Monday, September 7, 2009

Rainbow Brite Lanterns

In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, No Evil Shall Escape My Sight, For Those Who Worship Evil's Might, Beware My Power, Green Lantern's Light!
- The Green Lantern Oath

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So as some of you down with the DC Universe may have heard, the Green Lantern Corps are having some major internal affairs issues with their power rings. For those of you with only a passing knowledge of the current happenings in the Green Lantern universe, I'll break it down.

It all starts with these little blue aliens named "The Guardians of the Universe." These little guys and gals dislike emotion, and believe that excess emotion causes chaos in the universe, and they want order and peace. To that end, thousands of years ago they cut off access to the destuctive power of emotion and created the "Manhunters" to police the galaxy, which are androids devoid of emotion and free of its corrupting influence. However, as all android-police stories go, the androids coldly massacred an entire galactic sector and rebelled against the Guardians. After shutting them down, the guardians decided they needed living police-people to defend the galaxy, and allowed them to wield the power of one emotion: Willpower. Thus forming the Green Lanterns. I'm not really sure how being emotional gives you superpowers either, but lets just move on, okay?

The color Green in the Green Lantern mythos denotes the emotional strength of Willpower. The people who become Green Lanterns have always been chosen by the power rings for two traits: 1) Their ability to overcome fear and 2) Their mastery of their own Willpower. Basically, how ballsy they are. This is why Hal Jordan, who used to be an experimental-jet pilot, is such a badass Green Lantern.

Now, in accordance with an evil prophecy of the "Blackest Night," the remaining colors of the "emotional spectrum" (which is kind of a lame term) powers have broken free of the Guardians imprisonment (or whatever was keeping them under wraps), and now all the colors of R-O-Y-G-B-I-V have their own power rings.

Red - Rage

Red Lanterns express the power of Rage, and are mostly really angry aliens who are pissed at Sinestro, leader of the Yellow Lanterns (I'll get to that). Their leader is named "Atrocitus," which is hilarious. What's cool about the red lanterns is that once they put on the red ring, all their blood is expunged from their system (through their mouths!), and is replaced by pure red plasma energy. Besides the power to disrupt the light-contructs of the other power rings, the red lanterns can puke up the plasma blood in a corrosive form, melting their enemies faces off. They're pretty badass but completely insane. The red lanterns recently destroyed the Green Lantern's Sciencells where they were keeping all the Yellow Power rings they had captured, inadvertantly allowing those rings to make a bunch more Yellow Lanterns, who the red lanterns hate. Whoops! The Blue Lantern rings (see below) can disrupt the red power rings for a short time, and combined Blue+Green power rings can destroy Red power rings.

Orange - Avarice (Greed)

Orange Lanterns wield the power of Greed. In the comics they call it "Avarice," because somebody decided to get cocky with a thesaurus, but basically its just greed. Currently, there's only one real Orange Lantern. He's some kinda alien guy that stumbled on the Orange Lantern Power Battery a long time ago with his twin brother and killed him so he wouldn't have to share it. The Orange lantern allows the user to create thousands of light constructs (all of "orange lanterns") at once which can eat other power rings and envelop their owner's souls, thus allowing the Orange lantern to make more constructs when it kills another color's lantern superhero. The Orange Lantern is still kind of a mystery, except he really, really wants to eat all the Blue Power rings, and is currently launching an attack on the Blue Lantern's home planet of Odym.

Yellow - Fear

Sinestro is the primary enemy of the Green Lanterns, and was a major force in the build up to the release of all seven colors of the emotional power spectrum. Ya see, Sinestro used to be a Green Lantern, but decided that Fear makes a better motivator for peace than asking people to have Willpower, so changed his tune. Somehow he made his Green Lantern ring into a Yellow Lantern ring. It can do all the stuff the Green Lantern ring can do, but is yellow. Also, he was able to reproduce his ring and form his own Yellow Lantern Corps (called the 'Sinestro Corps') to try to take over Oa (home planet of the Green Lanterns). This started the 'Sinestro Wars' that preceeded the Blackest Night prophecy. During this war, the Guardians realized that the Green Lanterns couldn't defeat all the Yellow Lanterns unless they lifted the ban on killing for the Green Lanterns (up to this point, the GLs couldn't kill anybody, so were kind of hamstringed in battles and had to make big cages and fists to grab dudes -- but that doesn't work when you're fighting guys with the same power to un-do the cages and whatnot you made). So the Green Lanterns started killing the Yellow Lanterns, and (temporarily) won the war. This turned out to be Sinestro's plan all along, because he felt once the populace of various worlds found out that Green Lanterns were now willing to kill, they'd be afraid of them, and the galaxy would have peace at last. The Green Lanterns imprisoned all the Yellow Power Rings they found in their super-huge galactic prison, but very recently the red lanterns who were imprisoned there destroyed the prison and the power rings escaped to find new owners.

Green - Willpower

These are the light-construct-making green ring-slingers we've all come to know and love. Normally there was a single green lantern for each one of the 3600 'Sectors' of the universe, but recently have been doubled in number and split into pairs due to the increasing threat of the yellow lanterns. These guys take their orders from the Guardians of the Universe and are generally do-gooders on par with Superman and Friends. Hal Jordan is the most famousest of Lanterns, and has up to this point been exposed to and fought off the effects of the Red, Orange, Yellow (at least, when he was Parallax), and Blue Lantern effects. I'm betting we'll see him almost get taken over by Violet and Indigo at some point, but he's Green through and through.

Blue - Hope

These peace-loving beatniks are very few in number and are founded by two exiled Guardians who felt it was necessary to feel emotion to defeat the oncoming 'Blackest Night.' The Blue power rings don't really have any powers of their own other than flight and a protective shield, but instead they greatly increase the power of any Green Lantern rings nearby. When a Blue Lantern (Hope) and Green Lantern (Willpower) team up, they can destroy some power rings (Red) and drain the energy of others (Yellow). Unfortunately there's only like four of these guys running around and the Guardians forbid the Green Lanterns to commiserate with them, as they are illegally using power rings (or something), and so we haven't seen a lot of teaming-up yet, other than with Hal. The Guardians tipped off the Orange Lantern to the existence of the Blue Lantern's homeworld, and the Orange Lantern has sent his huge legion of nearly-indestructible ring-eating constructs to consume their world. And as the Blue Lanterns are alone, without a Green Lantern to help, it looks bleak.

Indigo - Compassion

These are the only ring folks who haven't really been seen yet by the universe at large. There was like a four-panel section of one issue which showed a group of tibal folks come across a completely exhausted Green and Yellow lantern in the desert, presumably on their home world. The Green Lantern told them to run as he was fighting that Yellow Lantern who may still be dangerous, because his power ring was drained and his body broken. The Indigo Lanterns (?) moved over to him, speaking a language his ring couldn't decode, and quietly smothered him to death. Next they went over to the Yellow lantern (who's ring was also drained) and did the same, but not as nicely. Then they continued on their walk through the desert. Kind of wierd, but at least we know they aren't automatically nice guys just 'cause they are the rings of compassion.

Violet - Love
(Brando's Favorite)

Readers of Green Lantern have seen these ladies before, at least in the form of Star Sapphire. Hal Jordan's old girlfriend Carol Ferris has occasionally been taken over by a somewhat-malignant force from space known as the 'Star Sapphire'. This force gave her Green Lantern-like powers and made her the embodiment of an extinct Queen of a race of evil superwomen called the Zamorazons...or something. Her evil plot was to marry/enslave Hal Jordan and have his superbabies, and to that end she robbed banks and destroyed cities. Look, it was written in like the 1940s, they had no idea about continuity or making female supervillians remotely interesting back then. Anyhoo, now that the emotional spectrum stuff is going on, the Star Sapphire has had a gentler change of heart and hosts the entity of Love rather than the Queen of the Zamorazon's soul, and has started its own Corps. The Star Sapphire crystal (or whatever) realized that the 'power of love' is too strong for just one host, so displaced itself into a Power Battery and Power rings, like the Green Lantern Corps. Of course, all the Violet Lanterns are still hot chicks with evidentally a 'no boys allowed' policy, but that's fine because I really wouldn't want to see a dude in one of their outfits. So far their rings have been shown to make light constructs a la Green Lanterns and show people who their true love is, which is kinda lame.
Mostly they've just used that ability to make yellow lanterns hesitate to strike as they see their true love and then the Violet lanterns sucker-punch them from behind. Go Love!

Black - Death

Now this is the king-daddy of them all, and the epicenter of the Blackest Night prophecy. One of the Guardians who was scarred from a fight with the Anti-Monitor (its a long story, don't ask), went crazy and opened the portal for the Black Lantern Power Rings to come forth. The Black Lantern power rings seek out dead superheros and turn them into Zombie Superheros, who have all their original powers and none of their vulnerabilities. Not only that, but in order to power their rings (which undead superheros really don't need to use their abilities), they have to eat the hearts of other superheros! Currently their power level is at 2.67%, and that's after eating like nine major superhero hearts. Also when they kill a superhero he or she joins their ranks! To find out some of the major superheros/supervillans who've been killed and/or resurrected as Black Lanterns, highlight below:

Martian Manhunter, Jade, AquaMan, AquaLad, Superman Prime, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, Solomon Grundy, and the Spectre!

And that's only up to Blackest Night Issue #2! So now the whole universe is battling these zombie superheros who are seemingly indestructible and want to eat people's beating hearts, and they are laying waste to the superhero population of the DC Universe. Furthermore, the evil Guardian (who I think is now undead), has sent waves of the rings to the home planets of the various Lantern colors, in order to ressurect them and destroy all power colors except for Black.

How will they be stopped? Nobody knows, but I really hope its not something as Deus Ex Machina as Hal Jordan combining the powers of all seven colors and forming the 'White Lantern' or something. That's my guess though.