Who Are the Green Lanterns of Earth?
Part I – The Best of the Best (and if you ask him, he’ll certainly agree to that assessment).
If you read my last article (which you certainly did, considering you’re far more intelligent than those who did NOT), you know EXACTLY what a Green Lantern is, and how he/she/it draws, channels, and harnesses limitless, psychically malleable willpower through their absolutely essential and surprisingly compact Power Rings.
With all that essential “root knowledge” out of the way, it’s time to meet the handful of Green Lanterns flittering about Earth as they aid the Justice League, infuriate the Justice League (specifically, Batman), mitigate disasters, and spar with other, less beneficent Lantern Corps determined to assert control over the entire Emotional Spectrum.
Introducing the most familiar, popular, ego-heavy, and often off-putting Green Lantern of Earth – Hal Jordan.
Hailing from Coast City, Hal Jordan idolized his father, Martin – an accomplished Test Pilot for Ferris Aircraft. Unfortunately, a very young Hal witnessed a horrific event – during a routine airshow, Hal’s father died in a fatal airplane crash. Following in his father’s footsteps – and very much against his family’s wishes – Hal joined the United States Airforce on his 18th birthday.
Years later, a dying Green Lantern – Abin Sur – crash landed in the California desert. Again, if you read the last article (which you DID), you’re familiar with the protocol for dying Green Lanterns – the suffering, cosmic patrolmen used his ring to select a suitable replacement – a replacement born with the inherent ability to overcome great fear.
The Power Ring drew Hal “Highball” Jordan --- now a talented fighter pilot -- to Abin Sur, who explained the ring’s abilities, the functions and responsibilities of a Green Lantern, the history of the Green Lantern Corp, and the source of said ring’s immense power—the Central Power Battery constructed by the Guardians of the Universe.
Who trained this gratingly arrogant test pilot? That would be Kilowog, one of the Green Lantern Corps finest officers, and his obsessive, incessantly fastidious mentor, Sinestro.
During Hal’s training, he discovered Sinestro was utilizing his ring – and therefore, fear – to subjugate his home planet, Korugar. After this discovery, Hal brought these atrocities to the Guardians’ attention. The Guardians were surprisingly dismissive of the accusations (the Guardians’ inaction and apparent emotional distance from potentially catastrophic issues would consistently infuriate Hal over the course of his career), so Hal took it upon himself to confront Sinestro.
After besting Sinestro, Hal took the fallen Green Lantern before the Guardians who, after a lengthy trial, banished Sinestro to the Anti-Matter universe of Qward. And, in pure Sinestro fashion, he did NOT accept his punishment gracefully. In fact, he created his own Power Ring drawing from a different field permeating the Emotional Spectrum – fear, the opposite of willpower. And, with said ring, Sinestro began plotting his revenge against the Green Lantern Corps.
The Life and Times of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern
Hal Jordan, the very first human to actually wield a Power Ring, has been heralded – on numerous occasions – as the greatest Green Lantern ever. And no, that’s not HIS opinion -- it’s the opinion of a good number of Green Lanterns.
And, regardless of his slighting grating personality, he truly is an effective hero – a founding member of the Justice League with several thousand world-saving adventures as verifiable, incontestable proof.
And those world-saving, world-ending, or otherwise surprisingly terrestrial adventures chronicled in hundreds of Green Lantern comics? Well, we’re going to distill that dense, epic narrative into something a little more digestible. So, let’s hit the broad strokes, shall we?
Hal and Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, were incredibly close friends with consistently conflicting viewpoints. They drove cross-country, discussed their opposing views – loudly – and helped quite a few people in need. And yes, in the process, they learned more about themselves, and each other. And themselves. And…each other.
The Yellow Impurity
The Green Lanterns’ amazingly powerful ring COULD NOT affect yellow. Why? Because, unbeknownst to the Lanterns, the Guardians trapped Parallax -- the yellow Fear Entity --- inside the Central Power Battery.
“Parallax the Fear Entity?” Remember how my last article explained the several fields of coalesced emotional energy residing in the Emotional Spectrum? Well, each energy field – besides its existence as a pool of energy accessed via Power Battery/rings/etc. – boasts a physical manifestation of said energy field. Fear – the yellow energy bound within the Emotional Spectrum – manifests itself as a giant, yellow bug-thing know as Parallax. You see, Parallax was a wild, unrivaled entity subjecting millions of beings to crippling fear. The Guardians of the Universe battled the Fear Entity and trapped it in the only place capable of holding such incredible power – the Green Lanterns’ Central Power Battery. Right, the Power Battery from which ALL Green Lanterns derive their power. This, of course, led to bigger problems than a “simple” inability to manipulate anything yellow. Case in point:
During the “Reign of the Supermen” story, Mongul and Cyborg Superman turned Coast City into a veritable crater. Returning to Earth after some seriously cosmic goings-on, a horrified Hal Joran immediately sought out Mongul and defeated the galactic conquer in combat. I mean, he suffered a broken arm, but he totally bested the intergalactic jerk-face.
A traumatized Hal – having lost his family, friends, and the city he called home – used his ring to recreate Coast City in its entirety. And yes, that means he recreated the people as well.
Having caught wind of Hal’s behavior, the Guardians projected themselves through Hal’s ring and reprimanded the Lantern – he was using the Power Ring for personal reasons. Although Hal argued his case, the Guardians reaffirmed their disapproval and demanded Hal return to OA and face immediate repercussions.
And here’s where the Fear Entity comes in…
'During Hal’s unbearable emotional anguish, Parallax was able to assert influence over the traumatized Lantern, leading to an unexpected, ghastly series of events--
Hal decided to return to OA, but not as an amenable corpsman. No, sir -- he returned to take the vast powers of the Guardians and the Power Battery to properly restore Coast City.
Hal handily defeated – and by defeated, I mean killed -- a wave of the finest Green Lanterns. He also collected their rings to amass more power.
Edging ever closer to the Power Battery, he was confronted by his trainer and friend, Kilowog. Jordan defeated him, and promptly killed him.
Sinestro was freed to combat Jordan, but he too was handily bested and finished off with a gruesome neck snapping.
Jordan entered the Battery, absorbed its full might, killed the Guardians, and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. His new name? You guessed it – Parallax.
As the infinitely powerful Parallax, Hal attempted to restart the universe – to recreate it in a way that restored Coast City. Although he successfully swayed others to his cause, he was eventually defeated by Earth’s super-people.
Hal, faced with a moment of lucidity, sacrificed his life to destroy the Sun Eater and reignite Earth’s sun. Before his sacrifice, he resurrected Oliver Queen who died in an explosion years ago.
Hal Jordan Is…THE SPECTRE!
Hal, lingering in some sort of purgatory, was fused to the Spectre – God’s spirit of vengeance -- by the Sentinels of Magic. Why? Because the Spectre was without a human host, and a collection of demons sought to use this to their advantage. So, as the Spectre, Hal attempted to persuade the spirit to enact less vengeance. It rarely listened.
But the spirit revealed something to Jordan – it sensed the Fear Entity’s influence and told Jordan that all his horrible actions were, in fact, influenced by Parallax. After this epiphany – and with the help of the Spectre -- Hal was able to separate his soul from both the Spectre and Parallax. And Ganthet, the last remaining Guardian, used a beacon of light to lead Hal’s soul back to his body.
Hal Jordan Returns!
Seeking to atone for the “sins” committed under Parallax’s influence, Hal, along with Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and Kilowog, rebuilt the corps. Oh, and Hal resumed his duties as a Green Lantern of Sector 2814, much to Batman’s chagrin.
Meet the Lanterns of the Emotional Spectrum (more on this later)!
There are seven color-specific energy fields in the Emotional Spectrum. And, as the Green Lanterns draw from green willpower, these other corps draw from their color-specific fields of coalesced emotions:
The Green Lanterns- Utilize the blue power of Will!
The Yellow Lanterns- Utilize the yellow power of Fear!
The Red Lanterns- Utilize the red power of Rage!
The Orange Lanterns- Utilize the orange power of Avarice!
The Blue Lanterns- Utilize the blue power of Hope!
The Yellow Lanterns- Utilize the yellow power of Fear!
The Indigo Lanterns- Utilize the indigo power of Compassion!
The Violet Lanterns- Utilize the violet power of Love!
And, like all super-powered people, their first meetings produced a full trade paperback given to conflict.