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Green Lantern Blackstars #2 Annotations

The diss track of the DC Universe!

Warning: Major Spoilers Below

‘Hands up- Who wants to rule the universe?’

Annotated!

If you didn’t think ‘me!’ upon reading that, welcome.  The Green Lanterns have been erased from existence. Only The Blackstars exist. Grant Morrison’s space voyage continues with Xermanico, Steve Oliff and Steve Wands, as Liam Sharp and Tom Orzechowski take a break. And this is the much-awaited and promised ‘roast’ issue of the book, which turns the mirror on superheroes and their comics in the modern age. And that’s effectively what this is, but it’s vital to remember what was said at the onset in regards to this:

“The second issue of Blackstars is the funniest one, because we get to see what’s become of Superman and the Justice League,” he teases. “It’s my cruelest portrayal of Superman that I’ve ever done, that makes him out to be the worst he can possibly be. [Laughs] I’m hoping people will really dig it, because it’s almost a roast of modern comics, including my own.

With that key context out of the way, let’s dig in. There’s a lot to discuss here, as the issue is predictably dense, so we’ll be splitting this into 3 big sections to get at a lot of the points within the book.

The Roast Of The DC Universe

The Hole In Things

Break The Bat! Replace The Bat! Return The Batman!

Without a second’s hesitation, we start the diss track right here. Xermanico opens us on a lovely visual of Planet Earth, with Steve Oliff’s bright yellows and Anti-Matter oranges gleaming at the reader. The thing that sticks out the most, in this book about light, specifically green light, is this tinge of yellow light over green. Fear over will. And that’s where we begin, as Wands’ lettering and Morrison’s words press ‘play’ and get us going.

Batman’s been through a lot in the modern era. He’s faced down gods, super-societies bent on warping him or destroying him, traveled through time, met literal Bat-Gods and more. And through all that, it was personal. It was ever personal, eternally targeted attacks against The Batman, that symbol and all that it meant, could mean and might mean. And the motive of every antagonist hell bent on their new crusade, their personal mission of vendetta against The Dark Knight? Break The Bat. That’s what it is, it’s what it always is. And once they’ve done that or that’s been achieved, a replacement Batman arrives on the scene, taking up that mantle and role. But it never lasts long, as the quick, ever-looming and inevitable return comes, bringing Bruce Wayne, The Batman, back into the role.

In fairness, this not particularly new, as the 90’s really brought it to prominence with Chuck Dixon’s big Knight saga, where in Bane became the man to break Bruce. And then Azrael took up the role. Dick Grayson was briefly a Batman for a hot second in that 90’s age, too, but no one remembers that much. But in any case, Bruce finally came back and took back Gotham and the mantle. It’s an iconic narrative. But it’s also not one that really thinks of as critically clever or ‘good’, what one thinks of is ‘well, it’s 90’s’. And that it certainly is. So when Grant Morrison took on the franchise and overhauled it, with a whole swath of villains out to personally warp, destroy and break Batman in his epic saga, where in Dick became Batman alongside Damian as Robin and then Bruce came back, it was a hit. ‘Dickbats’ as it’s affectionately dubbed is a beloved, critically praised and brilliant run of comics, much like most of the Morrison Bat-Epic.

But that pattern proved to be so popular…it never quite stopped. It’s been the case for every Bat-run since, from Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo’s tenure through Tom King’s current run. Always the villains come for Batman, he’s replaced, he returns. From Court Of Owls, The Bane Alliance, to the Maze or The Wedding, whether it be Jim Gordon as Batman or Thomas Wayne as Batman, it’s this recurring track, this familiar tune that keeps playing, over and over. And that becomes the butt of a joke here, as Morrison references Aunt Harriet, an old Silver Age Alfred-replacement character who hasn’t been seen since the 70’s.

The eternal cycle, destined to repeat

And thus you get this hilarious bit, where in, right after ‘Break The Bat’, the book cuts to Gotham, where in we see a broken Bat-Signal shining in the sky, as Batman sighs, “… Not again.” In this moment of self-awareness, even dear old Batman is tired of this pattern. But despite what seems like a roast of the writers after him, it’s very much a roast of Morrison’s Batman as well. It’s a look at its effect and Morrison’s own legacy and his hand in crafting the landscape we know to be modern comics. It’s him taking the piss out of what many consider to be his best work, poking fun at it and chuckling, as he grins at all that it’s done. It’s him mocking himself and laughing.

But more interestingly, you have the title ‘A Hole In The Sky’, which feels important, especially as it’s placed over Gotham and Batman. Morrison’s Bat-Saga was effectively built on this idea of ‘The Hole In Things’, this ever-present, consistent motif which is at the heart of the Ouroboros that is that entire saga. Bruce Wayne’s entire reality is what it is due to a hole put in the hearts of his parents, there’s Doctor Hurt calling himself the hole in things, there’s the black hole at the end of everything that consumes everything. The hole is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. The hole is the absolute absence, complete darkness, it haunts Bruce like a curse, but the hole is also potential, it’s birth of Batman, it’s renewal, it means there’s space to create something to fill-in that hole. It’s possibility. And so once again, with Batman and the DC Universe at large, Morrison returns to a hole. A hole in the sky, as the image shows a broken batsymbol, the most overt and loud way to scream ‘broken’. Much like the universe at the end of things in Return Of Bruce Wayne and a cosmos at collapse in Final Crisis, this is a messy realm. This isn’t just any world, it’s an absolutely broken one, there’s something so deeply wrong and the entire issue from here on out becomes about that. But this opening, where in we open on The City Of Fear, Gotham, reads like a statement. This is the place most indicative of the universe at large: chaotic, destructive, predatory, gothic and hauntingly monstrous.

The Warrior Of Peace

Swords over Lassos in action

Then we meet this world’s Superman (more on him in a later section), who provides the perspective and context for this new alternate reality. Immediately he name drops alternate incarnations of familiar antagonists- Bane, Harley Quinn and The Court/Parliament Of Owls. That’s a big, red sign to let you know, this is not your familiar reality. This is something else. And the names themselves are rather fun, where in Bane’s made to sound like a McDonald’s product, Harley gets a c added in to be a Charley Chaplin reference and Parliament Of Pain is a silver age alliterative title that Stan Lee would approve of. Throw in a reference to Heroes In Crisis and its depiction of heroes and one finally arrives at the big Wonder Woman piss-take.

Here we see a big, extreme, parodic version of Diana who’s about to do unspeakably brutal things, sword in hand, as Superman talks about how Wonder Woman’s put aside her lasso and bracelets, her iconic symbols, to pick up a sword and shield of war to have a meaningful direction. And the commentary is so biting and painfully true that it hurts. It’s an extreme parody made for laughs, yes, but there’s a wee kernel of truth packed in there. We live in a world where Brian Azzarello infamously retconned the Amazons into being cruel and murderous rapists who mocked Diana by the name ‘mud’ and her mentor was Ares, The God Of War and in the end, she became The God Of War by killing him. And even in the conclusion of that run, her version of ‘love’ is an ironic joke, where in she chucks her foe into an eternal pit of suffering, much like Zeus did, which started the entire mess of that story. It was so extreme that upon his return to the franchise, Greg Rucka had Diana look over that whole thing and comment ‘My home is a parody of what it once was’. That’s modern Wonder Woman.

And increasingly, the lasso and its significance has been downplayed, in favor of a sword. Diana, emissary of peace, using an instrument to cut, slash and stab. Diana, God Of War. There’s a problem there, isn’t there? And it’s certainly not that Amazons can’t use a sword, they can, they’re incredibly good with them, but they do so in very specific contexts, that’s not their go-to. They don’t just pull out swords to solve every problem. Their first instinct is not to cut, to slash or to stab or threaten. The phallic object of war is but a simple toy to them. So the problem really is the absolute emphasis on these women, specifically Wonder Woman, as violent people, as ‘warriors’ to the exclusion of all else, to their culture, their philosophy, their medicine, their science, their culture that doesn’t involve violence. It’s taking complex women with numerous facets, who are healers, scientists, writers, poets, philosophers and dumbing them down to ‘warrior’ and defining them solely by their capacity for violence. And the fact that so many would rather see and write Diana wielding a generic instrument of war over a lasso of peace, in order to have a better ‘definition’ or ‘direction’ is what’s being gotten at here.

Her mission is peace. Her value is love. Her heart is compassion. Her methods are kindness and patience. And yet, we’ve reduced her down to solely her ability for violence. It’s funny as a gag, sure, but the truth in there is painful and depressing. This one’s both a gag and also a sad sigh.

The Just-Us League

Ouch

Now this is the big page, locked and loaded like a gun with a dozen bits instead of bullets. It’s arguably the funniest page and it’s also the most brutally honest page. It kicks off, of course, with The Justice League. Eternally locked in battles with cosmic beings who are somehow always humanoid and their all-new relatives may feel like a shot at the current Justice League, but this, much like Batman, goes back to Morrison’s own JLA work. After a period of irrelevance, Morrison and Howard Porter brought the Big Seven back together and put them through Gardner Fox-style sci-fi plots of mythic scope and scale, showing an entire universe, a bustling cosmos and threats that could reasonably wreck it for good, with only the League standing in their way. Superman, a man complaining about being unable to live up to his own myth, wrestles a literal angel. That’s JLA.

We’ve been through long period of many trying to re-imagine the League as a Post-Authority/Stormwatch Task Force, finally culminating in Christopher Priest’s tenure, which took it into the space of politically questioning the league, their interventionism, the messy geo-political nature of things amidst all that and more. And Scott Snyder, along with James Tynion IV, has consciously been trying to get back to the JLA roots of his mentor and trusted friend, Morrison (while throwing in a dash of DCAU and shounen manga for good measure). His Justice League is nothing if not a love letter to Morrison’s work, even as it raises the bar of escalation every month to an insane degree. And so when Morrison pokes fun at the League here, he’s also chortling at his own big run. Morrison has never been afraid to mock himself, going even as far back as the 80’s, where in Buddy refuses to believe he’s a fiction, because no one would write such terrible dialogue! So it’s nothing new for the creator, but now the mockery extends a bit further to just modern DC comics in general.

The Curse Of The Superman

 

The Useless Super-Dad

But the big point in the marketing for this issue was, of course, Morrison’s ‘cruel’ take on Superman. And…it’s surprisingly not as cruel as one might expect. It’s certainly cruel by Morrison’s standards, to be sure, but when placed next to a whole dozen others, it’s not all that cruel. Even at his meanest attempt, the man’s love of the hero restrains him. Now that being said, this isn’t too tame. Morrison’s ordinary Superman is a Man Of Tomorrow, a Solar God who does the impossible in the face of impossible odds. He’s a man who questions himself, is insecure, is capable of losing his temper and more, sure, but he’s fundamentally a champion of the people, a socialist superhero that represents the best of human imagination. Now this alternative? He’s a spineless coward. He whines and whines, complaining about how bad things are and why, but refuses to actually do anything to facilitate change. He doesn’t do the impossible, because he doesn’t have the concept of it. He threatens change with violence and war, he’s an ineffectual symbol of the status quo hovering above the people, rather than listening to them. He’s a stagnant man incapable of change, eternally The Man Of Yesterday, never The Man Of Tomorrow. He just cannot let go and it’s part of why he won’t let go of his son either. (Though notice how this inverts and plays the idea of Jon Kent leaving off to join a cosmic club. Some more fun poking there.)

It’s also why the All-Star wink with ‘well, why won’t you wind it up?’ matters. That’s what Actual Superman does. He’s a man of action. This guy? He does nothing. He just stands there, whining. He spews platitudes and gives you the news like he’s on TV and just sulks. He inspires no one and it’s part of why the world is so messed up.

The Infected and The Contagious

Darkness! No Parents!

And then we have The Depressoverse (more on that in the next part), an obvious piss-take on The Dark Multiverse. And that means we also need a pisstake on the big thing to emerge from that realm: The Batman Who Laughs. And thus we get The Batmanson and The Batmanson Family, a mixing of Charles Manson and the Manson Family with Batman, a complete parody of The Infected. Depressoverse Steph even says ‘We’re contagious now, too!’, as Cass just mutters ‘heeheehee’. It couldn’t be more blatant if it tried and so we get a hysterical bit where in this world’s tired Batman just resigns himself to his fate and sighs ‘I give in’. It’s a charming punchline to the whole bit, as the creative team shows what the merger of Batman with a serial killer looks like and how silly it is. The red-lettering laughs of the character are also mimicked and we get a customized version, thanks to the talents of Steve Wands, who continues to kill it with his story-book-esque caption work. All in all, this is the sort of ‘oh my god, how did this get through’ sort of comics, which pokes fun at the publisher’s entire Year Of The Villain/The Infected macro-stories, which are front and center right now.

But of course, there’s also the other gag here, The Depressover Doppelzombie, which, again underlining the silliness of all this, also works as a reference to another thing: DCeased. This year saw a huge surge in the zombie craze when it comes to DC, as DCeased sold like gold and launched one-shot after one-shot and spin-off after spinoff. And so in a period where that’s a huge, big thing, touching on that is an obvious move, while taking the ridiculousness to the extreme.

The Truth Of The Depressoverse

 

Yes, you!

Now The Depressoverse, this is interesting. It’s kind of the big thing here. Obviously, yes, it’s The Dark Multiverse, which, while in concept is ‘Dark Matter’ and thus could/should spawn any kind of world or story, only seems to create ‘dark’ and depressing narratives. But it’s more than that. There’s a double-play with that, as there often is with Morrison. Right after its mention, there’s of course a panel where in Superman points up and talks about a certain effect he’s been experiencing, where in ‘the visual track is frozen, but the audio’s still rolling’. And yes, that’s an obvious, fun Bendis dialogue reference, as the writer is well-known for his idiosyncratic banter, where in repetition is used a lot. It was huge in the 2000’s and defined the voices for a great many characters, feeling natural and real, but over the years, it’s also earned a lot of criticism. And so it’s a cheeky poke at that, but it’s also more. That’s the horrifying, depressing truth.

The Depressoverse isn’t just The Dark Multiverse. It’s us. We are The Depressoverse. We’re the messy, broken world where in nothing but misery seems to emerge every time one checks the news or sees the state of the world. It’s us, as it’s what we’re all feeling everyday. The Bendis dialogue bit isn’t just Superman pointing at dialogue, it’s him pointing at the panel. What is a panel but a frozen visual where in the audio’s still rolling? It’s awareness in regards to being in a comic. Ultimately, we’re the world that conjors up all these depressing, monstrous beings and puts them up against these heroes. We’re the ones who give them constant conflict and torture them. This is why in the very next panel, Superman goes into the eternal, never-ending struggle of superhero comics. The absolute buck-wild insanity of it, where in everybody’s always dying, being resurrected, turning evil or what have you.

It’s also why in the following panels, Hal asks ‘Which Superman am I even talking to? When I left Earth, you were in Jeans and a T-Shirt’, then going further to say ‘As I hear it, history changes every few years these days’, getting at The New 52/DCYou/Rebirth/New-Justice, where things rapidly shift. DC’s history is an absolute mess and that’s what this is a jab at. Anyone who knows Morrison knows, of course, that he loves the utter lunacy, the madness of the DC Universe, where in every few years, you need to Crisis to ‘fix’ history and then need to do another Crisis to fix the errors of that first Crisis. He loves this world, messes and all. So much like this whole issue, it’s poking fun in good humor and doing so from a place of love.

[Note: People protesting Crisis events, even as DC hurtles to one and Morrison’s about to do a mini-one in his book is maybe the most telling gag here. It’s self-aware, it’s mocking itself and what is to come, as it laughs at the way things are, alongside us.]

The Myths Of Vampires

The Devil’s Daughter

The Cosmic Vampires!

Morrison has long had a fascination with Devils and Devil archetypes, as readers of his work will know. They recur everywhere, all over the place, from Doctor Hurt and Darkseid to Vyndktvx. But over the past decade, he’s also added another element to that fascination: The Devil’s Daughter. That’s what Talia Al Ghul was. And after dealing with the Devilish patriarchs such as Doctor Hurt and Darkseid, Morrison’s Batman faces its most central and greatest threat in The Devil’s Daughter. And so Belzebeth, the daughter of Starbreaker, Cosmic Vampire, is very much a part of that.

For those unaware, Starbreaker is an old Justice Leaue villain and he goes by the nickname ‘The Luciphage’, which effectively means Lighteater. He’s, for all intents and purposes, Space Satan. And he’s also very dead, much the same way Ra’s Al Ghul was when Morrison took on Batman. And so The Devil’s Daughter becomes our key antagonist. But The Countess is worth discussing beyond just that legacy connection, because there’s some fascinating influences and ideas at work here. She is, the roasting aside, the central figure of this issue, as we get her origin and essential backstory for the run as a whole here.

The Blood Countess

Belzebeth is, right off the bat, a portmanteau of ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Beelzebub’, that’s obvious. A name with Hebrew roots, which is a popular English and European noble name, with that of a Devil. But then that begs the question, why Elizabeth? Well, it’s because it’s a reference to Elizabeth Bathory, a legendary European noble rumored to have been the biggest serial killer of them all. She holds a Guinness World Record, too. There’s even tales of her being a vampire, which came up much later, which are definitely myths and while there’s debate on the actual events and if she was likely framed, one thing is clear: loads of people died. And at the end, you have the story of a woman who many have been fascinated by, who’s attributed to and inspired vampire fiction. And thus the lady titled ‘The Blood Countess’ becomes a key basis for Belzebeth. And in an issue centered entirely on her story, her motives and history, there’s certainly parallels. Both were from noble families and were arranged to be married young (600 years in Belzebeth’s case) to powerful nobles of their world. Both are women of great power and wealth, with their husbands having passed.

But past that, there’s the other interesting conceptual ingredient in this potent mix. And that’s ‘What If Vampirella existed in the DC Universe?’. That question informs a lot of Belzebeth’s basic foundation. First off, she’d be the daughter of Starbreaker, that’s obvious, so that’s how you get that. But then you need to build up the world her species is from and so you get a DC version of Drakulon (Vampirella’s homeworld) in the form of Vorr and The Vampyroi Of Vorr. And of course, she’d also have a cool dynamic with Hal Jordan, the premiere DC space character. So, in a sense, she’s a supervillainous DCU-specific spin on the Vampirella archetype.

The Strange Case Of Sun-Eaters

The origins of Belzebeth!

But how do you get more specific to the DC Universe? You, of course, loop in The Sun-Eaters. For those unfamiliar with them, they’re a classic Legion concept and they do exactly what it says on the tin: they eat suns. They’re ravenous, hungry cloud-like entities that consume stars like we do candy. This isn’t a new reveal, of course, it’s merely a simple expansion of the ideas established in The Green Lantern, where in Belzebeth says her people are the kin of Sun-Eaters. But only now is it clear as to how. Morrison’s playing with old, forgotten Dwayne McDuffie ideas here from his short-loved Justice League run. And even there, it was two throwaway balloons of dialogue in Justice League Of America #34. While it doesn’t really work there, given it’s just sort of put out there and never expanded or played with and honestly feels…abrupt, it’s an idea Morrison’s picked up on.

But it’s not quite played the way McDuffie lays out there. Morrison reworks it significantly for his run and DC mythology at large. McDuffie posited that Sun-Eaters were just babies, larvae, of the species Starbreaker belonged to and that he was an adult form of the species. That’s…an interesting choice, which places the JLA antagonist far above the cosmic terrors that are The Sun-Eaters. But given how it doesn’t really work even in that original run, Morrison inverts it here. Morrison agrees that, yes, Sun-Eaters and Starbreaker, The Cosmic Vampire are of the same species. But where he differs is, he changes things to Sun-Eaters as the elders of the species. The Vampires or The Vampyroi of Planet Vorr, go through various stages of metamorphosis and the tertiary stage experienced by elder Vampyroi is what makes a Sun-Eater. Simply put? Sun-Eaters are mature vampires. They’re effectively the third ‘evolution’ vampires go through.

Birth Of A Sun-Eater!

And it’s here that Morrison ties in The Controllers and how they acquire Sun-Eaters. Playing them as cosmic terrors, mythic monsters which vampires tell scary stories about, the creative team gives us a fleshed out explanation behind this classic Jim Shooter Legion idea. This is how a Sun-Eater is made, baby! Also, let us take a moment to appreciate Xermanico’s terrific work here with the layouts. He brings such majesty and grandeur to the pages. Sharp may be gone, but his inspiration burns bright, as Xermanico firmly makes the book his own while innovating with his own flair. And Oliff, of course, colors the pages to suit the gothic terror and cosmic madness without missing a beat. The designs on the edges of the page are simply exquisite. But the awe and terror that they inspire aside, Xermanico’s work is what lets the comedy of the issue land. He can hit those moments meant to both be disturbing and funny, which is a tricky balance.

Past all that, however, there’s a sense of a rich Vampire world here. We see that the Vampyroi worship Mandrakk The Dark Monitor, the first vampire, another Morrison co-creation. But while Mandrakk is their absolute god, their Saints are, of course, Yorga, Carmilla and Martin. The first is a clear reference to the 1970’s film Count Yorga, Vampire, while the latter is a reference to the George Romero 1978 film Martin. Carmilla is a big reference here, the title of one of the very first Vampire stories. Even Nosferatu is referenced, with Belzebeth’s once-husband Vorlokk, The Arch-Dragon (Emperor/Ruler) belonging to the clan Nosferaculux. But even past that, right on the page, visualized, Xermanico shows us Morbius, The Living Vampire, Blade, Dracula, Edward Cullen, Lestat, Cassidy and plenty more. You name em, they’re likely there. The idea here should be evident. Every fictional vampire you’ve ever known or heard of? They’re all from Vorr or have pastiches there. Now, if that isn’t a fun concept and a great little sandbox to play with, I don’t know what is.

[Note: ‘Renfields’, the henchmen of the Vampire nobles, are a riff on Renfield, the man from Bram Stoker’s Dracula]

The Green Lantern and The Black Star

The Fate Of Mu

Of course, we need to talk about Controller Mu, the big bad of the run. The overarching, everlooming threat. He’s dead. But what’s really interesting is the how and the why. Throughout the run, he’s represented the dangerous, terrifying darker side of will. If Geoff Johns’ entire tenure on Green Lantern was about dealing with fear (thus Sinestro being so central), Morrison’s entire tenure on Green Lantern is a meditation on will. And with Hal as Free Will and Controller Mu as Oppressive Will. But he’s no more. And that’s rather fascinating. So what effectively happens and it is a bit obtuse at first, is Belzebeth makes a deal with The Demons Of Ysmault from the previous issue and gets them to shift Mu’s consciousness into another host body. As Belzebeth says, Mu needed host bodies and they could no longer grow them, as he was burning through quick and thus she gave him a messy one. She gave him Mongul, a suicidal, broken husk, a shell of a being. And so, as Mongul lets loose, Mu begins to stutter, his consciousness corrupted, not meant to be shared with a mind like Mongul’s and then BOOM. Cosmic Death.

There’s a really curious parallel here to the original Controller in Adventure Comics #357. The Controller and The Sun-Eater both debuted in those early Silver Age Legion stories and Controller Mu really reads like a modern spin/take on the idea of ‘The Controller’ from there. The idea of The Controller in 2018/2019 plays vastly different and so you have a huge fascist who’s also a cult leader, steeped in all the context that’s accumulated since. In that original story, that original Controller is also a rogue of his race and wields a Sun-Eater. But most importantly, he also basically falls over and dies due to a spiritual strike and shock. He has the Controller equivalent of a heart attack, if you will. And Mu’s death certainly recalls that.

[Note: Planet Vardu, where Mongul is, is a nice 52 reference. That is its first appearance.]

The Light-Bringer and The Light-Eater

But of course, at the end of it all, we arrive at the heart of this entire Blackstar Saga, Hal Jordan and Belzebeth. The Green Gladiator and The Planet-Eater Lass. It’s these two that embody the run, really. The will of selflessness and the will of selfishness. Jordan acts in service of a higher calling, The Green Lantern, he never gets or expects any reward. In fact, he only faces losses, pain and detachment because of it. And he’s fine with that. He’s content just bringing light to the universe, even if it means he must burn. He’s an eternal candle, that one. Burn he will, to light up the cosmos. But Belzebeth? She’s the precise opposite. As her name indicates, she literally consumes planets. She hungers. She is vampiric. She feeds off others. She hoards power. She dominates. Hal Jordan, even when he sought power foolishly, did so driven by the desperate desire to save the lives of those that had been lost. Belzebeth? She just doesn’t care. She wants power because she’s another power hungry tyrant, to whom no amount of power will ever be enough. Where as Hal Jordan is a man who, even after he’s given power, has learnt and knows better, can give it up. It can be the power of a god and he will still let it go, as shown in Tom King and Doc Shaner’s Will You Be My God?

Hal Jordan is a bright flame, while Belzebeth’s a black hole. And their relationship is…tumultuous. Notice that Hal breaks things off after they’re married, which is a hilarious little touch. Hal, even when messed up like this, has the capacity for good, deep down somewhere, he’s still loyal to those he’s sworn to protect and work with. That’s what The Green Lantern inspires. Belzebeth? She simply slew the person she’d sworn allegiance to. That’s what The Blackstars inspire. Betrayal. And it’s not shocking, given betrayal is what got them their victory. When that’s your code, you’re doomed. At its heart, there’s a recurring Morrison idea here: Evil is self-defeating.

Beyond that, what’s interesting is, Morrison has come to a similar space as his Batman, in a sense. He’s past the patriarchal devil figure in Mu, another rogue cosmic figure and he now faces his ex, basically. Much like Batman was past Doctor hurt, the patriarchal devil and had to face his ex in Talia in the finale. And those sort of very broad parameters have been recreated, in a sense. But while that spanned all of Morrison’s 7+ years of Batman, this is a mere 15 issues of Green Lantern. A single season. It’s just one part. If Morrison Batman ended on the finale of the ex’s duel, Green Lantern still has a whole season beyond it. Hal Jordan will, literally, be reborn into the next chapter of his life after his turmoil here with his ex. The battle isn’t the ending. It gives way to a whole new age.

There’s new, uncharted territory waiting. There’s a way beyond The Hole In Things. You just need to will it with a wishing ring.

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