The diehard Green Lantern fans already know that different people have actually served as Earth’s Green Lantern over time. Confused? Don’t be – it’s just a passing of the mantle over time, over generations to keep the power of the Green Lantern alive here on Earth. So while the man speaking the oath may change, Green Lantern himself has remained. Here are the men behind the ring and mask:
Assumed to be the first Green Lantern on Earth, Alan Scott was an engineer in the 1940s when he was the only person to walk from a railroad bridge collapse. The lantern he acquired told him how to make a ring from its special metal which gave him the powers we know today. Scott fashioned a costume and took it upon himself to fight crime wherever he could, helping found the Justice Society of America along with Flash, Superman, Batman, Hawkman, Atom and others. His Green Lantern Oath:
“And I shall shed my light over dark evil.
For the dark things cannot stand the light,
The light of the Green Lantern!”
Jordan, the character featured in this summer’s blockbuster Green Lantern movie, is probably the Green Lantern character most fans and readers are familiar with. A test pilot following in the footsteps of his father, he investigates a spaceship crash one night and is given the power ring and lantern battery by the craft’s dying pilot, the alien Abin Sur. He helped found the Justice League of America (remember the Saturday morning cartoon?) and is, as of this writing, one of two active duty Green Lanterns protecting Earth’s sector of space (John Stewart is the other).
Later on, Hal Jordan’s path would take an evil turn. After the destruction of his hometown of Coast City, Jordan became the evil entity Parallax and wreaked havoc on the known universe. He was then taken over by another entity, The Spectre, as an embodiment of good and redemption. The Spectre also helped to free Hal from Parallax’s grip on his soul. Eventually, he reclaimed his own soul and was re-instituted into both the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League of America. Jordan’s Green Lantern oath:“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!”
One of the more obscure men to take on the Green Lantern oath and uniform, Gardner basically served as the at-need-replacement for Hal Jordan should he be needed. However, an explosion of a power battery sent him into a coma for years. Over the years going in and out of the Corps, he settled in as a trainer of new Green Lanterns and now is an Honor Guard Green Lantern himself.
During a period where Hal Jordan resigned from the Corps, John Stewart was elevated from Gardner’s backup replacement to the main Green Lantern. Stewart raised some eyebrows when he graced the cover of the comics as the first African-American Green Lantern – to this date there have still not been that many African American superheroes. It was a step in a positive direction.
Kyle Rayner was given the last power ring by the Ganthlet, the Guardian of the Universe. He goes on to become a major player in the defeat of Parallax, the embodiment of fear, during the Sinestro Corps War. It’s Rayner’s personal experiences with fear that enable him to fight Parallax in a way that other brazen Green Lanterns could not. Kyle also took on the powers of the being Ion, an embodiment of willpower, but has since returned to his Green Lantern role. As with many comic book timelines, it all gets very confusing – but still fun.