Hitting his 80 year anniversary in July 2020, we thought we would take a look at the Emerald Knight that is the Green Lantern. One mantel that has been passed down for generations, the Green Lanterns are an intergalactic law enforcement assigned by the Guardians of the Universe. The Lanterns wield rings of power that can be charged through a Lantern battery, but what fuels the ring is the will of its user. A ring is not chosen by an individual, the individual is chosen by a ring. When a member of the Green Lantern Corps passes away, the ring chooses a worthy possessor to handle the rings power. The rings abilities consists of constructing anything the wearer can imagine, however the ring does come with rules a Lantern must abide by in order to continue wielding the ring. A few of those rules include making a construct to for self-gain or pleasure, and the ring will not allow a Lantern to kill. For this list we will only be looking at the core Lanterns from Earth that have come from the comics. Other Lanterns that have briefly wielded the ring or are from other worlds, in which case Sinestro, Jade and The Dawnbreaker will not be included.
First Appearance: All-American Comics #16 (July 1940)
Created by Martin Nodell and making his debut during the Golden Age of comics alongside Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin and the Flash. After a railroad accident, Alan Scott discovers a magical meteor that started to speak of its power and to craft a lantern and ring that can control it power. He builds the Lantern to store the meteors power and uses the ring as a way to absorb its energy and temporarily use its power before requiring a recharge. Scott mostly battled against human villains, but began fighting more supervillains with first appearances such as Vandal Savage and Solomon Grundy. Later the same year Alan Scott was created, so was the formation of the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics #3 as one of the founding members alongside Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, Spectre, Sandman, Atom, Flash and Hawkman.
However, World War II brought a decline of comic books and the end of the Golden Age for comics including Alan Scott’s as Green Lantern. After a 12 year disappearance, the character was reinvented later with Hal Jordan. Later DC Comics decided to bring back Scott, explaining Hal Jordan was part of Earth-One and Scott part of Earth-Two in the multiverse. He was written to be the father of two other characters Obsidian and Jade in 1983’s All-Star Squadron #25. Later in the 2000’s he was reinvented again as a gay man with a media conglomerate and magical powers involving the green and earth. Recently during the acclaimed story Doomsday Clock which brought together the world of Watchmen into the DC Universe. Scott reappeared to assist Superman along with the rest of the Justice Society and the Legion of Superheroes, reintroducing them back into the DC Universe after a long absence. Alan Scott hasn’t much involvement with other forms of Media, other than brief cameos and references through shows like Smallville, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
First Appearance: Showcase #22 (October 1959)
John Broome and Gil Kane decided to bring back the Green Lantern and reinvent the character after Alan Scott. In this iteration, Hal Jordan is an ambitious and confident test pilot. Jordan comes across a crash site featuring an alien ship and alien inside by the name Abin Sur. Sur was a Green Lantern who was dying from battle, passing his ring and battery to Hal Jordan to become the new Green Lantern. It wasn’t until 1960 with Green Lantern (vol.2) #1 the Guardians of Oa, as well as the entire Green Lantern Corps was introduced and established Jordan as part of an intergalactic officer among a larger group of law enforcement as protectors of the galaxy.
After Superman’s death and during the events of Reign of Supermen in Superman (vol. 2) #80, Coast City was destroyed by one of the false Supermen. Kicking off the Emerald Knight story arc which followed the downfall of Hal Jordan, he breaks the law of the Lanterns by constructing his own variation of Coast City but is quickly interrupted by one of the Guardians. They inform him he has required to return to Oa and face punishment, Hal makes his way back to Oa but kills his fellow comrades and steals their rings. Hal manages to destroy the entire Corps, but is defeated later by members of the Justice League. It is later revealed that Hal was under the influence of Parallax, but eventually met his demise in the 1999 story The Final Night. He took on the role as the Specter for a brief moment, but was then fully resurrected in 2004’s Green Lantern: Rebirth.
After Green Lantern: Rebirth, Hal is the center of other major events that take place in the DC Universe including The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and Brightest Day. When DC decided to reboot their comics with the New 52, Jordan was forming with the Justice League as they rally together to defeat Darkseid. During DC: Rebirth, Hal leaves Earth in the hands of two other Lanterns so he can search the galaxy with other Lanterns to apprehend members of the Sinestro Corps. However, he has currently been assigned by the Guardians to search the galaxy and uncover the mystery of the Blackstars. Hal Jordan has made many appearances throughout the DC Animated Movie Universe, in and out of continuity. He received his own live-action film in 2011, portrayed by Ryan Reynolds but ended up being retconned by a certain Merc with a Mouth.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 2) #59 (March 1968)
With the recent revival of Green Lantern in Hal Jordan, a second Lantern appeared with Guy Gardner. The second choice from Abin Sur’s ring, choosing Jordan since he was already on site. However, the Guardians decided to revisit this choice and appointed Gardner as a Green Lantern as well. Later on, Guy was thought to have been killed in a Lantern explosion, which turned out to have sent him into the Phantom Zone. While in the Phantom Zone he was kidnapped by Sinestro but was then saved by Hal, but ended up slipping into a coma. During the DC Comics event Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Guardians revived Gardner and appointed him as their personal Lantern. The amount of damage he took caused him to become more aggressive and edgy, becoming much more rebellious than the other Lanterns.
After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman formed the Justice League with Guy are their Lantern while Hal searched the galaxy to find recruits for the Corps, but when Hal returned he replaced Guy as a member of the League. Following Hal’s downfall in Emerald Twilight, Guy returned with a new power ring and become part of the Green Lantern Royal Guard. During the New 52, Guy’s back story was slightly changed and became the “Sentient Lantern”, going undercover to infiltrate the Red Lantern Corps. Recently he was featured in the comic series that just ended in 2018 titled Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps. He has not appeared too much in other media as a main character, but has made brief appearances in animated series such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. And cameos in Superman: Red Son and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, he is set to appear in the upcoming Green Lantern Corps series by HBO Max.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 2) #87 (December 1971)
Created after Guy Gardner fell into his coma, John Stewart was appointed as the backup Green Lantern for Hal Jordan. Trained by Katma Tui, Stewart has become a leader in the Corps despite his many setbacks. In 1984’s Green Lantern #182, Jordan quit as a Lantern and Stewart took his spot as the protector of Sector 2814. After suffering the loss of his wife and failing to save the planet Xanshi, Stewart fell into a depression and sought out redemption. Stewart managed to defeat a rouge Guardian and save his “Mosaic” world by creating peace between species. Due to the events of Emerald Twilight, the destruction of the Central Battery meat Stewart was unable to recharge his ring and be a Lantern. He joined the Darkstars, but we confined to a wheelchair after a battle with Grayven, the son of Darkseid. During the story The Final Night, Jordan’s last gift Stewart before his death was the restoration of his legs.
During Blackest Night, Stewart faced his ultimate challenge when Black Lantern Rings found their way to the remains of the dead planet Xanshi and his deceased wife. However, with the help of the other Lanterns they were able to defeat them and Stewart was able to finally forgive himself for the his past transgressions. Post-Flashpoint saw Stewart as the main Lantern of his sector again, but was sent to investigate attacks taking place in a distant part of the galaxy. It was revealed the attacks were caused by an experiment gone wrong by the Guardians of Oa. When another Lantern was about to face torture and risked giving up access codes to the defense network on Oa, Stewart killed him and was later put on trial. Arrested by the Alpha Lanterns and sentenced to death, he was saved by Guy Gardner and the other Lanterns faithful to Stewart. Recently he is the fighting alongside the Justice League and has even been a host to a new emotion corps known as the Ultra-Violet Lanterns. Stewart has become a fan favorite, especially since he was the Lantern chosen for the Justice League animated series in 2001 and is also set to appear in the HBO series as well.
First Appearance: Green Lantern (vol. 3) #48 (January 1994)
The Green Lantern of the modern era, Kyle Rayner was the Guardians last hope of survival. Following Emerald Twilight after Hal destroyed the entire Corps, Ganthet took the final power ring to Rayner in a final effort to stop Jordan’s destruction. Rayner managed to restore the Central Battery Core and brought back the entire corps. Rayner was chosen for his experiences with fear, the Guardians knew he would be the only person strong enough to battle Parallax. The corps learned to accept and manage their fear, leading to them overcoming Parallax and incarcerating him in the Central Battery Core and turning Kyle Rayner into Ion, a manifestation of willpower similar to Parallax with fear.
During The Sinestro Corps War, Rayner was possessed by Parallax and imprisoned but saved by Hal Jordan. Parallax was then trapped in the four lanterns of earth by the Guardians and Kyle gave up his identity as Ion to become a Green Lantern once again, and was assigned to the Green Lantern Honor Guard with Guy Gardner. During the New 52, Rayner was featured in the series Green Lantern: New Guardians. In issue #16, Rayner managed to master each emotion of the spectrum and become the White Lantern. Recently Rayner has fought alongside the Omega Men in a battle against the Citadel, trading his White Power Ring and becoming Green Man. Rayner has not made any other media presence besides his origin story told in Superman: The Animated Series episode Brightest Day, however he did not make another appearance until Justice League Unlimited in The Return which explained his absence with intergalactic missions.
First Appearance: The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Special Edition #1 (May 2012)
A Lebanese-American man with a rough upbringing. After being laid off from his job, he steals a vehicle and discovers there is a bomb inside. He decides to run it into the car factory that laid him off and destroys the building. Treated as an act of terrorism, he is apprehended and brought in for questioning. At the same time, a new ring is being fused by Hal Jordan and Sinestro, that ring finds its way to Simon to make him its new wielder. The ring takes him to assist the Lanterns during the event Rise of the Third Army, where Baz proves himself as the new Lantern of Sector 2814. In 2013, Amanda Waller offers Simon to join their newly formed Justice League of America, in exchange to clear his name of his previous crimes. Placing Simon alongside Steve Trevor, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Catwoman, Stargirl, Katana, and Vibe
After DC Comics: Rebirth, Simon was assigned by Hal Jordan to train newcomer Jessica Cruz. However, both of them fail a training exercise and Jordan fuses their power batteries into one. Allowing them to only access it as a team, in hopes that they will learn how to work better as a single unit. Jordan also appoints them to the Justice League, thinking they will learn from other members as well. Not much more has been done with Baz, we anticipate when we will get another appearance of him in comic books and anticipate seeing him in the upcoming HBO Max series.
First Appearance: Justice League (vol.2) #31 (June 2014)
During the Crime Syndicates invasion of Earth Prime, Sinestro destroys Power Ring and his ancient Ring of Volthoom is discovered by Jessica. The ring tortures and hurts Jessica as it is controlling her, but Batman manages to help her in controlling it. Hal Jordan than taught her how to use the rings power and fight alongside the Justice League. During the story arc The Darkseid War, Jessica sacrifices her life to save the Flash but ends up surviving and destroying Volthoom instead. Due to her ability to overcome fear, she is then offered a Green Lantern ring and enlisted into the corps.
As mentioned earlier, Jessica was paired with Simon Baz by the hand of Hal Jordan and assigned to work with the Justice League. Currently after the events of Dark Nights: Metal and Justice League: No Justice, Jessica is currently part of the intergalactic team Justice League Odyssey. As Cyborg enlists the aid of Jessica, Starfire and Azrael to explore the Ghost Sector of the galaxy with a commandeered Brainiac Skull Ship. Jessica hasn’t had much on screen appearance except for a major role in the animated film Justice League vs. Fatal Five, taking place in the DC Animated Universe and seems to be the successor to John Stewart.