Friday, March 25, 2011

Intro to Comics: Green Lantern (Updated)

(Originally I wrote this last June for Facebook, this is the expanded version)
            Ever heard about Green Lantern?  Green Lantern is a comic book hero who is going through a renaissance as of late, and if you haven't heard of him yet, you will soon, as they are about to make a movie about him staring Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder is going to be one of the noblest and most powerful superheroes in fiction).
Many others exist, but Hal Jordan remains the definitive iteration of the brand

            "But who is Green Lantern?"  You may be asking this having inexplicably not clicked off this blog for something else to fritter your attention away with.  Green Lantern is an Air Force pilot, Hal Jordan who discovered a wounded alien while out testing a new plane, the alien gave him a magic ring powered by its wearer's own will to do good and justice, more importantly it was powered by a giant battery of green energy that took the shape of a lantern.  For some reason Hal Jordan did what so many stupid people do when they get super powers, they named themselves after what gives them their power, assuring that any jerk off who wanted to kill him knew of at least one weakness right off the bat.

            The ring had the power to make force fields in the shape of anything Hal could imagine, allowed him to fly through space fast enough to journey among the stars, and the ring could translate alien languages.  All of this power was entrusted to him because with the ring their came a great responsibility, that to the Green Lantern Corp.  A paramilitary organization run by the oldest sentient creatures in the universe The Guardians (who I kid you not, look like not-cute, grumpy, blue skinned, Jewish gnomes).
Protectors of peace and justice, or cereal mascots?  You be the judge.

            In recent times other organizations devoted to other lanterns have grown into being, the red Lanterns are fueled by rage, and are led by Atrocitus, the last survivor of a massacred world, killed by the negligence of the Guardians.  Well, not so much negligence as murdered by one of them to prove a point.  See, there is a super villain, one of Green Lantern's most powerful enemies, called Krona.  Krona was a Guardian who wanted to explore the creation of the universe, the origins of life, and most importantly the power that came from emotion, in doing so he invented the Green Lantern rings and batteries.  The rest of the Guardians, being very much afraid of what an overly emotional guardian could do became devotees of logic and striped themselves of emotion, and tried to use their army of robots to make Krona submit to emotional cleansing.  Krona captured a robot and reprogrammed it to kill Atrocitus' world, and they did without question.  Krona cried for the loss of life, but he did it to prove the point that you need living beings to protect the universe, rather than those who would, do to a slight programming change, kill a planet.  I think he could have gotten his point across another way, but yeah... break some eggs I guess.
Rage, cause the first thing I think of when I see this guy is: wronged party.
How Krona escaped looking like a lumpy midget I cannot tell you.
Hal fighting a Manhunter robot, because apparently causing a planetary genocide wasn't enough to get all of them recalled from regular use.  Who knew the guardians run their organization like Firestone Tires.

            The Orange Lanterns consist of a single individual, Larfleeze who looks like a warthog crossed with Gonzo of "The Muppet Show", and he is greed manifest, his desire to own the whole of creation allows him to be the single member of his Corp but with a legion of enslaved ghosts of previous members at his disposal.  Essentially, everytime he kills someone, their spirit becomes his slave.  Sadly, it is implied that the rings energy makes him do this, that in reality he just wants his family back, and that desire is so strong it drew the Orange Ring to him.  He is the best character introduced in DC in the last 20 years.  Go read anything that has him in it.  Right now.
Seriously, best character in years.

            Yellow Lanterns are fueled by fear, both their own fears (be it inadequacy, death, failure, or of chaos) and the fears of those they fight, they are run by a former Green Lantern, Sinestro.  Sinestro was the brother in law of the alien who gave Hal Jordan the ring, he was highly decorated, but operated by a characterture of Machiavelli using his green light of will to spread fear.  Ultimately they threw him out of the Corp, and he founded his own army and tried to kill the bejeezes out of everybody.  Just so you realize how crazy self centered and powerful he is, his Yellow Lantern Corp, is officially called "The Sinestro Corp".

            Blue Lanterns are the heralds of hope, they are led by a Guardian who left the Green Lantern Corp because he feared that their will to change things for the better had left them blinded to visions of a greater tomorrow.  Currently they are mostly an army of individual prophets, the most powerful member being Saint Walker, who is able to sooth the soul of even Larfleeze and Atrocitus (it is revealed that both of them secretly desire to be blue lanterns).  These are the purest good guys out of everybody, sadly their powers are very limited.  Since they were created to help the Green Lanterns remember their mission to make a better tomorrow, they really only have the ability to fight when in proximity of a Green Lantern Corp member, though when they are they are juggernauts.
Only group that is unequivocally good guys.

            Indigo lanterns (because why throw out a color that was invented by Isaac Newton just so their would be seven colors in a rainbow, never mind the fact that 7 is a prime number and doesn't appear in any natural system)... Anyway Indigo is the lantern of compassion, they are a recluse society that have no names and seek to act as silent guardians to the whole of the universe.  Cause the first thing I think of when I think 'compassion' is a secret hidden base, a language that is coded so that even a Lantern Ring can't translate it, and the habit of brainwashing bad guys for a 'greater good'.  I think that they might be fibbing and might actually be the color of whatever emotion prompts you to join a cult.
Apparently this is what the color Indigo looks like.  Who knew?  I call it light purple in my day to day life.

            Violet Lanterns are powered by love, and are led by a group of women who wish to grant the healing light of love throughout creation, though they are a bit brain-washy about the whole idea, even more so than Indigo, they cage people in giant crystals that rewrite one's soul so as to be brimming with love.  They are also the weakest of the Lanterns overall, prone to infighting and always hard up to find a power source for their rings, as for some reason it seems that love is fading throughout the universe.  Probably because love shouldn't brainwash.  Gotta like the costumes though.
Also kind of a sexist organization, as the membership is entirely women.

            I like Green Lantern because he wears what he is supposed to be a metaphor for as his super power.  Green Lantern is the fictional personification of the idea of thinking of great things and bringing them into being through sheer will, through a desire to make the world greater.  I frequently joke that President Obama would be a blue Hope Lantern, that JFK and FDR would be Green Lanterns, and that other people throughout the world would serve as good examples in history of trying to reshape the world without magic rings.  Comic books are supposed to be parables, myths, and legend that we can use to talk about big aspirations and ideas in a very cartoonish fashion.  Green Lantern does that well.
Add caption
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!

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