Here is a Serious Question

Posted: January 19, 2010 in Threat Quality

So, Green Lantern has the power with his ring to make giant green shapes everywhere, right?  But it eventually runs out of power after a day, and he has to recharge it in his magic space lantern.  Okay.

The ring, though, let’s him fly around in space and hurl tanker trucks and Mongul, lord of War World.  Would it really be that much trouble to carry the power battery around with him?  He could tie a rope to it, too, for good measure.

  1. braak says:

    Yes it would be too much trouble?

    Even with the rope, though?

  2. Green Lantern spends a lot of time flying around through hostile environments (space, earth’s mantle, sunspots, Apokolips), so standard rope or chain is not the answer. He could tether the battery to himself with a green-energy rope, or protect it by extending his aura, but that’s a more expenditure of power for not much payoff other than convenience. And combat is likely to cause him to drop the battery eventually, no matter how secure he makes it.

    My thought was that Green Lanterns hide their batteries for security reasons — like, they don’t want to forget them somewhere on Qward or get them damaged in combat. I think I’ve seen some takes on the character where a GL can just summon the battery out of an extra-dimensional gate, so they don’t have the big headache of going home to recharge in the middle of a kickass space battle.

    In Silver Age GL (and maybe Golden Age, I don’t know), it’s really just a convenient authorial leveler for a dude who could pretty much raze a planet if he wanted to, and it makes more sense to me than “My ring is powerless against Post-It Notes and certain flavors of curry!”

  3. Moff says:

    Green Lantern qualifies for me as the Character I Most Enjoy Unless I Think About It for (Literally) Two Seconds. The battery thing had never occurred to me (because I try not to think about anything Green Lantern–related for more than a second), but it drives me FUCKING NUTS that every episode of Justice League (and Superfriends, for that matter) featured this intergalactic police officer’s ring shapes getting overpowered by, like, a guy in a big truck stepping on the accelerator.

    I mean, the number of times someone who totally shouldn’t be able to has escaped from a ring-generated prison by hitting it hard is straight-up uncountable.

  4. braak says:

    @Jefferson: I’d think that the first lesson that they’d teach you at Space Cop Academy is “don’t accidentally leave your giant power battery on Qward.” Surely, not forgetting your invincible cosmic energy weapon on a hostile alien planet is the least we can expect from these guys?

  5. @Moff: Superman got beat up a lot in the JL/JLU shows too. A LOT. They all kind of got their asses handed to them unless they worked as a team, which I think goes to the point of having a cartoon that features a super-team.

    @braak: Maybe the Guardians of Oa just give out a blanket injunction that says “This is your battery. There are many like it but this one is yours. Find someplace safe and LEAVE IT THERE.”

  6. braak says:

    But they just leave it in their apartments! On Earth — the most dangerous planet of them all!

    Wouldn’t it be safer protected by the guy with the magic power ring that protected by that little chain that you put on your door?

  7. Moff says:

    @Jefferson: Yeah, it’s more a function of storytelling necessity than anything else — if your power ring is as powerful as it ought to be, the show is much more boring.

    For the battery thing, it seems like there could be a workout where the Oans set it up so that the batteries themselves draw power from a specific place in a Lantern’s home sector — you know, a literal connection to the place they’re protecting. They should say something like that.

  8. braak says:

    Except, I think the implication of the power battery is that they’re like distribution nodes for the main power battery, which is where all of the power comes from.

  9. Moff says:


    My idea is better.

  10. We really shouldn’t encourage Geoff Johns any further.

  11. Jeff Holland says:

    Where’s all this coming from, Chris?

    Did you lose your keys? Is that what happened?

  12. braak says:

    I guess I’d just never really thought about it before. And now I can’t stop.

  13. Jeff Holland says:

    @Jefferson: “Superman got beat up a lot in the JL/JLU shows too. A LOT.” On the JL/JLU DVDs, the producers talk a lot about how much they went back to the “OMG THEY BEAT UP SUPERMAN!” well to establish a threat as being “serious,” but mostly because if they didn’t take out Superman quickly, there was no logical reason Superman couldn’t solve the problem on his own. I have to agree. I mean, I loved Hawkgirl, but if SUPERMAN couldn’t handle the problem, how exactly is “hit it with a mace while hovering in the air” going to do anything?

    But back to Green Lantern. Was there some kind of camouflage feature on the lantern itself, that it was disguised when it sat in the apartment? Or was it like a conversation piece – “Wow, nice lantern. You must REALLY like Green Lantern.”

    Now that I think about it…what the hell does a lantern have to do with a RING, anyway?

  14. braak says:

    I don’t even know. You’d think Kyle Rayner would keep it in a shoebox in the bottom of his closet at least, but I can only remember one panel where you see where he keeps it, and he’s got it on his end table and it’s glowing brightly.

    The ring does have a picture of a lantern on it. I guess that’s something.

  15. Erin says:

    A couple of thoughts on this:

    First up, I think the “official” reason is that they don’t want the lanterns falling into the wrong hands when a GL dies. The rings are set up to take care of themselves – they fly off to find another worthy inductee. Even if someone gets a hold of one of the rings, it’s effectively useless without the lantern.

    The lanterns, on the other hand, hold nearly infinite cosmic power. The best answer to your question, I think, is that the lanterns aren’t expendable while members of the GL Corps are.

    That said, the comics have played light with this. The Alpha Lanterns, for example, have their lanterns built into their chests. I think Abin Sur had his lantern on him when he died. And Mogo never goes anywhere without his lantern.

    But in general, members of the corps tend to leave them at home in a pocket dimension. Or on top of their dresser.

  16. Jeff Holland says:

    POCKET DIMENSION! I knew it was something like that.

    Of course, Mogo has found the easiest way to protect his lantern: MOGO DOESN’T SOCIALIZE.

    And that is why he is the greatest Green Lantern.

    Can we talk about the Flash now? I’m much better versed in the Flash.

  17. braak says:

    Like maybe, “Seriously, how many problems can there be that can be solved by running fast?”

  18. Jeff Holland says:

    Oh, how many problems, eh? You need a bagel?BAMYOUGOTABAGEL!

    Flash fact!

  19. Erin says:

    The Flash is kind of like Superman, in that he’s got dozens of powers that make no sense but are explained with science that only works if you’re in 4th grade:

    He can move so fast, he can vibrate his molecules through anything!

    He can move so fast, he can travel backwards in time!

    He can move so fast, he can travel FORWARDS in time!

    He can move so fast, he can travel to alternate dimensions!

    He can move so fast, he can create a tornado, which he can safely control to catch people and objects without damaging them!

    In conclusion, I LOVE the Flash. He needs more powers, though.

  20. Jeff Holland says:

    This is why when Mark Waid introduced the idea of the Speed Force – let’s all say it together, the SPEED FORCE – readers everywhere went, “…Ahh, fine, whatever, it makes as much sense as anything else.”

  21. Hsiang says:

    Just wanted to point out that in comic books, ropes and that little chain that you put on your door are almost always yellow.

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