The Green Lantern has always been a clear-cut and dry comic with distinct heroes and villains. When the comic was first published in 1940, the world was a pretty different place. People were looking for someone to look up to and the DC universe took the opportunity and delivered. They wanted to create a universe that was governed by justice and state authority.
The majority of their heroes had close ties to the police or were even part of the police force. However, given the recent police brutality reports, DC might want to rethink where their comics are headed.
Back in the day, the DC universe fit snugly in the societal setting of the time. During the 1960s, the police force was revered and looked upon with respect. It was a different time and the comics of the time reflected the code that reigned.
For the most part, vigilantes have pushed aside and written out of the main story and the heroes were deputized. The Green Lantern took center stage and shone the light so to speak, with the space police of the Green Lantern Corps. Even one of the Lantern’s best friends, Barry Allen, transitioned into a crime scene scientist.
Both the Green Lantern and The Flash had a good run as law enforcement figures, but they were able to shake their roles during the 1990s. Legacy heroes were introduced and Both Hal Jordan and Barry Allen were taken out. Wally West took over from Hal after his death in the Crisis of Infinite Earths.
Hal was lucky enough to become Parallax and was replaced by Kyle Rayner, who became the new Green Lantern. When Kyle Rayner took over the reins, the Lantern Corps was done and dusted and the concept of the Lanterns as cops faded away. It looked as though the Lanterns were moving with the times, but this fairytale was short-lived.
Green Lantern writer, Geoff Johns, got stuck on nostalgia and brought Hal and Barry back to life. This meant that The Corps also returned and their police force presence was stronger than ever. They even started making references to the Thin Green Line” and constructed jail cells on Oa.
Fast forward to 2021
Two decades have passed and the world is again a different place. After several cases of police brutality, the police have become notorious and the public perception of the once-revered law enforcement has changed to villainy. Where the police once stood for justice and peace and where the public once relied on them for help, they are now under the spotlight and every act of violence is scrutinized.
With the current state of affairs, it would have been the perfect setting for comic books to reflect the current age. With the big police influences in Green Lantern, it would have made sense and after the first issue, it looked as though the creators were headed in that direction.
In the first issue, John Stewart and Keli Quintela arrive at the intergalactic summit where the Guardians of the Universe have to decide on who will be able to serve and protect the galaxy the best. With the majority of the lanterns being called back to Oa, it looks all too possible that the Corps have had their day.
Keli Quintela is still young and inexperienced, yet she possesses one of the most unstable and powerful weapons in the galaxy. She could easily misuse her power and take advantage of her position. This is s scenario that is not lost on anyone living in the States or anywhere in the world for that matter. All the signs pointed towards the Lanterns having to cede some of their authority, but the second issue proved to dismantle those hopes.
Upon opening the first pages, The Green Lantern jumps straight into “copaganda” and the traditional enforcement tactics are well and truly visible. Prisoners are being interrogated and one can only assume that it is not a friendly type of interrogation. Not only that, but they have a full-blown cop funeral with black uniforms and all. This is somewhat anti-climatic to the end of the first issue and circumvents what would have been the start of a new era.
Later on in the issue, the down-sizing of the Corps also comes into question and one is left asking the question, what was the point? As you progress through the issue, there is the stark reality that none of the lanterns were stripped of their rings. Although their jurisdiction was reduced, none of them lost their authority. The Corps lost a bit of territory but, there are still as strong as ever.
Digging the hole even further
Even if you were to discount the fact that none of the Lanterns lost their rings and that their territory of influence was cut, it still does not justify the twist in the plot at the end of the issue. For no apparent reason and out of the blue, the Central Battery of Oa is destroyed and many Lanterns are left in some serious trouble.
Even the likes of Kyle Rayner and John Stewart are left in the lurch and there was nothing to provoke or hint at the disaster. The whole incident felt as though the writers were trying to create some tension, but did not think it through. We can only hope that future issues will shed some light on the events and make sense of the madness.
If the first two issues are anything to go by, then the new Green Lantern does not stack up to a post BLM world. If they are to save the franchise from a slow and painful death, then something has to give to the Corps. The concept of the corps is in need of a facelift and there is not much time to make things right. How the creators are going to pull it off is another question altogether.