The bright, emerald light of the Central Power Battery on Oa shines very brightly this year due to comic events, large story arcs surrounding the recently reborn Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, and of course the new eponymous film releasing June 17th, 2011 starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal ‘Highball’ Jordan.
To date there have been five Earthling Green Lantern’s charged with defending space sector 2814: Alan Scott of the Golden Age, Hal Jordan of the Silver Age, Guy Gardner & John Stewart of the Bronze Age, and Kyle Rayner of the Modern Age. The most popular of these being Hal ‘Highball’ Jordan who is considered among many comic aficionados as THE Green Lantern and is thusly dubbed the greatest Green Lantern of them all. He is known for being a renegade of the Green Lantern Corps, but his lack of fear and leadership makes him the greatest Green Lantern of them all.
In 1994 DC Comics decided to radically alter the DC Universe by transforming the most beloved Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, into the super villain, Parallax. Written by Ron Marz, penciled by Bill Willingham, and inked by Romeo Tanghal, the Green Lantern story arc entitled, “Emerald Twilight” successfully killed off Hal Jordan as well as most of the Green Lantern Corps leaving a creative void to be filled and exploited in an effort to reignite the Green Lantern fan base. These multiple Green Lantern issues concluded with the destruction of the entire Green Lantern Corps and Hal Jordan’s death heralding in a new age of Green Lantern lore with Kyle Rayner at the helm as the last Green Lantern. Charged with rebuilding the destroyed Green Lantern Corps Kyle Rayner was created to increase fledgling Green Lantern comic sales in the early 1990’s by appealing to a younger, more hip audience. Kyle Rayner has garnered a solid fan base following and has continued to remain popular, and up until Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver’s miniseries, “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” was the prominent Green Lantern of sector 2814.
From 2004 to 2005 a six-part miniseries appropriately entitled, “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” spun an amazing tale which revived Hal Jordan and allowed him to return as THE Green Lantern of Earth once more. Due to his rebirth and reinstatement as a Green Lantern numerous problems have arisen due to the collective memory of his stint as the super villain, Parallax, and his destruction of the Corps. Unlike Barry Allen’s return as the Flash in “Final Crisis” published in 2008, his rebirth has been met with hostility and skepticism on more than one occasion.
However, even with such harsh and sometimes hostile encounters with his own teammates Hal Jordan remains to impress and lead the Corps to more victories than losses. Throughout the DC’s “Blackest Night” and “Brightest Day” mini and maxi events Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps remained the tent pole of the series by firmly grounding and simultaneously expounding upon the Green Lantern mythos.
Currently there are three main comic series pertaining to the Green Lanterns: First and foremost is the main canon simply entitled, “Green Lantern,” which focuses on Hal Jordan and his exploits across the universe; Secondly is the “Green Lantern Corps,” which centralizes on the Corps themselves specifically Kyle Rayner’s involvement as a Green Lantern Honor Guard; and lastly Guy Gardner’s run which falls beneath the banner of “Green Lantern Emerald Warrior.”
All of these series are at the moment intertwined with one another to create a ten-part story arc titled, “War of the Green Lanterns.” As of now there are nine parts released out of the ten part run, with the tenth releasing June 29th, 2011. Essentially this particular story arc gathers all of Earth’s Green Lanterns, excluding the Golden Age’s Alan Scott, and pits them against Kronos, the original creator of the multiverse featured in the famous 1985 miniseries and now graphic novel, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Kronos endgame is to show that the emotional spectrum is needed to govern the universe and that the Guardian’s effort to thwart the emotional spectrum in order to retain regulation and tranquility is misguided at best.
Having been tortured and exiled by the Guardians of the Universe for countless millennia Kronos holds a grudge against them and aims to use the pure emotional entities of the spectrum against the Guardians. All of the other Green Lantern’s including the planet sized, Mongo, inevitably fall under Kronos’ control leaving only Ganthet (a rogue Guardian of the Universe), Kilowog, Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner free of Kronos influence due to their contact with the parasitic entity of fear, Parallax, which now controls the other Green Lanterns by infecting the source of the Green Lantern’s power, the Central Power Battery on Oa.
Due to the emotional nature of the story and the climax numerous elements spark confrontation between Earth’s four Green Lanterns creating some tense and emotionally jarring moments. Ultimately the four lanterns end up wearing and embracing other power rings and emotions other than that of the green ring. They also end up killing a prominent Green Lantern, all the while trying to protect the Corps from its own destruction.
Overall I think that this arc is of a higher quality than that of the yearlong “Brightest Day” maxi-series that just wrapped up last month. More often than not it seems as if the smaller plotlines are more intriguing than the highly publicized events the DC and Marvel churn out every six months or so.
At first it seemed as if this arc was created solely to place all of Earth’s Green Lanterns in contact with one another and in a difficult situation, and in essence this is true but in the end it truly creates a unique dynamic and a great vehicle for telling a great story. The squabbling and egos that come forth really pushes the story along during moments with little action and it inevitably adds a more complex layer to an already tried and true comic book formula. This new emotional complexity coupled with the cliché revenge tale makes for a captivating story that includes a great setting, amazing characters, and superb dialogue to round the ambience. All in all it makes for a great run that should definitely be picked and read by anyone with the slightest interest in the Green Lantern and/or comic books in general.
If given the opportunity definitely check of the “War of the Green Lanterns.” Either pick up the comics or wait for the graphic novel, but this is a must have Green Lantern run for any comic book fan. I give it my first five out of five stars.
Do not miss out on the conclusion of the “War of the Green Lanterns” on June 29th, 2011! And, also check back here for more Green Lantern coverage in the coming weeks!