The Guardians of the Universe on Oa always seem to come back to lead the Green Lantern Corps, no matter how corrupt they prove. And that needs to change… permanently.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Green Lantern #8, on sale now.
The Guardians of the Universe have always been a part of the Green Lantern Corps. They founded it, after all. Time and again, though, history has shown that the Guardians, despite claiming to possess a more enlightened perspective of the universe, are no less susceptible to corruption than any other being in the DC Universe. The only exceptions to this thus far have been Ganthet and Sayd, and they are often made victims of their colleagues when they do fall. So why do they keep getting put in charge?
The Guardians of Oa seem to be slipping back into more corrupt ways lately and their choices have cost the Green Lanterns dearly as of late. Why does this keep happening? Has the time come for the Corps to break away from their founders and forge their own path? What would that even look like… and do they need to die… again?
In defense of these ancient defenders, they have always tried their best to protect the universe, making what they believe to be the best decisions possible to secure its future. Ironically enough, that may be where the problem lies. The Guardians have been around for so long that they actually believe they are the best qualified to decide what is right for the universe at large, making choices that affect literal trillions, possibly more. That sort of pompous, entitled belief in their judgement could easily become megalomania as they are unwilling to hand over the reins to anyone else. This seems to be confirmed in Green Lantern #8 (by Geoffrey Thorne, ChrisCross, Marco Santucci, Juan Castro, Michael Atiyeh, Rob Leigh).
A recording of the Guardians deciding the course of evolution was unveiled, as was their murder of a fellow Guardian for opposing their agenda to remain “the shepherds” of order in the universe. Even before this, they had been making choices for the entire universe under the assumption that they knew best, such as when they removed magic from the universe because it was unpredictable. At the time, it seemed like a sound decision to them, but in doing so they altered the fundamental fabric of their universe without any consideration to the consequences, or what might happen to the people who relied on magic in their lives. It was a decision they deemed logical, but only when applied to their own perspectives.
So, it isn’t hard to see how that kind of unshakeable belief can easily become its own kind of dogma or internal corruption. The Green Lanterns have suffered repeatedly because of the mistakes the Guardians make. Yet they keep being placed in charge of the Corps, just after they fail. The most logical explanation for why is that the Lanterns simply don’t know who they would be without the Guardians. Their knowledge and guidance has always been a part of their organization, not to mention their power. Of course, the Corps has enjoyed Guardian-less periods, but it never lasts, and it always brings the ring-slingers back to the Little Blue Devils (as Green Arrow likes to call them).
The Guardians effused infallibility for so long that by the time others realize their decisions are flawed, it’s usually too too late, like with the Third Army or the Alpha Lanterns. Now, the Green Lantern Corps is on the brink of extinction (again) and a different set of Guardians are in charge. Maybe the time has come for the Lanterns to try governing themselves again, like Stewart and Jordan once intended. And they’re not alone.
DC’s newest Lantern, Jo Mullein, has already done a good job of coordinating the chaos left in the wake of the Central Battery’s destruction. John Stewart, the latest leader of the Corps, has always been a respected Lantern, with planetary military service. Based on all their combined abilities and experience, the Green Lanterns could restructure themselves into a ruling council like the Guardians, but perhaps with an elected body instead of an oligarchy; and one that lasts for more than 6 months. It would still cause the tension and drama we’d want in a story, but not keep going back to the same old mistakes. This would be Lanterns trusting in leadership they chose, rather than once again blindly putting their faith in the Guardians and their so-called infallibility. And then let that fail for a change!
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