The character of Salaak has been present in the Green Lantern mythology for over the last thirty years and like many characters has seen his story change and his role within the Green Lantern Corps change over time. Originally created as an antagonist for Hal Jordan within the Corps, Salaak became one of the most revered and important members, becoming the second in command of the Corps. Like so many member of the Corps his story is one of inner strength and triumph.
Salaak first appeared in Green Lantern #149 (Volume 2) in 1982 as a creation of Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton. He was a foil within the Green Lantern Corps for Hal Jordan and it’s there that his characteristic pessimism and gruff exterior began. His role was a minor one and his questioning of Hal’s actions served as a catalyst for Arisia’s already blooming infatuation with the Earth man. His significance within the Corps was so minor in those days that it wasn’t uncommon to see his name spelled incorrectly as Sallak or Salakk and often more than one variation in any given issue. In fact for year’s his name was spelled Salakk almost all of the time and it even appeared that way when the Corps was relaunched during the “Green Lantern Corps: Recharge” mini-series. As he became a more regularly used character he put aside his dislike for Hal Jordan after fighting alongside him against many threats to galactic peace.
Crisis and the Destruction of the Corps –
During the Crisis on Infinite Earths Salaak played a role in protecting several sectors for the Green Lantern Corps but he emerged from the experience with an even blearier outlook on life. Shortly after the Crisis the Guardians left the universe with their former partners, the Zamarons, who had gone on to create the Star Sapphires after they had parted with their mates eons before.
Salaak became one of a contingent of Green Lanterns based on Earth in the wake of the departure of the Guardians and his loneliness led to a close friendship with Ch’p, the squirrel-like Green Lantern of Sector 1014. But at one point Salaak disappeared into the future to take on the guise of Pol Manning as a replacement for Hal Jordan.
Pol Manning was the Solar Director in the 57th Century, and to make a convoluted story easier to follow, he needed to be replaced for the stability of the future. Previously the other leaders used time travel to pluck an exceptional person from Earth’s past, Hal Jordan, mind controlled him and disguised him as their own missing leader. Now the effects of sending the human back and forth through time caused damage to him and the leaders of the 57th Century needed a new Pol Manning – and Salaak was the one chosen.
Eventually Salaak’s mind is freed but he chooses to remain in the future married to his human wife. However one day Salaak noticed that there were no Green Lanterns in his time and upon venturing to Oa he shockingly learned that the Corps had been dismantled when the central power battery was destroyed in the 20th Century. Leaving his wife behind Salaak arrives back in the present day too late, the Green Lanterns have sentenced Sinestro to death and the events that unfold lead to the battery’s destruction. With that Salaak and almost all of the Green Lantern Corp remain powerless and he joined his friend Ch’p to live out the rest of his days as his advisor in the last issue of volume two of Green Lantern, issue 224, which had been named The Green Lantern Corps since issue 201.
The Return of Corps and the Rise of Parallax –
Both Ch’p and Salaak rejoined the Corps when is was reformed, however Salaak lost his best friend when the small being was hit by a yellow tractor trailer on the Mosaic World (Green Lantern: Mosaic #2). While Salaak remained in the Corps he again became more of a background character and when Hal Jordan entered the central power battery on Oa during “Emerald Twilight” Salaak become one of the many Green Lanterns left without a power ring. Salaak and a number of other former Green Lanterns were captured and later freed by Guy Gardner, whose newly discovered alien heritage granted him new abilities (Guy Gardner: Warrior #35).
The Keeper of the Book and Clarissi of the Corps –
Following the defeat of Parallax the Green Lantern Corps is again reactivated and this time Salaak finds himself in a far greater role serving the Guardians as their administrative liaison and the Keeper of the Book of Oa (Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1). While this new role keeps Salaak on Oa he has found himself taking action in major events like the Sinestro Corp Wars and Blackest Night when he took command of the Green Lantern Corps as the Clarissi, stopping the Alpha Lanterns from assuming control when the Guardians became incapacitated.
While Salaak sometimes disagrees with some of the Guardians’ decisions, particularly when they have rewritten the Book of Oa, he always maintains his composure and never oversteps his position even when the Guardians have withheld key information from him. Only time will tell if Salaak will continue to be passive when dealing with the decision making of the Guardians in light of their recent statements regarding the Corps and the coming of the Third Army.