What’s perhaps even more noteworthy than Green Lantern's profoundly-versatile power ring is the fact that he isn’t the only Green Lantern in the universe; not by a long shot. There have been five superheroes called Green Lantern over all these decades - - from Alan Scott to Hal Jordan to Guy Gardner to John Stewart to Kyle Rayner - - but the identity isn’t a simple mantle that’s been passed down through generations like so many other DC universe legacies. It’s a uniform rank of a regimented corps whose roster include thousands of aliens and whose history goes back thousands of years.
In simplest terms, the Green Lantern Corps is an order of space cops who police the galaxy under the often aloof guidance of a cabal of little blue mega-intellects on the planet Oa - - the Guardians of the Universe. 3, 600 sectors are stated to fall within their universal jurisdiction, each with a GL assigned to patrol it. While the 100 or so corpsmen that’ve been identified on page fall significantly short of the stated amount, that’s still an impressive number of characters for any single team in comics. Even the Legion of Superheroes doesn’t have that many members in its ranks. Lanterns are inducted, promoted and expelled with frequency great enough to recall a revolving door.== TEASER ==
We would need a tremendous amount of space to cover all the notable Green Lanterns, but a novice shouldn’t feel daunted walking into the forthcoming GREEN LANTERN movie. While thousands of Lanterns have been shown on camera, it’s looking like you’ll only need to worry about four major ones - - Abin Sur, Sinestro, Tomar Re and Kilowog.
- Abin Sur is Hal Jordan’s immediate predecessor; an alien who bequeaths this earthman his power ring and his jurisdiction of Sector 2814 after fatally crash landing on Earth
- Sinestro's regarded as the greatest Green Lantern of all until Jordan (unsurprisingly) surpasses him. As you might’ve guessed from his name, he’s eventually revealed to be corrupt and expelled from the Corps. Later, he founds his antithetical corps who wield yellow power rings.
- Tomar Re's the first Lantern to welcome Jordan to the Corps and offer support when other veterans treat the rookie brusquely. He perished years ago in the comics and has actually stayed dead since.
- Kilowog's the Corps’ top drill sergeant, a big bulldog who breaks in new recruits like Jordan with hard training and tough love.
Expect some much more in-depth profiles of these most-prominent four soon. Beyond them, there’s truly a startling menagerie of champions and creatures in the ranks of the Corps. Delving back into the comics, some of the most memorable Lanterns include…
- Bzzd, a courageous fly.
- Mogo, an anti-social living planet.
- Ch’p, an anthropomorphic chipmunk.
- Stel, an emotionless robot.
- Rot Lop Fan, a blind alien who thinks he’s in the F-Sharp Corps because he has no concept of color.
This diverse selection of aliens fits into an actual hierarchy of ranks in the Corps. The lowest “ringslinger” rookies don’t receive their lantern badge or lethal capability for their rings until they pass basic training. If their accomplishments get impressive enough, a Lantern will get promoted to the Honor Guard which grants them greater privileges at the cost of having to live on Oa, full-time. If they prove adept at stealthy wetwork, they’ll shed their uniforms and don dark suits to preform black ops missions in the Corpse. If they prove especially loyal to the Guardians, they’ll be merged with their power batteries and turned into cybernetic Alpha Lanterns who act as the Corps' Internal Affairs. Supremely exceptional GLs will be selected to be the host of the Ion, the green “will entity” whose very existence powers the Corps’ central battery. The Daxamite Sodam Yat, who has all the powers of Superman, served as the last Ion and his powers were increased so significantly by the process that he was referred to as the “ultimate Green Lantern.”
There's such complexity to the order, this is really only scratching the surface of what the Green Lantern Corps is all about. Still, if you’re new to the comics or are walking into the movie fresh, this is a handy enough field manual to keep you from getting lost in all the expansive lore.