🔍 BEHIND THE MASK 🔎 Green Lantern Edition

Welcome to this week’s discussion of BEHIND THE MASK, in which we welcome our resident armchair psychologists to ponder and muse, our literary detectives to theorize and question.
We invite you all to join the discussion and explore what it really means to be THE GREEN LANTERN.


“In brightest day, in blackest night…”

Originally inspired by Aladdin’s lamp, the Green Lantern’s ring is powered by the idea, “If you can think it, you can achieve it!”
A title bestowed only upon those deemed most worthy, a “Green Lantern” is characterized by his/her unique strength in “willpower”. To be successful, he/she must house the ability to harness the imagination and transform mental abstractions into physical substance.


In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re cozying up to a delightfully-probing discussion on the greenest super-pal we know!
Let’s pull up a chair and dig deeper into the mental fortitude of the Green Lantern through the lens of “Will in Action”.

:mag_right: How might “willpower” be considered one of the strongest superpowers to wield?

:mag_right: How does the ability t o “will things into existence” show up in other aspects of a GL’s life?

:mag_right: Why do you think yellow/fear is the Green Lantern ring’s biggest weakness?

:mag_right: In what ways could we each use the Green Lantern’s core power in our lives each day?

Share all your thoughts, theories, and additional questions below! :point_down:


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  • AVOID THE SOAPBOX: Do your best to keep responses succinct, clear and thoughtful.


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Strongest Superpower: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s so much the strongest power as it is the most fundamental. Everybody needs to have and exercise will to some extent. Any superhero is going to have a strong will and the ability to overcome great fear; that’s just the nature of what they do. What strikes me as the more interesting point is that there’s a certain… “purity” in a Green Lantern’s abilities, in that they stem directly from will and, ring notwithstanding, don’t require any other skill, trait, or equipment. What makes a Green Lantern special is in his or her heart, and beyond the willpower (and the Corps’ rules like no killing), anyone could be a GL.

Other Aspects: I’m not quite sure what this question means. Do Green Lanterns make things happen with their will? Sure, but mostly just by doing stuff like anyone else.

Weakness: Well, I think yellow was probably picked as a gimmick to place a limit on Hal’s abilities (not sure why they replaced Alan Scott’s wood weakness, though), but the fear half is actually a really clever move. Willpower is the ability and motivation to take action. What deters action more effectively than fear? Well, maybe apathy, but that would be a lame weakness. Fear, though, drains will, causes misguided actions, and is used as a weapon by those who want to cause harm. Since a Green Lantern’s powers are so psychological, being directly tied to willpower and imagination, it makes sense that the weakness would be equally psychological in nature.

Using the Core Power: That depends on what you define as the “core power.” If you mean willpower, I think everyone uses it to some extent any time we do anything, and the more challenging or intimidating the task, the more we use it. If you mean a power ring, I’d have constructs do chores like making dinner and going to the store for me, but that’s probably why I’m not a Green Lantern.

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Swamp Thing to Hal: “You’re not greener than I am! I AM green!”

Hal to Alec: “…I’m a Super Friend though.”

ST: “…at least I don’t need jewelry to be a badass.”


lol @BatJamags
Yeah, I don’t think running my errands and typing up emails would be the best use of the GL ring’s power either…

Other Aspects: Yes, I would imagine the usage of will in the normal sense would apply in everyday life. Though, I do wonder if Carol would have stayed around for as long as she did, waiting for Hal, had he not been so practiced in the art of willpower. lol

Though, as you mentioned earlier on in your response, just about anyone (or anyTHING) can become a GL. How would you say each Green Lantern’s individual personality informs the way they wield the ring?


Regarding fear as the ring’s weakness, I agree with your explanation. It definitely makes sense to combat something mental in nature with something else mental in nature.

As with any superhero, the need to “take action” when called upon is imperative. And you’re right.
Fear can definitely have you paralyzed.
Whether it is fear of the known or the unknown, fear makes us pause. We may find ourselves second and third guessing our actions, in efforts to protect/preserve our well-being. Bu t some become truly “paralzed” in this evaluation/brainstorming stage.
Too unsure to move forward.

Sure, there’s apathy. But I agree - that would be beyond lame. THOUGH. I could totally see a parody created, with “apathy” being a guest star" weakness of sorts. :joy:

Fear can be paralyzing but it is an absolute truth that there is no courage in the absence of fear.

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Very true!
And every fear overcome increases our strength in the face of any subsequent fear, increases our ability to assert our willpower - bringing us closer and closer to the side of courage.


@KittyKrawler: As for how the Lanterns’ different backgrounds inform their use of the ring, you see a bit of that with John Stewart and Kyle Rayner based on their being an architect and an artist, respectively, and how John’s constructs tend to be very sturdy and practical while Kyle’s are detailed and fantastical. In fact, even Hal Jordan tends to form lots of jets and rockets as his constructs. I guess I’d say to that extent, imagination is as important to a GL as will. Creating anything you can think of is a better power when you can think of more things, and Lanterns seem to like to create shapes and structures that they’re comfortable with. Particularly interesting on that front is Rot Lop Fan, whose constructs are actually depicted as sound rather than light. That leads me to think that maybe the Lanterns have more subconscious control over what their rings’ energy manifests as than even they realize.

The other thing about fear vs. apathy, as jimriem points out, is that Green Lanterns are forced to confront fear every day just based on their job description, while apathy is presumably mostly weeded out by the rings’ selection process. Apathy can cause stagnation, but not any active harm, so it’s not something you do battle with in the typical sense.

Then again, it occurs to me that the Guardians’ detached, calculating nature and refusal to acknowledge the full range of emotions that motivate will could be read as a form of apathy in itself - an apathy to human nature (Alien nature? Sentient nature? Something’s nature, anyway). Maybe Green Lantern vs. Apathy isn’t so lame of a battle after all.


I love that you pointed that out about apathy! With a little bit of creativity, it really could be an interesting battle… :thought_balloon:

Hm… that thought’s got me rolling the thought over in my mind. I particularly love your point about the Guardian’s being a sort of representation of apathy. That is such a juicy idea!

Were it well-thought/planned out, that could be a VERY intriguing episode/season of GL! Depth, emotional exploration, and irony/twist with the Guardians turning out to be an underlying force that has unknowingly (or, even bigger twist, KNOWINGLY) been working against the GLC all this time!

I just got super excited about that idea…lol

I legit would LOVE to see that idea brought to life.


I also really love this bit: “…the Guardians’ detached, calculating nature and refusal to acknowledge the full range of emotions that motivate will could be read as a form of apathy in itself.”

That’s interesting because it definitely takes emotional awareness/understanding to recognize that every emotion is made up of layers that, when peeled back, usually reveal a mess of other emotions.

A creative mind could easily sideswipe the unsuspecting GL, by presenting an emotion that doesn’t look like an enemy to willpower at first glance.
Similarly to the Star Sapphires, but more unsuspecting and with more to reveal before the battle is clear.

hmmmmmmm… très intriguant!

I have always thought that green lantern no matter which one it is in the universe is one of the most powerful, important and intriguing dc characters. The shear fact of having this almost all powerful weapon but to use it to help people, investigate things, and ferry the non flying jla around is amazing to me. It’s inspirational the fact that all the earth green Lanterns are just normal average people. That don’t even stop helping when they are out of charge means that we can too. Anything we set are minds to we can accomplish it just takes a little work.


Just finished the Green Lantern animated series can you please bring back the show?

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