People should get to know Green Lantern better after the year we’ve had. He has a near-unlimited imagination and can travel through space.
But Green Lanterns have been around for 80 years, and there have been a lot of different people who have worn power rings.
This is to make things easier and on the eve of the DC Omniverse getting a whole bunch of new Green Lanterns, Newsarama is looking back at the best Green Lantern stories of all time.
1. Blackest Night
Tom Taylor’s hit DCeased(opens in a new tab) makes it happen every month, but Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis did it first with the epic event Blackest Night (opens in new tab). People who are alive have to work together to form white light to defeat Nekron, who is a Black Lantern, when Black Hand hits DC graveyards.
Johns, who has written Green Lantern for a long time, slowly but surely introduced the different powers of the emotional spectrum over time. During Blackest Night, he properly introduces Black and White Lanterns so that he can finish the color-coded power spectrum and make the mythos even more real.
Blackest Night, DC’s line-wide summer event, was at the heart of the Green Lantern Corps. It was a world-wide disaster that saw loved ones rise from their graves to torture the living. When White Light was revealed to be the reason for everything, Blackest Night became a very important point in both Green Lantern history and the history of the DC Universe itself.
Ivan Reis did a great job illustrating Blackest Night, which is a horror-themed blockbuster that should be on your bookshelf.
2. Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight
Hal Jordan, a Green Lantern, is devastated by the loss of his home, Coast City, and tries to rebuild it with the power of his will.
To get back to his lost home, Hal goes to war with Oa on his own. He is power-hungry and broke his promise not to use the ring for personal gain. He kills the entire Corps and the Guardians fall to the ground after putting their energy into one person who was left alive after that. In the end, Hal Jordan takes the power from the central battery and becomes a new bad guy called Parallax.
There is no better fall from grace story than Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight (opens in a new tab). ‘Emerald Twilight’ is a classic case of ‘this time, the bad guy wins!’
To make us think about how far we would go to save our loved ones, Ron Marz makes us watch Hal Jordan go from being a rational person to being a mad person. Darryl Banks’ cover art for Green Lantern #49, which shows a wild-eyed Hal flaunting the rings of his dead friends, is one of the best of all time.
‘Emerald Twilight’ was a Green Lantern story that was very controversial at the time and still makes you feel very raw and emotional when you read it today.
3. Secret Origin of the Guardians!
DC’s new heroes met their Golden Age counterparts at the start of the Silver Age. Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino’s ‘Flash of Two Worlds!’ was the first to make this happen in 1961.
The first time Earth-One and Earth-Green Two’s Lanterns met was in Green Lantern #40, which came out in 1965. It was a big story that led to the Multiverse we know today. Krona, the father of the Multiverse, and the origins of the Guardians of the Universe are both in this issue. This is a big part of the DC Universe that we know and love today.
Infantino and Fox give a masterclass in silver-age art and storytelling in a wild single issue that combines high-concept science fiction with the classic superhero team-up structure. This is a great example of how to do silver-age art and storytelling.
A lot of story is packed into its pages. And for only 12 cents!
Crisis on Infinite Earths caused the Green Lantern Corps’ Central Power Battery to run out of power. The Guardians of Oa took drastic action to save the battery. It’s Guy Gardner’s turn to fight the Anti-Monitor. He’s called in, given some back-up power, and asked to build a team to do it.
This does not go well.
When Guy has no experience and is full of himself, he makes a bad combination. He soon clashes with John Stewart, who has just been appointed head coach. Issue by issue, the Lanterns change their positions as the events of Crisis move them. Sinestro and John Stewart will face off against Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner in the next issue.
Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #195 – #198 is a four-part story that connects to Crisis on Infinite Earths. It’s a good way to get a taste of the first three Earth Lanterns in one place.
Writer Steve Englehart is right to put Hal Jordan on the sidelines, giving him his rightful place as a rational old man. His John Stewart is a hero who has won. He is just starting to reach his peak. His Guy Gardner is impulsive and short-sighted, but he’s a good person to fight.
Each issue is just called a number, and the number starts at 4. There is a sense of dread in the air as the number goes down. Englehart likes high-brow art, so he references important philosophers and artists at the start of each issue’s splash page to make us want to dig a little deeper into each issue’s themes. Seeing Staton and Patterson with gritted teeth and twisted bodies is a good way to show how frustrated the Lanterns are about the psychedelic crisis.
All in all, this story says that Earth needs more than one Green Lantern who is right for the job.
4. S.O.S Green Lantern
John Broome and Gil Kane did a complete makeover of the Green Lantern in Showcase #22. This was part of DC’s silver age revival (opens in new tab).
This is how it looked when Hal Jordan came out in October 1959. He had a new look for his clothes, and he had a new cosmic origin that was very modern at the time. In just six pages, Broome and Kane masterfully tell the story of a fearless jet pilot who can make his dreams come true.
This short and quick origin is a great example of how to tell a story quickly and efficiently. It’s all about getting kids to pay attention.
Gil Kane’s portraits, which are clearly drawn from life, show Hal Jordan’s somber determination. A lot of people would later tell this story in many different ways, but there’s no better way to tell it than the way it was first told.
5. Hal Jordan, Updated
To say this story isn’t about Broome and Kane’s work is to say it’s not about them. It doesn’t matter what Secret Origins does. It brings destiny back into the Green Lantern formula. By this point, it was well-earned.
Geoff Johns is getting a lot of praise, just like he has been before. Updating a well-known origin story must make you want to rewrite the whole thing. IP money and the chance to write something only for oneself make people want to mess things up. It’s a good sign that Johns was really into his art when he turned this issue in so well.
6. Jessica Cruz, New 52
“Injustice League” (Justice League #30-50)
As one of the new recruits to the Corps, Jessica Cruz has a lot of history. Cruz is from Earth-3, and her ring was once owned by the Power Ring (an evil alternate-universe version of Green Lantern). During this twist, Cruz tries to figure out why the ring chose her, what it is like and what it might mean for her, a woman with anxiety disorder, to join the Lantern Corps with its clear messages about the fear god, Parallax.