If you’re a fan of space, adventures, and team missions, you need to read the Green Lantern and Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps comic books. These two titles are delivering A1 space adventures right now. What’s a Green Lantern? They’re people (aliens) from different planets chosen by a higher power to protect and serve their section of space. These individuals are given a ring that creates whatever they can imagine. Its only weakness is the user’s own willpower and imagination.
That’s some cold shit, right?. The Green Lantern comic books are what got me into space and sci-fi adventures. The lore spans over sixty years and is still fascinating to this day. The first tattoo I got was the Green Lantern insignia. Yeah, I’m that big a fan because it’s that good of a series. Geoff Johns (and Peter Tomasi on GLC) wrote the series as if it were a space odyssey for nine years starting back in 2005. Once he left, it took a while for the books to catch their footing again. But now? Oh my god, what a time it is to be alive and a fan of the Emerald Crusaders. The Green Lanterns are doing and exploring the impossible in new adventures, character depth, and amazing feats that you gotta see to believe.
Who’ll believe the first Green Lantern was a Black alien woman?
Remember what I said about the extensive lore of the Green Lanterns? They not only date back some sixty years in comics but their fictional history spans billions of years. Sam Humphries and Eduardo Pansica explored this history in Green Lantern #23 with the first seven Green Lanterns. Fans of Green Lantern‘s lore know after the failure of the robot manhunters the guardians then entrusted organic individuals to serve as Green Lanterns.
However, those weren’t the very first Lanterns. Ten billion years ago when the guardians were under threat, seven individuals were granted the power of the newly created Green Lantern rings. The first of the seven was Alitha from the planet Galactica of the Third World. Dude, I love Green Lantern because the entire cast consists of aliens from different planets. When I say you have no idea what it meant to me to see a Black alien become the first Green Lantern? You don’t understand my bewilderment.
Think about it, Superman is an alien with blue eyes and white skin (as Muhammad X noted in Superman v2, #179, August 2002) same goes for the majority of other alien races like Thanagarians, the Rann aliens, New gods, so on and so on. Seeing a Black woman as a humanoid alien with dark skin in the DC Universe is (as far as I’ve seen) a first. Plus, she’s a warrior and her bravery got her acknowledged for the Green? It’s a moment that meant a lot to me as a long-time fan of the series and lover of creative innovation.
Congratulations to the rookies of the year
Although you can never get tired of John Stewart, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner protecting Earth, it’s safe to say there are more adventures for them to be had in space as veterans of the Green. Who does that leave to protect Earth and Space Sector 2814? The newest recruits, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. At its heart, Green Lantern as a series is a buddy cop film. Cruz and Baz exemplify this dynamic and take it further. They’re pretty much family and beyond just a partner dynamic.
I gotta mention how dope it is to finally have an Earth woman as a Green Lantern. Plus they’re both people of color and not the typical GLs. Simon Baz is displaying abilities we’ve rarely seen in Green Lantern mythos such as Emerald Sight. Cruz, after surviving a mob encounter is left with agoraphobia. Cruz is a lantern with social anxiety and fears that she has to combat daily as she flies into the heart of molten lava to stop a planet from exploding. These aren’t cookie cutter Lanterns right here. Cruz and Baz’s inside jokes, dynamic, and support of one another make them a joy to watch as they grow into seasoned veterans.
Only way out of this fight is a body bag
Guy Gardner is the toughest Green Lantern. Period. That isn’t a question. In his debut, he’s the 80’s anti-hero type. One punch from Batman that knocked him out and put him in his place has haunted his reputation for years. Guy has finally overcome this one event and can no longer be defined by it. He’s become Green Lantern Corps Leader John Stewart’s right hand. Guy’s friendship, loyalty, and belief in John Stewart and the Corps is why he takes things unto himself in order to protect them both, why he goes up against the toughest member of the Sinestro Corps, Arkillo, without the use of his power ring purposefully to broker a truce.
Guy explains to Arkillo how he’s just as loyal to Sinestro Corps as Guy is to the Green Lanterns. The only answer is for the two biggest dogs in the yard to fight it out and whoever isn’t left standing falls in line. I promise you, you’ve never seen a fight in the DC Universe to this degree. John Stewart and Soranik arrive and John prevents Soranik from interfering because he understands Guy. This is Guy’s way, his fight, and it has to end on his terms no matter what. Robert Vendetti and Rafa Sandoval deliver not only the most brutal fight in Green Lantern and DC Comics history but the most in depth as well.
“Either bury me or do nothing at all”
The emotional and physical brutality of this encounter is as iconic as it is incredible to witness. Honestly, the levels this fight undergoes makes it deserving of its own separate editorial. The entire time he’s getting the life beat out of him and dishing it back, Guy is remembering the physical abuse he suffered from his father.
Once Arkillo has him on the brink, Guy becomes a pitbull the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Guy not only viciously attacks Arkillo but the memory of his father’s abuse as well. This flash of character depth into Guy’s past explaining why and how he’s able to push himself past any punch thrown at him is cold as fuck. Again, we’ve never seen this visceral or ferocious of a Guy Gardner (without a power ring, mind you) ever. You have to respect the man’s journey from trope to joke to a problem you never want to face.
This story could have ended with violence but it doesn’t. Guy later visits a comatose Arkillo and apologizes for reaching that far down. That fight brings them together as partners through a mutual respect. It also shows us how far Guy Gardner’s loyalty goes for who and what he believes in.
Green Lanterns are the original No Limit Soldiers
A Green Lantern’s power ring is capable of literally doing the impossible. Its only limits (so to speak) are the user’s willpower and imagination. Testing yourself to the brink is a staple of being a part of the Green Lantern Corps. Fresh on a mission from John Stewart to help the New Gods, Hal Jordan is tasked with catching up to Highfather who is being transported by the fastest New God, Lightray. Jordan constructs a jet (he’s a pilot, makes sense) to catch up to Lightray but the speed he tries to reach is too great. Jordan is literally flying himself apart.
You may get tired of hearing it but Hal Jordan is the greatest Green Lantern. Dude, said fuck it and pushed himself and his ring beyond its physical limits of reality. Fam, you don’t hear me, Jordan’s ring said it was approaching a “possibility of Speed Force singularity”. If that sounds familiar that’s because the Speed Force is what gives The Flash and other speedsters their speed. Jordan pushed himself damn near into a Speed Force black hole beyond physics. It’s a small moment but in the grand scheme, we ain’t ever seen a Green Lantern do that before. This is right up there with John Stewart recreating Xanshi while his ring told him “willpower exceeding ring’s limit” and Sinestro saying he broke his power ring—twice. You gotta respect this feat from Hal. Conquering the impossible and unexpected is what makes reading a Green Lantern’s journey so exciting.
“Now I’m a different person with nothin’ to overcome and I miss the burden”
There’s been a plethora of character growth in Green Lantern that doesn’t lead characters down traditional paths. We’ve seen Soranik Natu go through her own arc where she stands out as a doctor in the Corps and goes through a much-needed transformation. After discovering she is Sinestro’s daughter (Soranik Sinestro) she holds some struggle with that and then falls by the wayside. After some time under Sinestro (in his series written by Cullen Bunn) she understands his reasoning.
Now by herself and head of the Sinestro Corps, we see Soranik make her own decisions. Soranik has a new purpose in repositioning the reputation of the Sinestro Corps and even bartering peace with the GLC. However, when things turn sour due to a lie of omission, Soranik makes choices that are extreme but entirely justified. Soranik isn’t the same woman she was when she joined the Green Lantern Corps or when she was under Sinestro. Truly even more of her own character now, and showing some eerie mannerisms from her Daddy, Soranik has become a person of interest for the Green Lantern Corps.
No one ever really dies
In Norse mythology, when warriors fall in battle they go to Valhalla. Valhalla is the heaven for only the finest and bravest warriors. Imagine the surprise that the Green Lanterns have learning of their own version of Valhalla called the Emerald Space. Created by Vendetti and drawn by Ed Benes, this shit damn near brought me to tears. Hal Jordan blew himself the fuck up to take out Sinestro and his army. Hal awakes in a strange land and is greeted in death by the same man that would tie his life with the Green Lantern Corps in the first place, Abin Sur.
Seeing all these Lanterns that were killed in action or died on panel is a trip. Hal Jordan is in the presence of legends and old colleagues. Seeing the likes of Katma Tui again? Katma who trained John Stewart? She’s got one of the most legendary and iconic tales in the recruitment drive for new Lanterns. Katma’s recruitment of blind alien Rot Lop Fan into the Green Lantern Corps (F Sharp Bells) is literally the tale of legends.
When Katma goes up to Hal asking about her still living husband John Stewart? It’s incredibly touching. Plus, Hal is finally granted more time with Abin Sur, but seeing how proud Abin is of him as a successor pulls Hal back to the land of the living.
With great power, there must come great accountability
Ideally, the Green Lanterns serve as the police force of space. There’s 3,600 sections of space, each sector monitored by two Lanterns (used to be one) from that sector. From the beginning of their incarnation, Green Lantern rings weren’t allowed the use of lethal force. That changed during the Sinestro Corps War. In order to combat their enemies, use of lethal force became law. This took place a decade ago in real time and the ramifications of that action are still being felt.
Much like police, there are those that abuse their power. Sinestro (and later Kentor Omoto) used to be the only example of this until Laira Omoto killed a surrendering Amon Sur. Laira was a legendary Lantern that succumbed to her anger and became judge, jury, and executioner. She had to be held accountable for this. Painstakingly, the same situation occurs with Tomar-Tu, son of legendary Green Lantern, Tomar-Re. Tomar-Tu killed a surrendering Romat-Ru who murdered his fellow Xundarians, including children, with no remorse then threatened to escape and do it again once taken in.
It’s not hard to see why Tomar-Tu literally lit dude up. That this pure character could succumb to his anger and break the law is heartbreakingly great writing from Robert Vendetti with dramatic art from Ethan Van Sciver. Tomar-Tu’s actions show that no character is beyond going too far and falling into anger. What keeps me fucking with the Green Lanterns as a fictitious police force (keyword fictitious) are their numerous times of reform, and always holding all members accountable.
“It’s four individuals thinking singularly, acting collectively.”
We need some theme music for this one. There’s something about Kyle Rayner, the Torchbearer finally being partnered with Hal Jordan, the Greatest Green Lantern that’s fitting. Corps Leader John Stewart and his right-hand man Guy Gardner, the Pitbull of the Corps make sense. Never before have these four friends been closer. Everyone has a bigger role now. It’s no longer (despite the title) Hal Jordan and the band. These four individuals are the most cohesive unit in the Green Lantern Corps.
As Guy Gardner references, they are the NWA-era Four Horsemen Faction of the Green Lanterns. They are the Four Corpsmen. John as the leader has no problem delegating and asking for input on his plans. In the same breath, Hal, Kyle, and Guy take no issue asking John what the next play is or how he wants to approach a situation. Their trust in one another is endearing and we can see that they’re all truly equal.
A Green Lantern ring is the most powerful weapon in the universe but that doesn’t mean it’s invincible. The universe is constantly changing with greater threats at every turn. Any mission could be the last. These four Lanterns know that, even pinned down in the face of death, they’re able to smile at one another, so the iconic four-finger hand gesture of the 4 Horsemen/Corpsmen accepting whatever may come together is beyond inspiring and heartfelt. I watched “Double AA” Arn Anderson promos for an hour after reading that scene.
These four individuals are legends in their own right but strongest together as brothers. There is vast history, tales, and lore to the Green Lantern series. The Lanterns are the longest standing organization in DC Comics. Bottom line, nobody is fucking with this squad. Period. Green Lanterns invented the remix for this sci-fi space shit.