Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Crisis Part 7 - Secret Origin Of The Guardians!

Next up is one of the single most important stories in DC Comics history. When Julius Schwartz, John Broome and Gil Kane decided to reveal the history of the Oans and to give the two Green Lanterns their first full-issue team-up they introduced concepts that would resonate in the DCU for all time.

"The Secret Origin of the Guardians" marks the first time that someone other Gardner Fox had written an Earth-2 story. John Broom with his partners Gil Kane and inker Sid Greene craft a worthy entry. It begins on Earth-2 with Alan Scott and Doiby Dickles dressed up as they were twenty years previously to go to a party when what seems to be meteor streaks across the sky. When Green Lantern tries to stop it, he succeeds but discovers his ring no long has its longstanding weakness against wood. Thinking that the Green Lantern of Earth-1 might soon be visited by a similar meteor, he heads there and encounters Hal Jordan. But it turns out his ring is not changed after all and when the two GL's ask the ring to tell what's happened the secret story of the Oans unfolds. The Oans were immortals who lived in paradise free of strife until one of them named Krona tried to find out about the origins of the Universe and probes too deeply into the past. This hubris unleashes evil into the universe and Krona is punished by transformed into energy and sent hurtling across the vastness of space. The Oans then create the Green Lantern Corp to cope with the evil that has bloomed. It turns out it was Krona hiding in Alan Scott's ring who made it have power over wood and it all a scheme to allow Krona to re-enter the Earth-1 universe. Having arrived there he immediately sets out to finish his work from millions of years previously. Both of the Lanterns are tapped to try and stop him.

In Part 2 the two Lanterns stop natural disasters unleashed by Krona. But when they report to the Guardians, Hal Jordan is stunned when the Oans want to strip him of his role and give the mantle to the Earth-2 Green Lantern Alan Scott.

Part 3 shows that Krona has possessed Alan Scott and he using his ring had implanted the devious suggestion to the Guardians. Later Krona dispenses with Scott's form and heads off to complete his work of ultimate discovery. When Alan Scott recovers he and Hal Jordan compare notes. Jordan then attacks Krona and surprisingly is able to defeat Krona's yellow defenses with his ring. Krona is defeated and it's revealed that at Alan Scott's suggestion the two Lanterns had exchanged rings, thus tricking Krona into offering up useless defenses. The Guardians then transform Krona back into energy and send him off once again across the galaxies, this time never to interact with any planets at all.

Krona is never heard from again. Or is he?

Of course this story is the source code for a much larger epic many years later when once again Krona's sin forms the basis for the entire Crisis on Infinite Earths by creating both the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. That's whole other saga, but it had its roots here in this humble Green Lantern tale.

This is a beautifully rendered story, filled with complications. Finding out the history of the Oans must've been thrilling for longtime Green Lantern fans of the time. And using an Earth-2 crossover story to give it added oomph was a smart move. I know that the lore of the Green Lanterns gets much more intertwined, but it's stories like this one that make me really keen to explore these tomes.

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