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The Green Lantern #1 Annotations

       

THE GREEN LANTERN #1

Intergalactic Lawman
 
DC Comics, November 2018, Color, 40pgs, $4.99
 
Written by GRANT MORRISON ; Art and Cover by LIAM SHARP; Variant Cover by FRANK QUITELY
 
Superstar writer Grant Morrison (Batman, All-Star Superman) returns to DC alongside red-hot artist Liam Sharp (The Brave AND the Bold, Wonder Woman) to launch a new, ongoing series: THE GREEN LANTERN! 

In this debut issue, when Earth's space cop, Hal Jordan, encounters an alien hiding in plain sight, it sets off a chain of events that rocks the Green Lantern Corps-and quite possibly the Multiverse at large-to its very core. There's an inter-galactic conspiracy afoot, as well as a traitor in the GL Corps' ranks, so strap in for more mind-bending adventures in this masterpiece in the making.
 
 




Annotations

 
Page 1 - The Guardians of the Universe, introduced way back in 1960's Green Lantern #1 by John Broome and Gil Kane, sporting a new sort of weird Euro sci-fi look here, really the tip of the iceberg as far as Liam Sharp's unique Heavy Metal/Valerian/2000AD look for this issue goes - a sort of 'what if DC gave the GL book to Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill instead of Steve Englehart and Joe Staton back in '87' that's about as far from the current DC house style as could be really.  Excellent stuff, right from the off.

Page 2 – Ventura, a kind of planet-sized Vegas-style den of iniquity and heavy betting, first appeared in a story from 1965’s World’s Finest #150 by Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan.  It later made a bunch of appearances in Legion of Super-Heroes continuity, circa the 30th Century, before Mark Waid and George Perez visited it once again in the present in the first arc of their 2007 revival of the Brave and the Bold series. 

Maxim Tox is a new creation for this issue, the cousin of Thormon Tox, a Green Lantern who first appeared (and died fighting Lady Styx' Stygian horde) in a Morrison-penned sequence in 2006's 52 #31 (thanks to @DavidMann95 for that one).  According to this excruciatingly comprehensive guide to the Sectors of the Universe over at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe, we’ve never seen Sector 2018 at all before (or at the very least never known that Ventura was in it) before now.  Tox - very much a hoity toity Richard E. Grant/Melmoth from Seven Soldiers type (cheers Bobsy Mindless Jr., via @bobsymindless) - is designated 2018.2 as all Green Lantern sectors are now patrolled by two GL’s.  I’m not sure exactly when this came in but I think it was when Geoff Johns reconstituted the Corps in 2005’s Green Lantern: Rebirth.   We’ll meet Tox’s partner and the other Green Lantern of this sector –Floozle Flem – later this issue.


The two blue guys with the bulging eyes in panel two are Sorban and Rokk, two inveterate gamblers and Venturan natives who first appeared in 1964’s Superman #171, in a story by Leo Dorfman and Al Plastino.  They’ve appeared a couple of times since, taking on both Superman and Batman in the aforementioned World’s Finest #150; setting up a (no doubt very lucrative for any bookmakers involved) race between Superman and The Flash in 1967’s The Flash #175; and creating evil duplicates of Superman’s Kryptonian parents in 1986’s Action Comics #582 (incidentally the last pre-Crisis ‘Earth One’ Superman story in Action before Alan Moore’s ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?’ concluded in the following issue).

“In It To Win It” was one of the many terrible TV quiz shows that used to (?) accompany the National Lottery Draw on UK television.  Can’t find a reference for it online but I suspect it originally comes from a competition cover strap from British tabloid rag The Sun, “You’ve Got To Be In It To Win It”

“Agunnst yon Vegan Spider-Pirate?”  The Spider-Guild of the Vegan system first appeared in the Green Lantern Corps backup ‘Successor’, by Todd Klein and Dave Gibbons, in 1983’s Green Lantern #166.  They went on to appear a number of times during Klein’s run as writer of the Omega Men, and under Gibbons’ own pen in the mid-00’s Green Lantern Corps: Recharge mini-series.

Page 3 – The trickshaw-riding aliens in panels two and three might be from J586, home to the Green Lantern Medphyll (who also has little trees growing out of the top of his head).  J586-ians are usually depicted as having only one eye though.  I wouldn’t normally mention something so tenuous (ha, yeah right), but J586 also served as the backdrop for Alan Moore’s penultimate issue of his Swamp Thing run.

Floozle Flem – the ‘super-intelligent all-purpose virus’ Green Lantern – is a new Morrison/Sharp creation for this issue, but is *heavily* indebted to Leezle Pon, a ‘superintellgent smallpox virus’ Green Lantern mentioned in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ backup story ‘Mogo Doesn’t Socialize’, from 1985’s Green Lantern #188.  Geoff Johns (of course) later featured Leezle Pon in his ‘Sinestro Corps War’ storyline, even going so far as to give him a viral arch-nemesis in the flesh-eating Yellow Lantern, Despotillis.

Page 4 – Gross.

Page 5 – Quazzmu seems to be some sort of deity, not a reference to anything old as far as I can tell.

As we find out on the next page, this is Green Lantern Trilla-Tru in panel two – another newbie for this issue, Trilla almost certainly hails from Xudar, home planet of former Green Lantern's Tomar-Re and his son, Tomar-Tu.  Her partnership with Chriselon (probably) pegs her as one of the GL's for Sector 1416.  She’s here with her partner to drag the perps away in the meat wagon.

I don’t really know what’s going on with the size-changing hamster that loves the smell of limes, but I’m into it.

Klikkit the big robot guy kind of reminds me of Marvel UK's Death’s Head II a bit, but that might just be because they’re both drawn by Liam Sharp.  Again, I think he’s new and not intended to be someone we recognize.  He's the only one of the space pirates who make it to Earth who gets a name this issue.

The Luck Lords are the mysterious, eyball-headed rulers of Ventura, who first appeared in the Legion of Super Heroes strip in Adventure Comics #343 by Edmond Hamilton and Curt Swan.  As far as I know, their only previous appearance in non-futuristic continuity was in the Waid/Perez Brave and the Bold book mentioned previously.

Page 6 – Chriselon and Trilla-Tru’s spaceship/prison transport is the same model as the one Abin Sur was flying (and crashed on Earth, leading to Hal Jordan becoming Green Lantern) in 1959’s Showcase #22 by John Broome and Gil Kane, the first appearance of the Silver Age Green Lantern.  Probably not at all coincidentally, it was also featured prominently in Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s ‘Tygers’ from 1986’s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2.

Chriselon is an odd one – there are references to him or her around and about the net, but nothing tying them to a specific appearance or issue.  For all intents and purposes the character who appears here is functionally identical to Chaselon, the Green Lantern of Sector 1416 who first appeared in 1961’s Green Lantern #9 by John Broome and Gil Kane.  Chaselon/Chriselon hails from the panet Barrio III, home to “a race of crystalline beings that possess thirteen senses. The Barriites could communicate with each other through space-time by way of a "universal harmonic". In an effort to resemble the more numerous humanoid races, the people of Barrio III wore wigs and robotic appendages.”  Great stuff.

Chaselon kind of sort of died off-screen when a Parallax-possesed Hal Jordan murdered a huge slew of the GL Corps back in 1994’s ‘Emerald Twilight’ storyline, but Geoff Johns retconned that away some years later,  Chaselon ended up joining the GLC Internal Affairs division, the Alpha Lantern Corps, before definitely being killed off in Blackest Night (thanks to @alexisverityc for the clarification on that one).

All of which is to say, I’m not sure there are *any* comics prior to this one that have a named character called ‘Chriselon’ in, but (yeah, you knew there’d be a but…) Chriselon *is* listed (and pictured) as one of the Green Lantern Corps in the original DC Comics Encyclopedia book, published by DK in 2004.  So maybe that was a misspelling that’s somehow made into this comic; or maybe this is simply that characters first named appearance in a DC continuity story.  Who knows??

Page 7 – The ‘13th Earl of Everglow’ stuff - alongside all that ‘the facilities here are terrible’ jazz – is I think Morrison and Sharp building character through dialogue and body language rather than a reference to anything old.

The dead space pirate starfish guy is probably meant to be from the same race as JLA foe and fellow malevolent starfish Starro the Conqueror, who recently received an absolutely woeful reboot over in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Metal crossover.  His doomed compatriots – a talking pterodactyl and a goggles-sporting lady that looks a bit Kirby-ish – are more window dressing, as far as I can tell.  Kraak mentions four dead pirates but we only see three here – I think that vaguely person-shaped thing next to Pterodactyl guy is whatever they were using to transport their anti-matter cargo?  Maybe not, I dunno.

DC’s Anti-Matter Universe – a sort of quasi-evil counterpart to our own positive-matter universe - first appeared in 1960’s Green Lantern #2 by John Broome and Gil Kane.  At the centre of the Anti-Matter Universe is the planet Qward, Oa’s dark opposite.  Sworn enemies of the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps, the Weaponers of Qward (not Weaponeers usually, but more of that later) forged Sinestro’s yellow power ring from the mysterious Yellow Element, outfitted the Thunderers of Qward with Q-Energy powered Qwa-Bolts, and even formed their own Anti-Green Lantern Corps (in 1982’s Green Lantern #150, by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton). 

The Anti-Matter Universe equivalent to Earth is home to Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s version of the Crime Syndicate, from the JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel.

Page 8 – Here’s Sorban and Rokk again.  I had an idea that the Luck Dials had been mentioned previously in Waid and Perez’s Brave and the Bold and that they tied into the H-Dial from Dial H For H-E-R-O in some way, but I appear to have subconsciously made all that up.  As far as I can tell, they’re new.

Leader of the space pirates Commander Kraak - somewhat unbelievably - first appeared in ‘The Interplanetary Batman’ by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff in 1959’s Batman #128.  It was reprinted as the final story in DC’s 2002 ‘Batman in the Fifties’ trade paperback (which also has a ton of other stuff reprinted in it that Morrison referenced during his Bat-run).  Flagging the Batmobile down on a deserted backroad, alien warlord Kraak is trying to convince Batman and Robin to help him when the interplanetary authorities arrive, freezing the speech capabilities of all three and whisking them off into deep space for a trial.  A classic.

We also get our first glimpse of Controller Mu here, who may or may not be an actual Controller – a race of real ‘killers for peace’ types, the Controllers first appeared in 1967’s Adventure Comics #357 by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, using incredible weapons like the Sun Eaters and the Miracle Machine (the ‘cargo cult Mother Box’ that played a major role in the conclusion of Final Crisis) to ensure that the various galactic races kept it civil with each other, or else.

After a few scattered appearances in the Legion of Super Heroes strip, the Controllers made it into Crisis on Infinite Earths (and the present day), where it transpired that they were from the same Maltusian race as the Guardians, who had split into two factions after the rebellion of the robotic Manhunters – one who wanted to contain evil (the Guardians of the Universe), and one who wanted to destroy it (the Controllers). 

Some years later, at a time when there wasn’t much of a Green Lantern Corps, the Controllers created their own intergalactic police force, the Darkstars – effectively The Authority to the Green Lantern Corps’ JLA – an altogether more pro-active and violent bunch for the 1990’s.  Debuting with 1992’s Darkstars #1 by Michael Jan Freidman and Larry Stroman (though I believe artist Mike Collins had some hand in their creation and – on the early issues at least Travis Charest provided some (chef’s kiss) incredible squished head covers), the title lasted a semi-respectable 38 issues, ending in 1996, wherein most of the cast was shunted of to be killed by Darkseid’s youngest son Grayven in the pages of Green Lantern’s book (now completely Corps free after Hal Jordan killed them all).

More on Mu and his Darksta… [cough, cough] Blackstars later on.

When a Green Lantern dies, his/her/its ring will automagically seek out the next most suitable (and reasonably nearby) candidate.  Standard stuff.

Page 9 – Some cracking shapes in the art here, space that’s full of… stuff.  Love it.

Page 10-11 – Segue from the space plane to the jet plane…

Page 12 – As per Morrison’s contemporaneous interviews, this is basically the Hal Jordan of the late 1960’s, a shiftless drifter who moonlights as the greatest cop in the galaxy when no-one is looking.  The lady is Eve Doremus, who Hal first met in 1968’s Green Lantern #58 by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.  Eve, daughter of millionaire industrialist Mark Doremus, owner of the Cosmidor Corporation, hung around for a few issues but never really reached the name recognition of Hal’s long-time paramour Carol Ferris (who – judging by the snippet from Morrison’s original pitch included in DC Nation a few months back, won’t be appearing here).  She’s back now though.


Hal first met Eve whilst on enforced vacation both from his job as an insurance investigator *and* as a Green Lantern (thanks to a faulty ring that makes him do bad things.  Hmm…), nearly blowing his double identity whilst stopping some crooks in costume but sans ring.  Much to Jordan’s surprise, the day is saved by a perfect duplicate of Hal created by the Guardians of the Universe (HMMMM….) pulling civvy ID duties for him while he gallivants off fighting the crimes.

Page 13 – Hal became an Evergreen City  insurance investigator – a surprisingly good way to meet new super-villains it seems - in 1967’s Green Lantern #53 by John Broome and Gil Kane, sacking it off a couple of years later in 1969’s issue #69.  The traveling toy salesman bit seems to have lasted a little while after that but comes to an end just as John Broome’s long tenure writing the book finishes and GL enters the 1970’s, with Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and the Green Arrow co-billing ‘Hard Traveling Heroes’ shtick arriving on the scene.

This story isn’t supposed to be set in the past right?  Like immediately as Grant’s comp copy of the Green Lantern Silver Age Omnibus Volume 2 ends? :)

Page 15 – The Flehmen Response is when an animal (like a cat) “curls back its upper lip exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed, and then… holds this position for several seconds”.  It’s often triggered by an interesting smell, like… guacamole?

The Horminth Collective seem to be new, as does their home planet, Clusterworld 3.  I suppose four weird bums that aren’t really what they seem calls to mind the “Got a light?” woodsmen from the most recent series of Twin Peaks, a bit.

Page 16Bumfights was a series of videos produced in the early 00’s by Indecline Films, showing mostly high school fights caught on video and homeless guys performing Jackass-style stunts.  Banned in a ton of countries, the producers were eventually sent to jail for failing to complete the community service orders they’d been given for staging illegal fights.

Page 17 – The Horminth Collective end up in a gory John Carpenter’s The Thing-esque pile-up.  I think the idea here is that they also escaped from Chriselon’s prison ship?  Seems more likely than them just sort of hanging around in the desert waiting to start a fight with – whoops – a Green Lantern, I suppose.

Hal’s feeling déjà vu as this situation – desert, crashed ship, injured pilot - closely resembles his origin as Green Lantern.  

Page 18 – The following five pages were released as a preview teaser for the series back at the beginning of October. 

Chriselon’s protocrystal solutes would be analogous to his/her kids I suppose? 

Page 19 – Bit suss that Hal not only doesn’t have his power battery here, but that the Guardians have taken it away.  I’m betting that particular detail will come up again.

Morrison has said in a bunch of interviews that the title of the book – The Green Lantern – is in reference to the battery itself rather than anyone in particular, following the example of the 1960’s British movie, The Blue Lamp that led to the extremely long-running Dixon of Dock Green TV show,

Page 20 – Green Lantern’s oath, first used by Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, back in the 1940’s is widely credited to noted sci-fi author Alfred Bester.  Good job, Alf.

Page 21 – The guy in bottom left is wearing a “The Crane Wife” t-shirt, a 2006 album by The Decemberists named after a Japanese folktale.

Page 22 – ‘Sixteen Tons’ is a 1947 country song by Merle Travis about a Kentucky coal miner.

Page 23 – The Starweb sounds like some sort of intergalactic internet.  I don’t think it’s appeared or been mentioned before this issue.

Page 24 – Invoking the square cube law to prevent comic book stuff growing to giant size is some real TV Tropes shizz.  I've dim memories of Mark Millar mentioning it with Giant Man in the first Ultimates series?  It also gets a shout out in Warren Ellis’ Planetary.

Page 25 – As we saw earlier in the issue, the *real* luck dial is in the hands of Controller Mu.

Hal traps the baddies in a giant green jar of guacamole?  Ok.

Page 26 – The original planet Oa first appeared in 1961's Green Lantern #1 by John Broome and Gil Kane.  It was destroyed by Kyle Rayner in the 1994 Zero Hour miniseries during a battle with Hal Jordan.  Reconstituted by Hal’s best friend Thomas Kalmaku in the 2002 Legacy: the Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan graphic novel by Joe Kelly and Brent Anderson, it was destroyed *again* by Relic in 2013’s Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 by Justin Jordan and Rafael Albuquerque.  As per the DC Nation previews, there's a new Oa now (though I think it might possibly be Mogo with a new name?), but I’m not 100% sure where it came from or how, though I’m pretty sure it came about probably fairly recently.  

'New Oa' was also the name given to the floating space fortress home of Green Lantern Alan Scott in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come.

I think one of the Lantern’s surrounding the bad guys’ bubble in panel 1 there might be Opto309V, who first appeared in 2007’s 52 #41, in a sequence almost certainly written by Grant Morison.  He also appeared in Final Crisis #4, where it looked like he might have died, but he obviously he's got better since then.

Page 27 – The Book of Oa contains the complete history – past, present and future - of the Green Lantern Corps, along with their invaluable laws and code of conduct.  It’s another Alan Moore joint that first appeared in ‘Mogo Doesn’t Socialize’ in 1985’s Green Lantern #188, though really its just a list of Green Lantern names ('The Book of Worthy Names') there.

Spot the huuuge Multiversity/Allen Adam/Doctor Manhattan ref in the Book of Oa there?  No, me neither the first three or four times I read it.  Also hinted at in the double page spread at the end, there’s clearly some sort of multiversal Lantern shenanigans forthcoming; excellent.

Page 28 – Great weird page layouts on this Oa sequence from Liam Sharp – reminds me a bit of the stirling work Chris Burnham did on Nameless.

The Great Attractor is “an apparent gravitational anomaly in intergalactic space at the center of the local Laniakea Supercluster, in which the Milky Way is located, in the so-called Zone of Avoidance that is very difficult to observe in visible wavelengths due to the obscuring effects of our own galactic plane”.  The implication here I think is that the Great Attractor is Oa (or New Oa, whatever).

Absolute fearlessness is a quality that’s been required of the Green Lantern’s since the strip began back in 1959.  Morrison had a great bit in his JLA run where Kyle Rayner is told by Dream that he would surpass Hal Jordan as the greatest GL because he knew what Jordan never could: fear.

Page 29 – The lightless Obsidian Depths was the setting for (yeah, you guessed it) Alan Moore and Bill Willingham’s ‘In Blackest Night’ from 1987’s Tales of The Green Lantern Corps Annual #3.  In that story Green Lantern Katma Tui recruits a new Lantern from the Obsidian Depths who is blind and has no concept of a ‘lantern’ or ‘light’, so together they make a new oath based on sound and christen him ‘the F-Sharp Bell’.  He;s pictured here in this panel.

The Source Wall is, of course, from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World cycle and – per the Multiversity map – the impermeable boundary between the DC Multiverse and the Monitor realm surrounding it.

Morrison is taking what Moore started with his smallpox Lanterns, planet Lanterns and blind F-Sharp Bells, and really running with it here.

The reference to chaining demons in panel three is another nod toward Moore, specifically his ‘Tygers’ story with Kevin O’Neill from 1986’s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2.

Page 30 – I’m fairly sure DC would’ve let Morrison just call them the Darkstars – the Blackstars uniform is basically all but identical to the Darkstars after all – had a reformed Darkstars not been the villains of the last arc of the recently cancelled Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps that immediately preceded this series.  Ah well. Best laid plans and all that…

‘The Weaponeer’ is presumably the anti-matter cargo that the pirates were stealing on Controller Mu’s behalf, who looks to be for all intents and purposes an Anti-Matter robot (?) Hal Jordan.  Worth noting that waay back in 1997’s JLA #9, by Morrison and Oscar Jimenez, Kyle Rayner – trapped in a nightmare alternate life constructed by JLA foe The Key - appeared briefly as a Qwardian cyborg anti-Lantern who *also* went by the name The Weaponeer.  Hmmm…

Page 31-32 – And that’s it.  What a ride, can’t wait for more!  On this last double pager we get a quick glimpse of what’s coming up – briefly, more Blackstars (including one who looks like a Durlan, ala the Legion of Super Heroes’ Chameleon Boy); a Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up, just like they used to make; a shattered power battery (a reference to the Earth 15 power battery from Multiversity maybe?); and *finally*, after being teased for 20-odd years beginning with the unpublished Hypercrisis pitch, a Multiversal Lanterns epic staring, amongst others, the Green Lantern from the Stan Lee Just Imagine… books, Magic Lantern of Dreamworld, Abin Sur from Earth 20, the ‘In Darkest Knight’ Batman from Earth 32, and GL’s from Earths 12 (Justice League Beyond), 16 (as seen n Multiversity's The Just), 22 (Kingdom Come), 23 (as seen in Action Comics #9), Bizarro Earth 29 and Earth 50 (home of the Justice Lords from the Justice League cartoon).  The gang’s all here!

*****

Thanks for reading!  Comments and corrections always welcome, get in touch with me here.  See you all next time, compadres.


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