Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that this was an “in-universe” story. That has been corrected.
Just when you thought Earth didn’t need another Green Lantern, DC Comics releases a new original graphic novel, Green Lantern: Legacy, which introduces another new Earth-based Emerald Knight that is recognized as the Green Lantern Corps’ greatest member. And it’s none other than a Vietnamese woman named Kim Tran! Writers Minh Lê and Andie Tong could be accused of aping Paula Smith’s 1973 parody story “A Trekkie’s Tale,” if they weren’t both men, but the best part of this book is that it is diverse and inclusive enough to not only give readers one new Green Lantern (of color), but two!
If you’re confused about the addition of more Earth-based Green Lanterns, including one who is apparently even greater than legacy character Hal Jordan, you’re not alone. Last year, the first issue of Young Justice introduced readers Teen Lantern: Keli Quintela, although not officially a member of the Green Lantern Corps (yet). And Keli was the third new power ring wearer in just over six years and one of seven Earth heroes currently using green light. How does DC expect a new comic fan to keep up?
The current Hal Jordan Green Lantern began all the way back in 1959, when DC Comics would, for the second time, reach into the Golden Age top hat, pull out a superhero name and powers concept, and reimagine the hero for the Silver Age. A very important legacy in the Justice League and in DC Comics in general, but now so much retconning is going on in this “Legacy” that it deserves a bit of a facepalm from GL fans.
And wait for the punchline*.
Here is the promotional piece from CBR:
In Green Lantern: Legacy, which takes place outside of the main DC Universe, readers are introduced to two new Green Lanterns: the elderly Kim Tran and her grandson, Tai Pham. As the graphic novel begins, Kim passes away, and Tai inherits her Power Ring. After that, he is rapidly transported to Oa, where he learns about her grandmother’s life as a superhero, and about his new responsibilities as the Earth’s newest Green Lantern.
As Tai learns about the Green Lanterns, he also discovers more about his grandmother’s life. When she was young, Kim fled Vietnam and settled into a new life in Coast City where she helped her community as a generous neighbor, as well as a Green Lantern. Thanks to stories from various sources, Tai learns how strong and brave his grandmother was, as both a woman and a superhero.
In Legacy, it’s revealed that Kim Tran was actually John Stewart’s mentor and the fan-favorite Lantern admits that she taught him nearly all that he knows when it comes to being a Green Lantern. What’s more, another member of the Corps, an alien queen named Iolande, tells Tai that his grandmother was “truly a great warrior — probably the best among us.” Therefore, it’s clear from these stories that though Kim is deceased, she was seen as the greatest member of the Green Lantern Corps.
I know of no other planet that has more than one Green Lantern. In fact, I’ve never heard of a substitute Green Lantern in any other sector. So I cannot be the only comics reader who thinks that having six in-universe Earth Green Lanterns make no sense. Earth isn’t any better than any other planet. I’m not sure how many in-universe GL’s this YA universe has, but my next question is who cares about race or gender really? I mean, at this point, after Jessica Cruz and less than a year after Keli Quintela, DC introduces a third woman of color as GL? Will we get a trans GL next? Are we against female Green Lanterns that happen to be Caucasian? Is this an oversight or intentional?
While my tongue is firmly in my cheek here, it does seem a bit sketchy that a DC Comics book about Green Lantern doesn’t even mention the original Green Lantern . In fact, *Hal Jordan doesn’t appear in the book at all, which no matter what universe this takes place in, is kind of weird.
Some Legacy. I guess.
Editor’s note: some changes were made to the text of this article which indicated this was a story that took place in the main DC universe.