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Comic Book / Wrath of the First Lantern

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Wrath of the First Lantern is the second Bat Family Crossover of the New 52 Green Lantern, and the final one written by Geoff Johns' run. Also, running from his start to his finish, this serves as a Grand Finale for Johns' work in making and working through the Myth Arc of modern Green Lantern comics since Green Lantern: Rebirth.

Immediately after being freed from captivity by the corrupt Guardians of the Universe, Volthoom, the entity who taught the Guardians about the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum to begin with and can manipulate it by himself without a Ring of Power, destroys the Third Army and attempts to remake reality as he wants it to be, beginning with demoralizing every Corps leader. The ensuing struggle pits every single Corps against the Guardians of the Universe and the First Lantern, including some rejuvenated enemies and allies, and serves to create a new status quo.

Wrath of the First Lantern provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: Volthoom declares this a couple times, even after he's been severed from the emotional spectrum.
  • Back for the Finale: Green Lantern #20 and how! Virtually every surviving character from throughout the Johns-era lends a hand — or in this case ring — in the final battle against Volthoom. Even Nekron makes an encore appearance thanks to a Black Lantern Hal. On a production level, many of the artists who worked on Green Lantern during the Geoff Johns-era return to lend a hand to artist Doug Mahnke for the finale.
  • Back from the Dead: Hal is resurrected as a Black Lantern in the finale.
  • Bald of Evil: Volthoom. Shows better once he's Brought Down to Normal.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Hal Jordan essentially summons Nekron to kill Volthoom in the finale. Absolutely no one objects to this, as Volthoom was a remorseless Reality Warper that could never be stopped or contained a second time.
  • Big Bad: Volthoom, overthrowing the Guardians of the Universe and destroying the Third Army to become the main threat in this series.
  • Book Ends:
    • Johns' run began with Hal's rebirth and it concludes with his second rebirth. It even gets lampshaded in the framing device.
    • Likewise, the finale closes out with a four page gatefold courtesy of Green Lantern: Rebirth artist Ethan Van Sciver. The Johns era began with his artwork and closes with it.
  • Brick Joke: Green Lantern #20 finally pays off the long running joke of no one (characters and readers alike) knowing what the Orange Lantern oath is.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Volthoom, courtesy of Black Lantern Hal Jordan and Nekron.
  • The Bus Came Back: After years of non-appearance, G'nort shows up after to help fight Volthoom.
  • Cavalry of the Dead: The Indigo Lanterns channel the black ring energy in order to bring forth an Army from the Dead Zone composed of Volthoom's victims, with Hal Jordon at the head!
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Volthoom is this trope for the Guardians. Both wished to remake the universe in their own egotistical image, but while the Guardians despised emotions and tried to annihilate free will, Volthoom revels in emotions as they feed his power and uses his understanding of emotion to mentally torture the protagonists in ways the Guardians couldn't imagine.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In Green Lantern #20, Hal Jordan willingly becomes a Black Lantern, but remains heroic through his re-admission to the Green Lantern Corps.
  • Distant Finale/Framing Device: Green Lantern #20 is told from the perspective of a young Lantern being told the story of the fall of Volthoom and the Guardians by an elder, in the vein of Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? or Whatever Happened to The Caped Crusader?.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In Green Lantern #19, Volthoom regains enough power to destroy Sinestro's home planet, Korugar.
  • Emotion Eater: Volthoom regains his strength by feeding off the emotions of the Lanterns when he shows them their alternate lives. He finds despair the most delicious. Plays into the finale where Black Lantern Hal uses the previously established abilities of a Black power ring to drain Volthoom's connection to the emotional spectrum.
  • Eviler than Thou: Volthoom's first act is to take back the piece of his power used to make the Third Army, destroying them.
  • Fanservice: Out of all the mindgames that the various Lanterns are forced into by Volthoom, only in John Stewart's and Fatality's were the hard-light costumes removed; not to mention the R-rated scene the two have in the epilogue.
  • Foregone Conclusion: the Distant Finale is actually a Framing Device about a newly-inducted Green Lantern asking about the story of the struggle of all the Lanterns before the story flashes back to the final battle against Volthoom.
  • Friendly Enemy: Sinestro and Hal Jordan:
    Hal Jordan: Were we ever truly friends?
    Sinestro: That's the tragedy of all of this, Jordan. Hal. We'll always be friends.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: In the Green Lantern Corps epilogue, John Stewart and Fatality make love while on Mogo.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In Green Lantern 19 and 20, Hal Jordan kills himself to become a Black Lantern and escape the Dead Zone as Nekron's anchor to the mortal realm, then summons the being himself to kill Volthoom. If this had gone badly, another Blackest Night could have occurred.
  • Grand Finale: For Geoff Johns' work on Green Lantern.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Volthoom proves to be adept at this trope, combining it with his reality warping powers to dissect the lives of his victims and point out their worst failures or create what-if scenarios showing how much better or worse their life could be if they acted differently.
  • Heroic Willpower: Aside from the usual from the Green Lanterns, we have an example that goes up to eleven: Black Lantern Hal Jordan manages to summon enough willpower to not only remain heroic despite being a member of the Black Lanterns, but also hijack Nekron for the final blow on Volthoom.
  • Humiliation Conga: Within the larger context of Johns' narrative, arguably Nekron in the finale. Blackest Night didn't fulfill his grand master plan and Brightest Day only strengthened life against any future campaigns. And now, at the close of Johns' run, he's forced to fight on behalf of the living. That this order comes courtesy of the Earth Lantern who helped beat him — and even worse is now one of his Black Lanterns — surely doesn't help.
  • I Lied: Volthoom offers Kyle a choice of realities to live in and promptly takes it back when Kyle chooses one where Alex is still alive.
  • Immediate Sequel: Kicks off right after Rise of the Third Army.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When Volthoom destroys the Third Army, he notes that it never really mattered. The comment lampshades the fact that the Army was nothing more than a plot device to set up the First Lantern's introduction.
    • G'Nort's entry to the Grand Finale, his first in the New 52, is noted with how it was "about time" he showed up, but it was better late than never.
  • Mirror Character:
    • While it's not acknowledged in the finale, Sinestro and Atrocitus are now quite alike following Korugar's destruction. Both men have lost their homeworlds to the stupidity, evil, and insanity set in motion by the Guardians..
    • Likewise, Sinestro's role in the destruction of Korugar is not unlike John Stewart's role in the destruction of Xanshi. If both men hadn't been so egotistical and intent on ending the crisis by themselves, then both worlds might have been saved.
    • There is also the comparison between Sinestro & Kilowog. They both loved their worlds & their people, but would later lose both to Sinestro's own vanity: Kilowog when Sinestro destroyed the new Bolovax Vik to try to destroy the Lanterns on it, and Sinestro who refused help against the First Lantern. Both events lead to major events in Sinestro's life as well: after destroying Bolovax Vik, Sinestro was tried and killed by the Corps, only for his soul to enter the Power Battery & meet the Parallax entity; and after Korugar's loss, Sinestro bonds with Parallax & kills most of the Guardians, and leaves for unknown space.
  • Morton's Fork: If the Corps don't kill Volthoom, then he'll re-write space-time in his image and wipe out life as they know it. But they can't kill him because he's bonded to the white light of creation and the released energies would wipe out all life anyway. It gets averted when Black Lantern Hal is able to drain his connection to the spectrum using a Black Power Ring — thus softening Volthoom up for the kill.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: the Guardians themselves regarding their horrific acts after Volthoom gives them emotions.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain
    • Volthoom puts the prominent multi-colored Lanterns through emotional hell in order to harvest their despair. This, quite understandably, ends up pissing off everyone and brings all the Corps into the final stand above Oa.
    • Likewise, Volthoom blowing up Korugar really pisses off Sinestro and leads to him siccing Parallax and his Corps on the First Lantern.
  • No Body Left Behind: When Black Hand's Black Lantern ring abandons him to go to Hal Jordan, his body disintegrates into dust.
  • Post-Final Boss:
    • Once Volthoom is defeated, Hal has one more battle, against Sinestro, who wants to murder the Guardians. However, Hal wasn't trying to save the Guardians, he was actually trying to prevent Sinestro from crossing another line.
    • Guy still has a little score to settle with Xar, the escaped criminal who cost Guy his first mission as a Lantern Sentinel as well as the new recruits under his wing (actually a setup by the Guardians). Guy obliterates the bastard just before he could kill Guy's family.
  • Reality Warper: Volthoom, when he is at full strength. When he's not, he can show how peoples' lives would be if their past took a different turn. This is actually a plot point, as his imprisonment by the Guardians weakened him to the point he needed to go around finding emotionally diverse victims to charge him back up before he could remake the world in his image.
  • The Reveal: On a light note, Larfleeze's oath is finally mentioned in Green Lantern 20. It's as silly as one might think.
  • Sequel Hook: Simon Baz's section in the epilogue continues into Justice League of America and Trinity War.
    • Likewise, Volthoom's ring returning to his Earth following his death. This thread continues into Forever Evil (2013).
  • So Proud of You: Hal runs into the spirit of his father Martin, who tells him that he and Hal's mother are proud of him.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The eventual killer of Volthoom? Nekron, who is summoned and controlled by Hal Jordan, the Greatest Black Lantern.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth:
    • Volthoom tries to feed off of Larfleeze's emotions when he shows him how his life would be with his family back. Larfleeze is too greedy and resistant for it to work and Volthoom just gives up and leaves him alone.
    • After first appearing to be the easiest to placate, Saint Walker turns the tables with a combination of willpower and hope, appearing to break free from the visions. This leaves a shocked Volthoom to muse that he underestimated Saint Walker - and he wagers he wasn't the first to do so.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: It's even lampshaded that the only way this epic could end would be a showdown between Sinestro and Hal Jordan. And then subverted when they fight for a few panels before parting in sort-of friendship.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Hal drains the entire emotional spectrum out of Volthoom, rendering him Brought Down to Normal, he panics before his death.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sinestro admits this about Hal after the battle.
  • Was Once a Man: Volthoom was once a human being, before he got too close to the energies being put into the eponymous First Lantern, the Great Heart, and absorbed the energies. In the end, he is returned to that same state.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: In Green Lantern 20, Mogo is used as a channeling tool for the energy of all of the Corps, which is then fired directly at Volthoom in a beam, in a kind of inverted Death Star.
  • Wham Line: Revealing Hal Jordan's plan in Green Lantern 20.
    Hal Jordan: Nekron. RISE.
  • What Could Have Been: In-Universe, Volthoom uses this extensively to determine ways to push Lanterns to despair to fuel his powers, showing them how their lives could have been, For Want Of A Nail.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Given the Distant Finale Framing Device of Green Lantern #20, this is used extensively in the end to discuss how various characters ended up.
    • Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris married and had a son named Martin, living to see grandchildren in their old age.
    • Kyle Rayner chooses to use his White Lantern abilities to help those in need, becoming a healer known across the universe.
    • Guy Gardner becomes a old man, shown getting into bar fights and hitting on space furries as a gray-haired veteran.
    • John Stewart marries Fatality and becomes a U.S. Senator.
    • Simon Baz retains his position as a Green Lantern of Earth, and later takes a new Earth Lantern under his wing; Jessica Cruz: the first human woman to wield a green ring.
    • Larfleeze is reunited with his family, giving up all his treasured possessions for them. Old habits die hard, however, and he does continue his thieving ways and start building a new hoard.
    • Saint Walker gains a family, and the Blue Lanterns thrive with membership rivaling the Green Lantern Corps.
    • Atrocitus continues to lead the Red Lanterns in their quest to avenge the wrongs of the universe, though he does it with the knowledge that he'll never truly be free of the pain of the past, and its implied he's made his peace with that.
    • Iroque eventually decides to remove her ring, but maintains her compassion and kindness, becoming the "most generous and loving being in the universe".
    • Sinestro eventually returns from his self-imposed exile and rejoins the Corps as the Keeper of the Book of Oa.
  • Willing Channeler: Twice in Green Lantern #20. Sinestro frees Parallax from the Yellow Power Battery so he can utilize his powers. He does, and keeps control of himself. Hal also becomes a Black Lantern specifically to return from the Dead Zone and summon Nekron to kill Volthoom.
    • Hijacking Cthulhu: Both examples result in this. Well aware of what Parallax is and a master of Yellow Energy, Sinestro manages it easier than Hal, who has to use his Heroic Willpower to overcome Nekron's control.