SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for recent issues of Green Lanterns.
Green Lanterns has consistently been one of the best DC Rebirth titles for over a year, but over the past month or two the series has taken things to a whole new level. Sam Humphries, along with artists such as Ronan Cliquet, Robson Rocha and Carlo Barberi, has begun to build a new history for the DC Universe of ten billion years ago, a history which has major implications for the DC Universe of today, and it all starts with the origin of the Green Lantern power rings.
The First Lantern
One of the best things about Green Lanterns is the amount of attention the series has given to the character of Volthoom. He was made into a big deal towards the end of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke’s run on Green Lantern, but the pair left a lot of room to expand the villain into a truly important part of the Green Lantern mythos. Even before Johns, Volthoom existed as the evil entity inside the Earth-3 Power Ring of the Crime Syndicate of America, and Humphries and company have found a way to tie the disparate versions and incarnations of the character into a cohesive whole; making him one of the most important characters in Green Lantern history.
Volthoom originates from Earth-15, having escaped into the Multiverse via his dimension-hopping Travel Lantern in an attempt to find some way to save his doomed planet. His journey took him all over the Multiverse, including to Earth 3, where the wizard Mordru fused a piece of his soul into what would become the Power Ring. He would eventually find Earth-0 and the race of aliens known as the Maltusians, who would one day become The Guardians of the Universe.
Volthoom acquired the first power ring when the Maltusians sacrificed their emotions, but mostly he was left to his own devices while they did their experiments. During this down time, he became friends with the outsider Rami, and they began to work together to harness the power of the Emotional Spectrum to fuel the first ring. They managed to make it work, too, but Volthoom’s direct connection to the source led to him becoming more and more unstable, worrying Rami.
Rami used the Travel Lantern to visit Volthoom’s home reality of Earth-15 and saw that it would be Volthoom himself that would destroy his planet in an attempt to save it. Rami was forced to break this news to his fellow Guardians, who accosted Volthoom and attempted to force him to surrender his power ring. However, Volthoom had grown too adept with it, and using the power of the red light of rage, he ravaged Maltus and slaughtered
thousands of Guardians.
Unite The Seven
The threat of Volthoom led to Rami destroying the Travel Lantern in an effort to create new weapons with which the Guardians could fight back against his power, and out of the remnants of that powerful dimensional device, Rami crafted the first seven Green Lantern rings, sending them off into the universe to find beings able to overcome great fear and fight back against The First Lantern. So far, six of the seven original Green Lanterns have been revealed and they all have interesting and sometimes very obscure connections to the larger DC Universe.
The first Green Lantern, Alitha, was a member of the Third World which predated Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and she hailed from the planet Galactica. A warrior pledged to saving her world from ruin but taken away by the Green Lantern ring, it’s softly implied that had she been around for the final battle, there may never have been a Fourth World at all. The second Lantern, Z’Kran Z’rann was a White Martian who is essentially his planet’s version of Batman. After seeing his parents slaughtered by raiders, he grew up to be a vigilante and though it took ten years, he got revenge on the gang that took away his family.
The third Lantern was a Tamaranian known as Tyran’r The Mighty, and while in the present day Tamaranians look more like Starfire of the Teen Titans, ten billion years ago they were gruffer and more animalistic both in culture and appearance. At the same time as Tyran’r was recruited, across the universe on the planet Colu, a Green Lantern ring was bestowed upon Kaja Dox, an ancestor of the Brainiac legacy that was no great hero but in her own way overcame great fear everyday trying to get by in a society of super-geniuses.
Calleen of the planet Alstair was not only one of the first Green Lanterns but was the first new sentient life to blossom on her home planet, which was seemingly destroyed forever. Over centuries, she grew from a single resilient leaf into the planet based elemental Green Lantern she became and she also has possibly the most obscure connection to the DC Universe. The most famous resident of Alstair is the Justice League and Hawkman villain Hyathis who first appearaed in the early ‘60s and has been in less than fifteen comics total and her most notable appearance was as one of the many galactuc rulers bowing before Mongul in his Black Mercy induced fantasy at the end of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For The Man Who Has Everything”
The most recent addition to the first seven Green Lanterns was revealed this week as Brill of Grenda, an artificial intelligence and the first of his people to leave their digitized existence for the physical realm in an effort to find their fabled creator. Upon gaining a robotic form, Brill nearly went mad due to the isolation of being cut off from his digital hive-mind, but in overcoming that fear they earned the attention of one of the original Green Lantern rings and was accepted into the Corps. Over the course of the next ten billion years, Grenda will grow into a robotic metropolis with a history of heroic Green Lanterns, including Yron and current member Stel.
Out of Time
The most recent issue ends with Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz learning of their time-tossed fate and ready to be confronted by the original Green Lanterns, but some important questions remain. How will they get home, who is the seventh Green Lantern, what connection do they have to the DC Universe and which of the original Green Lanterns’ rings is the one that Jessica inherited? That’s not to mention the threat Volthoom poses to the DC Universe of ten billion years ago and the fact Simon Baz is currently without a ring. There are big things occurring in Green Lanterns right now, and they could have major consequences for the future of the entire DC Universe.
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