Thursday, September 3, 2009
Green Lantern's weakness: a rant
Green Lantern may be one of DC most iconic superheroes, but that won't stop me from airing my bemusement at what may be the lamest superhero weakness of all. See, in order for a superhero to be interesting and allow room for some dramatic tension, the hero has to have SOME vulnerability. Superman is vulnerable to the effects of Kryptonite and also to magic. Wonder Woman becomes powerless if you tie her hands together. Aquaman can only breathe out of water for an hour. Martian Manhunter becomes weak in the presence of fire. You get the idea.
Green Lantern, one of the most powerful heroes in the DC canon, has what may be the lamest vulnerability ever. GL can't use his virtually omnipotent power ring on anything yellow. I'll say that again. Green Lantern can't use his virtually omnipotent power ring on anything yellow.
Now, at first thought, that may seem perfectly reasonable. Everyone has something they can't do. But consider this: How subjective is the concept of "yellow". Never mind that the power ring and it's energy are green and that green is made by combining blue and yellow. Never mind that it might have made more sense if the ring wouldn't work on things that were red (the opposite of green on the color wheel). What is yellow?? Does the ring work on yellow green? How about yellow orange? How much blue or red have to be involved before something isn't strictly yellow?
Now, obviously, this weakness wouldn't be too big a deal. I mean, Green Lantern can still manipulate everyday non-yellow objects to, say, block a blow from a yellow folding chair or something. What's funny is how often important things in GL stories seem to just happen to be yellow. I mean, is he going around telling everyone that he's vulnerable to yellow? His lame vulnerability inevitably leads to situations like this:
Also, on the Super-Friends cartoons from the 70's and 80's, about 90% of the stuff Green Lantern picks up with his ring or even the stuff he makes with his ring seems to BE yellow. It's like the ink and paint department misunderstood the memo. "OH everything BUT yellow!! Boy do I feel silly!"