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The Green Lantern #2 Annotations



Darkness Visible
DC Comics, December 2018, Color, 32pgs, $3.99
Written by GRANT MORRISON ; Art and Cover by LIAM SHARP; Variant Cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA
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!
Page 1 – We’re back in the Obsidian Depths, as briefly seen last issue.

Acrux, or Alpha Crusis, is a real star and the bottom point of the Southern Cross constellation.  In DC continuity it’s part of Green Lantern Sector 2814, which obviously also contains the Earth and the rest of our local solar system.  I’m not sure exactly when it was established that Aoran – Evil Star’s homeworld - orbits Acrux, but its listed as doing so in the frankly amazing GLCWP Sector Guide, and that’s good enough for me.

Page 2 – In Alan Moore’s original ‘In Blackest Night’ story, Rot Lop Fan, aka the F-Sharp Bell, and his fellow sightless residents of the Obsidian Depths have no concepts for colour or light-related words like ‘Green’ or ‘Lantern’ (hence his unique moniker, uniform and ‘power bell’).  In keeping with that, there’s a bunch of stuff Evil Star and pals say over the next few pages that the F-Sharp Bell has no translation for.

In panel three, Evil Star is saying, “Maybe that has something to do with that light I can see behind you”.  His dialogue in panel four is “Because you can’t see light can you?”. 

Evil Star was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane in 1965’s Green Lantern #37.  A scientist from the planet Aoran, his Starband invention made Evil Star immortal at the cost of the lives of everyone else on his homeworld.  Similar to the unfortunate situation with the Darkstars, a ‘New 52’ version of Evil Star was introduced quite recently in 2014’s Green Lantern Corps #27 by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen and Bernard Chang, though it looks like he’s basically being ignored here.   

Page 3 – Panel three dialogue translated for us heads with eyes is “Look out”, “Look out for---“, and “I’m looking out, I---“.

Our first proper look at the three Darkst..[cough], Blackstars we saw in the teaser last issue.  It looks like they’re (from left to right in panel three) a Psion, a Durlan and a Khund. 

The reptilian Psions – a lizard race experimented on by the Guardians of the Universe as their first (failed) attempt to create an intergalactic police force - were created by Marv Wolfman, Alan Gold and Gray Morrow and first appeared in 1971’s The Witching Hour #13.  Based in the Vega System, the Psions later went on to become one of the main antagonists of the Omega Men. 

The shapeshifting Durlans – or rather their most famous son, Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Super Heroes – first appeared in a Legion of Super-Heroes story by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney in 1960’s Action Comics #267, though Durla wasn’t given a name until the Chameleon Boy profile featured in the following year’s Superman Annual #4.  The residents of Durla can change their shape at will, though by the 30th century at least, their original form has been lost to the mists of time.

The Khunds – a war-mongering race of space-going barbarians - were created by 14 year old Jim Shooter (who both wrote *and penciled* the issue) in his first Legion of Super-Heroes story in 1966’s Adventure Comics #346, the same issue that introduced new Legionnaires Princess Projectra, Karate Kid, Ferro Lad, and the traitorous Nemesis Kid (a Khund spy, it turned out).  They popped up a bunch of times in Legion strips after that and, like the Durlans, eventually made their way into present-day DC continuity proper circa the 1988 Keith Giffen-scripted Invasion! mini-series

The three Blackstars here may or may not be intended to represent specific characters –all ex-Green Lanterns – who’ve appeared before, specifically the Psion Gorius Karkum (created by Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin in 2010’s R.E.B.E.L.S. #16); the Durlan Von Daggle (created by Keith Champagne and Patrick Gleason in 2007’s Green Lantern Corps #7 – Daggle, presumably an ancestor of the Legion’s Reep Daggle, aka Chameleon Boy, presents as male in the GLC story, but Mark Waid and Barry Kitson’s 2004 ‘Threeboot’ version of the Legion established that all Durlans are androgynous and can change gender at will); and the Khundian Kho Kharhi (created by Gail Simone and Bernard Chang in 2008’s Wonder Woman #18). 

There’s a long tradition of ex-Green Lanterns joining the Darkstars after leaving the Corps, as per the 1990’s Darkstars series (set primarily in a time when there was no Green Lantern Corps, so what else are they all gonna do??  Once a cop…).

Page 4 – Lovely work on the F-Sharp Bell’s oddball ring constructs from Sharp here.  Some sort of solidified sound structure?  Great backgrounds too, Very Ditko’s Dark Dimension.

Page 5 – The mention of the Blackstar’s Exo-Mantle here (and toward the end of the issue when Controller Mu is talking to Volgar Zo) confirms that these are the Darkstars in all but name, and likely would be that as well if a revived Darkstars hadn’t been featured less than six months ago in the Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps book.  The Exo-Mantle is The Darkstars primary offensive and defensive piece of equipment, a harness that essentially functions as their stand-in for a Green Lantern ring.  It first appeared along with the Darkstars themselves in 1992’s Darkstars #1 by Michael Jan Friedman and Larry Stroman.

Page 6 – Bangbang and the Reverbereebees are new for this issue I think.

Xax of Xaos – the insect-looking GL – is (or was) one of the Green Lanterns of Sector 3500 and partner of Thormon Tox (kin of Maxim Tox from last issue).  He first appeared in 1961’s Green Lantern #9 and was created by John Broome and Gil Kane.  He apparently died alongside Tox the elder in 2006’s 52 #31 in a sequence almost certainly written by Grant Morrison, though it looks like he’s got better since then, and not for the first time – he also appeared to die during the Crisis on Infinite Earths back in 1985.

Volk of Maag – the GL with a constantly erupting volcano for a head – is the Green Lantern of Sector 315 and was created by Todd Klein and Kevin O’Neill in ‘Insect Trust Part Two’, the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps backup in 1985’s Green Lantern #190, where he was part of the GL cavalry rushing to the aid of Xax to protect his homeworld from the Spider Guild.

Page 7 – Incredible incredible stuff from Liam Sharp here.  Wow.

The annotations from Morrison and Sharp in November 2018’s DC Nation #6 confirm that this series is the first time we’ve seen New Oa, and that Mogo is apparently no longer pulling double duty as both a GL himself and a headquarters for the rest of them.

Page 8 – More of that ‘lost planets case’ later this issue…

That’s Larvox of Sputa – Green Lantern of Sector 17 – in the background between Volk and Hal in panel three.  The manta-ray looking guy/gal in the same panel is from Brian Bolland’s cover to 1980’s Green Lantern #127 though, almost unbelievably in this day and age, I can’t see that they've ever been given a name.  I assume all the other background GL’s here are Liam Sharp originals.

So Hal is… frightened of giant spiders?  Fair play, I would be too, but Hal was originally picked to wield the Green Lantern ring because he was “entirely without fear” (per Showcase #22).  That was retconned by Peter David, them ret-retconned by Christopher Priest (see here for more of the gory details), with all parties eventually settling on ‘the ability to overcome fear’ instead (reiterated by Geoff Johns as recently as the end of the ‘Sinestro Corps War’ storyline).

I think Hal’s fear of spiders here is something else though – a hint to suggest that… this maybe isn’t really Hal Jordan?  Coupled with the extremely subtle Eve Doremus/fake Hal callback last issue (see the annotations here), the fact that he was lying in the desert explicitly doing nothing at all for hours on end until he was needed – not to mention the mysterious absence of his power battery – and I think this all adds up to some foreshadowing that this Hal Jordan (or whoever it *really* is) may not be all that he seems.

Page 9 – We met Trilla-Tru last issue.  The early bird…

The spider pirate is named as Retlops in the annotations from DC Nation #6, though I don’t think that name made it into last issue or this.

A gyre is a spiral or vortex, and presumably how they measure time in the Spider Guild.

Page 10 - I dunno if Trilla is doing such a great job of being good cop here – withholding food, screaming at Retlops over the page and threatening to eat her…

I don’t think Guild-mother Moha Klipsa has been seen or mentioned before, but the idea that that Spider Guild’s upper hierarchy is female seems to make more sense than previous glimpses at their society, where the male spiders have been seen to be in charge.

Page 11 – Sector 2828’s Vega system, home to the Spider Guild, the Citadel, the Okaarans, the Tamarans (including the Teen Titans Starfire) and the Omega Men, has been off limits to the Green Lantern Corps (I think?) since its gradual introduction in Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton’s Green Lantern run in the early 80’s, due to an ancient agreement between the Guardians and the Psions (a member of whom we saw earlier this issue).  The ban was revoked in 2009’s Green Lantern #40, though either it’s been put back in place since then or the editor forgot to tell Morrison.  Either way, it seems to hold up for now.

Page 12 The Blackstar’s flagship, the “Overmaster Zero” is – in an extremely unlikely twist - probably named for the alien warlord and JLA villain the Overmaster, who was created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton in 1984’s Justice League of America #233.  His gigantic satellite headquarters later became the second JLA satellite, which was destroyed by the Hyperclan in the first issue of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s JLA run.

““Evil Star’ was my satirical take on “Green Lantern””  Class.

Page 13 – We’ll get to the Dhorians in just a couple of pages…

The Starband is the third component; the first two were the Venturan Luck Dial and the heart of the Qwardian Weaponeer, as seen last issue.

Controller Mu mentions later that this so-far unnamed (and terrifying) lady is the Commander of the Blackstars and the “first born of a feared and noble celestial lineage”.  I’m putting my money on her as the offspring of either Lady Styx from 52 (who was – at the very least – co-created by Morrison), or the energy vampire Starbreaker (whose first appearance in 1972’s Justice League of America #96 is heavily referenced in the Mandrakk/Superman fight in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1-2), maybe even both of them?

OR… (and this only occurred to me after I wrote all this up)

Maybe she’s from the miniature nightmare planet Transilvane?  As seen in Jack Kirby’s Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #142-143 back in 1971.  That would be cool, I think.

Page 14 – So maybe Tox is going to pull though?

Page 16 – Planet Hippocrates and Nurse Olaqua are both new I think.

The Oort cloud is “a theoretical cloud of predominantly icy planetesimals proposed to surround [our] Sun at distances ranging from 2,000 to 200,000 AU”.  It’s theorised to be where comets come from.  Two light years is about 126,000AU, so Evil Star’s been dumped about halfway in. 

Page 19 – The Dhorians first appeared (alongside Kanjar Ro, their most famous representative) in 1961’s Justice League of America #3 by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.  Volgar Zo, like Kanjar Ro befoee him, is a slave trader.

“We, born of Maltus”, as discussed in last issue’s annotations, the Controllers originally hail from the same planet as the Guardians of the Universe.

The ‘dwarf-star lens array’ is a reference to the technology that superhero The Atom uses to shrink in size.  The same terminology was used by Brainiac when referring to his own shrinking ray in Morrison’s Action Comics run.

Page 21 – That’s an Apollo Lunar Lander there on the moon (I think referenced from this photo).  I’m no space expert but I think the top bit shouldn’t be there, as that was how the astronauts got back into orbit surely?

Page 22 – “Grand Theft Planet”, great stuff


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

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