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The Green Lantern #3 Annotations

  

THE GREEN LANTERN #3

Slave Lords of the Stars
 
DC Comics, January 2019, Color, 32pgs, $3.99
 
Written by GRANT MORRISON ; Art and Cover by LIAM SHARP; Colors by STEVE OLIFF; Variant Cover by JAE LEE
 
When the Earth goes up for sale on the alien black market, it’s up to the Green Lantern Corps to bust up “The Slave Lords of the Stars” in the latest space saga from Grant Morrison (MULTIVERSITY) and Liam Sharp (WONDER WOMAN)! With the Justice League frozen by Gamma Gong tech, Earth ends up on the auction block, and Volgar Zo hosts a menagerie of the universe’s deadliest despots and criminals: Steppenwolf, Queen Bee, the Dominators and much, much worse. Hal Jordan leads a squad of Lanterns into the fray—and someone’s going to pay the ultimate price before this case gets closed.
 
 

Annotations

 
Page 1 - The galaxy’s baddest bastards have gathered at Volgar Zo’s auction for the shrunken Earth.  There’s some oddly familiar faces if you zoom into the long-shot in panel two (what looks like the Robot from the Netflix Lost in Space reboot, Marvel UK's Death’s Head II, some sort of Moebius space-guy, all sorts of folk), but panel three there is *where it’s at* this issue, tip of the top, cream of the crop, so let’s get to identifyin’…

Front row on the left is Agamemno, the faux-Silver Age antagonist of a faux-Silver Age event called, appropriately enough, ‘The Silver Age’ that ran across twelve one-shots in the summer of 2000.  Agamemno was created by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson and first appeared in The Silver Age #1.  I don’t think he’s ever appeared outside of that one event prior to this issue, though his antics in the Silver Age series were the catalyst for Waid’s first story arc of his JLA run.  Next to Agamemno, lounging on a big cushion is Zazzala, the Queen Bee; based on a character created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky in 1963’s Justice League of America #23, this version of the character was introduced as a member of Lex Luthor’s new Injustice Gang in 1999’s JLA #34 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter.

Second row from the front, that weird purple monster is the Zuggernaut, a Comics-Code Approved mash-up of the Alien (from Alien) and the Japanese Guyver manga who first appeared in 1988’s Firestorm #69 by John Ostrander and Joe Brozowski.  The big kind of Thanos-with-dreads looking guy in the yellow armour next to him is Grayven, youngest son of Darkseid and brother to Kalibak and Orion. Created by Ron Marz and Darryl Banks in 1996’s Green Lantern #74, Grayven killed a ton of Darkstars and ex-Green Lanterns during an attempt to conquer Apokolips using Rannian Zeta Beam technology, before being killed off in a tie-in to Jim Starlin’s apocryphal - :) - Death of the New Gods.  Like a handful of characters we’ve already encountered in this run, he got better.  It happens.

Third row, first on the left in the jazzy red and white vest is Kromm, metal-skinned Gromar (equivalent to a king, according to the editor’s note) of the planet Mosteel.  He made his only previous appearance of note in 1961’s Justice League of America #3 by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky as head of one of the four warring factions of the Antares system (which also included Volgar Zo’s home planet Dhor, then ruled by the dictator Kanjar Ro).  Next to Kromm is - like Grayven - another native of Apokolips, Steppenwolf, Darkseid’s uncle and leader of Apokolips’ military forces.  Steppenwolf, recently featured as the primary antagonist in the moribund Justice League movie, was created by Jack ‘The King’ Kirby in 1972’s New Gods #7.  Next to Steppenwolf is a female representative of the White Martians.  Originally created by Denny O’Neil and Dick Dillin in 1969’s Justice League of America #71, after lying fallow for decades the White Martians were rebooted by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter in 1997’s JLA #1.  The design here is based on Porter’s from that series.

Fourth row, the… statuesque (as in some of those statues they sell in the back pages of Previews) lady with the yellow skin and purple costume is Mongal, daughter of Mongul, tyrannical ruler of Warworld and despotic Darkseid-lite.  Heavily based on Jim Starlin’s original Mongul design, Mongal was introduced by Pete Tomasi and Scot Eaton in 1995’s Showcase ’95 #8, before being killed off by her brother - Mongul II - a decade or so later in 2006’s Green Lantern #8.  She's also appeared on TV in both The Brave and the Bold and the DC Super Hero Girls cartoons.  The big (two-eyed) slug thing next to her is a Gzann creature, the pet/lackey of the guy in the red pointy hat sat next to him/her/it.  He’s Zerno of Y'Bar, the ‘Sorcerer from the Stars’ who made his first (and only) appearance alongside his Gzann creature in the main Superman/Batman team-up strip in 1962’s World’s Finest #127 by Jerry Coleman and Jim Mooney.  Finally on this row, the ugly Predator-looking dude is one of the H’San Natall, nasty alien warlord types introduced in Dan Jurgens and George Perez’s 1996 Teen Titans #1 (a series that Morrison reportedly pitched for back in the day but didn’t get, though it ultimately led to him getting the JLA gig, so that turned out OK I guess).

The big (three-eyed) slug guy behind Mongal is – I think – new for this issue, a disgruntled return customer for the Dhorians, as we'll see later on.  The buff fellow with the gold face bang in the centre is Overmaster, a god-like ‘heavenly judge’ and cut-price Galactus introduced in 1984’s Justice League of America #233 by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton.  Interestingly he was also kind-of sort-of name-checked last issue (the Controller’s ship is – coincidentally? - named the Overmaster).  Next to him is Gelgoth, another fine muscle-woman space tyrant who's also new for this issue as far as I can see.

The white-blue guy with the weird head on the left of the back row is - *I think* - a Uranian, possibly Ulala, king of the Uranians, as seen in the Dr. Midnite chapter of 1942’s All-Star Comics #13 by Gardner Fox and Cliff Young.  That story – part of an extremely Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers-influenced multi-chapter tale that saw the Justice Society catapulted across the Solar System (by Hitler, obvs) – was retold by Roy Thomas, Tim Burgard and Cliff Young as a backup strip in 1986’s All-Star Squadron #55.  Next to Ulala are probably three mind-controlled-via-alien-starfish-face-hugger representatives of longtime JLA foe Starro the Conqueror, who first appeared in 1960’s The Brave and the Bold #28 by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.  The green guy next to them (though he should really be blue) is a representative of the Mikrids, who made their one and only appearance back in the first Hal/Barry GL/Flash team-up story in 1963’s Green Lantern #20 by John Broome and Gil Kane.  Next to him - and this probably really is a stretch – is, *I think*, probably a Venusian caveman (also blue in their original appearance) as seen in 1959’s Showcase #23, the second appearance of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.  These guys are explicitly not a space-faring race in-story, though the suspect yellow glow surrounding this fella’s head suggests that maybe the sinister influence of *another* Venusian is at play – that nefarious nematode Mister Mind?!

Yeah, I told you that one was a stretch didn’t I?

Anyhow, *finally* looming over everyone right at the back in the hooded robe is The Shepherd – the eventual winner of the auction and another new Morrison/Sharp creation for this issue, as far as I can tell.

Phew!

A bunch of the auction atendees' ships can be seen at the top of panel two, including Starro's star-shaped spacecraft and the massive crab-like ship of the Overmaster, both just behind the "We of Dhor..." speech bubble.

The Gamma Gong, seen here being struck in panel four, is a weapon that could freeze time and enslave minds, used by Kanjar Ro back in 1961's Justice League of America #3.

 
Page 2 - The moon was still around and full-sized when we last saw it in last issue's cliffhanger, so this fake solar system must be just a nice bit of presentation from the Dhors? 

I love how... wrong Sharp draws Volgar Zo here, eyelids, knees, too many fingers, everything about him is just a bit off.

A closer look at Agamemno, the Zuggernaut (or his gaping maw at least), Grayven and the White Martian here in the last panel.
 
Page 3 - Zo's sales pitch here sure is something.  Its good to see Morrison getting a little bit political again this issue tbh.

The "opti-humans of the Fifth World" bit is a reference to Morrison's own 'World War III' storyline in JLA, where the inner potential/super-duper powers of all of Earth's population was unlocked to battle Mageddon, the cosmic depression monster.
 
Page 4 -A beautifully layed-out page from Sharp, showing the ill effects the shrinking of Earth is having on its inhabitants.
 
Page 5 - It's pretty funny that Zo's having such a hard time shifting this rubbish auld planet.

The Dominators of the Dominion were created by then-15 year old writer/penciler Jim Shooter in the Legion of Super-Heroes strip in 1967's Adventure Comics #361.  They made a couple of appearances here and there in Legion continuity (including in a 1978 Levitz/Staton three-parter in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes that updated their colour scheme from the original blue skin with white disks to the now-standard yellow with red disks) before Paul Levitz and Greg LaRoucque beefed them up significantly threat-wise in 1987's Legion of Super Heroes Annual #3.  That in turn probably led to Keith Giffen using them as one of the main antagonists in his 1989 Invasion! crossover and as the big bads in the masterpiece that is his 'Five Years Later' Legion of Superheroes run beginning that same year.  They even popped up a couple of years back on live-action TV in an Invasion!-inspired crossover between the Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl TV shows.

As well as the folks we saw earlier (from the left, the Gzann creature, Zerno, and the claw of the H’San Natall), behind the Dominators are what looks like 'The Creature from the Bat-Cave!' from Detective Comics #291 by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, and on the far right, possibly Oom the Mighty of Yzgartyl.  Oom first appeared in 1940's All-Star Comics #3 in a tale relayed by The Spectre to the very first meeting of the Justice Society of America.  Created by Gardner Fox and (I think?) artist Bernard Bailey, Oom was later shoe-horned into Mister Mind's Monster Society of Evil in a 1985 story that ran from issue #51-54 of Roy Thomas' All-Star Squadron, and made a brief appearance fairly recently as a giant monster man in Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewarts The Multiversity: Thunderworld one-shot back in 2015.

I think Darkseid's been out of action since the Geoff Johns' and Jason Fabok's 'Darkseid War' story that finished off the New 52 run of the Justice League back in 2016?  I might be wrong though, I don't read a huge amount of DC stuff at the moment.
 
Page 6 - This is Eve Doremus on the phone in panel one, who we last saw back in the first issue of this series.  Carol Ferris was Hal's long-time on again off again girlfriend who first appeared alongside Hal in Showcase #22 back in 1959.  The extract from Morrison's GL pitch that appeared in DC Nation a few months back suggests Carol won't play much of a role in this series.  Ray Palmer is the alter ego of size-changing super-hero The Atom.

Eve's talking to Hal's best friend and Ferris Aircraft engineer Thomas Kalmaku, who first appeared in 1960's Green Lantern #2 by John Broome and Gil Kane.  Tom is of Inuit descent, perhaps going some way to explaining his snowmobile jaunt Up North here.

The super-heroes have been frozen in time by the Gamma Gong Tom, duh.  That's possibly the current line-up of the Justice League there, but probably not to be honest.  It is however the same Legaue line-up (plus Hawkgirl) that faced Kanjar Ro and the Gamma Gong back in Justice League of America #3 in 1961.  If you've read this far but somehow also need me to tell you who these characters are then I'm sorry, I'm not sure what I can say to help you, godspeed...
 
Page 7 -The Old Testament God has made a few appearances previously in DC comics, most notably in the 1942 Picture Stories From The Bible - The Old Testament series, and an extremely ambitious but ultimately unfinished 1975 comic book adaptation of the Bible in the over-sized treasury format by Sheldon Mayer and Joe Kubert.  This isn't really him though, so whatever, forget it.

In less enlightened times you could imagine this wouldn't get anywhere near being published, though to be fair it is a bit less salacious than having Swamp Thing be the cross that Jesus was nailed to I suppose...
 
Page 8 - The Dhorians: Shoddy workmen.  We'll go with the Green Lantern introductions on the next page, as its layed out a bit better for that sort of thing than this one.

The ships orbiting the fake planet at the top of page there include a Dhorian slave ship, a kind of space-going galleon complete with oars and a sail, and a very square Khundian battle wagon as designed by Todd McFarlane and Keith Giffen in the 1989 Invasion! mini-series.  The other couple or three I don't recognize (though presumably, per Lashorr's dialogue there, one of them is Golgath's ship and I think she's a new character for this issue?).  Let me know if any of them ring a bell.

Nice to see Chriselon's recovered from the bashing they took back in issue one.
 
Page 9 -Okay, top middle is Lashorr, possibly of Slyggia (also homeworld to fellow six-armed GL Salakk, who appears in the foreground left of Jae Lee variant cover for this issue), the Green Lantern of Sector 3453.  Prior to this issue, Lashorr has barely appeared outside of her fact-file entry in the 2007 Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files one-shot - in fact that very Secret Files issue is listed as her first appearance in her own entry in it, despite her ostensibly appearing previously as one of the long-imprisoned Green Lantern's liberated from the Manhunters' home planet early in Geoff Johns' run.

Next row down on the left we have Gorius Karkum of Psion, one of the Green Lanterns of Sector 2828.  Created by Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin, Karkum first appeared in 2010's R.E.B.E.L.S #16 - I thought last issue that she might be the Psion Blackstar that we saw as part of the team that sprung Evil Star from the Obsidian Depths, but it seems not.  On the right is Medphyll of J586, the Green Lantern of Sector 586.  A 'we need an alien GL to hang around in the background looking interesting' of extremely long-standing, Medphyll first appeared in 1962's Green Lantern #11 and was created by John Broome and Gil Kane.

Below Karkum on the left hand side is Venizz, one of the Green Lanterns of sector 2812.  She first appeared in 2005's Green Lantern #6 and was created by Geoff Johns and Simone Bianchi.  Next to her is Hal Jordan, needs no introduction hopefully.  To the right of Hal is M'Dahna of Zanner, Green Lantern of Sector 2751.  Created by Mike W. Barr, Len Wein and Joe Staton, M'Dhana first appeared alongside the army of GL's moving against Krona and Nekron in 1981's Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2.

Front left, the big blue guy is Tagort, Venizz's sector partner over in 2812.  He also first appeared in 2005's Green Lantern #6 and was created by Geoff Johns and Simone Bianchi.  Finally, below Jordan at front right is Chriselon of Barrio III, a GL of sector 1416 who may or may not have first appeared in The Green Lantern #1.  See that issue's annotations for the confusion over that one.

The fleeing background aliens in panel two probably count a Khund amonst their members at bottom left.  The two guys above him with the bald heads and pointy ears could be any one of literally hundreds of weird little green/blue/pink men from space who litter the pages of mid-fifties DC books.  I don't recognise any of the rest and suspect they're just a nice bit of window dressing from Liam Sharp.
 
Page 10 - The Darkstars/Blackstars thing I've been droning on about these past couple of months gets addressed in story, good-oh.  These are the three Blackstar elite guards we saw last issue, though we don't get a good look at the Durlan this time around.

I dunno if this weakness in the Star-Bands has ever come up before?  Probably not, but it seems like standard practice to build a weird flaw into all of these things - freeze the user's nervous system for a few milisconds, make it not work against wood or the colour yellow... go for broke push it as far out there as you'd like.

The Dwarf Star lensing tech is - as mentioned last issue - the method the Dhorians, The Atom and Brainiac all use to shrink planets, themselves or bottled cities.  I think it was Morrison that made the link between the Atom and Brainiac back in his Action Comics run, and he just keeps running with it here.

A traitor in the Green Lantern's midst?  Hmmmm.  I'll have £1 on Lashorr, who despite virtually never appearing before this story has a whole backstory setup here with Gelgoth, who she conveniently captures later this issue while she's... leaving the toilets?  Yeah, right.  Or, y'know, it could be this FAKE HAL JORDAN that's been running around this here Green Lantern comic for the last three months... (see previous annos for more on my thoughts on this)
 
Page 11 - Medphyll's line here about training being the Green Lantern's big advantage over the Darkstars has it's roots way back in the 1989 Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn mini series and its sequel the following year.  It was established there - contrary to the original Silver Age stories where Hal either just improvised or the ring/the Guardians told him what to do and how to do it - that Hal had been whisked off to Oa early on in his GL career (while he was supposed to be serving a 90 day jail sentence for drunk driving iirc.  Ah the 80's...) to be properly trained in how to use the ring by Sinestro.  Subsequent stories have usually seen Kilowog cast as the Green Lantern's own version of R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, including in the 2011 Green Lantern movie.

It's weird that the Blackstars are selling their services to pay for The Ultimate Asset (whatever that ends up being) given they've already done a bunch of illegal stuff to get to where they are now, right?  Some real Plan 9 From Outer Space-esque "We've come from space to steal all your money" stuff.
 
Pages 12-18 - This next six pages with the Shepherd is a great bit, but there's not really very much you need me to add to it as none of it draws on any old comics or anything.  Huge shout-out to the guy who calls Jordan a fascist though.  Big thumbs-up.
 
Page 19 - Hal does a little bit of the old 'greatest Green Lantern' shtick as his pals' willpower starts to wane.

Assume that what Karkum is saying here is that the radiation from the engines doesn't affect anyone on the deck of the ship (i.e. the Dhorians themselves) thanks to the 'exo-mech', but the poor little blighters manning the oars?  Oof.
 
Page 21-22 -Harsh measures from probably-not-really Hal Jordan there, am sure that one won't come back and bite him on the arse somehow...

*****

And that's it for another month.  If you made it this far, as always thanks for reading!  Comments and corrections welcome, get in touch with me directly here or on the twitters.  See you all next time, palssss!

  
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