Blackest Night #0
Blackest Night #0

In the forbidden chapter of Cosmic Revelations, in the book of Oa, is the prophecy called the “Blackest Night,” that foretells of war of the light that will eventually destroy the universe.

So…Blackest Night #0 hits this Saturday (see a preview here)at any comic shop participating in Free Comic Book Day.  Make sure you get there early so you can get your hands on a copy!  The issue will be re-printed at a later date, but isn’t it so much more fun to get it for free?  (and legally, of course)

So, to celebrate the release of Blackest Night, and start our Blackest Night coverage, we thought we’d start with a little background detail on each of the Corps involved in the upcoming battle!  After the jump, find out all you ever wanted to know about the Green Lantern Corps!

The Green Lantern Corps, by Doug Mahnke (click to see larger)
The Green Lantern Corps, by Doug Mahnke (click to see larger)

First appearing in Showcase #22 in 1959, the Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic peacekeeping force, under the guidance for the last three billion years of the Guardians of the Universe, a race of short blue smurf-looking immortals, from the planet Oa (the center of the Universe).  Like precints, the universe is divided into 3600 sectors, with two Lanterns assigned to protect each sector.  Each Green Lantern is given a power ring, powered by willpower, that takes their thoughts and can turn them to reality (all be it in a greenish tint).

Showcase #22
Showcase #22

Why did the Guardians form the Green Lantern Corps? Well,

The Guardians of the Universe are one of several races that originated on the planet Maltus, and were among the first intelligent life forms in the universe. At this time they were tall greyish blue humanoids with black hair. They became scientists and thinkers, experimenting on the worlds around them. In a pivotal moment, billions of years ago, a Maltusian named Krona used time-bending technology to observe the beginning of the Universe. However, this experiment unleashed disaster upon all existence. Originally, the experiment splintered the Universe into the Multiverse and created the evil Anti-Matter Universe of Qward. Following the retroactive destruction of the Multiverse, it was revealed that Krona flooded the beginning of the Universe with entropy causing it “to be born old”.

The male Maltusians argued about how to deal with the situation. One group decided to dedicate their eternal existences to contain evil; this group fractured into the Guardians of the Universe and the Controllers. The females, however, saw no need to involve themselves and, since the Oans were by then immortal and had no more need to reproduce, left their mates and became known as the Zamarons. Relocating to the planet Oa at “the center of the Universe”, the Guardians dedicated themselves to combatting evil and create an orderly universe. During this period they slowly evolved into their current appearance.

The Manhunters

Their first attempt to create a peacekeeping force was met with disaster.  Robots called the Manhunters were created and, because of their inability to feel emotion, decided that the only way to achieve full “order” was to eliminate all life.  They rebelled against the Guardians (sound a little familiar?) and fought a thousand year war.  Ultimately, the Guardians defeated them and banished them across they universe, where they reformed and still exist to this day (every once in a while, they pop up to give the GLCorps a hard time).

Because of the disaster that was the Manhunters, the Guardians decided that the next set of soldiers would be made of living beings with free will and strong moral character.  The green lantern rings were created, allowing the users to project green beams of light that could be made into any object or shape, depending on the strength of their willpower.

On Earth (Sector 2814), Hal Jordan, working as an assistant mechanic under Tom Kalmaku, was barred from flying due to his insubordination while in the U.S.A.F. and his employers lingering guilt about his father’s death in the line of duty, when Green Lantern Abin Sur, fighting Atrocitus of the Five Inversion, crashes near Coast City.  New to the GL Corps, and unable to use his ring properly, Hal was trained by the Greatest of all Green Lanterns Sinestro.  During this time, they developed a friendship but, as time went on, Sinestro decided to instill order on his home planet Korugar by becoming a dictator, and instilling fear, rather than combating it.  He was exiled from the Corps, constantly showing up to battle them and get his revenge.

Both the Corps and the Guardians suffered casualties during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Guardians’ failure to take appropriate action during the Crisis led to their decision to depart Oa in the company of their female counterparts, the Zamarons. Left to their own devices, the Corps underwent a major reorganization. A team of Green Lanterns led by Hal Jordan was stationed on Earth, and the system of assigning one Green Lantern to a sector was temporarily abandoned. The decision of the Corps to execute Sinestro resulted in the activation of a previously unknown fail-safe that depowered the rings of every Green Lantern except for Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Gnort, and Ch’p.

The Guardians eventually returned to Oa and began the reconstruction of the Corps, assigning Guy Gardner to Earth, John Stewart to the Mosaic World, and Hal Jordan to recruit new members. Ironically, Jordan himself would eventually be responsible for destroying the incarnation of the Corps that he had helped create.

Hal Jordan: Parallax
Hal Jordan: Parallax

After Superman died, and many different “Supermen” tried to take his place, but one was revealed to be a villain, actually destroying Coastal City, Hal Jordan’s home town.  In his time of grief, Jordan was possessed by the fear parasite Parallax, and became the villain of the same name.  Parallax, a yellow being, was found to be the reason that the one weakness of the GL rings was that they would not work on the color yellow.  He decimated the GL Corps, draining the main power battery on Oa, and murdering almost the entirety of the Corps. (well, he thought they were dead.  They were captured by the Manhunters to Sector 3601 and experimented on.  Rescued by Hal Jordan, they’ve since rejoined the Corps and have been designated Alpha Lanterns – the lawkeepers of the GL Corps, a mix of Manhunter and Green Lantern.

After Hal went bad, the one remaining GL ring went to an artist named Kyle Rainer, who kept the legacy of the Green Lantern alive.  Hal eventually sacrificed himself (during The Final Night crossover) to reignite the Sun, and Oa and the Central Power Battery were completely rebuilt.  After his death, Hal Jordan became the Sceptre, God’s avenging angel.  However, upon learning of the return of Parallax, Hal returned, a Green Lantern once again, and imprisoned Parallax once more inside the battery.

Sinestro returned, in a big way, during the Sinestro Corps War, having formed his own Corps of yellow ring bearers.   The Guardians, in desperation, have begun to rewrite the first Law of Ten in the Book of Oa.

The original laws:

  1. The protection of life and liberty within the assigned sector.
  2. Following the orders of the Guardians without question.
  3. Noninterference with a planet’s culture, political structure, or its population’s collective will.
  4. Acting within local laws and obeying the local authority within reason.
  5. Taking no action against anyone or anything until they are proven to be a threat against life and liberty.
  6. Refusing to use the equipment, resources, or authority of The Corps for personal gain.
  7. Showing respect for and cooperating with other members of the Corps and the Guardians.
  8. Showing respect for life which includes restraint of force unless there is no reasonable alternative.
  9. Giving top priority to the greatest danger in the assigned sector.
  10. Upholding the honor of the Corps.

The four new laws (there will be 10 total)

  • Green Lanterns are allowed to use lethal force against members of the Sinestro Corps.
  • Green Lanterns are allowed to use lethal force against any enemies of the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Green Lanterns are forbidden from being a part of any sort of romantic relationship with another Green Lantern (this led to over 200 Green Lanterns leaving the Corps).
  • The Vega System is longer outside the Green Lantern Corps’ jurisdiction.

After the Sinestro Corps War ended, five more Corps have started to come to light.  The seven corps are:

Red Lantern Corps, powered by rage.
Orange Lantern Corps, powered by greed.
Sinestro Corps, powered by fear.
Green Lantern Corps, powered by willpower.
Blue Lantern Corps, powered by hope.
Indigo Tribe, powered by compassion.
Star Sapphires, powered by love.

Hal Jordan, a mix of Blue and Green Lanterns
Hal Jordan, a mix of Blue and Green Lanterns

However, an eighth corps is waiting in hiding … the Black Lanterns, whose rings bring the dead to life.  The Guardian known as Scar appears to be leading the Black Lanterns, hiding this from the rest of the Guardians and corrupting them from within.

Hal Jordan was recently inducted into the Red Lantern Corps, but he kept his green ring.

His red ring asserted dominance over his green one but he was still able to shape constructs out of the fire like energy that the Red Lanterns use, essentially turning him into a hybrid Red and Green Lantern (though his uniform was that of a Red Lantern). In issue #38 Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps is able to free Hal by inducting him into the Blue Lantern Corps. After fighting off both Atrocitus and Sinestro, Hal is revealed to have been turned into a hybrid Green and Blue Lantern (with a uniform that reflects the change); it is possible that the unique connection between green and blue light might make this the only true hybridization of Corps.

Keep checking back here at IoM as we delve into the other Corps, giving you all the detail you need for the upcoming Blackest Night!

“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!”

Scar, leader of the Black Lanterns?
Scar, leader of the Black Lanterns?

Thanks to Wikipedia’s listings on Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, and Green Lanterns Corps.