Wrath of the First Lantern

With yesterday’s release of solicitations for February 2013, DC has stealthily revealed the next story in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern epic. Following Rise of the Third Army, Wrath of the First Lantern will delve deeper into the mysterious character first introduced in Green Lantern Annual #1.  USA Today has an interview with Johns on the next arc that you can read here. Surprising, DC hasn’t made much noise about the announcement of what seems to be a crescendo in Johns’ run. Since the end of Blackest Night I’ve wondered how much longer Johns plans to stay on Green Lantern. After 8 years and over 100 total issue of shepherding the character to true A-list status (at least among comic fans), one can’t help but wonder how many more stories he has to tell. Well, I’ve stopped guessing how or when Johns is going to end his GL run, but based on the new solicits, last week’s issue of Green Lantern, and Johns own words on the Wrath of the First Lantern story, I have pretty good idea of what’s coming next.

Green Lantern is getting rebooted.

Doug Mankhe’s unfinished cover for Green Lantern #17, the beginning of “Wrath of the First Lantern”

Here are a few interesting quotes from Johns’ interview with USA Today:

Speaking on the First Lantern: “I don’t want to say he’s a villain or a hero. He’s just a being who’s targeting our main lanterns, our guys, to see if there’s a way that maybe the universe could improve if they made different choices in their lives.”

“…he’s someone who’s going to take a look at every one of our heroes and main characters and really tear their life apart and rip them open in a way we’ve never seen before on a very cosmic scale.”

“People go down paths and people change and people react certain ways, and he wants to understand why these decisions are made.”

Clearly this character is interested in the choices our heroes have made in the past. He’s interested in making the universe a better place. He wants to understand how things have gotten as bad as they are. I would assume, if he were able to figure that out, he would attempt to fix it.

Now, let’s take a look at a scene from Green Lantern #14 (which was totally awesome btw), where the Guardians interact with the imprisoned First Lantern.

This casts the First Lantern in a very conflicting light. He’s opposed to the Guardian’s machinations involving the Third Army, but his intentions may not be completely altruistic. The take home line comes from the third panel, where the Lantern is described as a “reality-bending monster.”  I’m calling it now, Johns is getting ready to pull a Flashpoint/House of M/One More Day on Green Lantern.

Why would Green Lantern get rebooted just two years after The New 52 reboot?  The Green Lantern family of books went through the Flashpoint/New 52 reboot relatively unscathed. A few plotlines were cut short/disregarded and the focus has shifted to a slightly different cast of characters, but for the most part Green Lantern vol. 5 #1 reads continuously from Green Lantern vol. 4 #67. This wasn’t surprising, as the book was one of the few consistently strong DC books pre-Flashpoint. If Johns decided he wanted to end his Green Lantern run, he would likely want to put his toys back in the box/prevent other writers from dismantling concepts he created, such as the various colored corps. This would be a way of doing that, and it’s a technique he used on the entire DCU through Flashpoint.

My guess is that the First Lantern is going to change a major events in one or several of the main character’s lives. What if Hal’s dad never died? What if he never joined the air force? Never became Parallax? What if he and Carol had gotten married and settled down years ago? What if John Stewart hadn’t accidentally destroyed Xanshi? What if Kyle had been there to save his girlfriend from a refrigerated death? What if the attack on Sector 666 never happened, sparing the lives of Atrocitus’ family? What if Larfleeze never came in contact with the orange lantern? What if Sinestro hadn’t been an evil douche or had believed in Abin Sur, preventing his death? I can go on forever listing terrible events in our main characters lives that, if changed, would have a drastic (and likely positive) effect on the current Green Lantern universe.

Of course, this is clearly all conjecture and possibly a waste of internet space. However, the clues definitely suggest that there are some MAJOR changes coming to the Green Lantern family of books. I’m placing my bets and calling it here.

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