This week, Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth 2, is getting a lot of attention because he's a former heterosexual character that is being rebooted as gay.
Among the mainstream press, the announcement might sound a lot like "Green Lantern is gay." But comic book readers know that statement isn't quite accurate. There's more than one Green Lantern. And Alan Scott has never really been among the ranks of most of them.
So who is Alan Scott? And what makes him different from other Green Lanterns? We put together a "primer" on the character, who he was before his reboot, and who he's going to be in the new comic, Earth 2.
Who He Was: In the pre-New 52 DC Universe, Alan Scott was the first Green Lantern, introduced in 1940 during the so-called "Golden Age" of comics.In that first Green Lantern story, published in All-American Comics #16, a railroad engineer named Alan Scott became a caped hero and fought crime. He wore a ring that was fashioned from a lantern that was powered by a mystical green flame that fell to Earth in ancient China. The one weakness that the power had was wood.
Alan helped to form the first comic book super team, called the Justice Society of America.
Eventually, the superheroes of the Golden Age lost their popularity among readers. But later, during a comic revival known as the Silver Age, Hal Jordan was introduced as earth's Green Lantern. His origin was space-based instead of being mystical, and Hal Jordan became part of a whole Corps of aliens who were Green Lanterns and wore technology-based rings.Because these Silver Age characters were the new "firsts" in DC's comic books, Alan Scott and other Golden Age heroes were described as heroes on an alternate universe called Earth 2. But eventually, Earth One and Earth 2 were combined and Alan became the elder Green Lantern. He ended up leading a new version of the Justice Society, and he fathered two children, who grew up to be well-known superheroes themselves.
Although Alan Scott's origin was tweaked a bit over the years, including a concept known as the "Starheart," the basic idea behind his power was that his Green Lantern ring was always different from the other science-based Green Lanterns who fly around in space.
Who He Is Now: Alan Scott is back on Earth 2, as an alternate version of Green Lantern. In that alternate world, he is the only Green Lantern, and he doesn't wear a ring.
In May, DC published the comic Earth 2, which revived the concept of an alternate earth where things go very differently. In issue #1 of Earth 2, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were all killed on the alternate earth.
Alan Scott was also introduced in issue #1, as a young, good-looking owner and CEO of a major corporation called GBC. He was on his way to China, and he was particularly inspired by the death five years ago of superheroes on Earth, even narrating a documentary about it.
"[Alan Scott] is a titan of industry and communications," the comic's writer, James Robinson, told Newsarama. "He started off as an engineer, admittedly, in his origin, but very quickly, they made him radio broadcaster, and he was chairman of the radio station, and then he owned the station. And then with television, he got involved in television. So I'm just updating the forms of news and communication in which he's a mogul."
As for his character, Robinson said Alan Scott is "a noble, gallant man who will rise to the challenges presented to him."Earth 2 #2 In issue #2, readers will find out that Alan Scott has a same-sex relationship with a man named Sam. They'll also see him land in Hong Kong, and his partner will say the hotel hideaway that they're visiting is "magical."
"As is implied by the cover, which features Jay Garrick, the meat of issue #2 is Jay's origin and him becoming the Flash," Robinson said. "But we will see more of Alan Scott and then set up the events that lead to him becoming a Green Lantern in issue #3. That's how it's going to play out."Earth 2 #3 The fact that Alan is visiting a "magical" place in China is reflective of the original Green Lantern's origin, having found a magical flame in that country.
Whatever adventure he finds in China apparently leads to his adoption of the Green Lantern mantle, which Robinson said will happen in Earth 2 #3.
"He has no ring, but the green flame, which is the energy of the earth," Robinson told Newsarama this week. "He is the receptacle and the conduit for that energy. He is literally a living Green Lantern. He's the Green Lantern."
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