Who the %#$$ is Green Lantern??
“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!”
So a question I’m getting a lot at the moment is, “Who the f%^$# is Green Lantern??!” as well as, “Why the hell are you so retarded whenever you talk about him?”… both reasonable questions.
If you’re living in the dark ages of superhero fandom, or were one of those kids who played cricket and soccer at school or smoked at the bottom of the field with the “rebels”, then the chances are you don’t know or understand the answer to either question.
I was probably about 10 years old when I read a Green Lantern comic for the first time, and I was instantly hooked. I knew about Superman, Spiderman and Hulk, but Green Lantern was just much cooler than any of them. I think I related to Green Lantern (Hal Jordan in particular) more, with his cocky attitude, weakness for pretty girls (yes even at age 10), and general desire to do good and save the universe. He also had an awesome outfit with a wicked cool symbol on his chest. There was also something really intriguing about his “superpowers” which resonated deeply in my personality, but before we get to that let me start by explaining the whole Green Lantern fiction in a paragraph.
An ancient race of little blue bald aliens with big heads and great power called the “Guardians” worked out how to wield the green spectrum of light as a weapon against fear and tyranny in the universe. Because their numbers were few (and the universe is a big place), they decided to recruit sentient beings who had the ability to overcome great fear from different sectors of the universe and bestow on them each a ring which could harness the green energy through imagination and willpower. They called this intergalactic police force “The Green Lantern Corps”. Effectively with enough will, focus and imagination Green Lanterns can create constructs of green energy that can do just about anything. The rings are also “programmed” to protect their wearers and provide other powerful abilities like flight and phasing. In various times of need the Guardians recruited humans from earth, the most famous of which is Hal Jordan, military test pilot. There are thousands of Green Lanterns in the Corps of which only four have been human.
Hal Jordan is in my view the perfect superhero. He is not the boy scout, unrealistically perfect Godlike being that Superman is, neither is he the pessimistic manipulative cynic that Batman is. He is a regular guy with a regular job and all the usual worries around love and relationships, both with females and with family. He is given access to amazing potential which he never asked for and is constantly trying to improve himself and his skill with the ring. What really separates him from the rest is not that he can move planets or create big green dragons, but that with or without the ring he has the character to face his fears and exercise enormous courage in the face of adversity. His tenacity, willpower and imagination make him my favourite fictional hero of all time – yip, even better than Jesus
This Friday (17 June 2011) the premier of the movie Green Lantern will show in South Africa. I had been predicting for many years, and hoping like crazy, that someone would do a Green Lantern movie in my lifetime – not only a Green Lantern movie but particularly a Hal Jordan Green Lantern movie. When I saw the trailer months ago for the first time, needless to say I was ecstatic, and have been ever since! What I’ve seen of the two official trailers so far have not disappointed. I have every reason to believe that this may be the greatest superhero flick (Marvel or DC) that has ever come to the big screen. The CGI, casting, script and general production look amazing, and it seems they’ve gone to every effort to stick to the comic script and details exactly.
I will be watching this movie on Friday with a group of my best friends, then the following Friday with another group of good friends (in costume) followed by a Green Lantern party, then the Friday after that again with my kids.
If you have never heard of Green Lantern till right now, then I hope this will be enough to convince you to go see the movie, but I suggest for a richer experience that you go down to your local comic or Incredible Books store and read a Green Lantern graphic novel before you do!