After last night’s Entertainment Tonight preview of the upcoming Green Lantern feature film, we here at Unwinnable are very excited (don’t worry, we’re avoiding “seeing green” jokes)! So we thought it would be a good idea to post the five most important and best Green Lantern stories out there so you, Dear Reader, can catch up on the Green Lantern mythos.
So, without further ado…
Green Lantern: Secret Origin
Hal Jordan is a test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. One day, while manning a flight simulator, Hal and his simulator are pulled across a vast desert where Hal meets his destiny and becomes Green Lantern. Secret Origin is the most recent re-telling of the rise of Green Lantern. It is a stand-alone narrative that ties into recent Green Lantern stories like The Sinestro Corps War, Rage of the Red Lanterns and Blackest Night. It’s a fun read and works as a great primer for all the Green Lantern stories to come!
Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol. 1 & 2
This series by Dennis O’Neill and Neal Adams is often dubbed Hard Traveling Heroes. This may be two books, but it is essential reading. Green Lantern and his pal, Green Arrow take a road trip to fight injustice across America. Instead of battling alien hordes and supervillains, Green Lantern and Green Arrow confront the troubles and hardships faced by the people across 1970s America. Hard Traveling Heroes is one of the quintessential comic books of the 1970s. It takes larger than life characters and pits them against contemporary social problems.
Emerald Twilight/New Dawn
There was a time in the 1990s when the only way the Marvel and DC Comics thought they could boost sales was by replacing an existing character with an all new character (or four characters in Superman’s case). While the plights of Hal Jordan’s peers were temporary, the powers that be at DC Comics decided to make Hal’s replacement a little more permanent. This is the story of how Hal Jordan is driven mad with grief, destroys the Green Lantern Corps and becomes Parallax. The sole surviving Guardian of the Universe, Ganthet, then brings the last Green Lantern ring to a kid in a Los Angeles back alley. While this is not one of the best Green Lantern comics, it is essential to the mythos’ canon.
Green Lantern: Rebirth
This is where it all returns to form. After absent over a decade from protecting the Universe, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps return to face the greatest threat the Universe has ever known – Parallax. “Wait,” you say, “isn’t Hal Jordan Parallax?” You only know part of the story, friends. Read on.
Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Volumes 1 and 2
There is only one word to describe this story: epic. The writing and art in this series tell a story that no Hollywood movie can. When the Green Lantern’s greatest foe, Sinestro, builds an army of yellow power ring yielding fear mongers, it takes the might of the entire Green Lantern Corps to stop them. The Sinestro Corps War is aptly named and is one of the greatest space operas I’ve ever read [AUTHOR’S NOTE: The story also inspired one of the funniest banners I’ve ever seen].
There are a lot of other great Green Lantern trade paperbacks out there (Tales of the Green Lantern Corps and In Brightest Day come to mind) and I highly recommend searching them out. Green Lantern has a rich mythos and it behooves you, Dear Reader, to check it out.