Earth in the DC universe has had more than its fair share of Green Lanterns, given that our planet resides in what’s largely considered to be the backwoods sector of space.
Green Lanterns are basically space cops with pseudo-magical rings who patrol the cosmos and maintain balance between planets and galaxies—which means fending off threats that span the multiverse.
The Green Lantern Corps, which has been around for 3 billion years, has seen thousands of members throughout its time. Of those, 8 Green Lanterns have called Earth their home.
Who are these heroes who have wielded one of the most powerful artifacts in the DC universe? And, more importantly, which of these Earth-based Green Lantern characters are the best?
Here’s my personal ranking of the Green Lantern characters from Earth, based on each one’s importance to the DC Universe at large plus my own personal preferences for them.
8. Sojourner “Jo” Mullein
Jo Mullein has only been part of the DC comics continuity for a little over a year as of this writing, so there’s still a lot we don’t know.
She started out as a cop in New York City and a member of the US military. How she became a Green Lantern and what she did to get stationed on a sector that’s so far from the known universe that it’s only referred to as Far Sector? We don’t know yet.
There’s a lot of potential in the character—particularly as she explores the unknown reaches of the Far Sector—but we just don’t know enough to push Jo higher on this list.
7. Keli Quintela
Another new addition the DC comics universe, Keli is an unusual case for the Green Lanterns in that she wields a gauntlet rather than a ring.
This gauntlet, given to her by a dying alien in a junk yard, appears to grant her access to most of the abilities of the Green Lantern Corps. She’s a Bolivian teenager who’s a genius with machines, allowing her to effectively hack into the Green Lantern Battery she was given.
Keli lacks training, though, and has a lot of assumptions about her place in the universe that stem from often being the smartest person in the room. Introduced in 2019, the comics have just started to explore who this character is and how she’ll impact the universe.
6. Hal Jordan
When comic fans picture a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is the one they usually think of. He’s the classic, all-around heroic figure that occupied the pages of most comics in the Silver Age.
He rose to the ranks of Justice League, and fell in glory when he became a villain possessed by Parallax (the embodiment of fear) and responsible for the destruction of the Green Lantern Corps.
Most people tend to rank Hal higher on Green Lantern lists because he was the first character in the main DC continuity to wield the ring, and because he’s the classic Green Lantern from Earth.
But Hal suffers from a lot of the same issues that affected most characters from the Silver Age of Comics: he’s brave but cookie-cutter, lacking in flaws or interesting personality traits, and eventually driven to become a villain through grief.
Compared to the other Earth-based Green Lantern characters, Hal Jordan just isn’t as interesting as a person.
5. Simon Baz
When Simon Baz debuted in 2012, he wasn’t just the first new Green Lantern from Earth in many years—he was also the first Asian-American character to wield the ring.
The first ring he wielded was a fused version of Hal Jordan and the villain Sinestro’s rings, causing it to react both to fear and willpower. His first years as a Green Lantern saw him tackling terrorists and banished to the Dead Zone, giving him plenty of experience with the weird side of the DC universe.
Baz has made a big impact on the comics in a relatively short time, both because of his connection to fellow Green Lantern Jessica Cruz and his uneasy relationship with some of the more established characters in the DC universe.
However, his insistence on carrying a gun for his first several adventures seems odd, given the fact he wields the most powerful weapon in the universe in the Green Lantern ring.
4. John Stewart
Thanks to the Justice League cartoon, John Stewart might be one of the best-known Green Lanterns of them all, even if his cartoon counterpart is very different from his comic book version.
In the comics, John is an architect and his constructs often resemble working machines, with each of the parts designed to function properly together. He was one of the first Earth Green Lanterns to shun a mask, choosing to forgo any of that secret identity business.
John Stewart’s origin story and early adventures tackled subjects like racism and prejudice in America. Though some of these arcs were clumsily handled, they served as an important step toward opening up the comic book industry to new faces and representations.
3. Kyle Rayner
When Hal Jordan went crazy and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps, there was a single ring remaining in the whole universe.
That ring was given to Kyle Rayner, a struggling graphic novelist who didn’t fit the classic definition of a hero but stepped into the impossible role of carrying the Green Lantern legacy forward on his own.
Kyle creates some of the most interesting constructs with his ring, stemming from his time as an illustrator. He surrounds himself with images inspired by mecha manga and wields outlandish weapons, making him one of the most visually interesting Green Lanterns.
His title within the Green Lantern Corps is Ringbearer, as he brought the Corps back from the brink of destruction. This largely unassuming young man often struggles with the weight of that responsibility, but he always steps in to help when he’s needed.
2. Guy Gardner
Guy Gardner is a classic meathead. He’s crass, blunt, and doesn’t take orders well. There has never been a problem in his path that he didn’t plan to headbutt in the face.
He’s also one of the most naturally powerful Green Lanterns shown in the comics, with a willpower so strong that his ring is always sparking with energy.
Guy has been a part of the Green Lantern mythos for nearly as long as Hal Jordan. Originally chosen as backup for Hal Jordan, he always had a chip on his shoulder and a one-sided rivalry with Hal.
But despite his flaws and lack of imagination, Guy has a good heart and a strong sense of justice—characteristics that at one time earned him a place in the Green Lantern Honor Guard.
1. Jessica Cruz
The main job requirement for a Green Lantern is to overcome great fear, and none of the Green Lanterns on this list do that quite as well as Jessica Cruz does.
After spending years in the grips of her PTSD-related agoraphobia after seeing her friends killed on a hiking trip, Cruz was eventually chosen as a wielder of the Ring of Volthoom (an artifact that draws on the user’s fear and grants them great power). However, Cruz was able to overcome its evil influence, earning her a spot in the Corps.
Cruz tops this list because bravery doesn’t come naturally to her. She lives with mental health conditions, yet still manages to be a hero on the galactic scale.
That immediately makes her a more compelling character than any of the standard ring-bearers we’ve met over the years. Combined with her obvious skill and power with the ring, she’s someone I hope will make a big impact on DC Comics for years to come.