DC Made Superman The New Green Lantern:
Superman is always known to be an idol of strength and brawns. His muscles are powerful enough to bend steel and move mountains. Hell, he can even move an entire solar system with his bare hands from one point in the universe to another!! His signature Kryptonian Strength and resilience is what makes him unique and utterly Godlike. So what if you take that away and make him the torchbearer of another different mantle entirely? What if Superman becomes, say, a Green Lantern? Will he be able to stick to his ideals and become a beacon of hope and truth the way he did as the Man of Steel? Or will he become something else entirely?? That is the possibility DC Comics once explored and the results were pretty interesting.
There was one comic book issue that came under the DC Comics’ Else-worlds banner that explored this concept. The Green Lantern Power Ring seeks out sentient beings with an enormous capacity of willpower. Whoever is able to overcome his or her worst fears is eligible to become a Green Lantern. But never in a million years, not even in a parallel universe anybody could have thought that Clark Kent of all people will one day assume the role of Green Lantern. That is the specialty of DC Comics’ Else Worlds story arcs.
DC Made Superman The New Green LanternUnlike Marvel’s ‘What If’ series that only explores conventional storylines with a slight alteration to see how the timeline fans out differently, DC uses its Else Worlds line to explore completely radical storylines with character arcs so twisted they could even be polar opposites of their mainstream counterparts.
The Back Story:
The storyline is very promising. Clark Kent aka Kal-El is not a Kryptonian in this universe. He was born an Earthling. After a cataclysmic event destroys Earth, Clark Kent has rocketed away from the planet and he crash-landed on Earth. Clark Kent is no longer the Last Son of Krypton. He is the Last Son of Earth!!
Clark Kent is the son of Jonathan Kent. In this universe, Jonathan is not a farmer out of Kansas. He is a brilliant physicist and researcher. He specializes in building rockets and life support systems for astronauts. When he realizes that Earth is doomed, with an asteroid making its way to destroy the blue planet, Jonathan builds a rocket ship that can house his newborn son Clark Kent. He fears for his son’s safety and the rocket ship, which will revolve around the planet when the asteroid hits the Earth, will eventually throttle down and land on Earth when it is safe and habitable again. But the rocket ship ends up in a wormhole a few moments after it reaches outer space and is whisked away to Krypton.
The Krypton we see in the comic book issue is the same as the one we saw in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. It is a global police state with a cold and a cold and harsh climate. Biological ways of mating and reproduction are banned and people are not even allowed to touch each other. The planet has a gravitational field and atmospheric pressure that is multiple times that of Earth. Clark’s human physiology could not adapt to the harsh Kryptonian environment so Jor-El, who found the crash-landed space ship, builds a zero-gravity field for the human baby. Jor-El then gradually increases the gravity around the null-gravity field as Clark grows so that his body could adapt to the change in the environment. In Krypton, everyone wears an exoskeleton suit that acts as an auxiliary support system to help citizens survive the sterile and punishing climate of Krypton. Clark wears one just like the rest.
Clark Kent is renamed Kal-El by Jor-El, who starts treating him as his own son.
The Discovery of the Power Ring:
Many years pass by. Clark Kent is now a grown man. An earthquake rocks Krypton and creates a gigantic crack in a mountain, revealing a lost civilization that was buried underneath. While undertaking an archaeological dig, Clark discovers the remains of a dead Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Power Ring along with the Green Lantern Power Battery. The Ring chooses Clark as his next host and Clark Kent, the weakest man of Krypton, becomes the strongest being of his planet once he accepts the Ring’s power. Clark Kent becomes the Green Lantern, Protector of Krypton.
Clark Kent is not jaywalking with the Ring though. His father Jor-El soon reveals that Krypton’s core is unstable due to rampart unsolicited mining of its resources. Clark Kent travels to the center of his planet and uses his new powers to repair the Kryptonian Core. Clark Kent saves Krypton. That is a feat not even the Green Lantern of the Mainstream DC Continuity could do, leading to the original Krypton’s destruction. The Ring also gives him the ability to fly and survive without the traditional bio-suit that every Kryptonian wears.
Summoned to Oa:
His victories are short-lived. Clark Kent’s assuming of the role of Green Lantern puts him in the spotlight of the Guardians of the Universe hailing from the planet Oa. They reveal some truly shocking facts once Clark encounters them. The tell Clark that his original planet – Earth, was not destroyed in the apocalyptic asteroid attack. Humanity survived the event but they were reduced to a few million. It is also later shown when Clark flies back to Earth that Atlantis and Themyscira no longer exist, having been decimated by the asteroid strike. Whatever is left of humanity has taken to tribal culture. Several supporting Superman characters like Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Martha Kent are still alive. But with every light, there is a shadow. Lex Luthor is now the bane of Earth. He wants to conquer what is left of humanity and consolidate his rule as the Earth’s One True Ruler.
On a solo mission to help Lois and her Tribe, Clark’s Rings runs out of power. He is captured by Luthor’s men. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen try to sneak into Luthor’s camp and smuggle the Power Battery to Clark but they too are captured and incarcerated. All hopes seem lost. Luthor has all but won when a Deus Ex Machina event happens that turns the tide in Clark’s favor.
Clark becomes Superman
Frustrated, Clark punches a wall and breaks it into pieces. While trying to figure out how he could do that, he comes to the revelation that spending so much time in the harsh climates of Krypton with its incredibly potent gravitational field and unforgiving atmosphere has honed Clark’s physical attributes. His muscles are a hundred times more durable and powerful than regular human beings. His body is hard enough to deflect bullets and he can jump great distances. Clark may not have the mainstream Superman’s signature heat vision, flight or freeze breath, but he is still a superhuman.
Clark uses his newfound abilities to defeat Lex Luthor and take back his Power Ring. Restoring peace and harmony on Earth, Clark is finally content that he could do something for his homeworld. The Guardians come calling soon after, giving Clark an ultimatum. He cannot stay on Earth forever because he is a Green Lantern and his powers are needed to save several other planets in a sector far away from Earth’s. Clark has two choices – Stay a Green Lantern and move out of Earth and to Krypton, or Give up his Power Ring and become Earth’s Sole Protector. Clark chooses the latter.
Using the last 24 hours he has left to be a Green Lantern, Clark Kent helps completely rebuild Earth. He then gives up the Ring and Battery, choosing to stay in the Blue Planet. Back at home, Jor-El and Lara, inspired by Clark Kent, let go of their traditional Kryptonian Exoskeleton bio-suits, deciding to adhere to a simpler lifestyle like that of their ancestors, something Clark discovered a long time ago. They then proceed to teach the other Krytpnians a newer, better way of life.
So in the end, Kryptonian or not, Superman proves his true superpower is not that of bending steel, moving mountains, or the Green Lantern Power Ring, it is his ability to inspire and lead people. In the end, he proves that he is Superman because he is the harbinger of hope. That is his true ability!!