Only the bravest individuals in the universe are selected to become members of the intergalactic police agency known as the Green Lantern Corps. Those who join the Corps are given a power ring that can bring their imagination to life, and fight evil wherever it might be. The Green Lantern Corps is a great honor to be a part of, but it isn't an easy tour of duty. While many Green Lanterns have retired to live a quiet life, many Lanterns have been killed.
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Unlike most superheroes, Green Lanterns can and have died in the pages of the comics. Because of its long history and brutal villains, the Green Lantern Corps has always had a high body count, either from being killed in the line of duty or killed in horrible accidents. Reading Green Lantern is often a grueling and bloody adventure, where we get to know and love members of the Corps, only to watch their lives snuffed out. Some deaths have been worse than others, either because of the sacrifice of the Lantern or because of the senselessness of the death. Get out a box of Kleenex, because we're going to be going over the most heartbreaking deaths of the DC universe's greatest law enforcement agency.
15 TARKUS WHIN
His first mission as a Green Lantern was his last day. 2005's Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1 (Geoff Johns, Patrick Gleason) brought Tarkus Whin up against the Spider Guild, a coalition of Arachnid aliens who've been a major threat for the Green Lantern Corps. The Spider Guild is dedicated to conquering worlds, and made their move against Tarkus.
As a newly-trained rookie, Tarkus Whin found a local star had become unstable, and was making plans to get everyone off a nearby planet when the sun collapsed into a black hole and he was killed. It was just one of many black holes made by the Spiders, and Whin was just one of many killed by the Guild. It was his innocence that made his death so awful. He never got to prove himself as a Lantern before he lost the chance.
14 GUY GARDNER
In the mainstream DC universe, Guy Gardner remains alive and well, but the Injustice alternate universe is very different. The comic book series Injustice - Gods Among Us (based on the popular video game) is about an alternate reality where the Justice League turns evil.
When Hal Jordan became a Yellow Lantern allied with Sinestro, Gardner gathered an army of Green Lanterns to try to stop the Justice League. In Injustice - Gods Among Us: Year Two #23 (by Tom Taylor and Xermanico), Jordan was manipulated by Sinestro into thinking Guy killed John Stewart. In a rage, Jordan ripped off Guy's arm with the power ring and let him fall to his death. It was a horrible way for someone loved by the fans to go, especially knowing he was just trying to stop Jordan from going to the dark side.
13 ABIN SUR
When Abin Sur first appeared in Showcase #22 (1959) by John Broome and Gil Kane, he was just a dying alien in a crashed spaceship who gave his ring to Hal Jordan, making him Earth's Green Lantern. For years, he wasn't given too much of a backstory, but later issues revealed the haunting story of why he died.
In Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 (Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill), Abin Sur was given a prophecy that he would die when his ring failed him, so he started using a spaceship for long missions. In 2008's Green Lantern #30 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, the story was retconned that he was transporting the prisoner Atrocitus who managed to make Abin Sur afraid, weakening his power so the future Red Lantern escaped. He was a brave and noble Lantern killed by his own fear.
12 FLODO SPAN
Flodo Span is one of the more unique Green Lanterns, because he doesn't really have a physical body. Flodo is a sentient cloud of gas held together in a shapeshifting bubble by his power ring. He's one of the most well-remembered Green Lanterns, though, especially from one story where he managed to spread his body across an entire sector.
Flodo's final moments came in 1988's Green Lantern Corps #224 (Joey Cavalieri, Gil Kane) when Sinestro was executed and the Central Power Battery almost imploded. He went into the power battery along with Hal Jordan to help him, despite the danger. His ring energy was absorbed by the battery, leaving him without any way to hold himself together. He died, along with many other Lanterns that day, and his days of heroism and courage ended with a puff instead of a bang.
With Driq, his death isn't as bad as the fact that he kept on living afterwards. When Driq and other Green Lanterns were attacked by Sinestro and the so-called "MadGod Sector 3600," only Green Lanterns Flodo Span and Olapet survived. For some unknown reason, Driq's power ring reassembled his corpse and brought him back to life. Sort of. Driq was more like a zombie who could no longer speak clearly and looked like a Frankensteinian monster.
For years afterwards, Driq would be killed and reassembled by his power ring. That cycle finally ended in Green Lantern #223 (Steve Englehart, Gil Kane) when the Green Lantern Corps executed Sinestro and the power battery drained all the power rings. Without the ring's power, Driq finally died. At that point, Driq's death was more of a relief.
10 ROND VIDAR
In the distant future of the DC universe, Rond Vidar was the last Green Lantern, fighting alongside the Legion of Super-Heroes. In 2008's Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2 (Geoff Johns, George Perez), Rond was part of a small team trying to save the White Witch when they encountered the Legion of Super-Villains, led by the evil Superboy-Prime. Rond sent the rest of the team back to Earth to warn the Legion while he took on the supervillains.
Even though he was vastly outnumbered, Rond took on the Legion of Super-Villains all by himself, including his own father, Universo. In the end, Rond was killed, and another Green Lantern couldn't be chosen, ending the Corps. It was a terrible end to the noble tradition of Green Lanterns, but Rond made his last stand count.
9 XAX II
In 2006's 52 #31 (Chris Batista, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka), when Thormon Tox and his partner Xax went to investigate the disappearance of one of their own, they discovered an entire sector had been destroyed by the evil Lady Styx. Styx was a goddess turning the undead into an army of zombies dedicated to her cause. Tox and Xax fought her troops for five days straight until they were finally beaten.
Having to fight a legion of zombie soldiers for days was bad enough, but the worst part is that Xax contacted the Guardians and they refused to send help, afraid Styx would infect the rest of the Corps. It was a brave and noble standoff that was ultimately pointless. Xax faced a worse fate than Tox with his corpse turned into an earring for Lady Styx.
The noble bird-like alien known as Tomar-Re has been a beloved member of the Corps since his first appearance in 1961 with Green Lantern #6 by John Broome and Gil Kane. As a trainer and member of the Honor Guard, Tomar was greatly respected, even after his retirement. He returned to fight the Anti-Monitor, who tried to destroy the multiverse during the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1986's Green Lantern #198 (Steve Englehart, Joe Staton). Though the Anti-Monitor was beaten, Tomar was strangled to death by the villain Goldface.
Tomar was a hero and it was sad to see him die getting choked out. Yet with his death, Tomar made John Stewart a legitimate Green Lantern by giving him his ring. Stewart had been wearing Hal Jordan's ring, but Tomar's ring made him official.
The first Green Lantern of Earth was Alan Scott, who received his power from the mystical Starheart. His daughter Jade inherited his power to create green constructs. For a period of time, she joined the Green Lantern Corps and served as Earth's Green Lantern.
In Infinite Crisis Special: Rann-Thanagar War #1 (Dave Gibbons, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado), Jade went with other Earth heroes to stop the destruction of the universe. In the fight, Jade was killed by a bolt of energy and died while releasing her energy so that Kyle Rayner could become Ion again. It was a terrible moment to see Scott holding his daughter as her life faded away. Knowing she sacrificed herself made it bitter-sweet. Later on, Jade returned as a hallucination to Scott, who never forgot her.
6 KATMA TUI
Katma Tui was a Green Lantern from Sinestro's planet who fought alongside Hal Jordan for years. She had a brief romance with Hal, but her true love was John Stewart, who she eventually married. Moving in with him on Earth seemed the picture of happiness until Jordan's girlfriend Carol Ferris became possessed by Star Sapphire. In 1988, Action Comics #601 (Christopher Priest, Gil Kane), Star Sapphire killed Tui in her kitchen.
The love between Stewart and Tui made her death truly painful, and seeing him fall apart emotionally was even worse. Also, Tui died without even being able to put up a fight, so it wasn't a heroic death at all. The fact that it took place in a domestic scene like the kitchen made it worse.
5 JACK T. CHANCE
Chance was one of the Green Lanterns who fought Jordan when the fear entity Parallax took over, and Jordan thought he had left him to die in space. Chance had actually survived, and returned to duty when the Green Lantern Corps was reformed.
Yet in 2007's Green Lantern #22 (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis), Chance tried to stop Kyle Rayner who had been possessed by the same entity Parallax. By showing Chance his greatest fear (his own father beating him), Chance was weakened enough for Parallax to impale him on energy spikes. Chance is one of the few Green Lanterns who had seemed to have two horrible deaths for fans to deal with, first at the hands of Hal Jordan and then again at the hands of Rayner, both under the influence of Parallax.
In 2011’s Green Lantern Corps #60 (Tony Bedard, Tyler Kirkham), the Green Lantern Corps was turned against itself by the Mathusian Krona in the "War of the Green Lanterns." Under his control, the sentient planet Mogo began making new power rings and sending them to recruits who would also become Krona's soldiers. John Stewart tried to stop Mogo, but the planet's core was corrupted by Black Lantern energy. Stewart used his Indigo ring to absorb that energy, turning him into a Black Lantern with a bullet powerful enough to destroy Mogo.
Mogo was a vital member of the Corps, both for his power to recruit and guide new members as well as being the biggest Green Lantern. The fact that he had to die at the hands of another Green Lantern made his death all the more painful.
Now we go from one of the biggest Green Lanterns to one of the smallest with Bzzd. Bzzd is pretty much a talking wasp, but proves that size really doesn't matter in the Corps. He first appeared in Green Lantern Corps #12 by Dave Gibbons, Patrick Gleason and Tom Nguyen and worked closely with Mogo and other Lanterns until 2008's Green Lantern Corps #26 (Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason).
In the story, Mongul was under attack by the Green Lantern Corps, but he had the advantage because of the six Qwardian power rings he wielded. To stop him, Bzzd flew right into Mongul's mouth and blasted him from the inside, giving the other Corps members the chance to beat him. Bzzd died showing that no effort is too small to be remembered.
When Parallax infected the Central Power Battery, all the Green Lantern power rings were made useless. One of those left stranded without her power ring was Adara. She survived and wandered the universe aimlessly until she met Kyle Rayner, the only active Green Lantern left at the time.
In 1994's Green Lantern #56 (Ron Marz, Darryl Banks), Rayner met Adara in a bar fight and the two had a brief romantic encounter, but when he woke up, she was gone and his ring was missing. He found her desperately trying to make his ring work, unaware it wouldn't work for anyone but him. After realizing she would be ringless again, Adara shot herself, unable to live with the thought of not being a part of the Corps again. The Corps meant so much to her that she couldn't live without it.
The best way to go out as a Green Lantern is to die in battle, and the worst way is to die from a stupid accident. The latter is what happened to Ch'p. Ch'p has long been one of the most popular Green Lanterns among fans because he looks and acts just like a cartoonish talking squirrel. Besides his cuteness, Ch'p had also been a brave and loyal member of the Corps. He fought many battles, but his final moments came across like a twisted joke.
In 1992's Green Lantern: Mosaic #2 (Gerard Jones, Cully Hamner), Ch'p was investigating a highway when he was run over by a yellow truck. Since his ring was useless against yellow, that was it. His death was like a gag from a Warner Bros. cartoon instead of a noble end for a hero. GL fans are still bitter about it.
Which death broke your heart the most? Let us know in the comments!