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Why I Would Be A Terrible Green Lantern

September 1st, 2014 No comments
Green Lantern Logo

Way too heroic for me.

My sister – the librarian – is a huge comic book nerd. Apparently graphic comic novels are a big thing at her library, and she’s jumped in with both booted feet and cape billowing dramatically behind her. Growing up, I was a big X-Men fan (Storm forever!), but I’ve only dipped my toe in the vast comic universe.

Recently, my sister turned me onto a Green Lantern cartoon on Netflix called Green Lantern: The Animated Series. The show only lasted a single season, but I found it amusing.

Watching the cartoon, I discovered that the Green Lantern world is pretty complicated. You see, Green Lanterns aren’t the only guys (and girls) flying around with extra special power rings on their fingers. There are also Red Lanterns who are fueled by rage, Blue Lanterns fueled by hope, Pink Lanterns (Star Sapphires) fueled by love, and even Yellow Lanterns fueled by fear. Oh, and one dopey Orange Lantern fueled by avarice. Yes, avarice, because apparently just saying “greed” wasn’t fancy enough.

Every Lantern charges their extra special power ring by shoving their hand into a lamp-shaped battery and chanting a nifty little ditty that often rhymes. The Green Lanterns – fueled by willpower – say:

“In brightest day, in blackest night,

No evil shall escape my sight.

Let those who worship evil’s might

Beware my power–Green Lantern’s light!”

 

Red Lanterns (the guys with anger management issues) go with this gentle little lullaby:

“With blood and rage of crimson red,

Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,

Together with our hellish hate,

We’ll burn you all–that is your fate!”

 

My personal favorite is the orange greedy guy who chants:

“What’s mine is mine and mine and mine.

And mine and mine and mine!

Not yours!”

 

That’s pretty awesome, right?

One other thing that you should know about the Lantern Core is that the ring chooses you. In order to be a Lantern, you must already embody the characteristic of the ring: willpower, rage, hope, (sigh) avarice, etc… in order to earn the coveted ring.

Watching this cartoon, I realized that if I were a kid I would totally, utterly want an extra special power ring. I mean, come on, you put on the ring and you immediately get an awesome costume, get to fly around space, get to be all glowy and cool, and you can use the ring’s power to create whatever your mind can imagine, like a glowing chainsaw, a glowing Ferrari, a glowing box of calorie-free donuts. (I’ve never seen a Lantern make a glowing box of calorie-free donuts, but I bet it could be done.)

I can totally picture my child self sitting on my bed, staring longingly out the window waiting, hoping, praying for a little ring to come sailing my way. But what color would that ring be? Looking over the list of ring characteristics, I realize that none of them truly fits me.

I would love to believe that I could be a Green Lantern fueled by willpower, but that just isn’t me. To me, willpower equates with dramatic heroics. Hal Jordan, the main Green Lantern showcased in the series, is a little too heroic for my taste. He constantly takes huge risks in order to save the day, which is great…when it works out. In the cartoon — surprise, surprise — his crazy plans nearly always work despite the odds, or he gets saved by a massive stroke of luck at the last minute.

Watching this cartoon, I’ve come to realize that I’m just way too pragmatic to be a Green Lantern. If the odds were stacked against me, I’d turn tail and live to fight another day. So, if I’m not made to be a Green Lantern, a Red Lantern, an Orange Lantern, a Pink Sapphire, a Blue Lantern, or any of the other colorful offshoots zipping around the galaxy, what’s left?

After a relatively short amount of thought, I’ve decided to create my own Lantern Core.

Introducing the Teal Lanterns fueled by pragmatism. The color teal combines Blue (hope) and Green (willpower) and tempers it with Yellow (fear) for an individual that seeks to do what is right but also stays firmly planted in a reality where good and evil aren’t always clear cut and where risks should be mitigated to accomplish the greater good. The Teal Lantern Core would compromise, they would run when a battle was unwinnable, they would make tough, sometimes unheroic decisions in order to achieve an outcome that every side could live with. Sure, we wouldn’t be as heroic as the Green Lantern Core, as sexy as the Pink Sapphires, as positive as the Blue Lanterns, or as bad ass as the Red Lanterns, but I think the world needs the power of Pragmatism.

I even made up a little battery charging oath for my new Lantern Core:

Know when to run, know when to fight

We see beyond black and white

Many roads lead to right

I choose the best path by Pragmatic Light!   

What do you think? Anyone else want to be a Teal Lantern with me?