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Perhaps the most intriguing mystery coming out of the first story arcs in the Green Lantern titles is the coming of the Third Army and the return of the First Lantern.  Recently on the Podcast of Oa and in our new feature, Green Lantern 101, there was talk of the first Green Lantern, Rori Dag.  For several reasons the first Green Lantern is not likely to be the aforementioned First Lantern, but then again this is comics and one can never be too sure about anything.  So just who is the First Lantern if it’s not Rori Dag?  There are some fascinating clues that Geoff Johns has been sprinkling in the comics since issue 62 about this individual and piecing them together helps narrow down the likely scenarios. 
The first and most obvious choice for the First Lantern is indeed Rori Dag since that plays to the continuity that was established way back in 1969’s Green Lantern volume 2 issue 67.  Rori Dag’s role as the first Green Lantern has been alluded to several times throughout the Green Lantern mythology, but a few things lead to him being discounted as the First Lantern.  For one thing Rori Dag died and his body is included in the crypts of Oa and identified as resting there in the diagram of the crypts included in the Sinestro Corps Secret Files special.

While the circumstances of Rori Dag’s death remains a mystery and it wouldn’t be the first time someone we were led to believe were dead wasn’t, there are a couple of things which would make this quite a stretch.  The first is that Rori Dag appeared during Blackest Night as one of the Green Lanterns turned into a Black Lantern, or at least someone who bears a striking resemblance to Dag did, but the likelihood is very slim that he is to be the leader of the Third Army.

Rori Dag is likely to stay dead.

What is really the last nail in Dag’s coffin is something that we’ve learned since Blackest Night, and that’s the fact that there were indeed two other beings harnessing the power of will before him – Krona and the First Lantern.  During the War of the Green Lanterns the four Earth Lanterns discover a secret chamber that houses several artifacts, one of which is a will powered gauntlet that we previously saw Krona use in a flashback sequence in Green Lantern number 63.  While we’re led to believe that Krona forged the gauntlet, the inscription on the display case indicates something different; that the gauntlet originally belonged to the First Lantern – note that this person isn’t called the first Green Lantern which leaves our Silver Age continuity intact.

In Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #9 we learn the true origin of the will gauntlet.
This sense of time placement is reinforced by a another panel from the comics and reveals that someone harnessed the power of will before Krona and before the birth of the Green Lantern Corps.  The Guardians in this panel give us the historical order of the failure of their greatest champions putting the First Lantern directly in front of Krona.
A scene from Green Lantern #64
Clearly this is not Rori Dag unless there is a far different story being told, and I personally doubt that.  We also know that, according to Krona, the Guardians betrayed the First Lantern for some reason, and I would  say that this betrayal is detaining him or her in the Chamber of Shadows as mentioned in Green Lantern #5.  
A climatic scene from Green Lantern #67 where Krona lists the Guardians’ mistakes, indicating a betrayal of the First Lantern.
A key image from Green Lantern #62

There’s also some key information to be gleaned from two more panels from Green Lantern #62 which provide some interesting information for us to consider.

First there is a flashback image of Ganthet and Krona in the days before Krona’s research into the nature of the emotional spectrum.  Both Maltusans are in a room of some sort in front of a hooded being in chains.   Ganthet proclaims that the being is far too dangerous to be let loose while Krona begs to differ saying that the captive could teach them about the emotional entities rather than being left there.  Notice that here, and in the other flashback that opens the same issue the Guardians wear the insignia of the White Lantern on their robes.  Later in the issue when they confront Krona they still wear the White Lantern logo, but they have evolved and no longer have the same height they had earlier, indicating that significant time has passed.

So we know that there is someone chained up somewhere on Oa that knew more about the emotional spectrum and that this being’s knowledge may well be what pushed Krona down the path that led him to his destiny.  We also know that the Guardians had been doing something with the white light for an untold number of years during which time they evolved into the diminutive beings we know today and eventually chose to focus on the power of Will.  I’m going to say that the person in chains we see here is indeed the First Lantern and that the will gauntlet was one of perhaps several that he or she created – perhaps one for each color as each emotion was being studied.

This leads me to one other image from Green Lantern #62 that I think we’re going to see again in the near future.  Take a look:

Hal’s vision from Green Lantern #62

This is one of the visions that Hal Jordan has when he is blasted by Krona just prior to the War of the Green Lanterns.  We see the Guardians in a very similar location to the one from the flashback image of Ganthet and Krona, albeit one that’s in far worse shape.  When this issue came out everyone including myself paid particular attention to the line from Ganthet about the loss of the one of the Earth Lanterns assuming that one of them would die in the story.

What I believe is that this event takes place in the near future and we have lost one of the four Earth Lanterns, Kyle Rayner, who was basically kicked out of the Corps in Green Lantern: New Guardians #4.  This is same being who was imprisoned eons before in the very same location which we will come to know as the Chamber of Shadows, now the worse for wear after all these years.  Hal is now the most dangerous because of his ability to kill Krona, his ability to wield several of the different rings, and then there’s the matter of his body possibly being altered by his experience in Sinestro’s power battery in Green Lantern #4.

So in my opinion the First Lantern will have been this person who predated Krona in his or her ability to harness the emotional spectrum and was able to create weapons that could channel their various energies.  This will be someone completely new to the Green Lantern mythology, but whose story and revelations his or her emergence will cause will likely change what we know about the origins of the all of the corps of the emotional spectrum.

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