At the beginning of the universe, the population of the planet Maltus evolved into powerful and highly intelligent beings. They soon colonized a planet situated in the center of the universe, Oa . From then on they called themselves Oans. After one of their own, the renegade Oan Krona , performed an experiment that nearly annihilated all of creation, the Oans promised from that moment forward to combat evil throughout all regions of space, no matter how desolate, as the self-appointed Guardians Of The Universe.
The Green Lantern Corps were created by John Broome and Gil Kane. The Green Lantern Corps first appeared in the issue Showcase #22.
Silver Age Origin
The Guardians of the Universe created the Green Lantern Corps around 3 billion years ago and have since served as the universe's sole police force. The Guardians realized their failure with the Manhunters was due to their creation's single-mindedness, lack of emotion (such as fear and courage), and most importantly, the absence of morality and honor in the androids. The Guardians chose to assign sentient beings that excelled in fearlessness and morality. These beings would then watch over their sector of the universe. The sector that includes Earth is Sector 2814. The mission of the Green Lantern Corps is to protect the universe from interstellar threats of all kinds, ranging from planetary-level threats(problems that could annihilate an entire civilization) to cosmic-level threats(problems that could annihilate the entire universe).
Each member has a great deal of autonomy as to their methods in their jurisdiction, subject to review by the Guardians if they feel the Green Lantern in question has abused their assigned authority. The individual Lanterns are responsible for arranging their replacements (when possible) if they are near retirement or death. If a Lantern dies before that obligation is met, the ring will find and seek another to be trained on its own. In rare circumstances, Guardians will personally go out into the field to recruit a replacement.
Upon recruitment each Green Lantern in the original Corps received a Power Ring, a Power Battery shaped like a lantern (with which the ring is recharged), and a uniform. The default uniform design for humanoids was a green section covering the torso and shoulders, black arms and leggings, green boots, white gloves, green domino mask and a chest symbol of a stylized Green Lantern icon on a white circle. Lanterns were allowed to customize their uniforms as long as the color scheme and the symbol were present. When the nature of the being precludes a standard uniform, an equivalent arrangement is expected as a substitute. For instance, Mogo, a sentient planet, arranges his foliage to create a green circling band and lantern symbol on his body. Jack T. Chance, a humanoid, refused to wear a uniform, but conceded to wearing a badge on the lapel of his coat. Lanterns were also allowed the option of a secret identity as a security measure and it is implied that the Corps were instructed to honor that choice by taking care not to expose them. Training in the use of the ring is mandatory for all rookie Lanterns and appropriate facilities and personnel are available on Oa upon request. In addition, a senior Lantern can be assigned to coach a recruit while in the field of their sector. The Corps was destroyed when Hal Jordan was possessed by Parallax, But it was rebuilt when Hal Jordan sacrificed himself to stop the Sun-Eater.
The new Green Lantern Corps being built by the Guardians is far more formal and structured than the old one that was destroyed by Parallax. Recruits, after being found by their Power Rings, are taken to Oa for training. Not all recruits will make it through training - indeed a great many of them might even fail, forcing the ring to find another candidate. Lantern trainees have a simplified version of the old Green Lantern uniform (with green covering more of the torso) with the white circle on their chest blank, presumably until the Lantern insignia is added upon completion of their training. Additionally, all Power Rings, not just Kyle Rayner's ring, now work on the color yellow, provided the user can feel the fear behind the color and overcome it.
Each member is given a Lantern Power Ring. The ring can create constructs that take the form of whatever the wielder imagines, so long as they have the willpower to channel and control the energies of the ring. The ring is limited only by the wearers' own fear and uncertainty. For this reason the ring is considered "The Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe". The power ring has its own intelligence and is able to understand the thoughts of the wearer. Though the ring itself is not sentient, if a Lantern is to ever die the ring is able to find a worthy successor. The ring does have a finite amount of energy before having to be recharged. Some Green Lanterns speak an oath to strengthen their will and reaffirm their determination during this time of recharge. The energy source of all this is fed by the Central Power Battery of Oa.
In The 30th Century (Silver Age)
In the latter part of the 30th Century, the Green Lantern Corps main goal was not interfering with U.P. planets(the reason is currently unknown). Out of all the Green Lanterns, only two ever visited Earth. The first being Vidar, who was sent to Earth to stop certain experiments that could've revealed how the universe came into existence. The second Green Lantern was his son, Rand Vida, whose mission was stop his villainous father from conquering the planet.
In The 30th Century (Retro-boot)
The Green Lantern Corps has now been destroyed, with Rand Vida being the last living Lantern. When Rand was killed by Superboy-Prime, his ring scanned the sector for a replacement, only to find none existed. Due the ring's protocol, it headed to the center of the universe on planet Oa. The ring was then snatched by the Daxamite Sodam Yat. When Mon-El returned Vidar’s body to Oa, Sodam Yat, who is now the last of the Guardians of the Universe, demanded to know who would dare disturb the resting place of the Green Lantern Corps.
Major Story Arcs
The first attempt by the Guardians at regulating and fighting evil was the creation of a android army they called the Manhunters. They were effective at policing the universe for nearly a thousand years. Eventually the Manhunters became more dedicated to the pursuit of their quarry than to the administration of justice. This along with the belief that the Oans were restricting their potential, which led the robots to rebel. The Oans quelled the rebellion and disbanded the Manhunters by destroying them, but a few survived. They still challenge the Guardians to this day with their severe brand of justice, and have made the Green Lantern Corps their mortal enemy.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
For further details: Crisis on Infinite Earths
During Crisis on Infinite Earths the Guardians of the Universe leave Oa. The Corps underwent a major reorganization. All the rings became inactive (except Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, G'nort and Ch'p's), as a result of decision to execute Sinestro. The Guardians eventually returned and began reconstructing the Corps.
For further details: Zero Hour
During Zero Hour Hal Jordan destroyed the Corps while being possessed by the entity Parallax, which had been trapped inside the Power Battery.
Sometime later the Corps was rebuilt (when Hal Jordan sacrificed himself to stop the Sun-Eater).
Sinestro Corps War
For further details: Sinestro Corps War
Following his defeat during the rebirth of Hal Jordan, Sinestro retreated to the planet Qward in the Antimatter Universe, where he amassed an army known as the Sinestro Corps. Each member is armed with a yellow power ring mirroring the green ones of the Green Lantern Corps, and each member is chosen for its ability to "inspire great fear". Among the Sinestro Corps are Cyborg Superman, the sentient virus Despotellis, Ranx the Sentient City, now enlarged to planetary size, Superman-Prime, the Anti-Monitor, and the embodiment of fear, Parallax.
The war spanned throughout the universe from Korugar, where Sinestro toyed with his successor Soranik Natu; Qward, where the Corps lost the brave Ke’haan and where Jack T. Chance was murdered by the Parallax-possessed Kyle Rayner; Mogo, where the battle finally turned once the Guardians authorized the use of lethal force; and finally to Earth where the Guardians themselves aided the Corps in defeating the Anti-Monitor and the homicidal Superman-Prime.
Sinestro himself was defeated by Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner in hand to hand combat. Jordan placed Sinestro under arrest, while the remaining Sinestro Corps members fled into space.
In the aftermath of the war, the Guardians decide to bring the second of the new laws into affect. After realizing that the " Blackest Night" prophecy will come to pass, Ganthet and Sayd depart after creating a blue power ring with the intention of creating their own Corps, based on the spreading of Hope to the rest of the universe. The Anti-Monitor, drawn through the vacuum of space, finds itself on a dark planet and is transformed by an unknown force into a Black Power Battery. Many good Lanterns died during the war; the aftermath of which is still shaping the Corps in new and unknown ways.
For further details: Blackest Night
During Blackest Night the Blackest Night prophecy comes true. The Guardians are imprisoned by Scar, and Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and Salaak take over leadership. All the dead Green Lanterns that were kept in the crypt came back to attack the current Corps members.
In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night;
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!
This is the most common oath said by the Green Lantern Corps. But there are variations;
The oath sworn by the Alpha Lanterns is;
In days of peace, in nights of war,
Obey the laws forever more.
Misconduct must be answered for,
Swear us, the chosen... The Alpha Corps!
The oath sworn by Green Lantern Jack T. Chance:
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.
The oath sworn by Green Lantern Rot Lop Fan, who is blind;
In loudest din or hush profound,
My ears catch evil's slightest sound,
Let those who toll out evil's knell,
Beware my power... the F-Sharp Bell!
The Space Sectors
The Corps has expanded to an organization of 7200 Green Lanterns, with the average ratio of two Lanterns per sector. It is required that each sector have at least two Lanterns, but it can have more depending on the population of that sector. Also there is a reserve force located on Oa.The organization of the sectors is simple, the universe is divided into 3600 equally sized "pie" shapes. All the points meet at the planet Oa, which is located in the center of the universe. Since the sectors all meet and begin on Oa, this means that Oa is in every Lantern's sector, and while a Lantern is on Oa, he or she is technically still patrolling his home sector.
Branches of the Corps
Green Lantern Honor Guard
The Honor Guard is a special force of elite Lanterns who have been chosen for their exemplary service or capabilities to serve full time on Oa. They, partially because Oa is technically in every sector, are not restricted to any one sector and serve as special operatives or troubleshooters for the corps. (One of Guy's assignments was to provide backup for Natu when her partner died). They also serve as commander’s during combat situations, such as during the Spider-Guild Assault. Guy Gardner was promoted to the Honor Guard, as Lantern 1 (Hal Jordan is lantern 2814.1) after his actions during that battle. In addition, after the removal of the Ion Symbiote during the Sinestro Corps War, Kyle Rayner was placed as his partner on the Honor Guard.
For further details: The Corpse
An elite, top secret, “Black-ops” division, “The Corpse” handle the darkest and most dangerous missions facing the Green Lanterns. The members of the Corpse follow different rules than normal Lanterns, and in fact most don’t even know of their existence. One example being that they were not bound by the use of Lethal Force even before the Sinestro Corps War. (Gardner mentioned during a mission with them that he’d never heard of the Corpse, and after the mission his memory of them was erased.) Not much is known about the Corpse, though what is known pertains simply to their duties. Members of the Corpse do not use power rings like most Lanterns; instead they are given coin-like disks which when swallowed give them all of the same abilities for a limited amount of time. The energy produced by these disks is purple, as opposed to the usual green (though it is unknown with the recent revelations about the Emotional Spectrum what this means). Corpsemen do not wear the traditional green of other Lanterns, and under no conditions do they dawn the symbol. They tend to instead wear black uniforms that have no symbols, appropriate for their station. With the recent authorization of Lethal Force against Sinestro Corps members and other enemies of the Lanterns after the war, the need for the continuation of the Corpse is in question by some. Though there will likely remain a need for those who work in the shadows.
For further details: Alpha Lanterns
After the Sinestro Corps War the Guardians create a new class of Green Lantern called the Alpha Lanterns. The Alpha Lanterns are seasoned Corpsmen who have been fused with their Power Rings and Batteries. Boodikka, Varix, Kraken, Green Man and Chaselon are all confirmed Alpha Lanterns; Hal Jordan is notably not chosen, and John Stewart is chosen but he declines the position.
The Alpha Lanterns function as Internal Affairs for the Green Lanterns Corps - Hal Jordan refers to them in the same manner. They have "the sentient drive and thought process of the Green Lanterns and the efficiency and logic of The Manhunters," as the Guardians turn them into cyborgs using Manhunter technology, and mainline their minds directly to The Book of Oa and the Central Battery. After the transformation, an Alpha Lantern would receive an additional power ring. Similarly to the most recent generation of Manhunters, Alpha Lanterns have a secondary face which can drain a Power Ring of its energy. The Alpha Lanterns tend to chant the Manhunter-like slogan "No Lantern escapes the Alpha Lanterns".
Laira was the first Green Lantern to be punished by the Alpha Lanterns; for the crime of killing Amon Sur she was stripped of her powers and expelled from the Corps.At some point during Final Crisis, the Alpha Lantern Kraken is possessed by the spirit of the deceased New God, Granny Goodness, and manages to frame Hal Jordan for a murder he did not commit. By the time the Corps. finds out who the guilty party is, Granny Goodness reveals her plan to steal the power of the Central power battery for Darkseid. Injuring one of the Guardians using her ability to suppress the Green, she is restrained by the Krona Protocol by the other Guardians, and shut down.
During Blackest Night, Chaselon was killed by the Black Lanterns and his inner battery was used as a bomb by Kyle Rayner to get rid of all the Black Lanterns around the Main Lantern Battery. After the return of the Guardians and the end of the Blackest Night, the Alpha Lanterns are seen forcing other Lanterns to become Alphas against their will. Boodika also requests the military advice of John Stewart, who the Guardians summon to their chamber to inform him of his new assignment.
The keeper of the book of Oa and Protocol Officer are one position and this individual generally control access to the Guardians as well acts as a disciplinarian of the Corps. Generally speaking this role has been filled by Salaak. In the event of the absence of the Guardians, leadership of the Corps falls to this position and failing that the members of the Honor Guard. Every space sector has only two Corps members, but there are other roles on Oa which necessitate being reassigned to sector 0. These include the keeper of the Crypt of the Fallen Lanterns and the corps drill sergeant who is responsible for the training of all Green Lanterns. This role has in contemporary times generally been filled by Kilowog, but Stel has also served in this capacity.
Due to the presence of the White Lantern on Earth, it was decided that no Green Lantern Corps Members would come from Earth in order to protect its location. This changed when Abin Sur crashed on Earth and his ring chose Hal Jordan. Since then Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner have all represented Earth as a Corps member. Another prominent members of the Corps was Sinestro, who later went on to be on the Corps major enemies.
Numerous families have a tradition of serving in the Corps, notably those of Arisia, and the father daughter legacy of Sinestro and Soranik Natu.
Film and Television
In the DC Animated Universe, the Green Lantern corp made five appearances and were relatively unchanged. One major difference was the amount of Lanterns and the costumes. They appeared in:
Superman the Animated Series
- In Blackest Night
- Hearts and Minds
Justice League Unlimited
Green Lantern First Flight
The Green Lantern Corps appear in this animated film about the origin of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.
Green Lantern: Sleepers Book One
Kyle Raynor is Green Lantern, a member of the Justice League of America and a space-traveling super hero who is the current heir to one of the most powerful forces in the known universe: the Green Lantern power ring. But he's got a problem: his girlfriend has just taken a liking to an average Joe who is about to be transformed into the most powerful villain Earth has ever faced. Green Lantern must stop the evil Sinestro and the invading hordes of aliens determined to destroy humanity and take over Earth.
- Written By: Christopher J. Priest
- Publisher: iBooks (April, 2005)
- ISBN-10: 1416504273
- ISBN-13: 978-1416504276
Green Lantern: Sleepers Book Two
Book Two of the popular Sleepers series stars the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. It begins by disclosing origins of the first Green Lantern and reveals how he came to have his power ring and how he uses his powers to fight evil. In this installment, Scott enters World War II to fight a 17th-century supervillain named Malvolio, an anti-Green Lantern who wants to take over the world. Malvolio decides to cut a deal with Hitler that endangers the entire Allied campaign in Europe and the Pacific. Not one to think small, he is determined to eliminate the entire Green Lantern Corps, destroy Earth, and decimate all other worlds that have ever had the protection of a Green Lantern.
- Written By: Christopher J. Priest
- Publisher: iBooks (April, 2007)
- ISBN-10: 1596871350
- ISBN-13: 978-1596871359
Green Lantern: Sleepers Book Three
The final volume in an epic trilogy, Sleepers, Book 3 features Hal Jordan, the most famous of Earth's modern-day Green Lanterns. Hal has been stripped of his powers, but it is up to him to fight the clones of the villain Sinestro, set loose by actions in the trilogy's first volume. In order to save the Earth, he may have to sacrifice himself by taking the Sinestro power rings on a one-way trip to the anti-matter universe.
- Written By: Christopher J. Priest
- Publisher: iBooks (September, 2005)
- ISBN-10: 1596871032
- ISBN-13: 978-1596871038