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Every One Of The Green Lanterns Of Earth Ranked

"In brightest day, in blackest night..." If you're a comic book fan, you know the rest.

For over 80 years, Green Lantern has stood the test of time as one of the most well-known superheroes in the comic book community. His popularity as a character and his place in the DC universe speaks for itself, with dozens of memorable comic books, TV shows, and movies focusing on his many adventures. Heck, Donovan was singing about Green Lantern in 1966. Since his first book appearance in All-American Comics #16, he's managed to become one of the most important heroes in DC's canon, second only to fellow founding Justice League members Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Like many comic book superheroes, the Green Lantern mantle has passed to different names over the years. These include fan-favorite characters like Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Hal Jordan, all of whom remain some of the most memorable faces to ever brandish control of the power ring over the years.

But it's also worth pointing out that there have been many other names besides Stewart and Jordan that have acted as the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (the planetary neighborhood that includes Earth). Here is every Green Lantern to have ever protected Sector 2814, ranked from worst to best.

18. Laham

One of the rare non-human beings who've presided over Earth, Laham was an alien creature who hailed from the planet Scylla, acting as the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 in Earth's 18th century. After his tenure as Green Lantern had concluded — Laham died in combat protecting his home planet from invasion — his ring passed to Waverly Sayre, a human pioneer trying to settle on the American frontier.

Though never explicitly shown in a comic, he was briefly mentioned by his fellow Scyllans, who called out for Sayre to help them stop the attack on their planet. As a result of his service, his name was forever memorialized in the Crypts Of The Green Lantern Corps, joining his fellow fallen brethren in the hallowed halls of the monument. Depicted in the picture above is Satoon, glimpsed as a ghost, who relayed a message from Laham.

It's hard to have any definitive feelings about Laham, given the fact that he is literally never shown at all. All that we know about him is told to us rather than explicitly depicted. For that reason alone, Laham ranks as the lowliest Green Lantern in DC's comics so far — almost entirely due to the fact that we never actually see him at all.

17. Starkaðr

Waverly Sayre's successor in Earth's 19th century, the alien creature Starkaðr's time as Sector 2814's Green Lantern is best illustrated in Legends of the DC Universe #20. In that comic, it's shown that Starkaðr's crowning moment as Green Lantern came when he defended the planet of Ungara from the intergalactic warlord Devlos Ungol (also known as "Traitor").

Battling Ungol, Starkaðr successfully managed to save Ungara from destruction, driving off Traitor and his invading forces. But as a result of the injuries he sustained in the planet's defense, Starkaðr soon succumbed to his wounds, leaving the young Ungaran Abin Sur with his ring and naming him his successor.

With Sur framing the story of the former Green Lantern's past, Starkaðr remains an intriguing enough hero, whose service to the Corps goes largely unexplored. If more comics had focused on his service to the Corps, he might've ranked more highly, helping readers gain renewed interest in this sadly underutilized character. Since that hasn't been the case yet, however, he fails to measure up against virtually every other Green Lantern.

16. Daniel Young

In 1873, Abin Sur crash-landed on Earth, landing in the frontier region of Montana. Having sustained extensive wounds from a space battle, Sur needed time to heal. Without an official successor in line, he chose Sheriff Daniel Young — who arrived to Sur's ship to investigate the crash — as his temporary replacement, giving Young his Green Lantern ring and all the powers that come with it.

A lawman for the nearby town of Bailysville, Young became determined to use what limited time he had with the ring to improve his community. During his brief time as the Lantern, he set out to rid Bailysville of a local outlaw gang, capturing the ne'er-do-wells and saving a young boy the gang had kidnapped. After facing off against the gang, the Green Lantern ring left Young, returning once again to a now fully healed Abin Sur, who promptly left the planet and returned to his planetary patrol of Sector 2814.

Since Young was Earth's Green Lantern for a very, very short amount of time, it's hard to judge him as one of the greatest individuals to ever brandish the Corps' signature power ring. If Young had been blessed with a lengthier stint as the Lantern, he almost certainly would have ranked higher — the idea of a Western lawman having the ring is, after all, an intriguing one. Unfortunately, like Starkaðr, his comic book presence is extremely underdeveloped, accounting for his low ranking.

15. Yalan Gur

One of the earliest Green Lanterns by Earth's standards, Yalan Gur presided over Section 2814 in the 10th century. Having garnered an esteemed reputation among his fellow Green Lantern Corps members, the Guardians of the Universe decided to remove his ring's aversion to yellow. Now limitless in terms of his ring's properties, Yalan Gur went mad with power, becoming a tyrannical dictator who believed the best way to protect the galaxy was through his own brand of law and order.

On Earth, he managed to enslave the entire population of China. Realizing their mistake in lifting the ring's traditional weakness, the Guardians quickly placed a new limitation on the Green Lantern: wood. Using wooden clubs and tools, the people of China managed to mortally wound Yalan Gur, sending their oppressor out into space.

Slowly dying in Earth's upper atmosphere, the disgraced Green Lantern combined with his power battery as he died. At that exact moment, a passing fragment of the Starheart — an experimental weapon created by the Guardians — collided with Yalan Gur and the battery. As a result of the collision, all three objects merged together, giving birth to the ring used by Alan Scott, serving as the primary source for the hero's power.

It's fair to say that Yalan Gur is certainly no Sinestro. But still, it's always fascinating to see a former Green Lantern corrupted by his own abilities, serving as a cautionary warning for other Lanterns who come after him. Additionally, his backstory provides an adequate reason behind Scott's own powers — a retcon that satisfied fans and helped differentiate Scott from every other Green Lantern in the DC universe.

14. Jong Li

Earth's first Green Lantern, Jong Li was once a devout monk raised at the Temple of the Dragon Lords in 7th century China. Under his fellow monks' tutelage, Jong Li learned to renounce all material possessions, living a life devoted to pursuing knowledge and advocating for peace. After a young concubine named Jade Moon arrived at the Temple seeking asylum from a roaming band of Imperial warriors, Jong Li tried his best to help her. Taking her in and protecting her from the Imperial troops, a scuffle ensued between the soldiers and the monks, leading to Jong Li being knocked unconscious.

When he awoke, he found the Temple burned and his fellow monks killed, any semblance of his former life literally up in flames. Contacted by an emissary sent by the Guardians of the Universe, Jong Li was offered the chance to wield a power ring, using it to oppose the forces of evil and protect the innocent — an offer Jong Li readily accepted. With this new ring, Jong Li managed to depose the dictatorial Emperor, rescuing Jade and becoming the first human Green Lantern to watch over Sector 2814.

By every right, Jong Li should. be ranked near the top of the Green Lanterns. The first Green Lantern for Sector 2814, he's also one of the coolest — a warrior monk whose wisdom is unrivaled. With the scarcity of his comic book appearances, it's hard to rank him any higher — clearly, he warrants further comic exploration.

13. Waverly Sayre

A rural American pioneer in the late 18th century, Waverly Sayre was a frontiersman who decided to settle out west with his pregnant wife. Tired of the corruption and cowardice found in cities, Sayre initially believed the change to a simpler country lifestyle would be beneficial to his family. Upon moving into the new, untamed territory, however, Sayre's idyllic life met with disaster — his wife fell ill and passed away with their unborn child.

Devastated, Sayre spent the period following his wife's death continuing to live off the land, refusing to return to the city or accept the assistance of any fellow pioneers. Depressed and suicidal, he was soon contacted by the native population of Scylla, who reached out to him by impersonating his deceased wife, begging for his assistance. Accepting the Green Lantern ring, Sayre traveled to Scylla, believing that he was actually ascending to heaven.

Arriving on the planet, Sayre was instead surprised to find a group of native aliens under siege, asking for Sayre's help in defending their home planet from otherworldly invaders. Though initially believing the aliens to be hellish demons, Sayre soon accepted the responsibilities that came with the ring, protecting Scylla and succeeding Laham as the Green Lantern.

From a narrative perspective, the idea of a frontiersman Green Lantern is a great one, and fortunately, Sayre perfectly lives up to expectations. The burden of a tragic past, and the use of his new ring to get a new lease on life, his is one of the more inspirational stories in the Green Lantern canon, as well as one of the more underrated.

12. G'nort

Hailing from the planet G'newt, G'nort Esplanade G'neesmacher was introduced as a comic relief character in the late 1980s, making his debut in Justice League International #10. In terms of his backstory, G'nort was recruited into the Green Lantern Corps as a way to discredit the group. At the time, the villainous Poglachian were impersonating the Guardians of the Universe, gifting power rings to the least qualified individuals, hoping that their incompetent efforts at helping people would instead wreak havoc across the galaxies.

As part of this Poglachian plot, G'nort was one of many under-qualified individuals to receive a power ring. Unlike most of his fellow recruits, though, G'nort's longing to make a genuine difference in the universe overshadowed his lack of competence. Time and time again, he's been portrayed as a buffoonish character so unintelligent he can't even read a map; yet, even some of DC's most notable heroes have recognized something special in G'nort, including Superman himself.

G'nort is one of those comedic characters you either love or hate (think Howard the Duck, Jar-Jar, Alf and all the Ewoks rolled into one). Yet, it's hard not to admire his endlessly affectionate heart, as well as his constant desire to help protect the universe any way he can. It's a case of a person (or rather, an anthropomorphic dog-like alien) not having the necessary skills to aid them in their goals, but who never backs down or gives up on their dreams. And for that, it's hard to hate him.

11. Abin Sur

One of the most important transitional Green Lanterns in the character's continuity, Abin Sur was the predecessor to Hal Jordan, famously passing his ring to the ace pilot in 1959's Showcase #22. The immediate successor to Starkaðr — whom he witnessed die while defending his homeworld — the young Ungaran, Abin Sur, became Green Lantern in the Earth equivalent of the 1860s. Holding the title of Sector 2814's Green Lantern for the next 100 years, Sur faithfully protected his sector with the utmost focus and care, never once waning in his abilities to defend the innocent and combat evil in the universe.

After battling the parasitic villain Legion on an intergalactic mission, Sur's ship crash-landed on Earth. Mortally injured from the impact, Sur had his power battery search out potential successors in the area — an Earthling who was honest and without fear. Landing on Hal Jordan, the battery then transported Jordan to Sur, the Green Lantern veteran passing on the ring with his dying breaths.

It helps that Sur gifting his ring to Jordan is hand-downs one of the most iconic moments in DC comics. But even more than that, it's near impossible to hate someone like Sur. While it can be argued that he's a bit monotone and bland in personality, his serious nature is not unlike that other famous alien, the Martian Manhunter, both rarely mincing words when it comes to their duties in policing the universe. Even after his death, his spirit still watches over Jordan from time to time, instructing his protégé whenever he gets the chance, making him one of the more dedicated Green Lanterns.

10. Jennifer-Lynn Hayden

The daughter of the original DC Green Lantern, Alan Scott, Jennifer-Lynn Hayden had some big shoes to fill when it came to her superhero career. Given up for adoption when she was still an infant, Hayden grew up knowing nothing about her family's superhuman pedigree. It was only when she met her twin brother Todd (better known as Obsidian) that the two siblings were able to deduce who their true parents were. Sensing they had inherited elements of their parents' superpowers, the twins tried (unsuccessfully) to join the JSA, later forming the superhero group Infinity, Inc. instead.

Hayden's superhero status is more fully defined by her main alter ego, Jade. However, she did briefly serve as the temporary protector of Sector 2814 as a Green Lantern. After temporarily losing her powers, her boyfriend — Kyle Rayner (the then current Green Lantern) — gave Hayden a spare ring and power battery, transforming her into the Green Lantern for a short period of time. When Rayner became the all-powerful deity Ion, he restored Jade's powers, allowing the ring to then transfer over to John Stewart.

Like many of her predecessors, Hayden's time as the Green Lantern was too short, making it difficult to judge her based on what little she did during her tenure as the Lantern. Still, there's no denying that she has some great chemistry with her father and Rayner, her main love interest. While perhaps not the best Green Lantern, such relationships make her a strong supporting character in Green Lantern comics — as well a strong solo hero in her own right.

9. Anya Savenlovich

Making her first appearance in 1999's Green Lantern: The New Corps, Anya Savenlovich was a once brilliant lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Air Force. Orbiting Earth in 1964, an explosion in her craft's second stage rocket botched the mission, setting her adrift in space for the next 35 years. Cryogenically preserved in her capsule, Savenlovich was eventually woken up by Kyle Rayner, who was searching for potential members for his New Corps — the next generation of Green Lanterns to guard the universe.

Equipped with one of Rayner's power rings, Savenlovich became a key member of Rayner's short-lived New Corps. But after a mission went disastrously wrong, Rayner decided that his leadership capabilities weren't quite up to par, leading him to disband the New Corps and re-collect all the power rings he handed out. Since the life she knew on Earth no longer existed, Savenlovich decided to remain in space rather than return to her homeworld. Soon after, she formed the crime-fighting group The Corps with former Green Lanterns Garl Rathbone and Judge Sool, continuing the original New Corps' purpose without Rayner to guide them.

Another wholly underutilized character fans long to see more of in DC, Savenlovich possesses an intriguing backstory, and seems to occupy an interesting role as an intergalactic vigilante. Sadly, her time as a Green Lantern was fairly limited compared to the decades-spanning appearances of Hal Jordan or John Stewart, hence her middling ranking.

8. Sojourner Jo Mullein

The most recent character to bear the Green Lantern name, Sojourner "Jo" Mullein is also the first Black woman to wield the power ring in DC's universe. Born and raised in New York City, Mullein grew up with the resolution to combat injustice after witnessing the 9/11 attacks. Graduating at the top of her high school class, she joined the US Army and later became a top-ranked police officer in New York. After watching her partner nearly beat a suspect to death, she was unceremoniously fired before she was able to report the incident, supposedly due to being tagged in Black Lives Matter post on social media.

Following her dismissal from the force, she was approached by the Guardians of the Galaxy, who offered her a power ring and the mantle of Green Lantern. However, the Guardians' offer came with an ultimatum: Mullein had only one year to make a fundamental difference using the ring's power.

Given how little we've seen of Mullein, it's somewhat difficult to compare her to the other Green Lanterns. But judging from what we've seen so far, she is shaping up to be an interesting character — one more deeply plagued by self-doubt and fear than most others. While she has big aspirations, she still has a long way to go to measure up to the more notable Green Lanterns. It will be interesting to see where Mullein's path takes her.

7. Alan Scott

The original Green Lantern of DC comics, Alan Scott is technically not a Green Lantern in the traditional sense. Rather than being an actual member of the Green Lantern Corps, he instead utilizes the same power source as the Green Lanterns — having inherited the Starheart-Yalan Gur hybrid ring that provides his power. Originally one of DC's most popular characters during its Golden Age, the character waned in popularity in the years following World War II, leading DC to phase Scott out in favor of a revamped Hal Jordan Green Lantern in 1959.

Compared to the science fiction elements of the Green Lantern Corps, Scott was a notably more fantastical character — a hero rooted more in magic and mysticism than in ancient alien races. He's been portrayed as the main Green Lantern of Earth-Two, with his counterpart, Hal Jordan, watching over Earth-One. In later years, DC decided to merge the two parallel worlds together, rebooting Scott as an older politician who continues to serve as a Green Lantern, operating outside the Corps.

No matter the iteration of Scott, the original Green Lantern is without a doubt one of the best. Embedded with a classical feel, he's basically DC's equivalent of Dr. Strange, a sharp alternative to the sci-fi-heavy storylines of the modern Green Lanterns. Nevertheless, he isn't truly related to the Green Lantern Corps and instead simply bears the hero's moniker, so it's probably fair not to compare him too closely with the other characters who came after him.

6. Guy Gardner

The original hot-headed Green Lantern, Guy Gardner was initially one of the two main choices to succeed Abin Sur as Green Lantern of Sector 2814 — the only thing that led Jordan to earn the title was that he was simply closer to Sur's downed ship. Despite this, the Guardians recruited Gardner as a potential "backup" Lantern, just in case anything happened to Jordan. Once Jordan stepped down from the post, Gardner was once again meant to take up the mantle of Green Lantern. At the time, though, he was in a coma, resulting in the ring going to John Stewart instead.

It was only after Stewart's time as Green Lantern that Gardner finally moved past being an understudy. More so than any typical Green Lantern, though, Gardner was defiantly brash and arrogant. Not lacking in confidence, he was known for his abrasive personality and somewhat emotional instability — briefly losing control of himself in moments of heated argument or in battle. Still, Gardner demonstrated great valor in his service, becoming one of the Corps' most valued members during his defense of Oa in the "Blackest Night" crossover. For his acts of bravery, he was even awarded the title of Sentinel, the highest rank in the entire Corps, taking his orders directly from the Guardians.

It's easy to dislike Gardner; put simply, he's capable of rubbing people the wrong way — his confidence coming across as straight narcissism more often than not. However, his initial recruitment makes his gradual rise to hero status all the better, and watching Gardner transform from a cocky youth into the more humbled veteran Green Lantern is a memorable element of the Lantern legacy.

5. Jessica Cruz

One of the more modern iterations of the Green Lantern prior to Sojourner Mullein's run, Jessica Cruz was also among the more unique Lanterns in DC's history. For starters, unlike most other Lanterns who have a single battery as their power source, Cruz shared a battery with Simon Baz, her de facto partner, with whom she co-held the title of Green Lantern.

Cruz's origins as the character began when she and a group of friends took a hunting trip into the woods. There, they stumbled upon a pair of men burying a corpse; the men brutally murdered Cruz's friends, leaving her with severe PTSD. Drawn to her trauma, the fear-indulging Ring of Volthoom possessed Cruz, torturing her physically and emotionally in order to create more pain for it to feed off of. After confronting her tragic past, Cruz was freed from the Ring; Hal Jordan soon recruited her to serve as a Green Lantern alongside Baz.

While Cruz's time as the Green Lantern may not be as fondly remembered as those of Jordan or John Stewart, there's little denying that she was one of the better Lanterns in modern years. Like her counterpart in Baz, Cruz's darker, more grounded past allowed for a greater sense of relatability to her character. An inspiring character, through her storyline fans got the sense that — like Cruz herself — you might be able to accomplish remarkable feats in spite of your fears, conquering them in service to the greater good.

4. Simon Baz

The main person who shared Jessica Cruz's responsibilities as Green Lantern, Baz was one of the two main Green Lanterns of the 2010s. Like his partner, Cruz, Baz also possessed a tragic past — one far more modern and grounded than the usual cartoonish origin stories that have made up other heroes' backstories. Born into a post 9/11 society, Baz grew up suffering from systemic racism all his life, having been treated with regular malice and disdain from his fellow Americans, the result of his Muslim upbringing.

After being caught racing in a stolen van armed with an explosive in the back seat, Baz was detained by the authorities. As he was held, Sinestro's power ring chose him as its successor, with Baz becoming the Green Lantern of Sector 2814. Soon afterwards, Baz's power battery was merged with that of Jessica Cruz; Baz agreed to train the fledgling new recruit, becoming co-Green Lanterns of Sector 2814 together.

Baz's more nuanced backstory is one of the main reasons why he ranks so highly. As the world more closely examines the failures of its past, Baz's inclusion in the DC universe offers a sincere, tragic exploration of systemic real world issues (namely, racism and Islamophobia). Like Cruz being able to overcome her personal anxieties, though, Baz never allows his race or the racist views of others define who he is. Instead, he chooses to create his own path and judge his worth on his own terms. It's an admirable quality, with Baz setting an important example for all to follow.

3. Kyle Rayner

The first Green Lantern of the modern age, Kyle Rayner may not be as altogether well-known as Hal Jordan or John Stewart, but he almost definitely deserves to be. Once a struggling freelance artist, Rayner was approached with the prospect of becoming a Green Lantern by Ganthet (the last Guardian of the Universe), rather than being chosen by a power ring. With Parallax possessing Hal Jordan, causing the former Green Lantern to go on a rampage against the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps, Rayner accepted the offer.

Rayner remains a unique Green Lantern for several key reasons. Rather than being free from fear, Rayner was chosen specifically because of his fearful emotions, allowing him to train his Green Lantern comrades in overcoming their own fears. Through this, they were able to defeat fear-driven enemies like Parallax in the process. Not only that, but he also became a key member of the Justice League, and even briefly became the god-like Ion for a very short period of time.

A pure idealist at heart, Rayner is very much cut from the same cloth as his predecessor, Hal Jordan — although he's portrayed far more realistically than the original Green Lantern. Wanting to make a fundamental difference in the universe, Rayner's constant devotion to his heroic work is nothing short of exceptional. In even the most mundane conversations with people, he convinces them to see the best in themselves and in the potential good in the universe, inspiring us all to do our part in making a difference.

2. John Stewart

One of the most famous Green Lanterns, John Stewart was also canonically the second person to wield the power ring after Hal Jordan. The idea of following someone as memorable as Jordan is a daunting one, but Stewart more than lived up to the challenge, captivating readers with his comic book adventures from his 1971 debut onwards.

Once a successful architect, Stewart was chosen as Jordan's successor after "backup" choice Guy Gardner was injured. Ironically, Stewart became one of the best Green Lanterns in the history of DC comics, his popularity bolstered by the fan-favorite "Justice League Unlimited" series that ran from 2004 to 2006, not to mention his upcoming appearance in an HBO Max series.

Compared to Jordan, Stewart is a far more withdrawn individual, not having the same outward charisma as the first Green Lantern. What Stewart lacks in versatility, however, he more than makes up for in raw fighting power and a strategic mind (a quality he possesses due to his military and architectural background).

One of the first Black superheroes in comics, Stewart broke down barriers in terms of representation in the comic book community. He was a character who showed readers the color of a person's skin didn't matter; what was in their hearts made them remarkable. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Stewart was one of the longest-running Lanterns in the character's history, occupying the position throughout the '70s and '80s.

1. Hal Jordan

Hal Jordan might not have been the first Green Lantern in DC Comics' history, but for many, he's the best. Arguably the most famous Lantern there is, for many, Jordan remains as closely tied to the Green Lantern name as Kal-El is to Superman or Bruce Wayne is to Batman. Even now, over 60 years later, people unfamiliar with the world of comics likely know the name Hal Jordan — a testament to the character's popularity.

A test pilot originally introduced to readers in 1959, Hal Jordan was chosen by a dying Abin Sur to succeed him as the Green Lantern, believing his fearlessness and noble heart were the qualities necessary to make him an efficient ringbearer. Using the ring, Jordan became the defining Green Lantern of his era, setting a high bar for every one of his successors that followed.

It was through Jordan's eyes that readers saw the fantastic outer reaches of DC's sci-fi universe, meeting most of the Green Lantern Corps members we know today. Throughout it all, readers witnessed Jordan going from a young, brazen hothead into one of the most powerful, noble Lanterns. Constantly facing the threat of corruption or intergalactic enemies who try to get him to embrace his darker instincts, Jordan also manages to combat these evil urges, reverting back to the Corps time and time again.

While many characters have assumed the Green Lantern moniker, there remains only one Hal Jordan — the greatest wielder of Green Lantern's light.