Green Lantern is the name of multiple superheroes from the DC Universe, all of whom are characterized by a power ring and the ability to create solid constructs with the ring. The first Green Lantern (Alan Scott) was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Martin Nodell in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940). Alan Scott was a railroad engineer who, after a railway crash, came into possession of a magic lantern which spoke to him and said it would bring power. From this, he crafted a magic ring which gave him a wide variety of powers. The limitations of the ring were that it had to be “charged” every 24 hours by touching it to the lantern for a time, and that it did not work on objects made of wood.
Nodell had originally planned to give the Green Lantern the alter ego “Alan Ladd,” this being a linguistic twist on Aladdin, who had a magic lamp and magic ring of his own. DC considered the wordplay distracting and foolish, and the character’s name was changed before publication to “Alan Scott.” In May 1942, the film This Gun for Hire suddenly made the journeyman actor Alan Ladd a movie star. Nodell would always joke that they had missed a great opportunity.
As a popular character in the 1940s, the Green Lantern featured both in All-American Comics and in his own title, as well as co-starring in Comic Cavalcade along with Flash and Wonder Woman. He was a charter member of the Justice Society of America, whose adventures ran in All Star Comics. After World War II the popularity of superheroes in general declined. The Green Lantern comic book was cancelled with issue #38 (May–June 1949). All Star Comics #57 (1951) was the character’s last Golden Age appearance. Justice Society of America re-forms in the 1960s with Scott as a member, though little is known of their adventures during this time, save for stories about their team-ups with the Justice League of America, the parallel world Earth-One, and cross-universe adventures Scott shares with Earth-One’s Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. In Green Lanterns of two worlds: The Silver Age Hal Jordan meets the Golden Age Alan Scott in Green Lantern #40 (Oct. 1965). Cover art by Gil Kane & Murphy Anderson.
Following DC’s September 2011 reboot of its fictional universe, Alan Scott was introduced in issue 1 of Earth 2, which takes place on a parallel world within the DC Multiverse. Now the young dynamic head of GBC productions on Earth 2, Alan Scott is destined to become his world’s Green Lantern. On June 1, 2012, DC announced that Alan would be reintroduced as a young gay man. Alan Scott has a boyfriend Sam. While on a train in China he proposes to Sam. However, the train is suddenly wrecked. A Green Flame protects him and heals him, but says his lover was killed and that the wreck was caused by something which threatens the world. It tells Alan he will draw his power from the Earth. It gives him a costume then tells him he needs something to draw his power. Alan shows the ring he was about to put on Sam’s finger, and the flame models it into a power ring, so Alan can avenge his love and protect the world. Alan then helps other survivors and swears he will avenge Sam.
Speaking of Hal Jordan following the successful revival of the Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956), a new Green Lantern was introduced in Showcase #22 (September–October 1959) Read It Here. This Green Lantern was Hal Jordan, a test pilot who was given a power ring by a dying alien, Abin Sur, and who became a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar organization of police overseen by the Guardians of the Universe. The Corps’s rings were powerless against anything colored yellow, due to a yellow-colored “impurity,” or “dopant,” in the master power generator located on Oa, where the Guardians maintained their headquarters; the yellow dopant was described as being a “necessary” one, for without it, the master generator could not function as such.
In 1994, DC Comics decided that it needed to create some excitement for Green Lantern comics. To accomplish this, it was decided to do away with Hal Jordan, who had been the primary Green Lantern since the late 1950s, and replace him with a new character Kyle Rayner. The process of replacing Jordan with Rayner was detailed in the story “Emerald Twilight”, beginning Green Lantern vol. 3, #48 (Jan. 1994). Following the complete destruction of his home town Coast City by the villain Mongul, Hal Jordan descended into madness, and was possessed by the entity Parallax destroying the Green Lantern Corps, killing his friend Kilowog and all of the Guardians except for Ganthet. After this, Jordan assumed the name Parallax and became a supervillain. As detailed in the crossover Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Parallax attempted to rewrite history in order to stop the destruction of Coast City. While Kyle Rayner became the primary Green Lantern of Earth for the next decade, Hal Jordan terrorized the DC universe as the villain Parallax. The entity Parallax was revealed to have been once imprisoned within the Central Battery on the planet Oa, from which all Green Lanterns derive their power, and was the reason for the yellow impurity that in the past rendered the rings useless against anything yellow.
Since Parallax was gone from the Oan Power Battery, the final power ring conferred to Kyle Rayner did not have any weakness against yellow. The young ring bearer also has some limited resistance to the fear entity’s influence as Rayner is a Green Lantern who understands fear alongside with his strong will. Despite being possessed by Parallax, the positive aspect of Jordan’s personality would resurface occasionally, eventually leading the infected Jordan to use Parallax’s powers to reignite the Sun during the event known as “The Final Night”, and later aiding the universe’s greatest heroes to stop the rogue angel Asmodel from raising Hell to Earth and Heaven in Day of Judgment. Jordan’s infected soul later bonded with the Spectre, who eventually expelled Parallax from Jordan. The Spectre itself left to move onto the next human host. Ganthet guided Jordan’s soul back to his own body, preserved after Jordan reignited the Sun. His soul and thoughts finally gaining clarity for the first time in years, Jordan was resurrected, again taking his place as a Green Lantern. Together, Kyle Rayner and fellow Green Lanterns John Stewart, Guy Gardner, a resurrected Kilowog, Hal Jordan, and Ganthet imprisoned the parasite back in the Central Power Battery on Oa.
Despite this reintroduction of the “yellow impurity”, which is now referred to as the “Parallax Fear Anomaly”, the power rings’ weakness against yellow no longer applies, as experienced wielders are now able to consciously recognize its source, and overcome the fear associated with it. It is still, however, a considerable weakness for new Green Lantern recruits and rookies, who must be taught the impurity’s nature and how to combat it. During training, new recruits’ rings may falter at times against yellow objects, and/or when a recruit is experiencing panic or fear.
Wrath of The First Lantern Story in the New 52
During an interview, Geoff Johns commented that The First Lantern will feature in a cross-over event called “Wrath of The First Lantern” and commented on the characters role in the story:
“I don’t want to say he’s a villain or a hero,” Johns says of the First Lantern, who was introduced in DC Comics’ recent Green Lantern Annual. “He’s just a being who’s targeting our main lanterns, our guys, to see if there’s a way that maybe the universe could improve if they made different choices in their lives.
“You’ll see why he’s called the First Lantern within the story,” the writer adds, “but he’s someone who’s going to take a look at every one of our heroes and main characters and really tear their life apart and rip them open in a way we’ve never seen before on a very cosmic scale.”
“He’s a very different ancient powerful character who has a very odd and disturbing point of view on the universe and on humanity and life, and where life can go wrong or go very good,” Johns explains. “He’s really not a guy who’s motivated by revenge not completely or by power.
He has it all he’s a being who’s just very, very inquisitive about life and the choices we make.
Volthoom was a male being who held mysterious origins that was dated back to an early point in the universe. This was during the height of the Maltusians civilization when they had developed their technology to its peak. At this point, the scientist Krona began his experiments in observing the beginnings of the universe. This was considered dangerous by this brethren as legend had forbidden it. After conducting the experiment, they observed a vessel emerging and a human-like figure within a spacesuit exiting who called himself Volthoom. This being seemingly tutored the other Maltusians in the power of the Emotional Spectrum and at some point he was given the name of The First Lantern. However, he was deemed dangerous and unstable by the nascent Guardians of the Universe who were threatened by his great power. Thus, it was ultimately decided to imprison him within The Chamber of Shadows located in a black hole where he was trapped inside a lantern-shaped construct. A number of Oans remained behind to ensure that the First Lantern was kept imprisoned and became known as The Hidden Ones whilst the remaining embarked on their mission of policing the universe with the Manhunters. The First Lantern’s custodians and wardens vowed that he would never be released due to the dangers posed by him. According to Krona, the Guardians were responsible for betraying the First Lantern. His only legacy on Oa was within The Foundry in the area that stored the Power Gauntlet where an inscription made mention of the First Lantern.
The Wrath of The First Lantern storyline is to conclude on Green Lantern 20 It will be the last Geoff Johns story and the end of some great writing beginning with Green lantern: Rebirth. Geoff last words about green lantern are next.
“So what will GREEN LANTERN #20 bring? The bizarre return of Hal Jordan, the final fate of Sinestro, the revelation of the First Lantern and an ending that I hope pays off everything we’ve ever done and ever created with GREEN LANTERN. It has art by Doug Mahnke, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and I’ve poured everything I can into the script.”