John Stewart, Hal Jordan, Alan Scott. The best Green Lanterns are among the most iconic heroes in DC and 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of Green Lantern, who debuted in his original incarnation of Alan Scott all the way back in 1940s All-American Comics #16.
But Alan Scott was just the first. Since he first donned a Power Ring, the Green Lantern mythos has grown to include dozens of ring-slinging heroes and villains.
To mark the special anniversary, we’re counting down the best Green Lanterns of all time from the Corps and beyond.
10. Jessica Cruz & Simon Baz
Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz are two of the Green Lantern Corps’ newest recruits – with Cruz having previously been Power Ring of the Crime Syndicate. But they have both quickly risen through the ranks not just of the Corps, but of the DC Universe, with both heroes joining the Justice League as part of “Rebirth.”
As a pair, Cruz and Baz also anchored over 50 issues of a "Rebirth" era Green Lanterns ongoing title.
It may seem counter-intuitive to consider Sinestro one of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time when he’s also one of the greatest enemies the Green Lantern Corps has ever had, but it wasn’t always that way.
Before he left the Corps – and seized a yellow ring – Sinestro was considered the greatest Lantern of all time, with an unparalleled mastery of the willpower necessary to wield a Power Ring.
Though he was drummed out for using his power as a tyrant, Sinestro has returned to the Green Lantern Corps several times, even in recent years. His daughter, Soranik Natu, also followed in his footsteps – first as a Green Lantern, and later alongside him in the Sinestro Corps.
Arisia comes from a long line of Green Lanterns. Her father wielded a Power Ring, as did his entire line going back for generations. So when Arisia was recruited to the Corps, she carried the strength of her lineage with her.
Arisia may be known as a love interest for Hal Jordan, but she’s so much more than that. A capable Green Lantern in her own right, Arisia has overcome memory loss, weird aging effects, and even death to continue serving alongside the best Green Lanterns of all time.
7. Guy Gardner
Guy Gardner was Hal Jordan’s first Earthly substitute Green Lantern, and though his origin story has changed a few times over the years, one thing is always the same – the irascible Guy Gardner is as abrasive as he is capable.
Known to be one of comic books’ biggest jerks, Gardner’s ego is only surpassed by his strength with a Power Ring, which he wielded for years as the Justice League’s Green Lantern.
Gardner also ran the Green Lantern Corps’ “cop bar,” which he named “Warrior’s,” after his period using an alternate codename.
When it comes to Green Lanterns, Mogo is the biggest – literally.
That’s right – Mogo is an entire freakin’ planet.
Created by the legendary Alan Moore, Mogo has often been seen as the Corps’ most epic powerhouse, a literal living planet capable of channeling immense will when the Corps’ chips are down.
Mogo often keeps to himself, though he has a special bond with Kyle Rayner. When he does travel to meet other Lanterns and heroes, he often does so by projecting a hologram of himself.
The Green Lantern Corps’ resident taskmaster is a scary looking guy with a heart of gold – and willpower to match. A perennial fan favorite, Kilowog isn’t exactly a household name, but for anyone who follows the Corps, Kilowog’s mauve mug is a welcome sign in any store.
Kilowog’s main claim to fame is as the trainer of the Corps’ new recruits, a job he does with pride and determination. But Kilowog is also a technological genius, capable of creating incredible constructs with or without his Power Ring.
4. Kyle Rayner
Kyle Rayner became the Green Lantern in the Corps’ darkest hour, when most of the Guardians and their Green Lanterns had been decimated by the fall of Hal Jordan.
As an artist, Kyle was markedly different from his predecessors, and possessed a unique vision of how to use his powers. Rayner was also the Green Lantern of Grant Morrison’s fabled “Big Seven” Justice League.
Over the years, Rayner has taken a backseat since the return of Hal Jordan, but he remains a fan favorite, even through stints as a Blue Lantern, and as the White Lantern – the ultimate wielder of the power of the Emotional Spectrum.
3. Alan Scott
Alan Scott was the first man of Earth to bear the mantle of the Green Lantern, although he wasn’t part of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps. Scott wore a ring forged from magical metal that came to Earth from the heart of a star.
Though his origins have changed several times over the years, Scott has often been considered one of the greatest heroes of DC’s history, wielding a power connected to the same cosmic energy that powers the Green Lantern Corps.
In some versions of the DC Universe, Scott’s daughter Jade has also been associated with the Green Lantern Corps, both through her energy powers and as an ally of Kyle Rayner.
2. John Stewart
For an entire generation of fans, John Stewart is the Green Lantern, thanks to his role in the Justice League animated series, where he was a core member of the team – and the group’s resident badass.
Stewart originally became a Green Lantern as a substitute for Hal Jordan, who was unable to fulfill his duties, but kept his ring and his place in the Corps thanks to his incredible willpower, bolstered by his architectural knowledge and Marine Corps grit.
Stewart is now part of the core roster of Scott Snyder's Justice League ongoing series, once again securing his place among the pantheon of DC heroes.
1. Hal Jordan
Who else could top the list of the greatest Green Lanterns of all time but Hal Jordan, the man who restored the Corps?
Hal was the first Earthling to join the Green Lantern Corps after discovering his predecessor Abin Sur’s crashed spaceship. Though he’s occasionally bristled at the structure of the Corps, Jordan quickly rose through the ranks to master his power, and to protect not just Earth, but the entire universe time and time again.
Hal even overcame corruption and death to return to the Corps after being subverted by the Parallax entity that powers the Yellow energy of Fear. Despite all that, Hal has always returned to heroism, proving time and again that he’s not just the best Green Lantern of all time, but one of the greatest heroes of the DC Universe.