I’ve mentioned the “Blue Lanterns” that have appeared in WildStorm comics once or twice, and I figured it was high time that I got off my ass and went into more detail about them, since many readers may be unaware that they even existed.
Believe it or not, the Blue Lanterns did not first appear in Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #25, as most are wont to believe. The actually appeared nearly a decade earlier in a few WildStorm comic books: namely, Stormwatch, The Authority, and Planetary. Alright, alright, I’ll grant that these are Blue Lanterns from a separate universe, designated Earth-50 for you DC Multiverse nerds out there. The concept is still the same, however, and with good reason. Writer Warren Ellis specifically created them as an analogue to the Green Lanterns, and you’ll see exactly why in just a few moments.
First of all, before we encountered the rest of WildStorm’s Blue Lanterns, we met a superhero named Lamplight. He made his first appearance in Stormwatch (Vol. 2) #4, released in early 1998; and as you can see, he’s got a big blue lantern embedded in his chest.
Lamplight was part of a team of heroes created by that bastard Henry Bendix, along with the well-known Apollo and the Midnighter. His powers were different than those of the later DC Universe Blue Lanterns, but he was certainly no slouch: Lamplight could create energy constructs of the spirits of the dead to help him!
“Come forth, my stereotypical immigrants! Dig for me!”
This is similar to what Larfleeze can do, but Lamplight is obviously more selfless. Sadly, this Blue Lantern did not survive his first mission, and was horribly burned to death along with most of his other teammates. (Apollo and the Midnighter were the only survivors.)
So where did that blue lantern in Lamplight’s chest come from? Well, that question was answered in 2000, when Planetary #10 hit shelves. This issue featured analogues of legendary DC Comics heroes: Superman, Wonder Woman, and of course, Green Lantern. It was revealed that the WildStorm Universe has its own corps of “space policemen,” representing hundreds of different races and bringing the promise of finer worlds across the cosmos.
The group’s leader is clearly a Guardian knockoff, right down to the red vestments! Anyway, this issue features the leader inducting a new member, and bestowed upon him a powerful blue lantern as his badge of office.
“Be the light in blackest night.” Just making sure we’re driving the point home.
Much like his successor Lamplight, this guy unfortunately didn’t last long. While he was passing through the Solar System, the rookie space cop was shot down near Jupiter’s Great Red Spot as per the orders of Dr. Randall Dowling. The villainous leader of the Four interrogated and executed the alien, then strapped his corpse to an operating table.
What’s that you’ve got on your face?
Dowling managed to surgically remove the blue lantern, and contacted Henry Bendix. The then-leader of Stormwatch was obviously interested in the mind-controlled weapon for his own nefarious ends, so he reverse engineered the technology, ultimately using it to create Lamplight.
But wait: there’s more! Later that year…Lamplight returned from the grave as the WildStorm equivalent of a Black Lantern!
Undead vengeance, that is.
Here, the hellishly resurrected Lamplight was able to fire directed energy beams from his chest and change their direction at his whim. Of course, the Midnighter still took the zombie down and destroyed him by ripping out his lantern.
It’s a shame that Geoff Johns didn’t use the WildStorm Blue Lanterns in his “emotional spectrum” model, as they certainly would’ve fit in just fine. I’m sure Johns was at least aware of Planetary. Since DC Comics owns the now-defunct WildStorm and its characters, there wouldn’t have been any red tape to cut through. These Blue Lanterns have a rich history of their own just begging to be explored.
At the very least, there’s a story to be told about the space policeman that Dowling murdered. Don’t you think his fellow officers would come and investigate his disappearance?