A two-page spread in Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #52 showed us the origins of the entities that represent the seven lights of emotion, with another spread following that shows their final forms (the image seen above). We see that all seven of them began on Earth, which brings with it gigantic continuity errors (don’t worry, we’ll get to them). Their final forms also explain the symbols worn by their respective Corps.
The beginnings of the three currently named entities — Ion, Parallax, and the Predator — are explained quite specifically:
- Ion. After The Entity crashed into our universe, life began on Earth and slowly developed over the eons. The first lifeform that willed itself to move became Ion, born in the primordial seas.
- Parallax. As more life developed, so did the food chain. Bigger and stronger lifeforms chased down the smaller ones to consume them, and the little guys had to flee for their lives. The first being to feel fear was an insect, and it became Parallax.
- The Predator. This one is not as cut and dry as the others; all we see is a forest, a violet glint deep within the gloom, and the caption “As love ignites into existence, so does the Predator.” A natural assumption is that this means the first true love between humans, but bear in mind that the love entity’s name is the Predator; that denotes a predator/prey relationship, which was common amongst other animals long before humans evolved, and no humans are shown in the image, either.
The other four’s true names are not revealed, and their origins are somewhat murky. I’ll offer my theories based on the evidence presented:
- Avarice. A snake slithers around an apple tree, with the avarice symbol upon its head. The final form of the avarice creature is that same snake. However, the caption reads “As a creature eats what it does not need, avarice consumes all it touches.” The tree is clearly meant to be the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. However, according to Judeo-Christian mythology, the snake didn’t eat the forbidden fruit; Adam and Eve did. Also, the snake in the Garden of Eden is generally understood to be a manifestation of Satan. In the DC Universe, Satan is a completely different character! Satan is definitely not the embodiment of avarice, as he’s considerably more powerful than that, and the emotional embodiments are meant to be neither good nor evil. Of course, since no other creatures except the snake are shown in the image, perhaps in the DC Universe, the snake did eat the apple, and its greed increased after that.
- Rage. All we see for this one is a bloody rock upon the ground, with the caption “Rage grows from murder.” (Which doesn’t really make sense, as it should be the other way around: rage leads to murder.) It would appear that the rage entity is the biblical Cain, since mythology claims he committed the first murder. However, this conflicts with the portrayal of Cain seen in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which is also part of the DC Universe. At any rate, the final form of the rage entity looks like a mutated bull, not a person, so perhaps Cain murdering Abel just created a new being.
- Hope. We see a strong rainstorm bearing down on flooded ground, so it appears that the hope entity came about during the Great Flood present in many religious mythologies. The caption read “Hope from prayer,” implying that the birdlike embodiment of hope resulted from surviving humans praying when a deity nearly exterminated their species.
- Compassion. A space quadropus! This one had the most unclear origin at all; the image is just a blurred symbol with a starburst inside it, and the text “And at last, compassion is offered to us all.” I believe this was deliberately left vague. We know Abin Sur is involved with the formation of the Indigo Tribe down the line, and that story will likely appear in future issues.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of these beings in the years to come. Atrocitus wants to seek out the rage entity, and the aforementioned origin of the Indigo Tribe has yet to be explored.
Now…what about those continuity errors I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Trust me, these are big ones; in fact, they may be the biggest continuity errors in the history of DC Comics! Don’t believe me? Well, read on!
Blackest Night #7 showed us that all life sprang from Earth. Much of the planet’s early sentient life must have moved elsewhere before the evolution of humans, as there are many civilizations in the DC Universe that predate humanity by billions of years, including the Guardians. The Earth itself is only about four and a half billion years old, so some races must have evolved from muck to spacefaring sentients rather quickly!
Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #52 then reveals that the seven emotional entities sprang into existence the moment their respective emotions were first felt. Willpower came first in the primordial ocean, and that’s fine; it’s made clear that Ion was truly the first fully sentient lifeform created in this universe. Millennia later, the first being to feel fear becomes Parallax. Again, this fits in with established events just fine. With love, things get slightly more complicated. At first glance, you’d think that it was love between humans, but it can’t be, as humans hadn’t evolved yet. The love from which the Predator was borne must have been between beings that evolved and eventually left Earth.
When we look at the last four emotional entities, that’s where we really run into serious problems, and that’s where the continuity errors I’ve hyped up rear their ugly heads. The fact that strong emotions like love, avarice, rage, hope, and compassion are said to have first appeared ages apart from each other is pretty ridiculous. It makes no sense whatsoever, as these emotions are very closely tied to one another. More damning, though, is the human element.
Avarice, rage, hope, and compassion were all shown to have appeared after modern lifeforms had evolved on Earth. For example, a snake gets greedy and becomes the avarice entity. Larfleeze has been wielding the orange light of avarice for billions of years by himself, which means that the snake must have predated him by a considerable amount of time, as someone later on found the means to channel the avarice energies into a power battery (the Orange Lantern). The problem is that snakes evolved only about 150 million years ago! Further contradicting things is that the Garden of Eden was created between six and ten thousand years ago, according to Biblical mythology, so that clearly doesn’t work, either.
Rage came from murder, and that’s one of our lovely human qualities; animals don’t murder each other. The same goes for hope, as animals don’t pray, but humans do. Compassion’s the wildcard, but it was still clearly shown to have come after all of the others, so it’s implied that this was due to humanity as well. Why would that be such a problem? As I’ve previously stated, the DC Universe has consistently shown us other civilizations that have thrived for billions of years before humanity evolved. Are we honestly supposed to believe that no other race felt these emotions before humans did? Aside from being laughably ridiculous, it’s also false. The Maltusians, for example, were a deeply emotional people, and they were already an advanced society before they evolved into the Guardians…and the Guardians themselves have been active for billions of years!
You could argue that since no humans were shown during the origin sequence, then the emotions depicted therein aren’t necessarily a result of the human race. It could have been other races that evolved on Earth before humanity who felt avarice, rage, hope, and compassion first, right? Well, the imagery in Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #52 is clearly meant to evoke the Garden of Eden, the first murder, and the Great Flood from human mythology, and all of those events were very human-centric.
All of this could have been avoided if writer Geoff Johns had just done some basic research. He’s known for ignoring continuity when it comes to penning his stories, but it’s usually stuff from a decade or more in the past that he willfully violates. This time, the situation is much worse; not only is Johns contradicting current DC continuity, he’s directly contradicting his own work!