- A face of metal and flesh will speak the secrets of the 52. Fear will rise. Willpower will gather. And a war of light will unleash the truth behind the power of the ring.
- -- War of Light prophecy, Cosmic Revelations, the Book of Oa
In the beginning
It began eons ago, on the planet Maltus. There, the Maltusians, the oldest sentient race in existence, developed into a race of thinkers, eventually relocating to Oa, at the center of the Universe. In time, the Maltusians were met with a godlike being named Volthoom, who introduced them with the concept of the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum, with which he was capable of altering even reality. He was dubbed the First Lantern by the Maltusians, but as he grew in power so did his arrogance, until the Maltusians were left no choice but to imprison him. At that time one of the Maltusians, Krona having been inspired by the First Lantern, performed a forbidden experiment where he tried to witness the dawn of time. His device was struck by a blast of energy which caused the infant universe to begin multiplying into an infinite number of universes, a multiverse. However, Krona also caused the creation of the Antimatter Universe, and with it the Monitor, born on the moon of Oa, and the Anti-Monitor, born on the moon of Qward. After banishing Krona, the Maltusians decided to bring order to the universe and combat evil as penance for their sin of inaction. However, the Maltusians soon encountered a demonic parasite named Parallax, the sentient embodiment of fear. Unable to destroy Parallax, the Maltusians sealed him in a box which they then hid on Maltus. They decided that they would have to suppress emotions to avoid allowing them to cloud their judgment, but a group of females called Zamarons declared that "life without love is a blasphemy". Unable to reconcile their differences, and since they were immortal at this point, the males and females split. The male Maltusians became the Oans, dedicated to combating evil. At first, the Oans developed a race of robots known as the Manhunters, who would be free of emotions which would cloud their judgment. For a time, they performed well in their duties.
Then came the day when the Oans encountered the orange light of avarice, contained in an Orange Lantern, hidden in an underground temple on Okaara. A group of thieves managed to steal a map to the Lantern made by Krona, at the same time stealing Parallax's box. Unwilling to allow the Orange light to be unleashed, a group of Oans took a force of Manhunters to Okaara to capture the thieves. Unfortunately, the three survivors had managed to find the Lantern and had become infected with the orange light, fighting each other for it. Several Oans were killed trying to defeat the three, but only one of them was killed, and by the other two. Finally, the Oans explained that all they wanted was the box. If they gave them the box, they would be allowed to keep the Lantern and the Oans and their agents would stay out of the Vega system. However, there could be only one wielder of the orange light, and he could never leave the temple. The eventual victor was Larfleeze of Ogaato, who became known as Agent Orange. Any who entered his palace were killed, with their identities stolen and turned into orange construct avatars, to serve Larfleeze as his Orange Lanterns. Parallax's box was returned to Oa, where he was sealed in the more secure Central Power Battery.
Although the Oans believed that the Manhunters' lack of emotions made them effective peacekeepers, this also made them flawed, as they also couldn't understand motivations, seeing only legal and illegal instead of good and evil. Finally, the breaking point came when the Manhunters suffered a simultaneous glitch: they concluded the only way to maintain order was to exterminate all organic life. The Manhunters descended on Sector 666, killing all lifeforms they encountered. Although the Oans were able to stop the Manhunters before they spread to another sector, the damage was done: only five beings survived the Massacre of Sector 666. Afterward, a debate began among the Oans. It was clear that a sentient force would be needed to patrol the universe, but one faction believed that evil should be destroyed outright, while another believed that evil should merely be stopped. The more aggressive faction left Oa, becoming the Controllers, who developed the Darkstars and the Sun-Eaters. The Oans who remained became the Guardians of the Universe. After a short lived force known as the Halla, the Guardians formed the Green Lantern Corps, a force which would use power rings fueled with the green light of will, charged by Power Batteries connected to the Central Power Battery. However, Parallax's presence in the battery caused a Yellow Impurity, where the rings were unable to affect anything yellow.
But the Guardians still had another threat. The five survivors, driven by a rage over the losses they had suffered and destruction they had witnessed, formed a sect known as the Five Inversions, dedicated to destroying the Guardians for unleashing the Manhunters. The Five Inversions formed a domain known as the Empire of Tears, which spanned three galaxies. Using blood rituals, the Five Inversions discovered the Blackest Night, where by seven Lantern Corps, each harnessing the power of one color of the Emotional Spectrum, would go to war in a conflict known as the War of Light, which would herald the coming of the agents of the Black, the antithesis of the Emotional Spectrum, a power which the Five Inversions sought to harness for themselves. The Guardians dealt with the demons themselves, imprisoning the Five Inversions and interdicting their capital of Ysmault. The Guardians also removed the history of the Massacre, Parallax, and Agent Orange from the Book of Oa, never allowing the Green Lanterns to discover their failures.
The prophecies of the Five Inversions
During an attempt to rescue the survivors of an Ungaran ship that crashed on Ysmault, Abin Sur, the Green Lantern of Sector 2814, was forced to violate the ban which forbade Green Lanterns from entering Ysmault. When he entered the planet, he came into contact with the demons, who tempted him with knowledge and power, but Abin dismissed their offers. Finally, Abin came across the Five Inversions. Qull of the Five Inversions offered to answer whatever three questions he wished to know. Abin asked of the survivors, and Qull revealed that the only survivor was a young girl, not far from the Five Inversions' crucifixes. After rescuing the girl, Abin inquired on his fate, which said that he would die when his Green Lantern Ring failed him at a critical moment. Abin then asked the final fate of the Green Lantern Corps. Qull revealed to him the Cosmic Revelations, where the Empire of Tears would unite with the Qwardians, the Children of the White Lobe, and Ranx the Sentient City to destroy the Green Lanterns. The Daxamite Sodam Yat would struggle valiantly, but fall to the Lobespawn. Finally, Mogo would be destroyed when Ranx exploded a Blink bomb in his core. Abin rejected their tales as lies and left. Qull, however, knew that his prophecies had instilled Abin Sur with fear, and the Demons of Ysmault laughed for nineteen weeks straight.
Eventually, Abin Sur began making more trips to Ysmault, using a ship to conserve ring energy, to learn more about the threat facing the Green Lanterns. It was there that Qull finally revealed to Abin Sur the Blackest Night. Realizing that Qull had revealed too much, Atrocitus, Master of the Five Inversions, ordered Qull to speak no more. Horrified, Abin Sur returned to Oa, where he told others of the Blackest Night. His friends Sinestro and Tomar-Re dismissed the prophecies as the lies of demons, and the Guardians ordered Abin Sur to speak no more of the Blackest Night. However, the Guardians seemed to take the Five Inversions' prophecies seriously, and placed the prophecy in the Book of Oa, preventing the Green Lanterns from accessing "Cosmic Revelations".
At some point in time, Abin Sur helped against the invasion effort on the enslaved planet Nok. After thwarting the invasion, Abin and an inhabitant of Nok known as Natromo harnessed the indigo light of compassion and created an Indigo Power Ring. Abin's archenemy Iroque was the first to wear it, and instantly felt remorse for her actions. Abin Sur went on to convert other criminals and in turn create the Indigo Tribe in preparation for the Blackest Night.
In the years to come, Abin Sur would meet his fate: transporting Atrocitus to Earth to locate the source of the Black, Abin Sur was mortally wounded when Atrocitus escaped his confines. Crashing his ship in the desert outside Coast City, his ring selected Hal Jordan as his replacement. Hal would be mentored under Sinestro, who helped him defeat Hector Hammond, a scientist who gained telepathic and telekinetic abilities when he was exposed to a radioactive meteorite in Abin Sur's ship. Sinestro and Hal would soon reimprison Atrocitus, as he was attempting to kill young William Hand, the future criminal known as Black Hand and foretold source of the Black. But Hal, with the help of Katma Tui, would later expose Sinestro's order on Korugar as instilling fear into the Korugarans. Sinestro would be expelled from the Corps and banished to Qward, and Katma was selected to be the new Green Lantern of Sector 1417. In Qward, Sinestro met the Anti-Monitor and formed a Qwardian Power Ring, which used yellow energy, actually the yellow light of fear of the emotional spectrum. As time went on, two other Earthmen were recruited into the Corps, John Stewart and Guy Gardner. John and Katma would grow close, and eventually marry. But Hal would not know much peace. His lover, Carol Ferris, was selected to be the bearer of the Star Sapphire Gem, a parasitic crystal which contained the violet light of love, cultivated by the Zamarons, who left Oa eons ago over the Guardians decision to suppress emotions. The gem took over Carol and caused several psychological problems for her, culminating in the murder of Katma Tui. Carol's relationship with Hal was never the same.
In time, the Anti-Monitor would eventually try to consume the multiverse, but the Green Lanterns, along with the heroes of Earth, destroyed him in an event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Sinestro was captured and placed within the Central Power Battery. Within the Battery, Sinestro would awaken Parallax, the yellow impurity in the Central Power Battery, and directed him toward Hal. When the Cyborg Superman and Mongul I destroyed Coast City in an attempt to tarnish the legacy of Hal's late comrade Superman, Parallax finally gained a real foothold in Jordan. It guided Hal to destroy the Green Lantern Corps, fighting his fellow Green Lanterns along the way, includng his former trainer Kilowog and an energy replica of Sinestro. Finally, Jordan absorbed the energy in the Battery, kill all the Guardians save Ganthet, and free Parallax, who suppressed Ganthet's memories of him. Seeking someone to keep the green flame burning, Ganthet selected Kyle Rayner to became the last Green Lantern. His intial acquiring of the ring brought Kyle some grief, as his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, was murdered by Major Force, sent by a rogue government agency to steal the ring. Hal would later be able to briefly overcome Parallax and die restoring the sun, becoming the host of the Spectre. After absorbing the remaining Green energy in the sun, coupled with a temporary merging with Ion, Kyle recharged the battery and restored the Guardians and Kilowog to life.
Soon afterward, Kyle learned the truth about Parallax, and Ganthet sent Kyle to reclaim his body while he moved to separate Parallax from Hal. At the same time, Parallax was gaining control over the Spectre, and he disintegrated Black Hand's right hand afrer he tried to steal an old power ring Hal had left with his old friend Green Arrow. Soon, the Spectre revealed Parallax's presence to Hal, who suppressed both minds, while Kyle Rayner told what he had discovered to Green Arrow. Sinestro then attacked Kyle and Green Arrow, to prevent from informing the other heroes of Earth as Parallax planned to destroy the planet.
However, Parallax's revelation was his undoing. Now that he was aware of Parallax, Jordan, and with the Spectre's help, separated himself from Parallax, soon restored to life by Ganthet. After driving off Sinestro, Hal, Kyle, John, Guy, and Kilowog defeated Parallax and reimprisoned him in the Central Battery. Deciding that it was time, Ganthet aged the Guardians to adulthood and set about restoring the Green Lantern Corps. At the same time, Black Hand and Hector Hammond were experimented on by the Kroloteans, an alien race which tried to accelerate evolution. The Kroloteans gave Hand the ability to absorb the lifeforce of others to restore his severed hand, while Hammond's ability to speak was restored. Sinestro, however, bided his time and waited.
Sinestro Corps War
Following the Infinte Crisis, the multiverse was reborn, and the Anti-Monitor with it. On Qward, Sinestro and the Anti-Monitor worked to build the Sinestro Corps, a force which would bring order to the universe by instilling fear. At the same time, the Cyborg Superman, now Grandmaster of the Manhunter Cult, learned of the multiverse. He was captured following Biot's destruction, and interrogated by the Guardians. Ganthet and another Guardian, Sayd, believed that the Blackest Night was coming to pass, but the Guardians exiled them from the Council. Kyle, who had been rebonded with Ion, was captured, separated from Ion, and made a host for Parallax. Hal Jordan and his fellow Earth Lanterns, John Stewart and Guy Gardner, went to Qward to rescue him, but were forced to leave with Ion. Knowing the prophecy, Sinestro allied with Ranx and the Children of the White Lobe, launched an attack on Mogo under his lieutenant Arkillo. Kilowog lead a counter-force, including a rookie Sodam Yat. Succumbing to fear, the Guardians rewrote the Book of Oa and authorized the Green Lanterns to use lethal force against the Sinestro Corps, which had been Sinestro's goal all along. Informed of their new abilities, a number of Green Lanterns began slaughtering the panicking Sinestro Corps, while Sodam Yat managed to destroy Ranx. The Sinestro Corps targeted Earth, but Jordan was able to free Rayner, and Parallax was imprisoned in the batteries of the Earth Lanterns by Ganthet and Sayd. The two told the Lanterns of the Blackest Night, then departed.
During the battle, the Anti-Monitor was challenged by the Guardians, but he managed to burn one of the Guardians during their battle. He was injured when Stewart and Gardner threw Warworld, carrying the Qwardian Central Power Battery, on the Anti-Monitor, who was caught in the explosion. Superboy-Prime then betrayed the Anti-Monitor, and threw him across the universe. After the battle of Earth, Ganthet and Sayd decided to form the Blue Lantern Corps, which would aid the Green Lanterns by harnessing the blue light of hope. The Anti-Monitor landed on an unknown planet in Sector 666, where he was contained by an unknown force and placed with a Black Central Power Battery.
Rise of the Lantern Corps
Following the end of the Sinestro Corps War, the Guardians, under the leadership of the increasingly militant Scarred Guardian, began to take steps they deemed necessary to prevent the Blackest Night. They extended the lethal force authorization to be used against all enemies of the Green Lantern Corps. Additionally, the Guardians established the Alpha Lantern Corps, an internal affairs force which would investigate the Green Lanterns. Although the Guardians said that those who accepted would have to leave behind their former lives and accept technological modifications to mainline them to the Book of Oa, they did not reveal the extent of their transformation: the Alpha Lanterns were modified to have aspects of the Manhunters, and their emotions were completely supressed or stripped. Their first action was to expel Laira of Jayd over her murder of Amon Sur.
Unknown to the other Guardians, the Scarred Guardian had been corrupted by the Anti-Monitor's touch, and was now seeking to join the power behind the Black to bring about the Blackest Night. To that end, she assigned Ash to locate the Anti-Monitor's corpse, and Saarek to commune with the Anti-Monitor's spirit.
At the same time, Qwardian rings continued to seek out new bearers. One of these was Mongul II, the son of the Mongul who destroyed Coast City. He decided to take advantage of the power vacuum following the imprisoning of Sinestro and Parallax, and began a campaign to take control of the Sinestro Corps. Aware of the rings, the Guardians dispatched a team under Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner to send the rings to Oa. Kyle and Guy's team encounter Mongul on Ater Clementia, the homeworld of the Black Mercies, a type of plant Mongul I had used on Superman years earlier. Mongul underestimated the Green Lanterns, and was partially digested by Mother Mercy, the mother of the Black Mercies. Unknown to the Lanterns, Mongul fleed, raiding the ship of newlywed couple Kered and Miri Riam, where he kill Kered.
Meanwhile, other Sinestros were attempting to spread fear by targeting the Lanterns families. Guy, Kyle, and Soranik Natu helped to neutralize the Quintet, a group of Sinestro Corps siblings attacking other families of Green Lanterns. At the same time, Rayner and Natu, who were growing closer, were drawn into KT21, Matoo and Amnee Pree's search for the Sinestro Kryb, who was murdering Green Lanterns and kidnapping their children.
In the run up to the event known as the Final Crisis, Black Hand was being transported to another facility when he experienced a sudden power surge. In an explosion, Hand was transported to the unknown planet in Sector 666, where he soon met the power behind the Black Battery.
Sins of the Star Sapphires
Following an encounter with Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, and Jordan's new lover Jillian Pearlman, the Zamarons had realized that the Star Sapphire was too unstable for the host to control. Deciding to take a page from the Book of Oa, the Zamarons began splitting the crystals into Rings and Power Batteries to lessen the effect of control. The Guardians had been observing this for some time, and decided to take a diplomatic approach. The Scarred Guardian, however, was part of the mission, and made a diplomatic solution impossible. The Zamaron mission failure, coupled with the increasing attacks on Lantern families, allowed the Scarred Guardian to pass a new law to the Book of Oa, forbiding romantic relationships between members of the Green Lantern Corps.
The search for Kryb came to a head in Sector 1111, where Rayner's team located Kryb after murdering the Green Lanterns of the sector at their Sector House, and taking their child. Amnee was able to get the child out of Kryb's posession, but exposed her own pregnancy to Kryb. The other Lanterns made an assault on Kryb, but the Sector House began to fall into the gravity of the planet. Seeing the late Lantern's body burn, an enraged Kyle Rayner unleashed a violet physical assault on Kryb. As his fellow Lanterns tried to restrain him, Kryb exposed the Lanterns to her own form of "breast milk", which contained controlling properties that made those exposed subservient to Kryb's will. Unaware of what had happened to them, Amnee went to rescue her husband and fellow Lanterns. Kryb prolonged the battle long enough to cause Amnee to go into labor, then used the Lanterns to restrain Amnee while Kryb performed a ceasarian section. However, Kyle Rayner was able to break free of Kryb's control, and purge the remaining mind control toxin from his fellow Lanterns. Kyle and KT21 dealt with Kryb while Matoo and Soranik helped Amnee through her labor.
Meanwhile, Miri Riam had nearly committed suicide over her grief. The love she felt for Kered attracted a Star Sapphire Ring, which offered to help fill the hole in her heart. Miri accepted, and travelled to Zamaron, where she was inducted into the Star Sapphire Corps. While on patrol, Miri learned of Kryb threatening Matoo and Amnee's love, and hurried to the planet. Her assistance helped to defeat Kryb, just as the Lanterns learned of the new romantic relationship prohibition. Fearful for her child, KT21 tried to execute Kryb on the spot, but Kryb killed her, though she was restrained by Kyle and finally encased in crystal by Miri. Miri announced that she was taking Kryb to Zamaron. Kyle and Soranik did not believe that this could work, as both had their doubts on love. Miri had them look inside her crystal to see their hearts desire, and they saw each other. Kyle left the decision with the Prees, who had decided to resign because of the new law, and chose to let Miri take Kryb. The Guardians were displeased with Kyle's actions, but they soon had other problems: within hours of the law's announcement, dozens of Green Lantern couples resigned in protest.
Rage of the Red Lanterns
But the Guardians had left a loose end untended. On Ysmault, Atrocitus burned with rage over the massacre of Sector 666 and his reimprisonment by Sinestro. Atrocitus finally gave into his rage, tapping into the red light of rage of the emotional spectrum. Freeing himself and forging a Red Power Battery, Atrocitus used the battery to kill the other four Inversions, using their blood to form a Red Lantern Central Power Battery and Red Power Rings. Atrocitus began sending rings across the universe, one of which made its way to Laira. Once they were ready, the Red Lantern Corps launched an attack on the Green Lanterns transferring Sinestro to his execution on Korugar. They actually ended up ambushing the Sinestro Corps as well, who had been informed of Sinestro's transfer by the Scarred Guardian. Sinestro was captured, and many members of the Sinestro Corps were killed, while the Green Lanterns were left to die. Fortunately, they were saved by Saint Walker, the first of the Blue Lantern Corps, who had been dispatched to bring Sinestro and Hal Jordan to Ganthet. Taking Jordan to Odym, Saint Walker and Jordan observed the induction of Warth into the Blue Lantern Corps. Ganthet convinced Hal to help the Blue Lanterns rescue Sinestro, saying that both Hal and Sinestro would play a major role in the Blackest Night.
Travelling to Ysmault, Hal and the Blue Lanterns were attacked by the Red Lanterns, with the battle soon becoming a three way fight between the Hal and the Blue Lanterns, the Red Lanterns, and the Sinestro Corps, who had come to rescue Sinestro. During the battle, Hal Jordan managed to get through to Laira, getting her to see past her rage. Unfortunately, Sinestro then killed Laira, mocking Jordan for losing another one. In a rage, Jordan assaulted Sinestro, trying to kill him. His anger summoned forth a Red Power Ring, which attached itself to Jordan, making him a Red Lantern.
Trying to fight off the influence of the Red Ring, Hal Jordan attacked the Blue Lanterns and nearly killed Sinestro. Atrocitus then revealed the weakness of the blue light: it need the green light of willpower to make it work, and since Jordan's ring was inactive, the Blue Lanterns were effectively neutralized. Saint Walker then placed a Blue Power Ring on Jordan, which purged the rage from his body, restarted the blood replication, and assumed his heart functions, destroying the Red Power Ring. However, it also turned Jordan into a composite Blue/Green Lantern hybrid, something which also shocked Saint Walker. Meanwhile, on Earth, Carol Ferris was inducted into the Star Sapphire Corps, whether willingly or not is unknown.
In the chaos, Atrocitus fled to the other side of Ysmault, where he attempted to locate where the Blue Lantern Corps was located. Sinestro and his corps retreated to Qward, where Sinestro activated an ancillary Qwardian Central Battery, built in the event the Central Battery used in the Earth invasion was destroyed. Sinestro was also fully informed of Mongul's coup attempts and summoning of the Sinestro Corps to the planet Daxam. He dispatched his loyalists to rescue the female Sinestro Corps members on Zamaron, then meet on the darkside of Daxam's moon, while Sinestro went to investigate his daughter.
Avarice of the Orange Lanterns
With the Guardians and the Zamarons preoccupied with the other Lantern Corps, the Controllers were allowed complete freedom of movement from the only two groups which would stop their agenda. Following the Sinestro Corps War, the Controllers decided that they needed a power source similar to Green Lantern Central Power Battery, and agreed to seek out the orange light of avarice. Their search lead them to the temple on Okaara, where they attempted to seize the Orange Lantern. However, Agent Orange unleashed his Lanterns on the Controllers, killing them. Believing that the Guardians had sent the Controllers and incensed over the constant incursions into the Vega system in recent years, Larfleeze decided to send the Guardians a message. Shortly after this, the Green Lantern Stel was pursuing a member of the Sinestro Corps into the Vega System, where Larfleeze sent Blume to kill the Sinestro and brand Stel.
Returning to Odym, Hal Jordan discovered that he was unable to remove the Blue ring. Meeting with Ganthet and Sayd, Hal told them he wasn't becoming a Blue Lantern and wanted the ring off. Ganthet explained that he never intended to offer Hal a Blue ring, but wanted Hal to lead the Blue Lantern Corps as a Green Lantern, with his Green ring allowing the Blue rings to work. Ganthet also explained that if Hal wished to remove the Blue ring, he needed to use it, and hope for something. Unable to get any help, Hal departed, while Ganthet instructed Walker and Warth to continue recruitment and begin a search to locate the Indigo Tribe, who had harnessed the indigo light of compassion.
The fall of Daxam and the Riot on Oa
Heading to Daxam, Mongul managed to conquer the planet by himself, sending out an emergency beacon to all Sinestro Corps members to come to Daxam. Once a number of them arrived, Mongul announced that the Sinestro Corps would hereafter serve him, and only him. Arkillo, disdainful of Mongul's arrogance, challenged to single combat for leadership of the Corps. Although Arkillo dominated most of the battle, Mongul triumphed, ripping out Arkillo's tongue, leaving him to be "seen but not heard", a perfect reminder of his power. Sodam Yat's parents, knowing their son was a Green Lantern, sent his mother in the ship of a childhood friend Tessog, an alien who was murdered out Daxamite xenophobia. Yat, who had overcoming brainwashing his parents instilled to view Tessog as an enemy, was perfectly willing to let his world rot, only agreeing when he forced his mother thank Tessog's memory.
On Oa, Vice, one of the Red Lanterns, was captured and brought to the sciencells. Scar, knowing that this was a perfect opportunity to cut Oa in half, released him from his restraints and set him loose in the sciencells, which was housing dozens of captured Sinestro Corps members and Qwardian power rings captured by the Green Lanterns in recent months.
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