taking over the frames and soon we’re back on that roller coaster. Once he’s jarred the baddies and goes to New OA -BAM- back to hard sci-fi.
When the pacing and layout is combined with Sharp’s keen eye for character design this issue is a master class in visual storytelling.
I point this out because it hurts my heart when I read a review that doesn’t acknowledge or only briefly nods to the artist. This “Deep Dive” isn’t necessarily a review but I do want to make sure the artists are acknowledged as much as the writers. That’s why I gave credit to both the wordsmith and the, uh, artsmith when listing creators above. Unless the artist is the writer, such as Sharp on The Brave and The Bold, a character wouldn’t exist.
One more quick note, if this was a review I’d need to call out the lettering by Tom Orzechowski, too. The way he places words in this book works perfectly with Sharp’s illustrations to drive the story from panel to panel.
The Green Lantern has the perfect artistic team in Sharp, Oliff, and Orzechowski (and, of course, a nod to editors Jessica Chen and Brian Cunningham for keeping it all tidy and in canon).
Deep Dives By Issue:
Why Am I Doing This?
Grant Morrison is my favorite comic book writer. Growing up, the Green Lantern Corps was my favorite superhero team, and Hal Jordan, my favorite Lantern of Space Sector 2814 (Ch’p is my favorite Green Lantern of all time). Any time I stepped foot into a new comic book store, I would seek out back issues of the Green Lantern Corps so I could learn about every single ring-slinger. This is one of the few writer/character marriages I feel completely qualified to dedicate my valuable free time dissecting, overanalyzing, and annotating.
Bonus, I trust Morrison to dig deep into the wild and weird concept so the Corps while pushing the envelope even farther. It gives me an excuse to dig into old comics and revisit or discover forgotten stories and characters. Simply starting this first post by researching Chaselon’s history helped relight that original love for these ridiculous stories.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the journey goes.
Did I miss anything substantial? Did I get something wrong? @ me on twitter! @ashareduniverse