Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hero of the Week 2010 #5: Green Lantern

Real Name: Alan Scott
First Appearance: All-American Comics #16 (July, 1940)
Group Affiliation: Justice Society of America
Gaming Credentials: DC Universe Online (TBR/2010)
Infinite Wars Ranking: #115

The first thing you might have noticed about this Green Lantern is that he's wearing a lot of red.
It's fair to say that this probably isn't your father's Green Lantern, your Green Lantern, and maybe, if you're a super-advanced-infant, not even your grandfather's! If you aren't a genetic freak, however, it probably is just your grandfather's GL -- the 1940s Golden Age original, Alan Scott!

If the runaway success of the Green Lantern franchise in comics hasn't captured your imagination yet, then there's a good chance it will very soon, when Ryan Reynolds steps into the role of Hal Jordan in his third comic book feature, Green Lantern. Of course, that's only a tangential point of interest, because the chances of seeing the original Green Lantern in there any time soon are slim!

Unlike the multitude of other Green Lanterns you'll find in DC comics (and animation), Alan Scott does not hold ties with the ring wielding cosmic policeforce created by the Guardians of the Galaxy. [Scott]'s ring is fashioned from an ancient mystic lantern that existed for thousands of years on Earth, before falling into his hands. Which, believe it or not, makes this particular Green Lantern a very interesting and unique character in the pages of DC comics.

Scott possesses many of the quaint traits that might turn your nose upward when examining older superheroes, but don't let his ring's inability to effect wood and his subsequent battles with the villainous Sportsmaster (wielder of sports equipment) put you off a classic. Afterall, not all of the Green Lantern's exploits have suffered the so-assumed maturation of the comics medium.

The Lantern's undying arch-nemesis, Solomon Grundy, is one of the facets that have withstood the test of time, launching last year into a simple but interesting action-packed mini-series [featured accordingly as HOTW]. There's also the modern incarnation of the Justice Society of America, which is what's hopefully been featured to it's fullest potential in Smallville, running alongside the introduction of Checkmate, another organization Scott briefly held membership with. Not to mention the inspiration the character provided for that previously mentioned franchise which has already been turned into one of DC's biggest cashcows with Blackest Night, and will no doubt continue to expand as we look forward to the feature film -- [now confirmed to be in full 3D, kids]!

I'm surely not doing a great job of selling the character, but sometimes the best way to experience the expansive universe of comic books is to learn at your own pace. I've written in the past about certain popular misconceptions that surround the penetrability of comic book fiction. The simple truth is: as a pulp medium in constant production, one of comics' greatest talents is to tell a story about neverending worlds, which in turn, does not mean you need to catch-up on the last sixty years, but rather, should jump in wherever you like and appreciate the massive world you can play in.

A product like the Smallville TV-movie will probably struggle to adequately capture the spirit that made the mid-2000's resurrection of the JSA brand delightful, but it provides the asterisk that will hopefully spur some of you to explore more. As you do, you will find new branching points, and this is how you will learn to love these characters, and decide which ones it is you do. That's certainly how I came to regard Green Lantern Alan Scott as one of my favourites.

You'll meet Alan Scott and many other characters in the Sony MMO coming some time in the future, DC Universe Online. Another fine cross-promotional product that will give you a glimpse through the looking glass, and provide threads for you to follow to exciting new comic book adventures. It's a good time to become a fan! You can also find Alan Scott fighting the good fight in the pages of JSA, JSA: Blackest Night, and in tiny cameos in the core Blackest Night. Check out for more info on all that!

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