The 23 Brightest and Dimmest Members of the Green Lantern Corps
Thanks to Geoff Johns’ “Rebirth” storyline and continuing revitalizations to Green Lantern lore, fans have a bigger, badder (set of) corps than ever. Still, no matter how many willful wearers don the mantle, every GL is different. As Nathan Fillion sang in his Captain Hammer role, “Everyone’s a hero in their own way, in their own not-that-heroic way.” After all, G’Nort is no John Stewart.
That’s why, in celebration of this week’s “Green Lantern” #50, we’re profiling the Universe’s most heroically-hued peacekeepers based on performance (and of course, an arbitrary sense of awesomeness care of the combined might of Chris Sims and Caleb Goellner). Read on to see where some of your favorite lanterns rank in part one of our GL rankings …In “The Corps” DC Universe.
Following the conclusion of a huge anger war after the DC Comics and Mortal Kombat universes merged, combatant Sonya Blade was left with a random dead GL’s ring but no power battery. Her further adventures Corpsing it up have not been chronicled in an official capacity, but probably populate some very NSFW fan fiction.CA Says: “Say Bob, you know what would be awesome?” “What’s that, Bob?” “If we took a character from a sub-par fighting game about gruesome murder and made her a space policeman with a magic green wishing ring.” “Bob, are you drunk?” “Yes. Yes I am.”
A cartoon squirrel from what’s essentially a planet of cartoon animals, Ch’p got his start as a GL while awaiting his execution as a rebel warrior. After many adventures and a failed suicide attempt, he was struck down on the highway by a yellow truck.
CA Says: A kid-friendly funny animal that’s run over by a truck and then resurrected as a zombie. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but we’re getting too depressed to make it.
Suffering from the universe’s worst bundle of daddy issues, Arisia used her Green Lantern ring to age herself to non jailbait age so Hal Jordan would reciprocate her affection. If that’s not creepy enough, she’s also an orange elf alien who fought Nekron the first time around, moved to Earth with no powers and got her neck snapped by Major Force before a resurrection and more Jordan smooching.
CA Says: The more writers try to make Hal’s Nabokovian alliance with Arisia okay (“Her people age slower than humans! She’s really in her hundreds!”), the more it just has the opposite effect of reminding us that the Official Greatest Green Lantern Ever totally used to have the hots for a minor. Still, it’s worth noting that thanks to last year’s Watchmen movie, Hal and Arisia has finally been replaced as creepiest couples’ cosplay by The Comedian and Silk Spectre.
All you really need to know about G’Nort is that he’s a dog who patrolled an empty sector and made his first arrest by biting a Silver Surfer analog’s bare ass and writers seem to completely hate him.
CA Says: The goofiest character of a Justice League era defined by goofiness, G’Nort was like a tongue-in-cheek version of Jar-Jar Binks, which meant that a lot of people hated him. That still doesn’t explain why writer/artist Howard Chaykin thought it was a good idea to portray him as (and we’re quoting from Wikipedia here) “more serious […] suffering heavily from the loss of his family.” Yeeesh.
A captain in the United States Air Force/insane test pilot, Hal Jordan ran into a crashed space ship housing a dying Abin Sur who passed onto him the mantle of the Green Lantern of sector 2814 due to the strength of Jordan’s will. Later on he got gray hair and lost a city full of former conquests, so he teamed up with a yellow space bug to kill his friends.
CA Says: According to Geoff Johns, Hal Jordan was the cool guy in the Justice League that everyone else wanted to be. We’re pretty sure he was reading different comics than we were, because we remember him being the old man who got hit in the head a lot that had to be told by Green Arrow that racism was a bad thing.
Like Arisia, Laira took over for her former GL father. Unlike Arisia, Laira was pretty good at her job. After losing her ring for awhile and getting it back, she had some adventures with the Corps before losing it at a crime scene and becoming a vomiting Red Lantern. Later on Sinestro killed her. What was that about her being good at her job?
CA Says: Between wearing an outfit that consists of Gambit’s boots and a high-cut Baywatch swimsuit and her more recent work puking out her blood so that it can be replaced by hate, getting killed, and becoming a zombie, Laira is somehow managing to give even Jack T. Chance a run for his money as the most ’90s Green Lantern of all time.
Jack T. Chance
Long hair? Check. Lives on a planet called “Hellhole?” Check. Too EXTREME to wear your “uniform,” grandpa? Check. Shot a bad guy with a gun when his ring refused to kill him? Check. Fought Lobo on at least two occasions? Check and check. Don’t look now, guys, but we’re pretty sure we just found the most ’90s character ever.
CA Says: Created by John Ostrander and Henry Flint, Jack is so over-the-top that it’s almost impossible to tell if he’s a true child of ’90s excess or an incredibly sharp parody of it. We’re going to go with the latter, if only because of his version of the GL Oath:
You who are wicked, evil and mean– I’m the nastiest creep you’ve ever seen! Come one, come all, put up a fight, I’ll pound your butts with Green Lantern’s Light! Yowza!
Come on, folks: There’s no way someone could write that if it wasn’t on purpose.
Ol’ Charlie learned that with great power comes a crappy life after his role as TV’s Green Lantern was cut short by a hang over, a confused Qwardian-murdered brother. Somehow this former playboy gets stuck with a real GL ring and one of the worst sectors in the galaxy. After finally coming to terms with his boring life, he’s depowered, forced to join the Darkstars and killed by Darkseid’s inconsequential third son.
CA Says: Charlie Vickers makes us imagine how much more awesome the world would be if Adam West just cold decided to start fighting crime after the “Batman” TV show got canceled in 1969, and while that’s awesome, it’s a constant reminder that we do not live in the best of all possible worlds.
Rot Lop Fan
Hailing from a lightless corner of the cosmos, Rot Lop Fan operates via sound as a member of the F-Sharp Corps. While he hasn’t been extremely active of late, he’s been listening to a lot of nu metal in an effort to curb his Red Lantern-like feelings mid ’90s angst.
CA Says: Alan Moore’s work on Green Lantern in the ’80s was pretty much just an excuse to explore neat ideas, and Rot Lop Fan represents one of the neatest: How do you explain a purely visual idea to a creature that has no concept of sight? It’s a nifty little story, but there’s no need to ever go back to it.
One of the corps finest trainers and mentors, Kilowog began his career as a geneticist in a vastly populated and communal society. Despite his best efforts, his planet was wiped out twice leaving him one of the universes lone Bolovaxians.CA Says: Kilowog may have added the word “poozer” to the dictionary of nerds everywhere, but the idea of a heroic character taking the side of the communist Russians made him one of the more interesting bits of the 1980s DC Universe.
Medphyll is a cool talking tree from a planet of sentient plants. As such, he’s been a pretty good buddy to Swamp Thing. His homeworld, J586 sounds like the name of a pop punk and/or boy band form the ’90s, but you shouldn’t hold that against him.
CA Says: Medphyll was just another nifty-looking background character ’til he showed up in an awesome issue of Starman as a prisoner of an alien jail that totally tried to shank Jack Knight during a riot. That might not make him a good Green Lantern, but it totally makes him an awesome one.
One of the quietest GLs, Mogo is a giant, sentient planet with a costume made from trees. He recently made a splash on Oa by destroying scores of Black Lanterns with his gravity. Not a bad ally to have, really.
CA Says: Okay, we get it: Alan Moore is great and we all want to use his characters. But c’mon, guys, when the whole deal with a character is that he “doesn’t socialize,” does he really need to be in every crossover?
Losing his life during one of his earliest battles as a GL, Driq’s power ring absorbed his life force making him half alive and half dead before it was cool. He’s a Black Lantern now, meaning the only thing that’s changed is his dead side is a lot meaner.
CA Says: Being a Green Lantern with so much willpower that you wouldn’t let yourself die is totally badass on its own, but the fact that he was doing this stuff a good twenty years before the rest of comics caught up with the whole zombie thing makes Driq one of our all-time favorite Lanterns.
An architect with US Marine Corps training, Stewart’s agile mind and strong character made him a perfect candidate to replace an injured Guy Gardner. Like any good hero, however, standing up to Hal Jordan and thinking for himself ended up causing him a lot of pain and suffering. Star Sapphire chopped up his wife to prove a point to Jordan, and even after her resurrection, she was killed yet-again by a Parallax-influenced Jordan. Stewart is also very forgiving.
CA Says: You wouldn’t know it from reading his more recent adventures, wherein he uses the ultimate cosmic weapon that can create anything he imagines to make… a gun, but John Stewart was once the more mellow Green Lantern, coming out of his angry youth with an appreciation for fine coffee and–we are not making this up–the music of Barbara Streisand. Call us crazy, but we kinda miss that.
A neurosurgeon on the formerly Sinestro-dominated Korugar (a planet with no love for Green Lanterns), Soranik has fought to balance her identities as a doctor and a GL in the face of extreme resentment. She also brought relatively short-term boytoy Kyle Rayner back form the dead through the power of love. Huey Lewis knows what that’s about.
CA Says: While she’s obviously cast in the mold of her predecessor, Katma Tui, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Soranik’s competence and toughness (not to mention the fact that she’s so far managed to date Kyle Rayner without having a piano dropped on her or something) makes her one of the most likable Green Lanterns ever, and certainly a standout among the recent crop.
Essentially Superman with a super powerful Green Lantern ring, Sodam Yat’s Daxamite physiology makes him the Guardian’s dreamboat Chosen One. He’s lit up suns and killed a lot of bad guys but miraculously survives pretty much whatever is thrown at him.
CA Says: Though it never ended up happening, Sodam Yat was created by Alan Moore to use in his never-published pitch, “Twilight of the Super-Heroes,” where he was going to be the last man standing after the entire Corps took on Superman. And really, whether it happened or not, Alan Moore creating you to kill Superman? That’s worth some points.
Now deceased, Katma Tui was Soranik Natu’s predecessor as a GL from Sinestro’s former planet, the lantern-hating Korugar. Despite numerous successful missions, training and marrying John Stewart, and basically being awesome at her job, Tui was killed in her home by Star Sapphire as a message to Hal Jordan.
CA Says: The fact that Katma Tui was killed just to give another character something to be mad about is one of the biggest sore points among Green Lantern fans (and brother, there are a LOT of sore points among Green Lantern fans), but we can sympathize. As awesome as it is to have stuff like Rot Lop Fan, Katma’s role as the one who figured out how to bring him into the corps defined her as a strong, resourceful character that really deserved better.
Despite an abusive childhood, an ugly haircut and a subsequent delinquent adolescence, Guy Gardner is a college grad and a former educator and social welfare worker. Even though he causes Batman to punch him in the face on occasion and wore Sinestro’s old yellow ring, he’s actually a solid dude who cares about those less fortunate. He also had some sick superpowered tribal tats for awhile.
CA Says: As annoying as Guy can be–and brother, he can be annoying–he’s a brilliant character. Why? Because a guy that was totally honest and totally fearless really WOULD be a complete jerk.
During a televised adventure as Duck Dogers, Daffy accidentally swaps his dry cleaning with Hal Jordan become “The Green Loontern.” While he has trouble recognizing his inherent ability to fly prior to receiving the ring, has a lot of trouble with the GL oath and generally annoys the rest of the Corps, Daffy helps defeat Sinestro before returning his ring and uniform to Jordan and returning to his normal life.
CA Says: If there was any justice in this world, “Blackest Night” would end like this:
“ZOMBIE SEASON! FIRE!”
A founding member of the Justice Society of America, this Green Lantern is still indirectly related to the Green Lantern Corps, drawing his power from the Starheart rather than the Central Power Battery. It is said that even though he’s not a direct part of the corps, the magical entity he draws his power from may have influenced his identity having remembered its own cosmic imprisonment by the Guardians many ages ago.
CA Says: There are a lot of reasons why Alan Scott is hands-down one of the best Golden Age characters–not the least of which are his portrayal in “The Golden Age” as someone brave enough in his civilian life to stand up to HUAC–but if you asked us, we’d have to go with the fact that he’s a Green Lantern who straight up wears a red sweatshirt and a ginormous purple cape. He’s like what would happen if Prince was in the Justice Society.
A young graphic artist recruited seemingly at random by a trash-dwelling Guardian, Rayner became the universe’s last lantern after Parallax wiped out the Corps. The Corps is better now and they have Kyle to thank for his lonely, uncertain tenure. His girlfriend also loves him so much that she brought him back from the dead.
CA Says: You know those really aggressive commercials for yogurt where there’s some old dude in a sweater vest and glasses eating yogurt in a library and then a kid with a skateboard kicks over the Large Print section and slams a serving of yogurt into his mouth from a tube while guitars wail a power chord, and it rocks the old dude so hard that his yogurt explodes and the kid’s like IN YOUR FACE OLD MAN? Kyle Rayner is pretty much just like that, but we love him anyway.
One of the lone sources of light on Darkseid’s horrifying homeworld, Qarrigat lead a few unsuccessful rebellions against the tyrant. He’s kind of a Sisyphusian character, pushing against a force that will never move, but he’s got a rest for a while now that the Fourth World is MIA.
CA Says: The very idea of the Green Lantern of Apokolips is the kind of shared universe crossover that only really happens in super-hero comics, and thanks to creator Walt Simonson, it’s one of the best. Even better is the idea that, thanks to “Emerald Twilight,” Raker had to seal his ring in a time bubble, relying on it only in case of emergencies lest his final 24 hour charge run out and leave him powerless to battle Jack Kirby’s ultimate evil! We’re not gonna lie here folks: Raker Qarrigat is totally one of our faves.
In the aftermath of “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” the Dark Knight tries on Hal Jordan’s ring for a moment. Though he’s worthy of the power, he’d never be able to fully wield it without fully moving past the deaths of his parents.
CA Says: This is the Green Lantern that threatened to rip the ComicsAlliance staff apart. Some of us (and by “some of us,” we mean Chris Sims) are diametrically opposed to the idea that there’s something Batman can’t do, let alone that he would ever need to be something besides Batman, but others have pointed out that the fact that Batman is the best at everything means that even though he only had the ring for about five minutes, for those five minutes he was the best Green Lantern ever. We are forced to concede the point.