Main article: Guardians of the Universe
The Guardians of the Universe are one of several races that originated on the planet Maltus, and were among the first intelligent life forms in the universe. At this time they were tall greyish blue humanoids with black hair. They became scientists and thinkers, experimenting on the worlds around them. In a pivotal moment, billions of years ago, a Maltusian named Krona used time-bending technology to observe the beginning of the Universe. However, this experiment unleashed disaster upon all existence. Originally, the experiment splintered the Universe into the Multiverse and created the evil Anti-Matter Universe. Following the retroactive destruction of the Multiverse, it was revealed that Krona flooded the beginning of the Universe with entropy causing it “to be born YOUNG”.
The male Maltusians argued about how to deal with the situation. One group decided to dedicate their eternal existences to contain evil; this group fractured into the Guardians of the Universe and the Controllers. The females, however, saw no need to involve themselves and, since the Oans were by then immortal and had no more need to reproduce, left their mates and became known as the Zamarons. Relocating to the planet Oa at “the center of the Universe”, the Guardians dedicated themselves to combatting evil and create an orderly universe. During this period they slowly evolved into their current appearance.
Manhunters-”Massacre of Sector 666″
Main article: Manhunters
In their first attempt to enforce their will and guard against menaces of all sorts, about 3.5 billion years ago the Guardians created a legion of robotic sentinels called the Manhunters. At first serving faithfully to enforce order, in time the Manhunters came to resent their servitude and the moral restrictions the guardians decreed of them. They were also found to be inherently flawed due to their inability to recognize or feel emotions. They rebelled against the Guardians and fought a millennia long war that culminated with an attack on the planet Oa. The Guardians overcame their android servants, stripped them of their power, and banished them across the universe. Eventually, the surviving Manhunters formed their own robotic society and pursued their own interpretation of their original mission (which often included interfering with and foiling the plans of the Guardians).
In the Martian Manhunter series, the Guardians first get the idea for an intergalactic police force from the Martians’ own Manhunters. They offer the Martian race the opportunity to be that force. The Martians turn it down, but the Guardians take the name for the androids.
In Green Lantern: Secret Origins, it is revealed that the Manhunters suffered from a malfunction in their logic. This led them to believe that order could only be achieved by eliminating all life. They rampaged through Sector 666, massacring trillions in the process. The only survivors banded together to form the Five Inversions, swearing revenge on the Guardians for the actions of their creations.
Creation of the Corps
Chastened by the failure of the Manhunters, the Guardians decided that their newest force of soldiers for good would consist of living beings, ones who had free will and strong moral character. To arm this new legion of celestial knights, the Guardians created the Power Rings, rings of inconceivably-advanced technology that allowed their wearers to project green beams of energy with which the bearer could conjure objects of any size or shape, limited only by their imagination and willpower.
Although the connection between the Guardian Oans and the origin of the Green Lantern symbol has yet to be clarified, it has been revealed that the lantern itself has its roots in the first life in the universe. Allegedly, the first life in the galaxy emerged on an unnamed foggy world, and when they developed a police force – the first in the universe – the constabulary carried a lantern lit with a green chemical flame, hence a corps of Green Lanterns. It is intimated that this idea was adopted and spread throughout the galaxy as a symbol for law and justice and its ability to pierce confusion and uncertainty, eventually resulting in the formation of the Green Lantern Corps, with requisite Power Rings and Lantern-shaped batteries along traditional lines. Initially consisting of only a few dozen agents at a time, the Corps radically increased its numbers approximately 1000 years ago. The Guardians sought to bring order to the planet known as Apokolips. Home to Darkseid, a galactic tyrant, Apokolips was and is a stronghold of evil. Green Lantern Raker Qarrigat sought to remove Darkseid from power, only to be humbled by Darkseid’s might. Raker returned to Oa, where he convinced the Guardians that taking Apokolips would require an army. Authorized to start a massive recruitment, Raker and his fellow Lanterns inducted thousands of new members, bringing total membership up to 3600.
Crisis and aftermath
Both the Corps and the Guardians suffered casualties during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Guardians’ failure to take appropriate action during the Crisis led to their decision to depart Oa in the company of their female counterparts, the Zamarons. Left to their own devices, the Corps underwent a major reorganization. A team of Green Lanterns led by Hal Jordan was stationed on Earth, and the system of assigning one Green Lantern to a sector was temporarily abandoned. The decision of the Corps to execute Sinestro resulted in the activation of a previously unknown fail-safe that depowered the rings of every Green Lantern except for Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, Gnort, and Ch’p.
The Guardians eventually returned to Oa and began the reconstruction of the Corps, assigning Guy Gardner to Earth, John Stewart to the Mosaic World, and Hal Jordan to recruit new members. Ironically, Jordan himself would eventually be responsible for destroying the incarnation of the Corps that he had helped create.
Fall of the Corps
The Green Lantern Corps patrolled the DC Universe for over three billion years. In that vast length of time, some Green Lanterns rebelled and turned against the Corps. A rogue Green Lantern, Universo, existed in the future epoch of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Two of the most important fallen Lanterns were Sinestro, the rogue Green Lantern, and Hal Jordan, who would unknowingly become possessed by Parallax, the ancient fear parasite trapped in the Battery. At the ruins of his home Coast City, Jordan was consumed by grief, which in turn allowed him to be overcome by fear… all the while not knowing that his fear was tainted by the creature Parallax. This was also being planned by Sinestro when he imprisoned in the Battery.
The Green Lantern Corps ranks were decimated by the Parallax-possessed Jordan. The Corps’ power source, the Central Power Battery, was drained by Jordan; and Oa was destroyed, removing the original power source for the rings. One Guardian, Ganthet, survived Jordan’s onslaught, and chose a young artist, Kyle Rayner, as the sole Green Lantern of the Corps. Rayner would eventually becomes Parallax’s arch-nemesis, and during their first battle, Rayner purposely triggered a chain reaction to Oa’s core, causing the planet to explode.
After the fall of the Corps, other organizations tried to fill in the power vacuum left by the Guardians. Two organizations had initial notable successes: the Darkstars and L.E.G.I.O.N. However, neither ever achieved the power and reach of the Green Lantern Corps.
The Lost Lanterns
The Lost Lanterns were a group of Green Lanterns that tried to stop Parallax from reaching Oa. Parallax defeated them in space and after Parallax destroyed the Corps, they were assumed to be dead. Instead, they were captured by the Manhunters and taken to Biot, the Manhunter homeworld in Sector 3601. They were used in various experiments to design and power new Manhunter models. They were eventually found and rescued by the resurrected Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. They rejoined the Corps, albeit with some difficult adjustment. Despite learning of Parallax’s possession of Hal Jordan, many still blame him for their captivity and cluster to themselves when summoned to Oa.
First attempt of rebuilding the Green Lantern Corps
The New Corps: Kyle Rayner, Magaan Van’n Intraktus, Hammeroon, Anya Savenlovich, Garl Rathbone, and Sool. The cover of Green Lantern: The New Corps #1 (1999). Art by Scot Eaton.
When Kyle Rayner accidentally travelled through time to ten years in the past and met a young Hal Jordan, the Guardians were able to send Rayner back to his own time by using the power from the Central Battery after Jordan and Rayner defeated Sinestro together. However, while doing so, Sinestro commanded his Qwardian ring to force Jordan to Rayner’s time portal, in a bid to strand Jordan in Rayner’s time period. Upon learning his future as Parallax (however not knowing that his future self’s actions was the result of being possessed by a fear entity under the machination of Sinestro’s future self) and awares that the future needs him to return to his own time and allow future events unravels in the way it was supposed to and must forget everything he learned from the present, young Jordan gave Rayner a copy of his ring to restart the Green Lantern Corp in a bid to undo some of the damages he knew he was going to make once he return to the past.
Rayner then gave the ring to the elder Green Lantern Alan Scott’s daughter, Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, which she becomes the first female Green Lantern of Earth and followed her father’s footsteps, after he made another copy with it. In Green Lantern: The New Corps, during his weeks long adventure in space, Rayner first recruited Magaan Van’n Intraktus of the planet Van’n, Hammeroon, a bounty hunter from Ilskado System, Anya Savenlovich, a lieutenant colonel from the Soviet Air Forces who was in suspended animation after participated a space mission in 1964, Garl Rathbone, a miner from the debris belt over the planet Daffith, and Sool, a judge from Daffith.
However, the group later discovered Van’n Intraktus was a traitor after they discovered that he enslaved his home planet with his ring and would begin an invasion on other worlds. The Green Lanterns eventually stopped the renegade after a battle, but at the cost of one of their own: Hammeroon. This made Rayner realize that he isn’t the one who can properly choose to wear the rings, and taken all of the power rings back from the Green Lanterns until the time is right for the Corps’ rebirth. After erected a memorial for Hammeroon, Rayner returned to Earth. The former Green Lanterns, despite of being stripped off their rings, decided to continue their intergalactic adventures.
Rebirth of the Corps
In an attempt to redeem himself after his actions as Parallax, Hal Jordan sacrificed his life reigniting the sun, whereupon Oa and the Central Power Battery were completely rebuilt by the physical manifestation of Jordan dying will channeled through his old friend and confidant Thomas Kalmaku. Shortly thereafter, Kyle Rayner, having imbued with the vast power of Ion after his battle with Oblivion and Alexander Nero. As Ion, Rayner funneled the remaining energy left in the sun that was once the immortal Guardians back into the Central Power Battery, which allowed them to be reborn as children of both genders. After Hayden regained her Starheart powers and becomes the superheroine Jade once more, Rayner gave the ring to John Stewart. After Oa’s returns, Kilowog would eventually be resurrected. With everything apparently is in place, Ganthet, Kilowog, Stewart, and Rayner make plans to rebuild the Corps once more.
It was later discovered that Hal Jordan had been possessed by the living embodiment of fear, an ancient parasite called Parallax. Parallax had been imprisoned within the Central Power Battery for billions of years and is the mysterious “Yellow Impurity” within the Corps’ green light that leaves them vulnerable against yellow. Hal Jordan, upon learning the truth about Parallax, separated himself from it and was reborn as a Green Lantern once again. Jordan, with the help of John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and Kilowog, reimprisoned Parallax. Upon Parallax’s return to the Central Power Battery, the Guardians continued the re-construction and expansion of the Green Lantern Corps, strengthened with its power rings now able to directly affect yellow provided that a Lantern can face and conquer his or her fear. This new Corps, under the training of Kilowog, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and other veterans, was primarily composed of new recruits. Only a handful of veteran Lanterns remained in the ranks. Each sector has two Lanterns assigned to protect it (with Hal Jordan and John Stewart assigned as the protectors of Sector 2814). Due to an ancient pact with the Spider Guild, the Vega star system is off limits to all members of the Corps.
The new Green Lantern Corps presently lacks both the manpower and the political influence it once had due to its years-long absence from many sectors. This has left the Corps currently unable to intervene in situations it might have before Parallax destroyed the old Corps, including conflicts such as the Rann-Thanagar War. The Guardians remain staunchly uninvolved in what they see as a conflict that could destabilize many sectors, but that has not stopped Kyle Rayner and Kilowog from helping refugees.
Despite these difficulties, the Corps played a key role in defeating Superboy-Prime. Several Lanterns were killed slowing the renegade Superboy’s advance on Oa, a sacrifice that enabled Earth’s most powerful heroes to execute their plan to restrain him. Mogo, a sentient planet and Corps member, positioned himself to act as a final battleground between Superboy-Prime and two Supermen. Responsibility for imprisoning Superboy-Prime was undertaken by the Guardians who charged the Corps with its undertaking, incarcerating him inside a small red Sun-Eater with fifty Green Lanterns on constant guard duty. “Prime Duty” is considered one of the lowlier functions of the Corps, and Guy Gardner was sentenced to a month of such duty for one of his frequent rules infractions.
As of the “One Year Later” timeframe, the Green Lantern Corps had increased its numbers, with many former trainees now full-fledged officers. A lack of truly experienced GLs remained an issue, with Guy Gardner being called upon often to assist the rookies.
Main article: Sinestro Corps
Rogue Green Lantern Sinestro, working with the Anti-Monitor, created his own version of the Corps. Dubbed the “Sinestro Corps”, it recruited beings capable of generating great fear. Armed with yellow Power Rings and Lanterns manufactured on Qward, the Sinestro Corps recently staged an attack on Oa, killing dozens of GLC officers, kidnapping Kyle Rayner, and freeing Superboy-Prime, Parallax, and the Cyborg Superman from the Corps’ supervision.
As the Sinestro Corps’ campaign of terror spread, the Guardians, in desperation, rewrote the first Law of Ten in the Book of Oa, enabling the remaining Lanterns to use lethal force.
The Blackest Night
Main article: The Blackest Night
Hidden in the Book of Oa is the forbidden chapter of Cosmic Revelations, which contains a prophecy called the “Blackest Night”. In the prophecy, seven different colored corps are at war with each other, eventually destroying one another and the universe.
Following the Sinestro Corps War, Ganthet and Sayd are banished from the Guardians. Realizing that the “Blackest Night” prophecy will come to be, they create a blue ring powered by hope. The remaining Guardians create the Alpha-Lanterns and reveal new laws they’ve written to the Green Lantern Corps.
During the Blackest Night, the Guardians finally realize the accuracy of the prophecy and are imprisoned by Scar a rogue Guardian who launches an attack on the Corps by reviving deceased members as Black Lanterns. Command falls to Salaak, a senior Lantern holding the rank of Clarissi.
In the future shown in the Legion of 3 Worlds miniseries, it is revealed that Mogo has been long dead and without him, there is no way to distribute the rings and thus no Green Lantern Corps in the 31st century. Rond Vidar was the last Green Lantern until he was killed by Superboy-Prime. Sodam Yat is the last Guardian of the Universe, living on the now ruined Oa. Previews for Legion of 3 Worlds #3 show Yat taking on several rings of the fallen Lanterns with a new oath:
“In brightest day, through Blackest Night, No other corps shall spreads its light! Let those who try to stop what’s right, Burn like my power…Green Lantern’s light!”
After aiding the Legions in defeating Prime and his forces, Yat realizes the universe needs to fight such threats. Going back to Oa, he sends rings across the universe to recruit a new Green Lantern Corps.
In the original Legion continuity, the Green Lantern Corps were banned from Earth, thanks to the actions of the Green Lantern who became the Legion adversary, Universo. With recent alterations to this future continuity, it is unclear if this ban still exists. Similarly, the Guardians were revealed as still on Oa in the original continuity their fate in the revised continuity has yet to be revealed.
The Power ring must be recharged regularly (though apparently not at the standard 24-hour period as was originally described) by touching it to its lantern shaped power battery for a period of several seconds. When recharging their weapons, some Corps members recite an oath. This oath differs from Corps member to member, but the most popular seems to be Hal Jordan’s.
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power…
Green Lanterns Light!
al Jordan / Most Green Lantern Corps
The 3600 sectors
The Corps is an organization of 7200+ Green Lanterns (the old Corps was composed of 3600) who are chosen by the ring for being able to overcome great fear, with two assigned to each sector of space that require the protection of more than one Green Lantern (Earth, home to Hal Jordan and John Stewart, is in Sector 2814). Heavily-populated Sectors like 2814 can have several Lanterns. While the primary Lanterns of Sector 2814 are Hal Jordan and John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner call Earth home, but are stationed on Oa, first as teachers, and then specially assigned to cases that are too difficult for the average GL. The official number of active Lanterns apparently does not include backup members who are kept in reserve to be called to active duty on short notice in