The Green Lantern Corps is composed of thousands upon thousands of members that protect various sectors of the galaxy in DC’s ever-expanding comic book universe. There have been several from Earth, each with their own impact on the universe and history of comics at large. Green Lantern, no matter who wears the ring, is a great hero and deserves more recognition than it tends to get.
DC’s First African-American Character
Probably the most famous character to wield the ring is John Stewart. This is largely thanks to the Justice League cartoon series that had him prominently featured. However, he made quite an impact back in the 70s when he was first introduced. Created by the legendary duo of Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams, John Stewart became a symbol of diversity for many people.
This led to more characters being introduced in both Marvel and DC, in order to represent minorities as well as talk about social problems in America. Comics were starting to grow up, thanks in large part to Green Lantern.
Geoff Johns’ Reimagining
In the early 2000s Geoff Johns, who would later become president of DC Comics, was making a name for himself. He had revitalized The Flash and now it was time for him to tackle his favorite character. He brought back Hal Jordan, redeeming him from turning into a villain during The Death of Superman event. He even changes the context of the Corps. at large.
Before, Green Lanterns were weak to the color yellow, implying that it was the opposite of green on a spectrum. However, Geoff Johns latched onto the concept that the Green Lantern ring requires willpower to use. Thus the introduction of the emotional spectrum as it relates to the Lantern rings was introduced, making yellow represent fear, green represents willpower, etc.
Relatability Is Key
Every Green Lantern from Earth represents something within ourselves that we should confront. Hal’s reckless courage, Guy Garderner’s arrogance, Kyle Rayner’s uncertainty, etc. Stories about space cops with rings whose power is only limited by the wielder’s imagination may seem out there. But in actual fact, it does what all good science fiction does
Green Lantern, as a property, tries to analyze the human condition through the lens of the absurd. And that is what makes the Green Lanterns fantastic characters.
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