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We’re coming up on 10 years since the Ryan Reynolds-led Green Lantern movie was released, and unfortunately for Warner Bros and DC, the Emerald Knight’s film debut failed to impress critically and commercially. But a lot can change over a decade, and along with Reynolds having found superhero success from his time as Deadpool, plans are in motion to re-explore this corner of the DC universe through both the Green Lantern Corps movie, an HBO Max series and possibly even within the Arrow-verse.
Given how integral the Green Lantern mythos has been to the wider DC universe over the decades, this is a property that definitely deserves a shot at live action redemption. However, unlike many other superheroes, not only is the Green Lantern mantle shared by numerous individuals, but these members of the Corps are channeling the emerald energy at the same time. The Green Lantern Corps enforces the law across the entire universe!
As a result, thousands of Green Lanterns have been introduced over the decades, but only a select few have gotten the spotlight. So for this list, we’re ranking the main Green Lanterns, all of whom have operated within Sector 2814 and, with one notable exception, are human.
The daughter of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, Jennifer-Lynn Haden has primarily gone by Jade in the comics, and she’s traditionally able to manipulate the mystical Starheart energy, enabling her to fly and create similar green constructs like a normal Green Lantern. However, there was a brief time where she lost this natural ability, so she was given a spare Green Lantern ring, allowing her to channel the willpower aspect of the Emotional Spectrum. There’s no question that Jade is a powerful hero, but as far as her specific Green Lantern history goes, she didn’t have that much time to leave an impression.
Sinestro, who hails from the planet Korugar, is one of the greatest Green Lantern villains, if not at the top of the list, especially once he started leading the Sinestro Corps. But you might not know that before he turned to the dark side, he was a Green Lantern Corps member who was obsessed with maintaining order and discipline, even if it meant ruling with an iron fist. His abuse of power is what got him kicked out of the Green Lantern Corps and why he then embraced the yellow energy of fear. At the start of the New 52, Sinestro temporarily returned to being a Green Lantern, and although he demonstrated some signs of growth, ultimately he reverted back to his fear-mongering ways, reminding us that he’s better off as a villain.
7. Simon Baz
Introduced approximately a year after the New 52 reboot, Simon Baz was selected by a malfunctioning Green Lantern ring as he was being interrogated for being a suspected terrorist. Despite his criminal past, it didn’t take long for Simon to not only show off his heroic colors, but also demonstrate incredible willower by using the ring to wake his brother-in-law from a coma. Simon was also initially notable for the gun he carried around in case his ring ever failed him, but he eventually ditched the firearm. While Simon has worked well in partnership with others, particularly Jessica Cruz and the Justice League, he hasn’t had many opportunities to shine on his own, so it feels like we’re still a ways off from seeing his full potential.
6. Jessica Cruz
Following her time as Power Ring, where she was manipulated by, and later able to control the Ring of Volthoom from Earth-3, Jessica Cruz was selected to be a Green Lantern. Just like Simon Baz (who was her partner for several years), Jessica has primarily operated as part of groups in the few years she’s been around, so it would be nice to see how she’d do on her own for a decent amount of time. However, Jessica stands out for being brave in a different way than what we expect from a Green Lantern. For years, she lived by herself for three years and never left her apartment because she was afraid she’d be found by the men who killed her friends. As a Green Lantern, she not only has to overcome the general fear that comes with fighting evildoers, but also the anxiety she’s still riddled with, and that makes her superhero journey all the more compelling to watch.
5. Guy Gardner
Had history unfolded differently, Guy Gardner would have been the first human Green Lantern to officially protect Sector 2814. But because Hal Jordan was closer to Abin Sur’s crash site, he was chosen instead of Guy, leaving Guy be given backup status in case anything ever happened to Hal. Eventually that day came, and after several outings as a substitute Green Lantern, Guy would ultimately become one of the ‘regular’ ring-slingers, albeit the loosest cannon of them. While Guy has certainly starred in many great stories over the years and definitely deserves to wield the ring, his obnoxious and macho attitude can also be super annoying. Granted, oftentimes that’s the point, but it’s a tricky line for writers to walk to keep this part of the character and still make him someone to root for.
4. Alan Scott
Although Alan Scott was the first person in DC Comics history to go by Green Lantern, he differs from all the others who share that moniker by not being a traditional member of Green Lantern Corps (he has honorary status). His ring is also capable of flight, creating solid constructs, etc, but its power is rooted in magic, not science/technology. Nevertheless, without Alan and many of his Golden Age compatriots, the foundation of the modern DC universe wouldn’t exist. It’s actually Alan’s status as an elder statesman (New 52 reboot aside) that makes him stand out more, and when combined with all his superheroic endeavors from World War II to the present day, it doesn’t matter that he’s not part of the regular Green Lantern lineup.
3. Kyle Rayner
For a time, Kyle Rayner kept the emerald flame lit alone when the Green Lantern Corps had been destroyed, with surviving Guardian of the Universe Ganthet giving Kyle the last working power ring. The Corps were eventually reestablished, but Kyle did an admirable job holding things down on his own, and while he’s also spent time as Ion and a White Lantern, he still shines brightest as one of the most prominent Green Lanterns. Because he’s an artist, Kyle has an incredible imagination, resulting in his constructs often being more wilder than what you see from the average Green Lantern. Kyle also arguably has the biggest heart when it comes to the human Lanterns.
2. John Stewart
Although John Stewart has been part of the Green Lantern mythos since the early 1970s when he filled in for Hal Jordan since Guy Gardner had been injured, his profile rose significantly in the early 2000s for being the chief Green Lantern in the animated shows Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. His time as a marine makes John one of the most militaristic-minded Lanterns, and because of his expertise as an architect, he makes sure that his constructs are detailed, precise and never hollow. And like Hal, John also carries the honor of having led the Green Lantern Corps, so he’s proven that he’s a good man to follow into battle.
1. Hal Jordan
It’s thanks to Hal Jordan that the modern Green Lantern mythology came to be, with his introduction in 1959 being one of the major character revitalizations of the Silver Age… but that’s not why he’s #1 on this list. From his corruption as Parallax to his stint as The Spectre to his rebirth and rise back to prominence, Hal has had the most intricate and compelling journey of all the Green Lanterns. But above all else, Hal has demonstrated more than the rest the ability to overcome great feat, even stretching back to before he was given a power ring, like when he watched his father die in a plane crash or when he’d take to the skies as a test pilot. That’s not to say Hal is a perfect person; far from it, he’s actually quite flawed. But when judging him based on the core merits one finds in a Green Lantern, he’s still the cream of the proverbial crop after all this time.
Let us know who your favorite Green Lantern is in the poll and comments below, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on how the Green Lantern Corps movie and HBO Max’s Green Lantern series are coming along.