DC Sets The Stage for a Controversial Justice Leaguer’s Return

Warning! Spoilers for Green Lantern #6 ahead!

In Green Lantern #6, an old Justice League member with a somewhat controversial backstory appears to have made a return. The hero in question is named Zauriel, a character created by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, and Mark Millar who first appeared in JLA #6 (1997). The thing that makes Zauriel controversial in comparison with the other Justice Leaguers is that he is a literal angel of God.

Zauriel has served an omnipresent deity called “the Presence” since the dawn of creation. The Presence has been confirmed multiple times to be the God of the Abrahamic religions, established to be the being who created the Heaven and Earth, and by extension the DC Multiverse. However, the way the Abrahamic God fits in the DC universe is often unclear. The religious cosmology of the DC Multiverse is complex and multicultural, featuring several mythologies and pantheons of gods co-existing. For example, the thunder god hero Shazam derives his powers from figures from Greco-Roman myth, but also from Judeo-Christian figures like Solomon.

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In Green Lantern #6 by Geoffrey Thorne, Tom Raney and Marco Santucci, the possible return of Zauriel is hinted by the threat of the Gold Centurions. The Gold Centurions are introduced as a religious order of sorts that is invading planets and converting the populations, while causing the few who resist conversion to kill one another. John Stewart, still trying to deal with the Green Lantern Corps’s recent loss of their powers, consults his new friend Saqari, an alien with the ability to receive and pass on memories from others, and she shows John memories of the Centurions passed down by her ancestors. Within the memories, two Gold Centurions make appearances and clearly do resemble the heavenly, winged figure of Zauriel.

It isn’t clear if the Gold Centurions have Zauriel within their ranks. Their similarities could be a coincidence. A rebooted version of the character did make an appearance early in the New 52 era of DC continuity, in J.M. DeMatteis and Fernando Blanco’s Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #10 (2013), a story that made no mention of the Gold Centurions. This would suggest that Zauriel is not connected with these new characters. Furthermore, while there is a clear Judeo-Christian angel motif to the Gold Centurions’ designs, they seem to be extraterrestrials, not divine beings. However, since the Infinite Frontier relaunch has redefined DC’s entire multiverse as an “Omniverse” where nearly all stories and mainstream versions of characters are considered partially canon, there’s no telling whether or not a new version of Zauriel will appear in connection with the Gold Centurions.

If Zauriel is established as a Gold Centurion, it would appear that their status as malevolent religious aliens instead of angels is an interesting way of sidestepping the controversy of the character’s history. While mythology in speculative fiction is common, the use of popular living religions such as the Abrahamic ones tends to be a more sensitive subject. Writing Zauriel as an angel was always a bold move on his creator’s parts, and writing him as a space invader would allow an interpretation of the character that is a little safer, but still incorporates elements of religion and the divine. For now, readers will have to wait and see if Zauriel really does appear, either in the pages of Green Lantern or Justice League.

Next: Another Green Lantern Has Embraced The Sinestro Corps Instead


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