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The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

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The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

Season Two begins, as realms of adventures await!

‘And so we return and begin again.’ – The Invisibles #1

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

Beware The Intergalactic Lawman!

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Welcome back to New Oa of Universe-0, space-farer! We witnessed The Anti-Matter Lantern. We met The Guardians of the Multiverse and The Golden Lantern, bearer of The Cosmic Grail. And we experienced The Age of the Blackstars. But we’ve finally gotten through all that. Hal Jordan has returned and a whole new season of adventures across space-time await.

Lantern 101

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

We’ll be doing this slightly differently this time around. The book has relaunched with an all-new season, which means the annotations get to as well and we’ll be shaking things up. To start, we’ll assume you, the reader, haven’t read or are aware of much Green Lantern beyond the modern Geoff Johnsian Emotional Spectrum stuff or the ’90s Ron Marz Parallax and Kyle period that preceded. Those are usually the two common reference points with GL for most, as all things earlier seem more detached, with the sole exception of the cultural osmosis regarding Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams’ GL/GA.

So what we’ll be doing, to start things off here is giving you some basic Lantern 101 overview, of a sense of its broader history, which will come in handy and be useful, as we discuss a whole season’s worth of story in the coming months. If you are familiar with all this or just want to cut to the issue’s contents itself, feel free to skip to the next section.

To start things off, the big ‘eras’ and runs of Green Lantern (Silver Age onwards) break down like this:

John Broome/Gardner Fox/Gil Kane/Murphy Anderson: The Classic Silver Age period. From Showcase #22 to Green Lantern #1 to Green Lantern #75 (the final Broome/Kane issue), this is a long tenure. It’s a massively foundational period and it’s full of curious, interesting material. There are obviously big problems, especially given it’s an old Silver Age book, in regards to how the female characters are handled. Hal’s Jimmy Olsen, Tom Kalmaku, even has a very racist name, too, which is rather unfortunate, given he’s actually a really well done character, a trusted friend, husband, writer and much more — he’s a lovely character.

There’s a surprising amount of serialization present throughout this period and Broome is a natural, talented worldbuilder, establishing Hal in a world of Superman and other superheroes immediately, having him meet up and team up with Barry Allen, the new Flash and even incorporating Green Arrow mythology like Star City into flash forwards to make it feel like one, big connective universe of possibility. In it, Anti-Matter is the ever-consistent threat, Sinestro the arch-villain, Guardians as benevolent beings draped mostly in mystery and there’s a genuine sense of adventurous discovery, especially early on, as Hal must slowly figure out what this GL thing actually is. This is the run of wild imaginative power, that of time travel, Krona and the very origin of The Multiverse and The Guardians, the Hand of All Creation, all vital DC things, would spring from the imagination of Broome/Kane.

Broome’s work also exudes personality, as there is this sort of arc evident for Hal Jordan throughout his tenure. Also, it sometimes reads like Extremely Trashy Romance Manga, which is both hilarious and fun. On the whole, Broome wrote upto 47 issues of the book in total, while Fox wrote 30.

Dennis O’Neil/Neal Adams: Taking over fully as the writer the very issue after the Broome/Kane departure, O’Neil would launch the iconic GL/GA #76. The period you’re most likely familiar with, O’Neil’s period is notable for its political approach, being the inception point for Green Arrow as a character, with a new Adams re-design and the source of the iconic relationship between the two green heroes. Also where John Stewart is created. On the whole, O’Neil would write up to 53 issues of the book, lasting up until #129 of the book, spanning pretty much all of the ’70s and ending in 1980.

Marv Wolfman/Joe Staton: The next period, albeit a short (and completely uncollected) one. Wolfman would take over the book from Green Lantern #133, just a few issues after O’Neil’s departure, and shake up the book. Wolfman would return to and/or sequelize a lot of the things from the Broome/Kane period, including and especially Anti-Matter, for a big, explosive Green Lantern #150 Anniversary issue. The run would also be what would ultimately lead to Crisis On Infinite Earths, as its ruminations and considerations from here that grow bigger and bigger, until they span the entirety of DC. If nothing else, keep in mind, Crisis is and always has been an event spinning out of Green Lantern, despite the relative insignificance of Lanterns in it.

It’s also during this period that the Len Wein/Mike Barr/Joe Staton mini-series Tales of the Green Lantern Corps would debut (in 1981), marking the first time a Corps book got made (and it also saw the debut of Arisia, who would go onto star, problematically, in the Wolfman run. Sigh). Wolfman’s tenure, on the whole, would last 20 issues, as he’d check out at Green Lantern #153.

Len Wein/Dave Gibbons: Wein and Gibbons would then hop for a quick, short run, following the fill-in era by Mike Barr and Paul Kupperberg. They took over with Green Lantern #173 and Wein’s period lasted all of 14 issues, as he hopped off quick.

Steve Englehart/Joe Staton: Englehart is, really, in essence, the first big, true GL voice since Broome, in that he really rewrote the book and added a LOT that is now taken for granted or assumed to just have always been there. It wasn’t, but Englehart was very good at making you think that. Famously re-reading every Silver Age issue of GL before doing the book, he arrived to it in 1985 with Green Lantern #185. And he managed something never before seen: He actually increased the sales of GL. In fact, he doubled them. It had never happened before, as no matter what you did, it just sold the same, but Englehart’s approach seemed to resonate. He is the creator of The Manhunters of GL, splicing together Kirby mythology and ideas with Green Lantern mythology, while tying it into lost O’Neil/Grell issues of GL, performing continuity wizardry. He is, for all intents and purposes, the ‘creator’ of Guy Gardner, as prior to him, he’d just been a bland knock-off character.

Englehart, a magician, made Green Lantern weird again, bringing his characteristic cosmic strangeness to it, exploring the idea of justice across a cosmos, returning a lot of Silver Age ideas in the most Englehart manner possible and ultimately creating Kilowog, an iconic fixture. He also made The Rocket Reds and took the book to Green Lantern #200, after which it became Green Lantern Corps and ran from #200 to #224, until DC cancelled it for some dumb Action Comics plans and nuked the popularity of the property, from which it never recovered for ages after.

Englehart’s tenure was one so popular, he managed to swing events for Green Lantern (albeit bad ones) and got away with a lot. The big problem and struggle of his tenure is, of course, the impossibly terrible Arisia nonsense, building off the creepiness in the prior runs, but primarily Wolfman’s tenure.

Gerard Jones/M. D Bright: Yeaaah, we won’t be talking about this, really, given the writer. I’ll only mention that some say Green Lantern: Mosaic from this period is the best John Stewart story, but that thing is never seeing the light of day again at this point, nor should it. That one thing aside, the only real point worth mentioning here is Hal Jordan gets white hair and a new origin, with Christopher Priest and Keith Giffen involved and a more closer, personal tie to Sinestro retconned in.

After this, it’s pretty much the Marz era of Emerald Twilight, crazy Parallax, Kyle Rayner. There’s then a slight gap, as folks like Judd Winnick and Ben Raab step in for a hot minute, until Marz returns and then finally, Johns and Tomasi take over, bringing about the modern period of GL you’re at least aware of if you’re reading this.

Now that we’ve gotten those basics out of the way (which we will be referencing across the season when relevant), let’s move on and dig into the issue at hand here, as have a lot to cover.

Homecoming

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Hal Jordan is back! The palpable sense of excitement in this debut issue of the season is very evident, as this opening splash page shows. After the dark, gothic horror of The Blackstars Universe, there’s a delightful sense of wonder and awe here; a strange, lovely, pulpy weirdness that feels like genuine comfort and “home.” You feel like you’re coming home to the book, much in the same way Hal Jordan is. The sheer array of strange alien creatures, of all sizes, shapes and types, is a sight to behold, as letterer Tom Orzechowski is also finally back alongside Liam Sharp (Letterer Steve Wands did a great job on Blackstars!) and captures that sense of joyous return rather well here in those balloons.

Hal is granted a lovely suit of formal wear, which feels strikingly odd, given the man is the epitome of “Uhh, who cares, I’ll just wear whatever” style of living. Sometimes you have to dress up, I suppose. And when you’re Hal Jordan and can look great even in the trashiest clothes, sometimes you put on that good, celebratory formal outfit. All of which is to say, he looks fantastic, but of course he does.

In a lot of ways, the first season was about the myth of Hal Jordan. Constantly, we’ve been told, over and over, he is the greatest. But is he, really? If so, how? And so that whole first season is about tearing away everything about and from Hal, until he’s become a hollow fascistic brainwashed shell of himself and yet even still, he arises; even still, he stands up and fights fascism. Even under impossible standards, his desire for Free Will is unstoppable. The book shows you why this is a man myths are made about. That Hal Jordan is, indeed, a great man.

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

In a career both distinguished and extraordinary, you already possess every honor we Guardians Of The Universe can bestow. How to reward a man who expects none?

And so you get this lovely moment, where in Hal Jordan’s selfless heroism is cemented. He does what he does because it’s his duty, his job and he doesn’t get paid for it, he doesn’t need payment for it, nor does he seek, nor want any reward.

Hal Jordan does what he does without witness, without hope and without reward. Even in the blackest hour of the darkest day, of the most nihilistic world, he will perform his duty, which is destroying authoritarian systems, starting up revolutions, turning the wills of fascists against themselves. And he’ll do it all with the smile of a trickster in the process.

The new Lantern is worth bringing up here, as in the classic material, both Golden Age and Silver, the ring is neat and all, but it’s The Lantern that’s all powerful and important and special. That’s the key thing, thus the name of the hero. And the team of Morrison/Sharp/Oliff give us a brand new Lantern that feels much more mystical, much more outright fantastical and like something out of Aladdin. Which works rather well, given Green Lantern is an idea that’s essentially riffing on Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Alan Scott was, originally, to be named Alan Ladd, to make the connection extremely obvious, but given there was an actor at the time by that name, Bill Finger and Martin Nodell, the creators of The Golden Age hero, went with Alan Scott instead.

John Broome and The Magical Wishing Ring

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

This brings us to John Broome, the defining Silver Age voice and creator of Hal Jordan. A strange writer with a penchant for the weird, Broome was and always has been Grant Morrison’s favorite comics writer. Not the one he considers the best, but certainly his favorite. This should surprise no one, as building off the point in the last section, Broome is the guy that, even when revamping The Green Lantern as a sci-fi thing, will make it explicitly magical.

The Green Lantern would have many names, would be pursued by many and one of those oft-repeated names was THE MYSTIC LAMP! because it really was. And The Ring reflected that, too. These days, you see the ring mostly just make green constructs. But it was not so then, as it was a literal wishing ring. It could do anything. The imagination was the limit. It’s why the retroactive fallacy of “Kyle Rayner is the most creative one” reads as blatantly untrue, as all Kyle does is summon up manga mechs or other things the most average fanboy with pop culture osmosis would make up; his actual problem-solving and resolutions aren’t terribly creative and are fairly standard. He’s no different than anyone else, really.

But in this period, Hal Jordan was an utterly wild character. In a lot of ways, it’s this early period that the Ron Marz Kyle era tries very, very hard to re-capture, only it replaced the actual invention with dreadful fridging and other messes. Pretty much any and every Broome Hal issue is, almost definitely and easily, much more inventive than any Kyle issue. Hal Jordan was the science hero, who would debut testing a flight design he’d created and his ties to the military were just background wallpaper to get him in the role of the daredevil explorer and science man role. As Green Lantern: Earth One rightly understood, had he been made just a few years later, he’d have just been an astronaut. But in any case, Hal, for all his concussions and dumbness, was weirdly smart in this period, having a grasp of science-know how and strange facts and using them to his advantage.

The Ring was really and truly a magical wishing ring and so Hal would conjure up storms of steel spheres, entire suns, odd illusions, various cosmic rays and more. He could become invisible, shrink or embiggen things, travel through time, rewrite his memory or improve it to remember things — he did the most utterly wild “what the hell?! who would do this?! who would even think this?!” kind of stuff. He was a wholly bizarre fella who came up with the strangest, most out-of-the-box solutions to problems, but weirdly enough, once you saw him do it, the response would always be “huh, well, that seems obvious and so simple now, in hindsight” and that’s the kind of character he was. This was the dude who DREAMED of his pal Tom Kalmaku becoming a bird in his sleep and his ring responded by literally turning his friend into a bird in that very instant. Suffice to say, utter bizarreness is baked into Hal and his world.

And it’s just that weirdness that Morrison and Sharp return to here, with the ‘upgraded’ Lantern being merely a mechanism to get back to that now-ignored root of GL. The power to imagine anything and bring it into reality. It very much feels like if Season 1 was the team operating with in the parameters and status quos set by all that’d come before them for Green Lantern in the modern era and playing in and with that sandbox to do a big story, this is them making the sandbox their own now. They’re owning it, changing it, re-shaping it and putting their stamp on it. The status quo is altered and different now under their guidance. And so you get some wonderfully weird problem solving here with SHRINK-RAYS and TIME-POWERS. Because where else are you gonna get such things? While some folks speak of ‘power levels’ (which are meaningless — all that matters, ultimately, is the story being told), Green Lantern is a book about imagination. It should be full of possibility like this.

Why not shrink-rays and weirdly out-of-left-field solutions? At least for Hal Jordan specifically, it makes a load of sense. It’s his history, his heritage and very nature. And there’s scarcely a better way to celebrate his 60th and GL’s 80th than to grant it back to him.

Steve Englehart and The New Guardians

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Steve Englehart, the weird wizard of Green Lantern. Also creator of some truly problematic and sigh-worthy OCs in the dreadful GL-spinoff event Millennium. It happened because Englehart’s Green Lantern sold like gangbusters and DC needed an event, so they let him do what he wanted. And so he took his big new invention, a synthesis of Kirby mythology with Lantern mythology, The Manhunters and made them into big antagonists. But that aside, the basic pitch of the book was, the Old Guardians were gonna go away and New Guardians had to take their place. It’s a sound premise, a really solid idea. But…it’s really poorly done.

The event’s idea was, of course, that humanity would be where these new Guardians would emerge from. And from there on, you get some…truly baffling characters, like the offensive Extrano, an attempt at a gay superhero, who Steve Orlando would reclaim and salvage decades later, fixing him for the queer community. But even that aside, if you were ever curious what the actual execution of the premise is, it’s this: the Guardians must leave…to go bang space amazons in another dimension…or something. Like most Steve Englehart content, it is very, very, deeply horny. But in this instance, it’s in such a way that it really doesn’t work and almost becomes parodic, which is a shame, since the old generation of Guardians being replaced by an actual, new, younger generation, made fresh, is a pretty great concept.

And so Morrison does what Morrison does: He picks up a broken idea and asks “What if it was executed…well?”

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

I’ve joked before that Green Lantern is a book less about new ideas and more about fixing old, broken ones. Even the entire Geoff Johns era, the period of “Corps Wars” is doing a big, blatant riff on a broken, poorly executed Ron Marz idea. So Green Lantern is very much the book where in people come in and say “What if that old thing…but good?” and thus we get the Young Guardians, an actual new generation of Guardians.

The current Old Guardians are the remnants of Johns’ Templars, i.e. the ones with emotions who didn’t turn evil and instead were mostly sealed away for the whole run, until the ending. But even still, they are part of that same old, previous generation. And given their generation, in Johns’ tenure, literally tried to end all life by converting them into bizarre beings without will in the slightest, becoming super-fascists and almost brought about the end of reality, it’s safe to say their generation failed badly. They messed up and screwed the pooch badly, with no real way of fixing it. Even The Templars, when they took over, mostly turned out to be incompetent and then downright damaging, when they banished The Green Lanterns out of the universe in the Post-Johns era. Then, in further incompetency, they almost all died and the remnants decided they wanted to take up the proper title of the Guardians of the Universe formally again.

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

To which many complaints are raised. But ultimately, by the time Hal arrives to say “uhhh,” John Stewart supports the motion with the most fear-driven ideology in existence. It’s support not out of faith or trust, but out of fear. It’s an action based around the fact that if “No” is said, the Templars will instinctively turn into the same monsters their peers were. That isn’t a good thing, nor is it healthy.

Now, the approach by Morrison/Sharp is different, yes, but ultimately, the Old Generation comes with an intrinsic baggage that cannot be avoided. And so the only real way forward is to let the next generation arrive. To let the young take over and change things. To deal with and fix the messes their fore-bearers created, as is the fate of every upcoming generation.

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

And so you get the Young Guardians, who succeed the old and look like a group of Doctor Manhattans. No longer the space dwarves but space manhattans. And most importantly, they’re not immortal. They are not unchanging. They will feel, they will change, they will die. They are more mortal, more connected to the nature of things as they are than their predecessors.

In effect, this serves as a way for Morrison to revamp and give the franchise a fresh start, free from a lot of baggage of the past, allowing him and those after him to do what they want. But also, in practice, the new management allows Morrison to establish and cement new laws, new rules and thus outright answer the question of “What are the laws of the universe the Guardians stand for?” and re-work GL further and refine it, improve it. Leave it a better place than he originally found it. But even beyond that, thematically speaking, a lot of the run is about the end of the new, how if old things are let to be too long, they can morph into monstrous things and the young need to take their place and be allowed to change things, fix things and save the world from the messes of the generations before them, before it is too late.

Jim Shooter and The Intergalactic Lawcon

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

We’ve discussed “space = meaning” here in the annotations before, but if you’re unaware, essentially, The Green Lantern opts for double page-spreads only when it’s opening its story and ending its story, at least so far. And space = meaning, so the use of the spreads always indicates importance, and grants a level of weight to an opener and finale and the absence of spreads elsewhere makes them hit all the harder when they arrive, as the other stories feel more pedestrian as opposed to a vital, important moment.  That pattern continues here as we open on an Intergalactic Lawcon (Season 1 #1 was Intergalactic Lawman) FILLED to the brim with crazy cameos, references, nods and pastiches of sci-fi creatures and characters.

There’s very much a “Can you spot ’em all?!” fun aspect to this, as Sharp loads the spread with detail here, granting it tons of personality. It’s not just people there. It’s people living. It’s a dude being pissed off, it’s another being thirsty, it’s another playing a game of rock-paper-scissors, it’s another ready beat the hell out of someone, it’s another being sulky, it’s another being full after drinking, it’s another being nervous, so on and so forth. There’s just endless amounts of character and personality imbued into the scenes here and it’s a really rewarding gem of a spread. It’s very much a display of all that this book does right, suggesting a grander, richer, more cohesive and connected world than any that has ever actually existed in practice before and one that feels full of awe and wonder. One that feels full of constant, eternal possibility, where anything can happen and anyone can show up.

But it should be mentioned, the idea of an Intergalactic Lawcon? It’s been done before! And Grant Morrison certainly knows it has been, because the run has previously referenced this exact issue before, too!

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

And it’s a Silver Age Jim Shooter comic, World’s Finest #163, wherein Batman and Superman are taken to this cosmic convention and tricked, by a toxic fanboy into pulling a Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Dumb Antics. Superman pulls out all stops, going through tools of every cosmic superhero available to take out Batman, due to being controlled and yet still, Batman resists. But in the end, the love and bond of the two brothers is too strong and they manage to break free, liberate all the heroes and take the dumb villain to task. Thus new friends are made in space, villains are beaten, brotherhood re-affirmed and fun antics experienced. A very young Jim Shooter wrote this (cons weren’t the big thing they are now for our superhero-obsessed culture) and was clearly having the time of his life and Morrison has fun with a very similar notion, but played straight, without it being a trap or some trickery, with no insidious plotting. Let’s just do it, let’s just have a fun Intergalactic Lawcon, because why not? It’s a fun little idea.

Ryk of Karalyx

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Police of Karalyx were a literal one-panel idea in Mystery In Space #71, which Morrison uses to build a whole new thing out of here. Ryk is a brand new character here, but firmly based and built off that one-panel.

Now, the obvious fun thing is, if The Green Lantern has been riffing on Cop story conventions all this time, this is very much the Buddy Cop issue. It’s The Sad and The Salty, as Ryk becomes part of the corps and Hal’s new weird partner. The new rookie who has a lot to learn, but also weird new things to teach the old horse that is Harold Jordan.

Xanthos Of Zarala and Yarnak Of Milzar (Mystery In Space #76)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Another Mystry In Space pull, Xanthos was The Champion of his homeworld Zarala, who could never beat his rival, Yarnak of the world Milzar. To get better and be the ultimate champion, he challenged and dueled Adam Strange. But by the end, having lost, his lesson became that he should seek not to be ‘better’ or ‘win’ but to form a union with his rival instead and protect things better. It’s not about him, it’s about the people. And so you get Xanthos and Yarnak, years later, finally good friends and partners at last, hanging about a party, with Yarnak deflating the self-seriousness Xanthos brings. They’re a fun little pair of cosmic characters.

Mother Juna (Green Lantern/Green Arrow #81)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Juna is another massive deep cut, from O’Neil’s tenure on the franchise. In it, Adams reveals the new status of Maltus, the original homeworld of The Guardians, which is rife with overpopulation due to Mother Juna. Much like most of the O’Neil era, it’s meant to be a political tale about overpopulation and women and their ability to have children. But also much like most of the O’Neil era, it…isn’t particularly good. It reads as awkward and ham-fisted at best and the revelation that Mother Juna does what she does because she couldn’t have kids elicits the same ol’ tired sigh you expect at this point when you read or watch a dude writing stories like this.

Morrison, meanwhile, filters all the nonsense out and takes Juna, a one-issue throwaway character, and revamps her completely. Here, her motive isn’t some ham-fisted thing that reads like it was written by Joss Whedon and instead she’s just a rad super scientist. And in doing so, Morrison also revamps Maltus and its status for the now, revealing that it’s now used as essentially an experimental zone, where in simulations of numerous civilizations and various scenarios and political approaches are played out, so that wisdom can be gained and the nature of how to better guide the universe and its populous may be better understood. That suggests a level of careful thought and consideration and effort in part of The Guardians to truly find a better way of things, of understanding the intrinsic problems of a great many systems, so that they may refine their own.

Jujj Plodd Of Zood (Judge Dredd)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

HE IS THE LAW! GAZE INTO THE FIST OF PLODD! A crazy blatant pastiche on Dredd, Jujj Plodd expects you to adhere to the laws of your Ultra-City and report any suspicious activity to a local Jujj. Also, if you see any dark Jujjs from another reality: Run. Run very fast.

Klygg (Klegg) Of The Klygg

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Kleggs are a classic, well-known Judge Dredd alien race and life form, who boast silly slogans like the above. Those bastards love their war and carnage. We get a pastiche here with Klygg, who is, obviously the lawman of The Klyggian Quadrant.

Arzakk (Arzach)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Moebius’ Arzach (or Arzak, the spelling changes all the time even in stories) is pastiched here, a space-faring hero of surreal realms, he fits right into the oddball tapestry that Sharp and Morrison have created. He is the heroic guardian of his lands.

Captain Comet

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Hero Of The Atomic Age! The First Mutant Of Comics! Adam Blake!

Morrison did an inspired revamp of Comet in his Action Comics run during The New 52, framing him as a Cosmic Professor X-meets-Captain America, with his own school of Nutants, who make up a sort of Avengers/X-Men team of cosmic heroes called The Wanderers. Seems like he’s currently on break from such responsibilities and has ditched his modern gear to show off his arms and legs on this occasion, boasting a green variant of his suit. You have to admit, the man dresses to please.

Hawkman/Hawkwoman

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Hawks in a rather interesting new look. The red/gold is a curious palette to run with here. I guess some occasions require experimentation in clothing.

Adam Strange/Alanna Strange

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Rannian couple, representing The Law of Rann. Alanna opts for a skirt here, as Adam Strange proves, once again, that he has 0 taste for clothing. Wear a cooler suit, you fool.

The Superwatch Gang (Superwoman, Strongwoman and Hal Kar)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

If you’re curious about these three, check out the Superwatch breakdown, which is a good explainer for ’em. But in any case, this Superwatch Trinity of sorts is in vastly different moods. Luma Lynai, Superwoman, is pissed given some invisible jerk may have stepped on her while walking by. Marta Zappix, Strongwoman, on the other hand, is happy, relaxing at the bar with a good drink, although she may be full after that last glass. Hal Kar, meanwhile, is being a big baby, hands crossed and displeased, standing in the corner, all alone. The man needs to learn to have a fun time.

Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Brave and The Bald creative team, just hangin’ about, chilling at the Space Bar here. Not up to nothin’.

Liam Sharp’s Dad

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Look, sometimes, when you’ve got the shot to make your dad into a Green Lantern, you kinda gotta take it. It’s how the rules go.

The Watchdogs Of The Universe (Strange Adventures #62)

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

The Watchdogs of the Universe are maybe the most absurd deep cut and pull in this issue and book so far. They’re from a throwaway one-off John Broome story (and we’ve established how much Morrison loves John Broome) and are a mysterious, secretive agency of super peacekeepers who are constantly invisible and do good work.

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

And the poor folks are so nice and lovely that they seek no reward or recognition. They just want to help and do the right thing, because they can. An ancient cosmic secret society of heroes feels like an obvious idea that should’ve been in modern DC Cosmic, but it never has! And so Morrison brings it in and adds that into the rich tapestry of the world again. Ultimately, The Watchdogs are invisible heroes and operatives who actively do not want to be known at all, for if they are, it might lead to people relying on them or having expectations and thus slacking off in their own efforts and growth and The Watchdogs are firmly against that. Everyone must give it their all, try and do their best and do it like there may not be a second chance. And if they fail? Fear not, The Watchdogs are here! And they’ll perform a miracle and save the day and it will certainly look like a miracle to the world’s inhabitants.

The Happen of the Lantern

The Green Lantern S2 #1 Annotations: The Return

DC Comics

Sometimes, in science-fiction stories, something is established to be impossible. Can’t happen, won’t happen. And then it will happen.

And that’s where we’re at with this, as the delusions of a nostalgic, an old man who just refuses to let go, the cosmic Don Quixote, come true. Zundernell, The Golden Lantern, dreamed he was The Guardian of The Night-Gate and that The Eternal Night was approaching and that withit, The Multi-Crisis would arrive. It was a fiction, of course. A total sham and made up story. But this is Green Lantern and this is, very specifically, a post-2016 Green Lantern, a world where delusions of old men have conflated fiction with facts for many and so what you have is a reality that’s changed, where the fake thing has been made real and the delusions of this nostalgic, made flesh, must be confronted.

The Borges influence here is, of course, exceedingly obvious. He was a big influence on Morrison’s Animal Man and Doom Patrol and is a big fascination of Morrison in general, as he dabbles with and deals a lot with reality and the nature of reality. There’s certainly a lot of Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius here, much like in the very opening arc of Doom Patrol (writers make a world, it becomes real, sound familiar?) and it should be interesting to see where things proceed from here.

A great rebirth is coming. Change is coming. The Grail is awoken. The Weaponeers await. Hal Jordan has a lot of trials and tribulations to go through in this final season, in this season where the old must fall, at last, and the new must arise. We’ll see what fate holds for him.

Notes

  • Sharp’s depiction of both The Lanterns oath and The Corps Splash are distinctly unlike any we’ve ever seen before. Really fresh approach and angle. Lovely stuff.
  • Definitely shades of Jack Katz and Kim Jung Gi in the work here, especially by the time we get to GORILLAS WITH GUNS IN SPACE.
  • The Psiorgs are Cyborgs who are Psions, a classic DC alien race, who were created by The Guardians. Notice their emphasis on ‘sss’, a classic Psion trait. Silth of The Blackstars from Season 1 was a Psion.

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