The Idiot Husband’s Guide to GREEN LANTERN

If you are anything like me, this weekend is for all the marbles at your house. This is the weekend that Green Lantern comes out.

If you are anything like me, this weekend is not for all the marbles because you are the world’s biggest Green Lantern superfan, or even because you have been eagerly anticipating the movie. After years of waffling, I finally sat down months ago and freebased the Geoff Johns run from The Sinestro Corps War to Agent Orange in an eyestrain-daring binge and then hung in there month-to-month well into Brightest Day, before realizing in all that time I had not learned half the characters’ names and running out of steam for the monthly visit. As for the movie, this is the one release from Comic Book Summer that has me holding my breath a bit. Every trailer I see makes me say, “Um! Hmmm. That looks… well. I can’t wait! To read what a couple of critics have to say about that movie!”

This weekend is a big deal anyway, however, because Green Lantern stars Ryan Reynolds’ abs in a skintight bodysuit, and suddenly your wife is saying, “Hey: as a treat this weekend, why don’t I take you to that big new comic book movie at its earliest available showing?”

(Did I say “if you’re anything like me”? I guess this scenario assumes that you’re actually quite a lot like me. You may have to see me in the mirror. For non-mes, the following guide could easily be used for wives, husbands, friends, or Stockholm-softened hostages.)

Now that the lady of the house is expressing an interest, of course, you are on the hook. You have developed a reputation around the house as being an expert in this sort of thing—some might say “know-it-all,” but those people are jealous—and since no one in the house ever had any follow-up questions you allowed that reputation to blossom like a prized rosebush. She has seen the stack of hardcovers from the Johns Run Binge period. She’s seen the neatly arranged row of Blackest Night rings on the shelf in that ransacked toy store upstairs you call your “office.” All of this has given her the idea that you know something about Green Lantern. She has questions about the Friday night she’s in for.

You may or may not have the answers to those questions. That’s no reason to lose face when you can bluff.

Here, then, are some of the basic questions I have encountered at home in the last week or so, along with the carefully honed answers I gleaned from reading four volumes in a sitting a year ago and retaining several fuzzy images from them in my mind. These should make you sound authoritative until you leave the theater, at which time you can claim they changed a bunch of stuff for the wider audience.

It looks like Green Lantern has a much different origin from your Batmen or your Spider-Men. For one thing, it looks like there’s a whole gang of them. What’s that all about? Hal Jordan has no parents or uncles to avenge as far as we know. He is a member of the Lantern Corps, which was founded on the planet Poozer to police the galaxy against its most dire threats, the majority of which are former Green Lanterns. There is a Green Lantern for every sector of the galaxy, although for being so distributed they all eat in the same cafeteria a lot more than you’d think they would. Hal was chosen by his ring to replace this sector’s previous Green Lantern, Big Sur.

Wait: so, in Soviet Lantern Corps, ring chooses you? That is correct. The ring only selects the noblest, most fearless warrior on the entire planet, and then like a dozen more guys who happen to be nearby after that. Something about Earth makes them want to give us galaxy protection rings like it’s Halloween, so I can only guess what the criteria must be like. To hear people online talk about it, Kyle Rayner may have gotten his ring out of a box of Count Chocula.

Who’s Kyle Rayner? Don’t worry about it. It will never come up again.

Is this going to be a Ryan Reynolds movie, or a Corps movie? Is it more like being a prequel Jedi, or more like being a Hogwarts student, or what? At its heart, Green Lantern is the simple tale of 400 people who are dressed exactly alike at all times. Luckily, the comics tend to focus on Earth’s Green Lanterns, only two of whom look identical right down to having the same hair. If anyone asks, just say, "It's very accessible. You can start anywhere."

What are Green Lantern’s superpowers? The ring can generate anything the wearer can imagine out of Comic Book Whatever Energy. Side note: this is the only known example of Comic Book Whatever Energy that isn’t inexplicably pink, but we can talk about the X-Men another time. The main thing to remember is, no matter what you read online Saturday, 3D CGI is exactly what ring projections would look like in real life and you should just embrace it.

Is Green Lantern’s girlfriend that much younger than him in the comics? Look: my Blake is not there for you. You have Ryan Reynolds. Let me have this. (Note: answer may need rephrasing when spoken aloud to actual partner.)

Is Peter Sarsgaard really a good fit as a supervillain in a Green Lantern movie? I think he’ll be a good fit for this one. I have some news about Mark Ruffalo that may melt your brain, though.

That’s as much good as I can do without actually doing research of any kind. I hope this helps you maintain your rep around the house. I’m not sure I would be able to pull it off normally, but those abs cover a multitude of sins.


Jim Mroczkowski normally only makes it up as he goes along on Twitter.


  1. I liked it when Hal Jordan lived in his car.  

    Great article! 

  2. I have not read that, but I really like the idea of Hal Jordan living in his car.

    Actually, in a year and a half of reading this book, I never saw him go home. Maybe he still does. 

  3. I mostly remember it from Tom’s recaps of the backups in the Flash books.

    That’s a movie I would go see.  Endless hilarity. 

  4. @jimski: Here’s a questions that I KNOW I will get at the end of the movie, upon walking out of the theater, and that I am dreading.  My wife, ever the romatic, is guaranteed to ask, “So, in the comics, are Hal and Carol Ferris still together?” 

    Perhaps you can help hone my response because, as soon as I mention Star Sapphires and/or say that Hal is married to the job of being a space cop, I know I am going to get a response of “That’s dumb,” and the entire 90+ minutes of film-watching will have been invalidated, no matter how good the movie was.    

  5. @ctrosejr They are so in love that carol now has her own corps so they can spend quality time together. (leave out e bad and/or skimpy)

  6. @ctrosejr  Just say this “It’s complicated, they’re both so independent. I think they’re gonna make it though.”

  7. If you need this to answer questions for someone, said someone is never going to ask about Kyle Rayner!

  8. I laughed out loud (at work, no less) at Big Sur. Well done.

  9. I hope that when the special edition podcast comes out I hope that you guys would consider the song “Green Lantern” by Camberwell Now as an intro song for the podcast b/c it fits so well the only lyrics in the entire song is the Green Lantern Oath said only once with some awesome instrumentals.

  10. The thing I’m lookin forward to explaining the least is Parallax. It’s a hard concept for a layman to fake seriously, made even worse by the fact that, in the film, he appears to be a cloud with a face.

  11. I am going to Green Lantern with my guy friends…my girl is much more into Chris Evans and Michael Fassbender in period films. Two out of four ain’t bad for her this year, though!

    (She loves Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim, but X-Men: FC was her first ‘mainstream’ superhero movie she was willing to sit through in the theater!)

  12. I was laughing out loud reading this. The people in my office were giving me strange looks. Genuis, Jim.

  13. @ctrosejr  Good Lord!  That’s basically the same question my wife asked me at the end of Thor, since she and Jane Foster share the same first name.  And I had to say, “No, in the comics (and in the original Norse legends), he ends up with Sif.”  Which was totally heartbreaking for her.

  14. And just be glad that you don’t have to explain “Pie-face”.

  15. Pahahaha. That is me! Somehow my enthusiasm about comics has made up for my lack of experience and I have become the official holder of all comic knowledge in my circles (aside from here of course). While watching Xmen First Class the husband started mining me for some esoteric x-facts and thought that surely I could iron out any timeline issues he did not understand. I’m a casual Marvel-er at best and I had to pull out some very clever waffling and general vaguery. Reputation intact.

  16. Pie-face!
    Obey the film doesn’t that with a 10-foot pole!

  17. Great article, my favorite part: “my blake”

  18. Too funny! The funny thing is, at MY house, the conversation goes like this:

    My Wife: Ohhhh, green lantern looks awesome! Look at all the aliens and the action and the special effects! We have to see this!

    Me: No interest.

    My Wife; Fine! I’ll just go without you!

    Me: have fun!

    My Wife; I will!

    My wife LOVES big action movies, even ones without Ryan Reynolds. She usually drags me to those things, while I’m trying to go see some foreign film nobody has ever heard of LOL.