With Green Lantern #5 talking about the creation of the Third Army to be led by the First Lantern and requests for information highlighting Green Lantern characters both old and new on the Podcast of Oa it seems like the perfect moment in time to launch a new feature on the Blog – Green Lantern 101. This new feature will take characters that we highlight on the podcast and present some of their history for people who are looking to find out more about the rich history behind the Green Lantern mythology. To start out there’s no better plan to begin that with the first Green Lantern, Rori Dag.
In the Silver Age the Green Lantern comics sometimes features a back up feature called “Tales of the Power Ring” and in 1969 issue 67 featured the story “The First Green Lantern” written by legendary writer Gardner Fox. Set in “ages past” on the planet Rojira, two sets of unique beings populated a planet on two land masses separated by volcanic barriers of molten lava.
One one side were the warlike Rulanns who resembled human sized starfish and were capable of regenerating body parts during cycles when their bodies would become paralyzed. Because they could not die from their fighting the Rulanns were perpetually frustrated never having tasted victory or defeat. One day a particular Rulann, Korad, mused while paralyzed that he could use the lava to destroy his enemies before they could regenerate, and upon emerging from his paralysis he began to explore the lava barriers until he discovered a pathway to the other side.
On the other side lived the simple humanoids called the Jirenn who lived in peace and harmony with nature, cultivating what they need from the land. Korad wanders into their village and kills one of the Jirenn, tasting victory for the first time and telepathically summoning his brethren to come an conquer the Jirenn.
One of the Jirenn, Rori Dag, emerges as a leader and encourages them to fight back by copying what Korad does. Locked in battle Korad easily overpowers Rori Dag and is about to kill him with he enters his paralysis and recovery cycle. Suddenly a Guardian appears and present Dag with a battery and ring and explains the yellow weakness and recharge time to him as well as the edict that the ring cannot be used to kill another being. Dag equates the green battery to a green lantern, leading to the Guardian deciding that this is a good name for the battery and Rori Dag and then departs.
Emerging from his paralysis Korad attacks anew and Rori Dag figures out how to defeat him without killing him by launching the Rulann with a catapult construct. Learning that the ring can make him fly, the first Green Lantern soars above his people and saves them by rebuilding the lava trench and returning the Rulann to their side of the barrier. The Guardian returns and rewards him with a symbol of his status as Green Lantern, a power battery insignia, on his green and black clothing which will be adopted to become the uniform for future Green Lanterns.
Post Green Lantern: Rebirth Rori Dag has continued to be a part of the Green Lantern mythology and his image appears in the Sinestro Corps War Secret Files special as a part of the crypts on Oa. During Blackest Night there is a scene of a large contingent of Black Lanterns emerging from the crypts and while the characters were not named one particular Black Lantern bore a striking resemblance to Rori Dag leading most to assume that it was indeed his body claimed by the forces of Nekron.
Today Rori Dag’s Sector 1234 is protected by another Jirenn, Rori Stroh, named after the legendary Rori Dag. By this time the ages have past and the Jirenn have become one of the most advanced races in the universe. In the same Secret Files issue Rori Stroh is among the members of the Corps who is given a biography which indicates that some of the original story of Rori Dag may have been altered, or perhaps there is more to the story than what was on the page back in 1969. Here the biography states that Rori Dag was one of the founding members of the Green Lantern Corps rather than THE first Green Lantern.
What remains to be seen is whether that has any bearing on the story of the First Lantern mentioned in Green Lantern #5.