Green Lantern just ditched the franchise’s most beloved tradition
The Emotional Specter was a notable addition to the Green Lantern mythos, but the changes to the franchise have given a new twist to the fan-favorite concept.
Warning! Spoilers for Green Lantern # 9 forward!
The addition of the emotional spectrum reinvigorated the The Green Lantern franchise, but have the agents of light finally broken its constraints? Since its introduction, various members of the Green Lantern Corps have increased or extended their powers by rubbing shoulders with alternative energies. However, the current ring bearers seem poised to leave this notable part of Green Lantern history behind.
The first reference to the emotional spectrum comes from Geoff Johns, Ethan Van Sciver and Prentis Rollins Green Lantern: Renaissance # 3. The concept added to the Green Lantern myth by retroactively making energies based on the Body’s willpower the focus of a larger source based on the electromagnetic spectrum. While the additional light sources varied wildly, both in personality and potency, the interconnection between the new bodies was seen as a highlight of Johns’ run on Green Lantern. But since Johns’ run, new writers have added their own twist to the spectrum.
Green Lantern # 9 by Geoffrey Thorne, Marco Santucci, Tom Raney and Maria Lavra Sanapo stars John Stewart leading an epic battle with Esak from New Genesis, who steals the life sources of innocent people to power a cosmic weapon. Although defeated, John is able to survive a powerful attack from the Executors of Esak, something another New Genesis citizen, Lonar, attributes to John being an Ascended. Lonar tells John that he attracts cosmic energies, but limited himself to the one most familiar to him. For John, it’s obviously willpower that has fueled Green Lanterns for years. But it was the mention of Lonar that the force most familiar to John was misunderstood by the Guardians as part of the emotional spectrum. Essentially, Lonar is hinting that the Light of Will is not just part of the spectrum but something much bigger and more mysterious.
The idea that John has reached a new level of power should come as no surprise as the current The Green Lantern The series began by making crazy changes to the emotional spectrum and the broader mythology of Green Lantern. With John now able to feed himself from other cosmic energies and Teen Lantern operating without a traditional power ring, the days when one relies on the green power of will and its connection to other bodies of similar color are, at a minimum, very different from before. Of course, even before these sweeping changes, other writers tweaked the specter in their own ways, like the addition of the Ultraviolet Corps or the Legion of Superheroes Golden Lantern. Focusing on the specter as only one part of a larger magical system is just the latest change to the concept.
Stepping away from the emotional spectrum, the writers downplay the importance of a fan-favorite addition to the lore of the Green Lantern series. But in doing so, they free themselves to tell stories without the rules and restrictions set by writers in the past. Either way, it’s bittersweet for fans to have to say goodbye to this notable part of the The Green Lantern myth.
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