I am often on comic book forums and other social mediums and see conversations about green lantern. Some people about how the character has had so many ethnic changes. That just isn’t the case. They have different ethnic backgrounds, but they are not the same Green Lantern. I read a comment once that went something like this “why did they have to go and make the Green Lantern white in the movie? He’s a black guy on TV.” This tells me that he didn’t read the comic book. Which is Okay. Media such as TV or even movies are often the first encounter some people have with these characters. But there have been Six different Green Lanterns throughout DC’s history so now let’s take a look into the people who are part of this legend. They have strong points and have points that readers hate. I personally am a big fan of John Stewart the fourth Green Lantern. He was the Lantern I got to know the most thanks to the Justice League cartoon that was on when I was in high school. I was never a big fan of Green Lantern before that, but since then I have been keeping up with the character as best I can. I have to be honest and say that I haven’t been able to read much of the New 52 Green Lantern. Well people lets dive deeper into the universe of the Green Lantern and figure out what is really happening.
Scott was the first person to bare the superhero persona of Green Lantern, and is known as the Golden Age Green Lantern. This tale gets pretty involved so I’m going to try to give you the bare bones version. Scott was in an railroad-bridge collapse and was the only survivor, and this is what put the lamp into his hands. It was the lamp that instructed him on how to make the ring to control the power being given to him. Post Crisis Tales of the Green Lantern Corps brought Alan Scott closer to the ranks of the Corps and he learned that of a Green Lantern that predated him. This Lantern tried to control mankind so the Guardians put in a safeguard; a weakness to wood. After this they burned the ring and lamp and this damaged the link to the Guardians. Over time when the intelligence would show itself it was thought to be the mystical “Starheart.” Centuries later when Scott found the lantern it had no memory of its origins but saved a small memory of former master, as the older one modeled his close after the chinese fashion of his time, this was the origin of Scott’s distinctive uniform. Now Alan Scott is the Green Lantern of “Earth 2,” an alternate earth in the DC Multiverse. In this story Scott and his lover were in a train when the railroad-bridge collapse and scott alone survived. So with the damaged memory of his lamp(or Power Battery) Alan is the first recorded human Green Lantern.
In the older continuity Scott had a son and a daughter. Jade, his daughter, was given a copy of Hal Jordan’s Power Ring. And for a short time took up the mantel of Green Lantern where all the others were back rebuilding Oa.
Hal Jordan is the second Green Lantern, and the first human to be given a Power Ring. He is known as the Silver Age Green Lantern.After following in his father’s footsteps Harold “Hal” Jordan was a second-generation test pilot. Jordan was given his power ring and battery by the dying Green Lantern Abin Sur, an alien that crash landed on earth. After he crashed Abin Sur told his ring to find someone that was “born without fear.” Two people fit this criteria. One was Jordan, and the other was Guy Gardner. Jordan was chosen because he was in a closer proximity to Abin Sur. Gardner and a third green arrow hopeful named John Stewart were designated Jordan’s “backups.” With the destruction of Coast City Jordan went crazy and became a villain and called himself Parallax. But when earth’s sun was in danger he sacrificed himself using the last of his power to reignite the fading star. In death Jordan bonded with the Spectre and became the Spirit of God’s Vengeance, but tried to change to the Spirit of Redemption but this failed. Later Jordan was resurrected and has taken up the mantel of Green Lantern of sector 2814 once again. Recently in the “Rise of the Third Army” story arc, the Guardians had apparently murdered Hal Jordan and Sinestro during there struggles with the Black hand.
Guy Gardner is the third Green Lanter, and the second human to receive a Power Ring, and is one of the bronze age Green Lanterns. He was supposed to get the Ring but Hal Jordan was closer, so Gardner was designated as the “backup” Green Lantern for Jordan. Early in his career as a Green Lantern, tragedy struck Gardner as a power battery blew up in his face, putting him in a coma for years. In the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and a split of the Guardians into factions, a newly revived Gardner had one choose him as their champion. He was emotionally unstable after he awoke from his coma, but he did fight valiantly. At one point he wielded a Yellow Ring for the Sinestro Corps, and was readmitted to the Green Lantern Corps during Green Lantern: Rebirth. Gardner became a member of the Lantern Honor Guard and oversees the training of new recruits.
John Stewart was an architect from Detroit, MI, and the fourth human to be a Green Lantern. He was chosen by the Guardian to replace the comatose Guy Gardner as a backup for Hal Jordan. When Jordan resigned from the Corps for a long period of time Stewart served as the Green Lantern for that time. Since then Stewart has been in and out of active duty, even for a time became the first mortal Guardian of the Universe, and served with Hal Jordan as one of the two Green Lanterns for the JLA.
Kyle Rayner is the fifth human Green Lantern. He was a freelance artist. Chosen by the Guardian Ganthet to wield the last power. He was not as brave or fearless as Jordan, or Gardner. It was because of this that he was chosen. With Parallax escaped from Central Power Battery, and is the manifestation of fear and yellow(the weakness of green), none of the Green Lantern, including Jordan could harm him. It was Rayner that taught them to feel and overcome fear so they could finally defeat Parallax and capture him once again in the Central Power Battery. Later Kyle became Ion, a manifestation of willpower much like Parallax is fear, and was captured and imprisoned. Then Kyle is possessed by Parallax, but manages to escape with the help of Hal Jordan. Now Rayner is part of the Honor Guard, and has been partnered with Guy Gardner. Nowadays Kyles mostly shows up as part of the ensemble cast of the Green Lantern Corps.
Simon Baz is the newest human recruit for the Green Lantern Corps of DC’s New 52. A Lebanese American Muslim from Dearborn, MI. He made his first full appearance in Green Lantern #0 during the “Rise of the Third Army.” He was caught by the police street racing in a stolen car with an armed bomb in the back. While being questioned Sinestro’s Power Ring Chose Baz and recruited him to the Corps.
So as you can see it isn’t that one character has changed, but more of many people have taken on the same persona. I hope this helps clear everything up for some people.
- 5 Awesome Things Geoff Johns Gave us in Green Lantern (comicbooked.com)
- Geoff Johns to End GREEN LANTERN Run of Nearly 10 Years with Issue #20 (ifanboy.com)
- Off My Mind: Hal Jordan Will Return as a Black Lantern (comicvine.com)
- Grumpy Old Fan | Simon Baz recharges Green Lantern (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- Geoff Johns To Step Down As “Green Lantern” Writer (comicbookresources.com)