We won't keep you guessing; RIP MukMuk, random fish Green Lantern who appears prominently on the cover for this week’s Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #1. You were too good for this galaxy, which never appreciated your ability to live both outside water and in the vacuum of space, with only minimal squelching noises apparent whenever you were lettered. Your five or six lines of dialogue total will be forever remembered.

The Green Lanterns have featured in an incredibly violent series of comics since their ‘rebirth’ from Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in 2004, cutting off limbs, hands, and to a lesser extent the rest of bodies in haphazard, graphic fashion. What’s been interesting though is how this habit of sticking certain characters into the ‘red shirt’ role made famous on Star Trek has changed the way people approach the comics.

When you see a new Green Lantern show up, and especially one that looks weak in some fashion, there’s an unseen countdown timer that appears above their head for everybody reading the issue. We know by now that the character must die within the year, and in some kind of ironic manner (as seen with MukMuk, who is ‘caught’ on a lasso wire and choked to death before getting smoked like a kipper), so there’s this added element of dark humor that runs through all the titles.

It’s one we’ve seen before in a few places – the Craig Kyle and Chris Yost runs on the X-Men titles, for example, was infamous for giving a character some dialogue two pages before murdering them – and one that makes the Green Lantern comics feel a little more adult than the rest of DC’s line. Yet this is a series that tends to use death as a comedy beat rather than emotional tug. Don't get too attached to the weirdos who are only here to die! Foster your love and attention on the important characters instead.

 

 

In a series with a stacked cast that includes Guy Gardner, Killowog, Simon Baz, Arisia, Salaak and John Stewart, we know that more than half the characters have an in-built immunity by now.

That’s what makes it so important that the creative team include a bunch of tangential losers so a sense of threat can still hang in the air. One of the remaining characters appears to be a sentient vegetable, for example, and we can only imagine what evil mischief Tom Taylor is going to do to that poor naive police turnip.

Death is cheap in the universe that the Green Lanterns inhabit – that’s why so many green-chested rookies and randos have to appear.

So farewell, MukMuk, our sweet fishy prince. You are outlived by B’dg, the comedy swearing squirrel.