Zero Hour

„Green Lantern“ Timeline / Reading Order:

For the Berlin Tagesspiegel, I’m writing a series of essays on DC super-heroes (and their surrounding fan culture). With this years‘ „Green Lantern“ movie and 2010’s bestselling „Blackest Night“ comic event / crossover, I thought it would be fun to read most of the „Green Lantern“ comics to bring me up to date.

Unfortunately, most of them aren’t very good.

And most good ones require prior knowledge of earlier events.

After reading nearly 50 collections, here’s a first, tentative timeline for the „Green Lantern“ series: Where can you start? What can you skip? And what shouldn’t you miss?

Please comment if you have additional recommendations!

But first things first: See the (excellent) Wikipedia entry for the ‚Green Lantern‘ publishing history… and the (even MORE excellent) DC Universe Trade Paperback Reading Order Timeline to see how these adventures tie into the larger stories of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman etc..

[The 1*, 2*, 3* etc. rating in brackets is the number of stars that I gave the book on Goodreads. No stars means that I haven’t read it yet.]

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good starting points and standalone adventures:

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historical collections and their reading order:

  • here’s a list: I haven’t read any of these 1940ies/50ies/60ies reprint collections, though.

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old stories that are important to understand the newer plots:

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Crises, crossovers and big events: Green Lantern and the DC Universe, 1986 to the late 1990s (most of this is important… but with bad art, flat characters and not much fun):

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Kyle Rayner: Star of ‚Green Lantern‘ from 1994 to 2004:

[There are lots of issues missing from the collected editions. I’ve read all single issues – and I can recommend most of them. The one exception: You can quit with issue 155 and ignore the end and the ‚Ion‘ series. Nothing of consequence happens there. Make sure to read „Infite Crisis“ and the surrounding books, though: By then, the current ‚Green Lantern‘ series starring Hal Jordan was back, too.]

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„Green Lantern“ & „Green Lantern Corps“: The current series:

[I am surprised how much I dislike the character of Hal Jordan, his girlfriends and Geoff John’s convoluted, dry and joyless storytelling. BUT: ‚Green Lantern Corps‘, the companion series, is one of the best DC comics right now. Read ‚Green Lantern’… if only to understand the madness, mayhem, drama and excitement of ‚Green Lantern Corps‘. It’s worth it… and both series get better if you read them together.]

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The „Blackest Night“ crossover – and everything after:

(I have not read these books so far. Please visit the DC Trade Paperback Timeline for details on the reading order and additional updates!)

I’m not sure how important the ‚Brightest Day‘ miniseries is for the ‚Green Lantern‘ mythos… and I don’t know how important the ‚Justice League: Generation Lost‘ series is for Green Lantern Guy Gardner’s love life / character development.

The main series – ‚Green Lantern‘, ‚Green Lantern Corps‘ and the new ‚Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors‘ continue in the following collections:

There will be another 2 or 3 collections before in September of 2011, four new monthly comic series continue the ‚Green Lantern‘ storylines:

‚Green Lantern‘ (by Geoff Johns)

‚Green Lantern Corps‘ (by Peter Tomasi)

‚Green Lantern: New Guardians‘ (by Tony Bedard)

…and ‚Red Laterns‘ (by Dave Milligan), all starting with new first issues.

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Mistakes? Corrections? Recommendations? Feedback?

Let me know in the comments! Thank you!

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