Who is Green Lantern, Protector Of The Universe? - Comic Years
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Who is Green Lantern, Protector Of The Universe?

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BY April 21, 2023

One of the most colorful fictional superheroes of the DC Universe is Green Lantern. This character carries a trademark power ring that can create manifestations of solid light.

All-American Comics #16 Image via DC Comics

Who is Green Lantern?

Green Lantern is one of the oldest characters in DC Comics. He has been around for over eight decades in the corners of the comics. His work has been commendable, patrolling, guarding and fighting the enemies of peace. Over the years, this superhero has proven to be more than a character. He is an intergalactic police force that gives stability to the different universes. 

The first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, dates back to 1940. He appeared in issue #16 of All – American Comics. The creators of this incarnation were Bill Finger and Martin Nodell. Later, in 1959 Julius Schwartz reinvented the character and named him Hal Jordan. During the 70s, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams introduced a new Green Lantern named John Stewart.

Green Lantern’s Publication History

Green Lantern has existed since the Golden Age of comics in different incarnations:

Golden Age – Alan Scott

Alan Scott Image via DC Comics

In the Golden Age of comics, the character first appeared in 1940 on the cover of All – American Comics # 16. Bill Finger was the scriptwriter this time, and Martin Nodell was the cartoonist.

Alan Scott is the original Green Lantern. He is a founding member and leader of the “Justice Society”. The JS did not initially associate with the Galactic Defense Corps of the Guardians of the Universe. Alan is from Metropolis. He works as a railway employee who finds a mysterious lantern and a ring one night. Later he discovers that these objects gave him power.

He could build anything he thought of through them, even invincible tools. His only weakness is being unable to attack elements made of vegetable matter. Alan is the father of the superheroes Jade and Obsidian.

During World War II, the sale of comics collapsed. So, DC canceled Green Lantern in 1949, in its number 38. Alan Scott made his last appearance in 1951 in All-Star Comics #57. When superheroes re-emerged in later decades, Alan Scott returned as Green Lantern. He made appearances in comics alongside other superheroes. He was regularly seen in Justice Society comics but never had his own series.

Silver Age – Hal Jordan

Hal Jordan Green Lantern Image via DC Comics

The Silver Age of comics began in 1959. At that time, the revival of The Flash was a resounding success. Therefore, Julius Schwartz, the editor of DC, assigned Gil Kane as an artist and John Broome as a writer to revive Green Lantern. In this new incarnation, Hal Jordan is a founding member of the Justice League. His first appearance was in 1959, in Showcase #22. For this issue, Denny O’Neil was the writer, and Neal Adams was the artist. 

Here the character was a follower of law and order facing the Green Arrow. Hal Jordan was the second Green Lantern. He was also the first Earthling to join the Corps. By 1959, Hal was a Ferris aeronautical test pilot. Hal received his powers from the flashlight and ring, which he could use to fly, create shields, and even make his own costume. Hal is part of the Green Lantern Corps, which numbered around 3600 Green Lanterns. They were in charge of patrolling the universe.

Jordan was assigned to patrol a specific sector, 2814, which included Earth. Hal Jordan is the most famous Green Lantern in comics. And he is, in fact, one who has undergone many transformations. Hal was involved in several distressing events that resulted in him not being a Green Lantern today. That is one of the consequences of the Guardians of the Universe taking away his ring.

Bronze Age – Guy Gardner

Guy Gardner in Green Lantern #59 Image via DC Comics

Guy Gardner was the next. He belongs to the bronze age of comics, and John Broome and Gil Kane created him. Gardner appeared first in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #59 in March 1968. After Abin Sur crashed on the Earth and died, his power ring found two potential successors to be the next Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. The ring chooses Jordan, and Gardner becomes a “backup.”

After Crisis on Infinite Earths, many Lanterns lost their power rings. However, Gardner didn’t, and so he was one of the few remaining active Green Lanterns. Guy Gardner was one of the founding members of the Justice League Internacional and had a romance with his teammate Ice. In the events of Guy Gardner: Reborn, Guy had to fight Hal Jordan to reclaim his title as Green Lantern of Sector 2814. He lost and had to give his ring up.

Bronze Age – John Stewart

Green Lantern John Stewart Image via DC Comics

Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams created this version, first appearing in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #87. John Stewart is the first Green Lantern of African American descent and the second to appear in DC. 

After Jordan’s retirement in the ’80s, John Stewart replaced him. Stewart was an architect who occasionally served as an assistant in the Justice League. He remained in the position until he accidentally destroyed the planet Xanshi. Star Sapphire killed John Stewart’s wife, Katma Tui. After this event, he suffered a lot, retiring and dedicating himself to his vocation, Architecture. Later, in Green Lantern: Rebirth, Hal Jordan and John Stewart fight together.

Modern Age – Kyle Rayner


Kyle Rayner was born in Los Angeles, California. He was, in fact, once considered “The last Green Lantern”. His arrival was at a time when the galactic agents were in the hands of Hal Jordan. But the incarnation of “Parallax” was possessing Hal. In light of this, Kyle received the ultimate rings and power battery. His first appearance was in 1994, in Green Lantern Vol 3 #48. Ron Marz, Darryl Banks, and Bill Willingham are his creators.

Kyle was a freelance artist until Ganthet, the last surviving Guardian of the Universe, selected him to be Green Lantern. His selection was not for a specific reason. They needed someone to fill the role, and Kyle was right on point. This version is considered the most powerful. The ring he carries is the last of the Guardians, so he is not vulnerable to yellow light.

Modern Age – Simon Baz

Simon Baz Image via DC Comics

Simon Baz was the first Green Lantern of Arab descent. He is a Lebanese-American who was born in Detroit. Simon lived through the events of September 11, 2001. As a result, he suffered social rejection and all the problems experienced by the Muslim people in the United States. That led Simon to get into several issues, among them belonging to a group of kids accused of terrorism.

Although the intention of this group, from the beginning, was to look for an honourable job to support his family, the results were disastrous. Simon ends up stealing a van, unaware of a bomb in it. As a result, he was arrested. During the interrogation, Thaal Sinestro, Hal Jordan’s old ring, selected him as the new Green Lantern. He was assigned to patrol sector 2814.

Modern Age – Jessica Cruz

Green Lantern Jessica Cruz Image via DC Comics

Jessica Cruz’s story is entirely different from all the other Green Lanterns. Jessica was with some friends on a hunting trip. Unfortunately, they accidentally ran into two men burying a body. That caused Jessica’s friends to be killed while Jessica ran away and hid. The girl was completely traumatized. Unlike the other Green Lanterns, she was chosen but did not accept it. So, the ring tortured her physically and psychologically.

The ring previously belonged to Volthoom, which feeds on fear. Its possessor died in the Crime Syndicate’s raid on Prime Earth. So the ring located Jessica because of her trauma. Batman had to intervene for Jessica to understand the importance of wearing the ring. He managed to deactivate it and convince her to face her fears. At the same time, Hal Jordan returned to Earth to teach Jessica how to use and control the ring.

In a new battle, seeking to bring order against the Crime Syndicate on Earth-Prime, Jessica managed to survive. After this, Jessica became a new Green Lantern and received another ring that descended from the battlefield.

Modern Age – Sojourner Mullein

Far Sector #6 Image via DC Comics

Sojourner Mullein is one of the most recent Green Lantern Corps members. She appeared first in Far Sector #1 in 2020. Mullein is in the Army and the New York City Police Department. She received her ring directly from one of the Guardians of the Universe, with the challenge to make a difference in one year.

Green Lantern’s Powers and Abilities

All Lanterns have in common to carry their lanterns and rings. These objects guarantee the “possibility” of manifesting several powers to whoever holds them. Among those that are common to all are:

  • Ability to fly.
  • A green light always accompanies all the effects of any power.

In the DC Universe, the ring is considered one of the most powerful weapons ever created in the history of comics. So, it would be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.

By the Golden Age, Green Lantern wore a ring that moved through magic. But, the Corps rings are a product of Guardians of the Universe technology. Any of them can contain Black Holes and Supernovas. Not for nothing are they considered one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. But they also have potent villains, such as Anti-Monitor and Parallax.

Their uniform generally is a green costume with black or dark grey parts, sometimes including white. The costume’s chest curiously has a symbol that rises a few centimeters above the suit’s surface. It gives a visualization of a light builder.

Green Lantern Corps

Green Lantern in other media

This cosmic guardian has a presence in some media, such as:

Green Lantern in Television

This superhero appeared on the small screen in the 2012 animated series called Green Lantern: The Animated Series. But he had other minor appearances in:

  • Super Friends.
  • Challenges of the Super Friends.
  • Legion of Evil.
  • Justice League Unlimited.
  • Superman: The Animated Series
  • Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Green Lantern in Movies

On the big screen, he follows this chronological sequence

  • 2009, Green Lantern: First Flight.
  • 2011, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights.
  • 2011, Green Lantern.
  • 2022, Green Lantern: Beware My Power.
  • 2024, Green Lantern Corps.

The Green Lanterns are not just any character. Together they form a team that helps keep the universe peaceful. However, not just anyone can carry the power ring and lantern; they must be worthy and adequately use them.

This character is considered one of the mightiest superheroes in the DC Universe. Therefore, it is unsurprising that James Gunn included him in DC’s 10-year plan. Green Lantern Corps, the DC Comics Extended Universe movie, will release in 2024. We will surely see him fight his famous arch-enemies and continue to maintain law and order.

DC Comics


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