Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

The Sinestro Corps

The story of the Yellow Lanterns is the story of how a slew of plot devices and some incidental uses of color eventually coalesced over the course of decades and countless comic book writers into the Sinestro Corps and the War of Light.

The Green Lantern Corps

Green Lantern Corps The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force charged with upholding order and meting out justice in the universe. Each corps member patrols one of an arbitrary 3600 sectors of space, armed with “the mightiest weapon in the universe”: an unassuming green ring which channels power from their headquarters on OA via small, person-sized lanterns. (It’s not just a clever name!) The rings create constructs out of pure (green) energy, the complexity and effectiveness of which are limited only by the ring-bearer’s will. Mostly.

Unlimited power is a practical concern in any society — much less in comic books that need to remain interesting week after week, and decade after decade (see: Superman). In order to curb this power, a ring candidate must demonstrate a formidable will, and an extraordinary power to “overcome fear”. (Remember that.) Also, quite bizarrely, the rings were originally ineffectual against anything that was the color yellow. The explanation for why this is has varied over the decades since the original concept for the GL Corps, but the most basic is that it was a measure of control put in place by the Guardians of the Universe so that the tragedy of the Manhunters (not to be confused with the Martian Manhunters) would not be repeated. It is for this reason that the Green Lantern Corps is made up of only sentient, living creatures. However, life creates all of the problems with order and perfection the Guardians have dedicated themselves to eliminate. Life brings chaos and emotion. Emotion clouds reason and logic (Remember that, too.)

The Yellow Ring

sinestro-yellowring Eventually, a young upstart from Earth by the name of Hal Jordan was called to protect Sector 2814. Arguably the greatest Green Lantern of this time was a pinkish-purple guy named Sinestro, who took to mentoring the young Jordan. It didn’t take long for Jordan to see the flaws in the Guardians’ perfect society, the actions and philosophy of Sinestro being a prime example. (Right, as if the name didn’t give it away!) Eventually Sinestro was outed from the Corps, but — not being one to let things go — soon began plotting his revenge.

Remember that weakness to yellow? What better way to fight the Green Lanterns than someone with intimate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. It was bad enough that 3600 of the most powerful beings the universe has ever known could be felled by a banana peel, but what if you could actively fight them with a Yellow power ring? Sinestro was able to obtain this ring from the Qwardians, fascist versions of the Guardians from the anti-matter version of our universe. (It feels so silly to say that out loud.) This lead to the Lanterns having to learn how to defeat Sinestro (and all dangerous, yellow things) indirectly, since brute force would not work.

actioncomics-688 Since then, the yellow ring has been passed around by one former Green Lantern or another who has had a beef with the Guardians and their Corps — notably with notorious hothead Guy Gardner during the early days of “what do we do with him now that Hal Jordan is back” days culminating in the most-excellent Guy Gardner: Warrior. Despite these seemingly endless phases, the yellow ring always ultimately ends up in Sinetro’s hands.

That is until…


Green Lantern Volume 3 #50 Every hero dies; Superman is no exception. Also, seemingly without exception, they always seem to come back, sometimes only to die again. (Remember that along with the other two things. This is important!) In fighting one of the four men who stepped in claiming to either be Superman, or simply honoring his legacy, Hal Jordan’s home of Coast City was destroyed by the monstrous pirate-turned-dictator Mongul. (Did I also mention he was yellow?) Enraged, and in a formidable show of will, Jordan beats Mongul within micrometers of his life — despite the yellow impurity. When the Guardians refuse to help Hal bring his city back, he goes on a rampage of his own that ends at the Central Power Battery, mortally wounding (or just regular wounding) all of the fellow Lanterns who stood in his way. Once there, he enters it to absorb its power directly. What came out was Parallax.

As Parallax, Jordan one-ups the Manhunters and erases all of space and time during the events of Zero Hour in order to recreate it “perfectly”, and succeed where he felt the Guardians had failed. He is stopped by many heroes, including his successor Kyle Rayner. In order to prevent Hal from repeating his cosmic genocide, he destroys the Central Battery, but also many of the limitations that went with it — including the yellow impurity.


Green Lantern: Rebirth #3 Hal eventually attempted to redeem himself by giving up his life and power by reigniting Earth’s sun after it is ravaged by an interstellar sun-eater during the events of Final Night. After a brief (but fascinating) stint as the host for the Spectre, Hal Jordan returns to the land of the living to fight Parallax.


Hal Jordan’s crimes left an indelible taint quite literally on his soul, and so was the reason he joined with the Spectre. Even his return to life would not remove that taint, so it was necessary from a story perspective to personify Parallax as a separate entity and scapegoat upon which to blame all of Hal’s actions. Parallax is an elemental being, the embodiment of fear, who was trapped long ago by the Guardians of the Universe inside the Central Power battery. The blow to Jordan’s psyche after the destruction of Coast City was enough for Parallax to worm its way into Jordan’s mind, tricking him into freeing it and serving as its host — much like the Spectre. Did I mention that Parallax is yellow?

parallax The Green Lanterns apparently also have their own avatar, Ion. That was the name Kyle Rayner called himself when he absorbed what remained of the Jordan’s Parallax power from when he reignited Earth’s sun. It was too much for one man to contain, and apparently with good reason. Ion now resides within Green Lantern Sodam Yat from the planet Daxam. Or, at least, it did before Sodam seemed to give his own life to turn his world’s red sun yellow — giving them powers like those of Kryptonians and Superman. Why do this? To allow his oppressed people to fend off the powerful…

Sinestro Corps

Sinestro Corps War Did I mention that in his rampage to the Central Power Battery, Hal killed Sinestro? Oh yes, snapped his neck. Did I also mention that Hal spent quite a bit of time in the afterlife with Sinestro? No? Did I also mention that when Hal came back, Sinestro did too as the new vessel for Parallax? Hm. Those are very important, true facts.

Being much more amenable to the ways of Parallax, Sinestro returned to Qward to enslave his former masters to create his own yellow rings for a fear-based corps he egotistically called The Sinestro Corps. The Sinestro Corps will always be the Sinestro Corps, even when temporarily usurped by Mongul (son of the original Mongul who destroyed Coast City), who had decided to make Daxam his new Warworld. Unfortunately for Sinestro, the release of Parallax meant no more yellow impurity, but since emotions — especially fear — can sap a Green Lantern’s will, they are still a formidable threat.

The tale of the creation of the Sinestro Corps was told in a 2007 event of the same name, tying together elements of the destruction of Coast City, the new-resurrected Anti-Monitor (from the events of the previous year’s Infinite Crisis). The final pages of this saga told of a prophecy hidden by the Guardians, a war of light between seven corps against an eighth, of which the creation of the Sinestro Corps would be the first sign. This event would be known as…

Blackest Night

The War of Light

Taken from a line in the Green Lantern oath: “In brightest day, in blackest night, not evil shall escape my sight”, the prophecy tells of of the emergence of seven corps that would battle powers of darkness and anti-life for the fate of the universe itself:

redlantern-dexstar The Red wrath of Rage, born on the planet Ysmault to Atrocitus — a Green Lantern villain whose home was destroyed when the Manhunters exterminated Sector 666. He had plenty of reason to hate the Guardians, and thus harbored sufficient rage for the Red Power Battery to be born. Red Lanterns have their hearts and blood replaced by rage… and a red plasma against which few other lanterns are impervious.

orangelanter-larfleeze The Orange aura of Avarice that would only be controlled by a single person. No corps exist for this lantern as such — each member is a construct of a being who attempted to claim the orange light and failed. For billions of years it remained hidden away in the Vega sector, previously (an inexplicably) a no-fly zone for Green Lanterns, and as such was a great place for criminals to congregate and plan their dirty deeds. Larfleeze, owner of the Orange Power Battery, was promised peace if he turned over Parallax. That promise was eventually broken by the Guardians, and so Larfleeze left the Vega system on a quest to obtain all other power batteries.

yellowlantern-batman The Yellow light of Fear has been called the opposite number of will, and so exists in Sector -1 in the Anti-matter universe, where the Qwardians are slaves that serve the Sinestro Corps. Unfortunately for them, their avatar is once again imprisoned on OA in the Central Power Battery. Parallax’s presence means the yellow impurity has returned, but now any Lantern who can completely overcome fear can overcome this problem. The new recruits, however…

kyle-ion The Green glow of Will represents the emergence of the first life forms of the universe, where inert matter made itself move and be alive. As the pages of Blackest Night unfold, we begin to discover that the Guardian’s control over this elemental force is a lie. So far they claim it is without emotion — sitting in the center of the emotional spectrum, this seems to be true. So what does this mean?

bluelantern-corps The Blue light of Hope Ganthet, originally the sole survivor of Hal Jordan’s deadly rampage, and fellow Guardian Sayd, one of the newly created female Guardians when Kyle Rayner helped recreate the planet he had destroyed, were exiled from their brethren for daring to embrace emotions. (Sure it wasn’t Ganthet’s ponytail?) They found the Blue Power Battery on Odym, a planet that has never known death. Their corps is only three members strong, but very powerful. A Blue Lantern can keep a Green Lantern’s ring charged beyond maximum capacity, but cannot access any of its own power without the Green Lantern presence. Similarly, they can drain the power from a Yellow Ring, or absorb the toxic miasma emitted by Red Lanterns. Recently, they have been shown to ease the immense hunger that the power of the Orange light creates in its host.

indigotribe The secretive Indigo light of Compassion is protected by a tribe who hails Abin Sur — Hal Jordan’s predcessor — as their prophet. True compassion is among the rarest of all known emotions, and so the number of the Indigo Tribe are few. They are able to use and mimic the power of any lantern with which they come into contact, often with potentially-devastating effect. It is through them that the Blackest Night may be won.

starsapphires The Violet power of Love was finally crystallized by the Star Sapphires, lead by the original female counterparts of the Guardians of the Universe. The Star Sapphire has been a villain of the Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan in specific), but — like the Yellow rings of Qward — has masterd a portion of the emotional spectrum. Since, like the Red light, it is on the edge of this spectrum, this “good” light can be easy perverted and become all-consuming. Their central battery is powered by the crystallized bodies of two lovers, representing the undying bond of love between them. Implications during the events of Blackest Night is that these are the original Egyptian bodies of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who became the first victims of…

blacklantern-corps The Black Lanterns, devoid of light and life, claim to represent the true order that the Guardians seek. Before the emotional spectrum “intruded” into the universe, it was a peaceful place. Life makes things terrible for the land of the dead, and so now the dead rise. The Black Power Battery formed around the twice-freshened corpse of the Anti-Monitor (after the events of the Sinestro Corps War). The rings seek out those who have died that still have emotional ties to the living, and then uses those ties to have the living reach an emotional peak, where the Black Lantern will literally feast on their hearts. Of course, this means that the newly-deceased has become a wonderful candidate for the Black Lantern Corps.

This event is still ongoing with just two months to go! It is easily one of the best crossover events I have ever read. Longtime fans of Green Lantern (and DC in general) will appreciate the long memory of the writers, who have found a way to tie together seemingly worthless old villains, help us remember the stories of the past, and also address why death seems to be a revolving door in comic book stories.

One of the greatest events in comic book history owes its existence to a story that seemed destined to be told: that of the Yellow Lanterns.

(Also, there is a guy called “Yellow Lantern”, but I really don’t want to talk about it…)