Getting to Know the Corps (GREEN LANTERN vol. 2, #6-199, 1961-1986)
Although Hal Jordan of Earth first received his power ring from dying Green Lantern Abin Sur in his very first appearance, it wasn’t until two years into his publication history that he met the rest of the Green Lantern Corps in full assembly on the planet Oa. Over the next several decades Jordan met other members of the Corps like Tomar-Re and Katma Tui, who would become his close companions.
Jordan also met the Corps’ first traitor, Sinestro, who used his power as a Green Lantern to subjugate his own people and was stripped of his status as Lantern because of it. Later he would fashion a yellow power ring of his own, thanks to help from beings hailing from the Anti-Matter Universe world of Qward.
During this time, Hal Jordan would sometimes take a sabbatical from the Corps, and in his place heroes like John Stewart and Guy Gardner would serve as the Lantern of Sector 2814. It was during Hal Jordan’s early tenure as Green Lantern that he learned of the existence of the Book of Oa, a giant tome that contained the history of the known universe, and all the laws governing the Green Lantern Corps that were written in its pages.
Leaderless and Scattered (GREEN LANTERN vol. 2 #200, GREEN LANTERN CORPS #201-224, 1986-1988)
After the universe-changing events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Guardians of the Universe, who had long been a gender-segregated species, reunited with their female counterparts, the Zamarons. Together they decided to depart this reality, but before doing so, they abolished all space sectors and left the Green Lantern Corps to decide its own fate, leaving them to their own devices as a peacekeeping force. A group of Green Lanterns led by Hal Jordan settled on Earth, and for a time, the world had its own mini-corps protecting it.
During this time, the Corps chose to execute the villainous former Green Lantern Sinestro, and unknowingly triggered a fail-safe within the Central Power Battery on Oa, rendering almost all power rings useless. Only the power rings of Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and two other alien Lanterns remained. The Corps was essentially no more.
The Rise and Fall of the New Corps: Emerald Twilight (GREEN LANTERN vol. 3 #1-8, 1990-1991, #48-50, 1994)
Eventually, the Guardians returned from their other-dimensional retreat and decided to restore the Corps to full strength. They assigned Guy Gardner to protect Sector 2814, John Stewart to protect the so-called “Mosaic World,” a patchwork planet made up of several different alien cultures, and Hal Jordan to recruit new members for the Corps. For a time it seemed the Green Lantern Corps would return to its former glory.
But it was not to be. After the alien despot Mongul destroyed Hal Jordan’s home of Coast City, Jordan’s grief and rage allowed him to become influenced by the ancient fear entity, Parallax. When the Guardians refused him the power to restore Coast City and its inhabitants, he turned on the Corps, killing what remained of most of the membership, and drained the Central Power Battery on Oa of all its energy. Jordan was now fully possessed by Parallax, and he destroyed all of the Guardians except one, who managed to preserve the last working power ring.
That last Guardian, named Ganthet, bestowed the last ring in existence on a young human artist named Kyle Rayner. For nearly a decade Rayner was the only operating Green Lantern in the universe. After several more villainous acts, including attempting to rewrite time itself, Jordan regained a flicker of his humanity, and he sacrificed himself while helping to reignite Earth’s sun during the so-called “Final Night” crisis.
The Corps Returns Again, Along with Hal Jordan (GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #1-6, 2004-2005)
One of Kyle Rayner’s last acts as the primary Lantern was to use the energy that Hal Jordan had stolen to resurrect the Guardians. Jordan, too, was resurrected, revealing to everyone that his crimes had been committed while he was possessed by Parallax, the source of the power rings’ yellow weakness.
With Parallax now extracted from Hal Jordan permanently, the veteran Lantern cleared his name of all crimes and regained his standing in the galaxy. Together with Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kilowog and a few other veterans, he took to recruiting a new Green Lantern Corps, made up primarily of rookies. This time two Lanterns would be assigned to any given sector, increasing the number of Green Lanterns in the universe to 7,200.
Fear Spreads Throughout the Universe (GREEN LANTERN vol. 4 #21-25, GREEN LANTERN CORPS vol. 2 #14-19, GREEN LANTERN: SINESTRO CORPS SPECIAL #1, 2007-2008)
The Green Lantern Corps was barely back in order when former Lantern Sinestro also returned from the grave, this time having started his own Corps of ring wielders, all of whom used his signature yellow energy. Members of the newly christened Sinestro Corps were recruited for the ability to instill great fear, and their numbers swelled.
Soon the Sinestro Corps, together with the powerful Anti-Monitor, attacked Oa and later Earth, in what would be dubbed the Sinestro Corps War. Although Sinestro himself was defeated, his Corps remains a thorn in the side of the Green Lanterns. It was during this time that the prohibitions against killing were removed from the Book of Oa, and individual Lanterns were allowed to use lethal force if necessary, a controversial decision among the Corps veterans.
The Emotional Spectrum Emerges (GREEN LANTERN vol. 4 #25-38, 2008-2009)
Not long after the Sinestro Corps War, other Lantern Corps began emerging around the universe, all utilizing different colors of the emotional spectrum for their main power batteries. The Star Sapphires harnessed the violet light of love, while the Blue Lanterns drew their energy from hope. For the Indigo Tribe it was compassion, and Agent Orange was a one-man Corps defined by absolute greed. The Red Lanterns, meanwhile, were sustained by rage. Together with the Sinestro and Green Lantern Corps, these seven armies clashed in what would be called “the War of Light.”
This conflict was particularly troubling for the Guardians, as the ancient Book of Oa prophesied that the War of Light would be a precursor to an event they called “the Blackest Night,” an event that it was said would engulf the universe and destroy the Green Lantern Corps. But when the Blackest Night finally occurred, it was much worse than anyone could have predicted.
The Dead Rise (BLACKEST NIGHT #0-8, GREEN LANTERN vol. 4 #39-42, GREEN LANTERN CORPS vol. 2 #29-38, 2009-2010).
After the War of Light, the Guardians could not prevent Nekron, the embodiment of death itself, from unleashing the Blackest Night upon the universe, the Corps’ greatest challenge. Nekron used his ability to raise the dead, including several deceased Lanterns and Super Heroes, and armed his undead warriors with black power rings. With their dark rings, the Black Lanterns’ goal was to eliminate all life and emotion from the cosmos—by destroying the White Entity, the source of all life in the universe. Ultimately, it was the White Entity, and the creation of a White Lantern Corps, that ended the threat of the Black Lanterns.
War Within the Corps (GREEN LANTERN vol. 4 #63-67, GREEN LANTERN CORPS vol. 2 #58-60, GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #9 -0, 2011)
After the events of the Blackest Night, the ancient Maltusian scientist Krona, who’d been banished eons earlier for unleashing evil into the universe, returned. Using his vast mental abilities, he took control of half of the Green Lantern Corps, causing a split within their forces. Only with the help of the other Lantern Corps, who were enlisted by Hal Jordan, was the war ended and the mind-controlled Green Lanterns set free of Krona’s domination.
New 52 (2011-2016)
The new reality created by FLASHPOINT didn’t much alter the history of the Green Lantern Corps, but chaos continued to threaten the universe on a regular basis and drew the Corps in. The first major threat faced by the Corps in the new reality was the long-prophesied rise of the “Third Army”—after the robotic Manhunters, the first army created by the Guardians, and the Corps the second.
After so many devastating battles, the Guardians came to the conclusion that the Corps was hampered by their emotion and free will. They created a new, third peacekeeping force, one hell-bent on destroying the various Lantern Corps in the universe. This Third Army had no emotions, and though technically alive, they functioned as extensions of the Guardians’ will. The Third Army was ultimately destroyed by the release of Volthoom, who reabsorbed his power from the Third Army, causing it to dissipate into dust. Not long after this, Hal Jordan took the reins and became leader of the Green Lantern Corps.
Following the events of DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH #1, Earth has two rookie Green Lanterns defending it: Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. The sentient planet Mogo is now the home base of the Green Lantern Corps instead of Oa, and Hal Jordan has rejoined his fellow Lanterns John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner out in the far reaches of space. The Sinestro Corps and the Green Lantern Corps joined forces, both stationed on Mogo. But tensions between these two factions ultimately came to a tipping point and ended their alliance.