DC Comics LEGACIES: A Field Guide #4: Original GREEN LANTERN
DCU LEGACIES: Field Guide: GREEN LANTERN
Welcome back to our ongoing examination of the legacies of the DCU. In this installment, we take a look at the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott. You’ll note that this will be separate from our eventual look at the Green Lanterns that belong officially to the Green Lantern Corps. Alan Scott, for his part, has a heroic legacy of his own, as well as the unfortunate habit of having relationships with ladies that turn out to traffic in the other side of the law.
Alan Scott, the One, Original Green Lantern: The first Green Lantern found fictional life in the pages of All-American Comics #16, cover-dated July of 1940. The concept began with artist Martin Nodell who, with writer Bill Finger, gave us the character that had its partial roots in the railroad. Proving that inspiration can come from any place at any time, Nodell fused the sight of a subway rail employee waving a green “all clear” lantern with the idea of Aladdin. From that germ came the blueprint for the story of a man with a “magic ring” powered by said lantern that could accomplish feats basically limited by his imagination and willpower and the energy’s weakness in the face of . . . wood.
In terms of comics continuity, Earth-2 dweller Alan Scott’s lantern was composed of a green flame that came to Earth in the distant past. When Scott came into possession of the object, it “told” him how to make his ring from the lantern itself, and the young engineer created the identity of Green Lantern. In the wake of “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, Alan Scott’s story would become more complicated. The original green flame turned out to be The Starheart, mystic energy collected by Oa’s Guardians and hidden in a star, which then attained sentience. This made for a direct connection between Scott and the Corps, even if he himself is not an official member.
Scott can proudly boast membership and founder status with the Justice Society of America. When the security of America and the life of the president were in danger just prior to World War II, GL and a number of other heroes (including the Jay Garrick Flash, the original Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Hourman I, the Atom, and more) saved the day and remained a team at the behest of the president. When World War II began, the JSA became the Justice Battalion and also held simultaneous membership in the larger group of heroes known as the All-Star Squadron.
Thanks to his mystical roots, Scott has been a member of the loosely affiliated Sentinels of Magic, heroes tasked to deal with supernatural threats. He’s also been a part of Checkmate. For a period of time prior to Zero Hour (1994) and on up until 2003, Alan Scott went by the name “Sentinel” partially in deference to the destruction of the GL Corps and the fact that Kyle Rayner operated as the only remaining GL for much of that time. During the “Princes of Darkness” storyline which led to the redemption of Obsidian (more later), Scott took back the GL name.
Molly Mayne, The Harlequin: I hope you didn’t fret too long about Alan losing Rose, because he’s actually been a happily married hero for quite a long time. Some time after Rose’s death, Alan began a relationship with Molly Mayne, another former villain. She’d operated as The Harlequin (first appearance, All-American Comics #89 in 1947), and had a long-standing crush on Scott. This led her to committing crimes just to get his attention, and she would even later turn on her Injustice Society teammates, helping the JSA defeat them. She and Alan nevertheless did not connect at that point, and she became a government intelligence agent in return for clemency. After the death of Rose, Alan and Molly reconnected and married. Various villains have tried to use Molly against the GL, and she even sold her soul to Neron at one point to remain young.
Whazzat? Well, Alan Scott maintains a degree of youth and vigor due to a) originally, because he was present when Ian Karkull blew up all over the JSA and many of their love interests, keeping them young, and b) Starheart energy. Molly was NOT present during Karkullboom, so she ages normally. During the “Underworld Unleashed” event, Molly sold out to Neron, but Alan and Kyle Rayner fought hell to save her soul. Molly is once again her proper age and aging normally.
Jade and Obsidian: Alan Scott’s twins first appeared in All-Star Squadron #25 in 1983. The young heroes, alongside other heroic progeny Silver Scarab, Fury, Nuklon and Northwind, dropped in on the 1940s during the course of an adventure. In Infinity Inc. #1, we learn how these youngsters got together and demanded to join the JSA, only to be turned down. Nevertheless, they stay together and help their forebears overcome the Ultra-Humanite.
At first, Jade and Obsidian only suspect that they are Alan’s children. Jade’s powers obviously echoed Scott’s and Obsidian, well, not so much. The two were raised separately, Rose having given them up for adoption (hence their different last names: Jennie-Lynn Hayden and Todd Rice). They found one another as teenagers, made some guesses about their heritage, and decided to become super-heroes. The two meet Scott for the first time in costume, and later learn (in Infinity Inc. Annual #1) the truth of their parentage.
In the wake of the “Crisis”, the JSA and Infinitors lived on the Earth of the newly merged multiverse. Unfortunately, Scott and much of the rest of the JSA would disappear into Limbo to prevent Ragnarok. Jade and Obsidian remain with Infinity Inc. until it disbands. Scott and the JSA would eventually return and resume adventuring, while Jade and Obsidian would continue to be heroes with a variety of teams. The JSA disbanded during “Zero Hour” when three members died fighting Extant and several other members (not Scott) suffered rapid aging. Obsidian joined the Justice League after “Zero Hour”, and Jade would join boyfriend Kyle Rayner as a GL Corp affiliate.
Obsidian Goes Bad: As a result of mental illness and the manipulations of returned villain Ian Karkull, Obsidian clashes with the new JSA. Obsidian later returns with Eclipso and Mordru during the “Princes of Darkness” storyline. Scott and the JSA are able defeat the villains and help cure Obsidian. Todd stopped adventuring, but continued to appear in the “Manhunter” title when he came out and began dating ADA Damon Matthews, a regular in that series. The pair remains a couple.
Jade and the Infinite Sadness: When time and reality went screwy in Infinite Crisis, Jade joined a group of heroes under the leadership of Donna Troy that tried to stop a tear in space. It turned out that the machinations of Alexander Luthor Jr. from Earth-3 were causing the rift. In the effort to stop him, Jade was killed; her energy temporarily entered Kyle Rayner, turning him once again into the Ion entity (a concept and story much too complicated to go into here. Sufficient to say, Kyle is again Kyle and Ion is Sodam Yat of the GLC; please direct confused inquiries to Editor Adam Schlagman). Upon Jade’s death, Obsidian’s atrophied powers kicked back to life.
Justice Society of America: When the JSA reorganized again, Obsidian became a member alongside his father. His best friend Nuklon (long since renamed Atom Smasher) is a current member as well. Obsidian’s early role was to mainly play a lurking shadow, providing security for the team’s new HQ. He was also temporarily an egg. (Okay, that was due to the schemes of Kid Karnevil, but he’s okay now).
Jade’s Return: When the Not-Zombie Black Lanterns began to rage across the DCU, one familiar decaying face belonged to none other than Jade. BL Jade tried to put the moves on Kyle Rayner over Oa in front of his current lady-friend, Soranik Natu. When the battle reached Earth, and Black Hand vomited White Pow... uh, er Energy Rings (no, I’m not making that up; go read it), Jade was among the heroes returned to sorta-life. (What do we mean “sorta”? Get thee to Brightest Day. Mostly. Jade’s story continues . . . in a minute.)
Recent Events: We’ll make this as simple as possible: The Starheart went bat$#!+ crazy. The JSA and the new JLA teamed up, battling the force that took over Alan Scott, Obsidian, and Dr. Fate. Eventually, Jade and Obsidian were merged into one entity by the Starheart; however, Jade separated and helped save the day, leading to her being returned to full life (a Brightest Day thread). Jade and Obsidian now have to stay far apart from one another or risk merging and going, again, bat$#!+ crazy. In this week’s issue of Justice Society of America (#43, cover-dated November 2010), Scott comforts a depressed Obsidian as they tour the new place created by the Starheart, a sort of mystical embassy for the magical characters of the DCU.
DCUC Wave 14: So what next? Action figures! Alan and Obsidian are both entries in the Wal-Mart exclusive DC Universe Classics Wave 14, which should be shipping about now. Each figure comes with a piece of Collect and Connect villain Ultra-Humanite (nice symmetry there). Heroic dad and fellow JSAer the original Hourman is also a figure in that wave. (For completeness sake, the other figures are Metal Man Gold, Zatanna, Tyr and Kamandi). This is the second figure for Obsidian, previously realized for the Justice League Unlimited line. Alan Scott has been represented a few times, while Jade has only been made in action figure form once, as her older self in the DC Direct “Kingdom Come” line.
So, there you go, readers. Alan Scott’s own legacy, a legacy that continues to thrive in comic shops and gets prominently featured this very week. We’ll see you next time with another tour of DC’s timelines and bloodlines.