Alan Scott has been making the comic news lately as he is DC’s new gay character. Alan Scott is my favorite Green Lantern, that means I often have to tell people about him, and this is the perfect venue to do that! So who is this Green Lantern and why doesn’t he have an outfit or symbol like all the other Lantern Corps members? Let’s find out!
This Lantern needs a bit of its own back story, so let’s go back about 3 billion years or so. This story is going to get real weird so bear with me. All stray magical energies of the universe coalesce into an orb and become part of a star; the Starheart is born. Over time, the Starheart would take on the form of a meteor and make its way to Earth (having gained a level of self-awareness) to go where it was needed.
Upon reaching Earth’s sector, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, Yalan Gur (who had had his ring’s natural impurity to yellow removed due to fighting yellow monsters in space since he was the greatest Lantern of the time), had become corrupted by his lack of weakness and was attempting to rule a region of China. To protect the people from their mistake, the Guardians from the Corps gave Yalan Gur a weakness to wood, the material the peasants’ weapons were made of, allowing them to defeat Yalan Gur. Having a signature similar to its own, the Starheart took on the aspects of Yalan Gur’s ring, gaining an affinity for being Lantern shaped, being made a ring, and containing a weakness to wood. The Starheart would also let out a prophecy in which it would do three things in its new life: first bring death, then bring life, then finally bring power.
Landing in China nearly 2000 years ago, it would be found by a man named Chang who would take the Starheart and form it into a lantern (first thing I’m doing when I find a space rock, no wait), fulfilling the Starheart’s psychic request. The villagers would go on to kill Chang for thinking the Starheart was sacrilege, and the lantern would burst into green flame bringing death to many. Millennia later it would be found again by a man afflicted with mental instability, who would have it forged into a train lantern. The lantern burned again to grant the man his sanity, giving him a new life.
In 1940 it would find its way into the possession of Alan Scott, train engineer, and would go on to save Alan’s life from a train wreck with its powers. Following the lantern’s request to make a ring from itself, burning brightly to fulfill its prophecy, Alan would gain power and become the Green Lantern, masked superhero. Wielding the same powers of any member of the Green Lantern Corps with a weakness to wood replacing the standard weakness to yellow, Alan Scott could create green energy constructs that he willed into existence.
Alan would go on to fight masked and regular criminals alike. Eventually getting a collection of rogues of his own, such as Sports Master (his wooden sports equipment being useful), Solomon Grundy (who is effectively Hulk-level strength and became his arch-enemy), Harlequin (skilled acrobat and Alan’s secretary later in his professional career and second wife), and The Thorn (a split personality who could control plants and would become his first wife, and give birth to their children Jade and Obsidian).
Alan would be stationed in Gotham City as comics would retcon him back into the mainstream DC Universe. He would have a sidekick in that of Doiby Dickles, a taxi-driver with decent fighting skills and a hefty wrench. The two would work together when Alan eventually became the head of the Gotham Broadcasting Company, which is where Harlequin would become his secretary, Molly Mayne.
Eventually Alan would join the first superhero team, the Justice Society of America. He would also go on to work with the All-Star Squadron, the team that would work to fight in World War 2. It is here that he was given a gift of slowed aging, thus allowing him to still look only about 50 when he is in the modern day. This would prove to be redundant, but we’ll get to that.
Alan would deal with The Thorn, Rose Canton, on many occasions, and unknowingly start dating her non-villainous personality named Alyx Florin. The two would fall in love and she would give birth to a green-skinned daughter, Jennie, that shared her superpower of plant control along with her father’s Starheart abilities; and a son, Todd, who unfortunately shared her mental illness and had the power of shadow control. These two were born after Rose had run away from Alan, and she gave them up for adoption to keep them safe, with Alan not knowing of their existence nor of his wife’s villainous side.
During a battle that would lead up to the Crisis of Infinite Earths event, Alan and the rest of the JSA were trapped in limbo, which they were then freed from after the merging of the DC multi-verse. In this time, Alan would learn that he and the Starheart had effectively merged, causing him to become the human embodiment of the Starheart. Alan was now made up of the Starheart and would not age or get sick, his only weakness being wood. When his ring was destroyed by Parallax, he would learn of this development and take on the name Sentinel.
During this time Alan would learn that he had two children, one having become a Green Lantern and the other a supervillain. Jade would join her father in stopping her brother Obsidian’s madness, and help cure him and bring him in as their new family. The three would work together in the JSA, which was now the mentor team to many generational heroes. Eventually confronting The Thorn, they would learn too late that the identity of The Thorn was Alyx Florin, as she killed herself to save them from her villainous side.
Alan would eventually marry Molly Mayne. Do you notice a trend here for Alan to get involved with dangerous women? Having a husband that would not age, and having her primary skill being an ever decreasing physical acumen, led Molly to sell her soul, causing Alan to go to hell to save her soul. That is some romantic super-heroics, folks.
Alan would take on the name Green Lantern again as it appeared he’d exhumed the Starheart from himself to remake it as a ring. (At least that’s how I rationalized some of the changes going on at that time; it was sort of confusing as to why he just up and decided to be called Green Lantern again so they gave him a reason.) Alan would start looking like a man in his 60s with the comic book favorite, grey sideburns. During the return of Hal Jordon, while many Green Lanterns were incapacitated by Parallax, Alan was left weakened due to his energy only being similar.
During the Infinite Crisis, Alan would lose an eye during a teleportation mishap, and his daughter Jade would replace it with green energy, granting him the ability to see and track magical forms like astral projections and ghosts. That’s Alan Scott for you, taking a negative and getting a positive out of it. Sadly, Jade died during the Crisis, and thus his eye is his memento of her; some things are hard to spin into a positive.
In the time before 52, Alan becomes the White King of Checkmate, a covert ops team, which he has moral concerns over due to their usually violent tactics. When the god-like entity Gog appears, Alan joins the JSA to stop him, but sees a reality where Jade is still alive, and instead requests for his daughter’s return. This doesn’t end well, and he turns against Gog and Jade is not resurrected.
During the war against the Black Lanterns, Alan uses his power to help power a bomb that wipes out the Black Lanterns, and with the white light of the White Lantern, Jade is resurrected. Brightest Day has Alan feeling sickly and convulsing with energy, with Obsidian trying to care for him. Jade arrives to let Alan know that something is wrong with the Starheart, and it is revealed that the Starheart is beginning to take over humanity’s minds. Alan is taken over by the Starheart, and heads to space to build a moon fortress. That’s the way to take over the Earth, Alan, moon fortress. He must like Bond films.
Able to control those with magical or elemental powers, Alan has many superheroes at his command. Batman, Jade, and Mr. Terrific are able to help restore Alan’s control over the Starheart, and he decides that his moon fortress will be left for any DC magical creatures to live in. Alan effectively made the Emerald City of Oz on the moon; now that’s some Pink Floyd stuff right there.
While fighting a Nazi experiment that he and Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, had let survive during World War 2, Alan has his neck snapped. Paralyzed, Alan cannot heal himself without allowing the Starheart to gain control of him again. Now bedridden, Alan resides within his Emerald City until a villain named D’arken appears.
While the heroes are fighting a hopeless battle against D’arken, Alan and others realize the Starheart is their only chance of saving everyone. After releasing the Starheart, Alan is consumed by the fire of the Starheart. Alan is given a funeral and believed dead until the recreation of the New 52. Now we have a new Earth 2 in which a new Alan Scott lives, and his story can continue.
All-American Comics #16
Justice Society of America Vol. 1-3