'What If You Missed the NEW 52' - GREEN LANTERN

Panel from "Justice League" by Jim Lee
Credit: Jim Lee (DC Comics)
Credit: Ivan Reis (DC Comics)

As this summer's Rebirth event gives DC a chance to tweak its comic book universe, what appear to be emerging is world that combines the present universe with classic, much-missed elements from previous versions of DC's characters and concepts.

That means the end of the current universe — at least as we know it — giving us the chance to say goodbye to the "New 52," which launched in a line-wide renumbering and relaunching of all DC's titles in September 2011.

As we remember the bright and dark spots of the "New 52" timeline and say goodbye to the current status quo, Newsarama is looking at several of the key characters from within the "New 52", with our next spotlight directed toward Green Lantern.

What If You Missed the "New 52"?

If you skipped the "New 52," you would have missed DC's latest attempt to shake up the Green Lantern universe — much of it focusing on changes to the role of Hal Jordan. Although Hal was at the center of the Green Lantern world for much of the time since the 2011 reboot — continuing a trend that started with the character's rebirth in 2005 — he wasn't always playing the same role.

When the DCU was relaunched in 2011, the Green Lantern universe appeared to be one of the corners of the DCU that was left virtually untouched. In fact, as Green Lantern #1 was released, it may have starred Sinestro in the lead role, but it did so in a way that continued the comic's pre-reboot storylines. Even the writers of the two main titles were the same from the pre-"New 52" universe, with Geoff Johns on Green Lantern and Peter Tomasi on Green Lantern Corps.

Credit: Doug Mahnke (DC Comics)

Also continuing were the concepts of various colored "Corps" in the Green Lantern universe, including the angry Red Lanterns, the envious Orange Lantern, the fear-utilizing Yellow Corps (better known as the Sinestro Corps), the willpower-using Green Lantern Corps, the hopeful Blue Corps, the compassion-wielding Indigo Corps, and the love-centered Star Sapphires/Violet Corps.

New Green Lanterns

One significant new concept Johns, however, was the introduction of a new Green Lantern from Earth — Simon Baz. The new hero grew up in Dearborn, Mich., the child of Arab-American Muslims. After the World Trade Center/Pentagon terrorist attack of  September 11, 2001, Simon and his sister Sira were unfairly harassed because of their heritage.

Tragedy hit Simon again when he was involved in a crash that injured his sister's husband, Nazir. He carried his guilt with him and, after the auto plant where Simon worked was shut down, he desperately turned to car theft to make ends meet. When he noticed a bomb in the back of a van he had just stolen, Simon drove the van into the abandoned car plant, where he knew the explosion couldn't hurt anyone.

After the bomb exploded, Simon was arrested and treated like a terrorist. But in the midst of a heated interrogation, a Green Lantern Ring came through the ceiling, went onto Simon's finger and broke him out of jail.

Credit: DC Comics

"We have a character who is under a horrible condition, wrongfully accused, and yeah, that has happened," said Doug Mahnke, the artist who co-created Simon Baz in Green Lantern #0. "Thankfully, in our little world, Baz gets to escape."

Another new Green Lantern is Jessica Cruz, who once suffered from a type of agoraphobia (after a traumatic attack by mobsters) until an evil version of a Green Lantern ring took over her will. The ring had been connected to the Earth Three villains known as the Crime Syndicate and incorporated an ancient being known as Volthoom, the First Lantern — another villainous addition from the "New 52." But the dark powers of ring were eventually mastered by Jessica.

Both Simon and Jessica have now learned to fight on the side of good for the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League. And after the "New 52" era ends — and Rebirth begins — Simon and Jessica will both play a bigger role in Rebirth.

Corrupt Guardians

As Johns and Tomasi finished up their long runs on the books, the past mistakes of the Guardians of the Universe — the little blue dudes who oversee the Green Lantern and its home planet of Oa — finally came back to destroy them.

The little blue guys had done some pretty despicable things both before and after the launch of the "New 52," including a plan to replace the Green Lanterns with these creepy beings called the Third Army. It all seemed to be associated with their freakish abhorrence of all things emotional.

But all their schemes ended with them being pretty much killed off (thank you Sinestro). No more Guardians.

Except… there are two Guardians still alive: Ganthet and Sayd, who were banished from Oa to live out their lives together, far away.

Credit: DC Comics

And there were also some "New Guardians" in the Green Lantern Universe — the former "Templar Guardians" who once guarded Volthoom's prison. Because they were isolated from the world and didn't go through the experiences of the corrupted Guardians, the Templar Guardians weren't as freakish about emotions, but their time in the DCU appears to have been short-lived, as things have taken a strange turn in recent Green Lantern books…

Big Changes

Credit: DC Comics

Since a new team of writers took over the Green Lantern books in 2013, there have been several changes to this corner of the DCU. Guy Gardner became a Red Lantern for awhile, and Kyle Rayner was established as a life-giving White Lantern, while Hal Jordan became the leader of the Green Lantern Corps.

A new villain named Relic not only threatened the Green Lanterns and the emotional spectrum itself, but the storyline in which he was introduced revealed that the energy of the emotional spectrum is limited, causing the Lanterns to wonder if they shouldn't be conserving it.

After several problems call into question the abilities of the Green Lanterns, Hal takes the "fall," so to speak, for all the things that have gone wrong while he was leader. Hal took off his ring, stole Krona's gauntlet, and became a wanted man, in an effort to make himself the scapegoat for the universe's anger at the Green Lantern Corps. He's since been traveling the universe as a renegade, wearing a trenchcoat and wielding the gauntlet (instead of a ring).

At the same time, the members of the Green Lantern Corps have been scattered. While Kyle Rayner is fighting a war with the Omega Men, just about all of the other Green Lanterns have wound up in a completely different universe (one that existed before our own, believe it or not). But they're trying to get home.

What's Next

Credit: DC Comics

Presumably, all the scattered Green Lanterns will eventually get home, since some of them are mentioned in the new series that launch in July as part of Rebirth.

The Green Lantern universe will have some continuity even after the Rebirth event begins, as current Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti continues to handle Hal Jordan. Beginning in July, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps will ship twice a month, as Venditti works with artists Ethan Van Sciver and Rafa Sandoval. Venditti has said that the story will show how Sinestro wins the war against the Green Lanterns and parks Warworld where Oa once was. John Stewart and Guy Gardner will also be in the book and "all the Lanterns."

Credit: DC Comics

DC Chief Creative Officer and Rebirth architect Geoff Johns will work on the Green Lantern Rebirth one-shot with artist Ethan Van Sciver and writer Sam Humphries, who's crossing to DC from Marvel to write the new title Green Lanterns.

Humphries told the crowd at Wonder Con (where many of the Rebirth titles were announced) that Green Lanterns, which features art by Robson Rocha and Ardian Syaf, will focus on Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, whom he called the two new Green Lanterns of Earth — rookie Green Lanterns who are partners trying to learn to love each other. "They have to patrol the most treacherous sector in all of space, and that's planet Earth," Humphries said, calling the book a story about "courage overcoming fear." The villains in the book will be the Red Lanterns, including Atrocitus and Bleez. The story will be called "Red Dawn."

The new Justice League title will also feature a couple Green Lanterns. Bryan Hitch will write and Tony Daniel and Fernando Pasarin will draw the twice-monthly, July-launching Justice League. The cover shown features Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, The Flash and two Green Lanterns — Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. Daniel said the two Green Lanterns are "rookies" who are thrown into a big, cataclysmic event with the rest of the Justice League.

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