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Comic Book / The Green Lantern

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Intergalactic Lawman

The Green Lantern is a comic book series published by DC Comics, launched in 2018 and written by Grant Morrison and art by Liam Sharp. It's also been touted by Morrison as their last mainstream comic work.

Starring Hal Jordan as the titular Green Lantern once more, the series combines Space Opera and Police Procedural elements, as made clear with the title of issue #1: "Intergalactic Lawman."

The series is a return to the cosmic cop stories of the past, with Jordan investigating crimes ranging from intergalactic space piracy to grand theft auto (as in, stealing the entire planet Earth). The primary threat building in the early issues involves the Blackstars, a fanatical offshoot of the Darkstars looking to replace the Green Lantern Corps as protectors of the universe.

This series provides examples of:

     “Season One” and “Blackstars” 
  • Achilles' Heel: Anti-Matter Sinestro claims that the Qwa-Man has one, but he's knocked out before he can tell Hal what it is.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The penultimate arc has Hal Jordan team up with multiple Lanterns from throughout the multiverse, including Leonard Lewis from the Just Imagine continuity, the Green Lantern of Earth-9, John Stewart's counterpart from Earth-23 (where the superheroes are predominantly black and Superman is President of the United States), the Earth-20 counterpart of Abin Sur, Kai-Ro from the DC Animated Universe's future timeline, Magic Lantern from Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man and an original character named Spectra, who is likely a female version of Doctor Spectrum, the Green Lantern ersatz from Marvel Comics' Justice League Alternate Company Equivalent the Squadron Supreme.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Spectra of the Multiverse Green Lanterns is implied to be a version of Doctor Spectrum, the Green Lantern pastiche from Marvel's Squadron Supreme judging from her name and the prisms on her hands being reminiscent of Doctor Spectrum's Power Prism.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Green-Skinned Space Babe Pengowirr is revealed to be the Artificial Intelligence of Hal's power ring.
  • Badass Normal: Aeroman and Windlass of the United Planets Superwatch as its only members who don't have any superpowers.
  • Band of Brothers: The Green Lanterns are this to one another, sticking up for Jordan when he's put on trial for executing a planetary slavery. This makes the revelation that there's a mole in the group even more troubling for Jordan.
  • Big Bad: Controller Mu.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Parodied by the Watchdogs of the Universe, an intergalactic peacekeeping force whose agents are all invisible. They monitor millions of unaware worlds, but their workdays are only three hours long.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The world inside the power ring, into which Jordan has to travel after the Blackstar Controller Mu sets off a potentially universe-destroying bomb.
  • Blatant Lies: Jordan's claim of "self-defense" when executing a space slaver.
  • Body Backup Drive: Controller Mu has several bodies, although it's less of a contingency in case something happens to the one he's using and more out of necessity due to his intellect being too vast to fit in a single corporeal form.
  • The Bus Came Back: This is a Grant Morrison work so it's a given.
    • Rot Lop Fan, the sightless Green Lantern created by Alan Moore returns as Evil Star's jailer.
    • The first arc brings back Psion Green Lantern Gorius Karkum, who vanished from prominence shortly after the arc in R.E.B.E.L.S. that introduced her.
    • The Xeen Arrow, an alternate version of Oliver Queen from Dimension Zero whose last appearance was in 1958.
    • The Green Lantern of Earth-20 (Abin Sur of the Society of Super-Heroes) returns in issue #9 with a group of multiversal Lanterns to recruit Hal Jordan to fight the "Mad Lantern." He first appeared in the Grant Morrison series The Multiversity.
    • Issue #9 features a multitude of obscure Silver Age characters as the United Planets Superwatch, including Superwoman Luma Lynai and Hal Kar, the Golden Age precursor to Mon-El.
    • The Annual centers around a Jordan family reunion that sees several relatives of Hal from across his publication history make their first appearences in decades such as his cousin, Doug Jordan (last appeared in 1969), and his niece, Helen Jordan, from his time as The Spectre from 2001-03.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jordan experiences a sense of deja vu when Chriselon crash-lands in the desert, much like Abin Sur did years earlier.
    • The Annual issue features Helen Jordan, who briefly mentions her adventures with Hal when he was the Spectre.
    • Hal joins the other Green Lanterns of the Multiverse as they investigate Earth-15, a perfect universe that was totally destroyed by Superboy-Prime in Countdown to Final Crisis after he went on a temper tantrum. The Green Lantern of Earth-9 even summons the spirits of this world's Superman (Lor-Zod), Batman (Jason Todd), and Wonder Woman (Donna Troy). It later turns out the Miracle Machine created the universe where the Blackstars were prominent instead of the Green Lanterns by over-writing Universe-15.
    • The Blackstars reveal to Hal that they have built the Miracle Machine from Final Crisis, which itself is revealed to be the Genesis Box that Orion used to defeat Darkseid in the "Rock of Ages" arc of JLA (1997).
  • The Cameo: Several figures bidding in the planetary auction are established criminals from the DC cosmos. The two primary bidders before the Shepherd outbids everyone are the Dominators and Steppenwolf, who both have nothing but pleasant things in store for the human race once they've gotten their hands on the planet Earth.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There's some lip service to the Doomsday Clock Myth Arc concurrently going on with a Guardian noting to Hal that the Book of Oa has been revised without their consultation or knowledge. The Book displays Doctor Manhattan's symbol to indicate this.
    • Hal's longstanding dislike of Batman is brought up again when Green Arrow jokingly asks if he hooked up with the Blackstars' vampiric leader:
    Hal Jordan: What do I look like, Batman?
  • Cowboy Cop: Jordan has this reputation among the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians use this to their advantage to send him undercover with the Blackstars.
  • Dead All Along: Chriselon, who was replaced by a shapeshifting Durlan Blackstar spy after his ship crashed at the start of the series.
  • Downer Ending: Season 1 ends with the Qwa-Man rescued, fully healed, and victorious. Mu is revealed to still be alive and coerces a dying Hal to power his Miracle Machine to stop the Anti-Matter War by altering reality so the Blackstars are the universe's premier peacekeeping force instead of the Green Lanterns.
  • The Drifter: Hal's life while he's stationed on Earth from GL business is characterized as this. Usually staying at friends' places at night and roaming the highways during the day.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Hal's solution to the Jordan family being mind-controlled by a sentient alien radio wave? Set off a family argument where the Jordans bicker so much that the alien's attempt at returning them to his control completely fails and the Jordans don't even bat an eye at his presence, only displaying annoyance that Hal's Green Lanterning brought it to what was supposed to be a normal get-together.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Qwa-Man and this book's version of the Weaponeers are this trope taken to the extreme. Rather than stylish and marketable foils to the Green Lanterns like the Red Lanterns or Sinestro Corps, they are an organisation of unrepentantly ugly and vile superpowered cyborgs whose power batteries are implanted in their chests.
  • Genius Loci: The Blackstars unleash an adult sun-eater on a hapless planet. Jordan and a pair of Lanterns have to hold out for two hours, using their rings to generate an artificial star long enough for one of their fellow corpsmen, who is a sentient star, to arrive and save the day.
  • Genre Throwback: To The '70s Denny O'Neill and Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics and The '80s Vertigo era based on the likes of Alan Moore.
  • Glamour Failure: The Shepherd who purchases the Earth from the planetary auction is a spitting image for Zeus or the Old Testament God. This is revealed to be a ruse meant to gain the trust of the human race, as Jordan reveals him to be a monstrous, reptilian creature who feeds off of planets after a thousand years of "ripening." In a subversion of how people typically react to this trope, the human race claims they've gotten past judging people for their looks if it means they get to keep their super-powers and tell Jordan they're fine with it.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: A spider pirate accuses Jordan and a fellow corpsman of attempting this. The roles are reversed when Jordan's seemingly beneficial partner begins threatening the pirate and he goes from making threats to offering her food so they can come to an accord.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Pengowirr. She is a green-skinned alien with long black hair, a voluptuous body and Stripperiffic clothing that is asymmetrical.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: The Blackstars test Jordan's loyalty by dictating that he kill a once trusted ally: Adam Strange.
    • Earlier on, Belzebeth forces Hal to fend for himself in the poor district of her homeworld, which results in Hal reluctantly beating up hordes of dangerous (if rightfully indignant) space vampire homeless people
  • In Love with Your Carnage: At the end of Green Lantern: Blackstars Belzebeth says that the reason she wanted to marry Jordon was precisely because of his dangerous feats and the fact that given his moral antithesis to her he would seek to destroy her.
  • Insistent Terminology: Hal insists that he's not a superhero but rather a cop who hangs out with superheroes.
  • Knight Templar: The Blackstars are ruthless offshoots of the Darkstars who have dedicated themselves to eliminating threats more permanently than the by-the-book Green Lanterns.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • Crowd shots on the vampire planet Vorr includes cameos by vampire characters not owned by DC, most notably Marvel Comics' Blade and Morbius the Living Vampire.
    • The Alliance of Alternates consisting of alternate Green Lanterns in the penultimate arc consists mainly of incarnations of Green Lantern from preceding continuities and previously established universes. The one exception is a new character named Spectra, who is almost certainly a female analogue of Doctor Spectrum, the Green Lantern stand-in from Marvel's Justice League Alternate Company Equivalent the Squadron Supreme.
  • Magma Man: Lantern Volk is a rather literal version of this trope, being an alien with a large, craggy body and a head that's very much just an active volcano spewing a gas cloud that shifts into different facial features depending on his current mood.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's intentionally unclear what actually happened in the Annual. The story itself is about radio-wave entities affecting the brains of the adult Jordans, causing them to pass out, attack Hal, and drop long-suppressed truth bombs, with only Hal, Harold and the kids unaffected. It turns out this is what Hal is telling them about why they don't remember the previous night (or possibly remember parts of it and would prefer not to), and he then demands the kids tell him what actually happened, since the adults have bought the cover story. The mundane explanation is that the black sheep of the family, Doug "Hip" Jordan, convinced them to spike the punch with something, for his own amusement. And then the final panels show a radio-wave entity on Hip's phone.
  • The Mole: The Guardians send Hal Jordan undercover with the Blackstars to find one of these within the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The cover to issue #8 ("SPACE JUNKIES!") is a reference to the classic "Snowbirds Don't Fly" story first appearing in Green Lantern #85, where Green Arrow learns that his sidekick Speedy is an addict.
    • When the Qwa-Man returns to his universe fully restored his uniform echos the look Kyle Rayner had in JLA where he was a weaponer of Qward; this was part of a dream reality created by the Key.
  • Papa Wolf: Superman makes no pretension about the fact that he will wage war against the Blackstars if they ever try to recruit his son.
  • Retraux: Everything about the book's visuals screams Vertigo Comics of The '80s.
  • The Reveal: The "rebooted" universe Hal willed to life is not actually a rebooted DCU but rather a new version of the once decimated "perfect" Earth-15.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • In his encounter with Zundernell, Hal complains about his shouting unintelligible exposition, a common criticism of some of Morrison's works.
    • While Morrison upfront states Issue #2 is "almost a roast of modern comics", particularly Batman (Tom King), Superman (Brian Michael Bendis), Heroes in Crisis, Dark Nights: Metal, and Dark Nights: Death Metal, they also admit they're including their own contributions in that category. The "ever more gargantuan, more primordial, and above all, more reliably anthropomorphic supernonentities" the League has been facing a lot of recently can just as equally apply to Mandrakk, Monitor-Mind the Overvoid, true form Darkseid, and the Gentry as it applies to Barbatos, the World Forger, and Perpetua.
  • Shout-Out: Again, a Grant Morrison work:
  • Ship Tease: Between Hal and Pengowirr, who is actually the AI of his power ring. Morrison and Sharp even describe her as Hal's True Love.
  • Significant Anagram: The beautiful green woman Pengowirr is the AI of Jordan's Power Ring.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jordan executes a space slaver who stole the planet Earth for illicit auction, mostly for the conditions of the child slaves he uses to power his ship.
  • Space Cop: The Green Lanterns have always been this, but the day-to-day activities of Jordan and his associates are explored in greater detail than before. When the Earth is miniaturized and sold at a planetary slave auction Jordan even puts up police tape around the planet to mark it as an active crime scene.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Morrison is insistent that the book be referred to as The Green Lantern. He's also said that this doesn't refer to Hal (who is, of course, a Green Lantern), but to the symbol of the Corps, and is a reference to The Blue Lamp.
  • Square-Cube Law: Hal lets an alien grow to immense size because he knows that he'll eventually collapse under his own weight thanks to this trope, which he directly namedrops.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Everywhere Chriselon to Chaselon.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Chriselon tells Jordan to tell his family that he loves them, as he's crashed and thinks he's not long for this world. He's not really Chriselon.
  • Take That!:
    • There's some pretty spiteful jabs in Green Lantern: Blackstars #2 towards the concurrent state of DC Comics' status quo (which itself is heavily implied to be because of Hal's Cosmic Retcon by order of Mu):
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Jordan's infiltration of the Blackstars is uncovered almost immediately.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Turns out Hal hates spiders and is noticeably sweating bullets while he interrogates the spider pirate. The feeling is mutual as the spider herself finds humans revolting.
  • Writing for the Trade: The title is split into "Seasons" that help to differentiate arcs and storylines.
  • The Worf Effect: Evil Star is maimed in the first issue so the Blackstars can add his power to their own.

     “Season Two” 
  • Aesop Amnesia: The Guardians are planning to replace the Lanterns with a new force that has "no more individualistic opposition to the will of the Guardians". Because that worked so well with the Manhunters. Or the Alpha Lanterns. Or the Third Army.
  • Altar Diplomacy: A political marriage meant to prevent war falls through because the bride and groom admit that they really don't like each other all that much. The war happens.
  • Always Save The Love Interest: Reconstructed. While something of a vagabond tomcat, Hal always prioritizes the safety of his various lovers over more pragmatic ways of resolving his missions, and this is never depicted as anything less than a virtue. Weaponeer 666 on the other hand, willingly sacrifices Sinestro's life for the opportunity to bring down Qward. And even that might not have been enough.
  • Art Shift:
    • Issue 3 is fully painted.
    • Issue 5 sees Liam Sharp take after the style of Jack Kirby for some Silver Age style fun.
  • Back to Front: The story of Issue #8, told from the perspective of Weaponeer 666, is ordered in reverse.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Nomad Empire is ultimately defeated nonviolently, and their Ultrawar attack is dismantled, but Fekk, Samandra, and Vespero are killed in the battle with Hector Hammond, and the Young Guardians reach the end of their life cycles. Declining an offer to formally return to the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan opts to take his now Cosmic Grail-empowered ring to explore the universe solo because there's no place for him in the next phase of Corps' adventures.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Crime Syndicate of Amerika from JLA: Earth-2 appear as ambassadors of the Antimatter Earth bringing tributes to appease Weaponeer 666.
  • Conflict Ball: The Ultrawar/Multi-Crisis is this taken to its logical, apocalyptic conclusion; the Big Crunch by way of Let's You and Him Fight where everything from gods to molecules engages in all out war with each other.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Deconstructed. As a team, the Weaponeers seem less effective than the Qwa-Man (read: Weaponeer 666) from Season 1. The reason? Being the Antimatter version of Hal Jordan, Weaponeer 666 is the greatest among them, and is intentionally holding himself back in an attempt to trick both sides into destroying the Lightning Forge of the Qwa-Masters.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Hal makes reference to Heroes in Crisis and Flash Forward, lamenting his absence during these events and showing concern about Wally West.
    • When a Guardian notes that they should consider the feelings and opinions of the dead, Hal retorts that they would've supported the Blackest Night.
    • Hal's time as The Spectre is given focus in Issue #7, as well his history of romantic trysts, identities, jobs, and dark times. All of which to say that he's a complex human being who's been through a lot rather than a living series of contradictions like the New Guardians are thinking.
  • Death Is Cheap: Hal dies again, but it ends up only being a near-death experience as nano-surgeons heal him and bring him back.
  • Decomposite Character: Zig-zagged. The presence of the Crime Syndicate confirms that the direct Antimatter counterpart to the Green Lantern Corps is the Weaponeers of Qward, meaning Power Ring isn't the Mirror Universe version of Hal (though he was originally one for Kyle Rayner). More than likely, this distinction implies that Power Ring is the Antimatter counterpart of Alan Scott.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: A more cynical take on this trope is done with Earth 11's Green Lantern, Hal Ferris. Hal Ferris clearly thinks he's a Nice Guy when he tries to woo who he thinks is his universe's Carol Jordan (actually the prime universe's Carol Ferris) in to marrying him. In reality he's a self-pitying, misogynistic creep. It only takes the slightest bit of apprehension on her part for him to go in to an angry tirade about women only want bad boys before resolving to force her be with him.
    Hal: We just can't cut it! No matter how hard we try—- with our ethically sourced aftershave and woke credentials! It's the bad boy you really want.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: It turns out that Weaponeer 666 is having a secret tryst with the Antimatter Sinestro. Sinestro dies in his arms and it's retroactively noted that 666 greatly fears losing him.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: The Green Lanterns of Earth-11 are this, being gender-swapped counterparts to the main universe's Straw Feminist Star Sapphire Corps. On the flipside, the Earth-11 Star Sapphire Corps is quite heroic.
  • Painting the Medium: Issue #8 takes place from the Antimatter universe's perspective and it turns out the positive matter Green Lanterns speak in reverse for them as well.
  • Planet Looters: The Nomad Empire.
  • The Power of Love: Hal ends the Ultrawar by coordinating a mass multiversal declaration of the Green Lantern oath, with the narration declaring that only by coming together can everything stop fighting each other.
  • Pretender Diss: Hector Hammond wears an insultingly caricatured and transparent Sinestro disguise to remind both Hal and the audience who the modern Green Lantern's true first and oldest enemy is.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Well he’s not, but Hal feels so emotionally distant from Earth, his own home planet, that he treats being assigned there like this.
  • Servile Snarker: The power rings are shown to have their own personalities, holding direct conversations with their wearers and often even being sassy about it. When Hal uses another Lantern's ring temporarily, it makes fun of his tendency to go for giant green hands.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Cowgirl actually still had an intact plane in issue 3, and could've escaped the dimension of the Weather Lords at any time, but opted to stay and try to save one of her injured fellow pilots who was also stranded there. He perished along the way to her vehicle.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Earlier runs have been building towards this. In the first issue of Season Two, John asks him when he's coming back to say hi to his friends on Earth, and he compares Earth to his childhood backyard when he didn't know there was a whole world out there. Later on in that issue, he shows a frown when he is given an assignment on Earth.
  • Superman Substitute: Horribly subverted with Hyperman. He poses as a heroic figure, but he's actually a meth-addicted serial killer.
  • Take That!:
    • While Morrison has Hal apologetically acknowledge his lack of presence and involvement in Heroes in Crisis and Flash Forward, it's somewhat also in a Here We Go Again!, "eyes rolling" tone as Hal refers to it as "another meltdown or big crisis". And Barry shrugs that everyone's just waiting for yet another Cosmic Retcon to sweep the slate clean.
    • In the penultimate issue, the Young Guardians state that they intend to fire Hal Jordan and replace him with Earth-based Lanterns who have less real self-determination to prevent future individualistic opposition to their collective behavioral authority. These being Sojourner Mullien, Tai Pham, and Keli Quintela.
    • Issue 12 has some words:
      • It has some critical thoughts about how The Bus Came Back or Reimagining the Artifact is handled in modern comics (pay attention to repeated usage of the word "modern", by the way), mainly how any classic characters that are brought back are ultimately brought back as grotesque "action figures" or ugly oversexualized dolls.
      • In a Hypocrisy Nod, Hector Hammond reveals that Abin Sur and the Green Lantern Corps saved Athmoora by effectively trapping it in its medieval times, stunting its societal growth so they won't even be able to move to inventing the steam engine. While Hal admits fault for never bothering to rectify Abin Sur's actions, he'll still defend it with all his heart, and Hal's Athmooran allies declare love for Athmoora the way it is. In other words, Grant Morrison admits fault to feeding into the nostalgia and Status Quo Is God doctrine of the comics industry but they still admit pride in what they had accomplished in their writing career.
      • Samandra, Fekk, and Vespero, characters who thus far are only exclusive to Morrison's run, are killed off and mocked by Hammond for not being relevant or popular enough to exist past this moment, whilst Hal and Hammond's rivalry will spring eternal.
      • When given a chance of promotion and a few words of tutelage to his successors... Hal just leaves for parts unknown.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: The Golden Giants of Pangea that the Flash fought back in The Flash #120 are revealed to be the mindless vassals of much more dangerous alien masters.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Hyperman for the United Planets Superwatch.