I have been doing this so long that I have, on rare occasions, almost published the same character twice. I have caught myself when that happens, but then there’s today’s entry. And, quite honestly, I am surprised it took me this long to get to Larfleeze. I was sure I had done this one, but after checking multiple times, I can’t find him. Sure, I may have missed him, but the Gabbing Geek search function doesn’t bring him up and looking over the published list doesn’t seem to show him anywhere.
So, how I missed this one I don’t know, but here’s the character sometimes called “Agent Orange”.
During Geoff Johns’s long run on various Green Lantern comics, I can honestly say I liked some of the things he did and not others. On the whole, I liked most of it. But when I didn’t like it, I really didn’t like it. The Sinestro Corps War? That was awesome. Hal Jordan’s return that tried to make him out to be some kind of Jesus-figure? Didn’t like it. Blackest Night in concept? Really cool idea. Blackest Night in execution? It started strong before it really crapped the bed in the end. But then there was the Emotional Spectrum, the idea that different emotions felt by sentient beings throughout the universe manifested in the form of different colors that could be harnessed into various rings, allowing for multiple Lantern Corps. That I think might be the biggest legacy of Johns’s time in that corner of the DC Universe. There had always been a Green Lantern, and green was said to be at the center of the spectrum, representing willpower.
Yes, “willpower” isn’t an emotion, but I personally read it as “courage”.
The idea from there was the further the color went from the center of the spectrum, namely green, the more the color warped the welder away from whatever he or she really was. So, yellow (fear) and blue (hope) didn’t do much to the welder while red (rage) and violet (romantic love) basically made the welder more or less a slave to the ring with the exception of one or two really strong welders like Carol Ferris for the Star Sapphires and Atrocitus for the Red Lanterns. Between those two were indigo (compassion) and orange (avarice). Now, the Indigo Tribe are kinda unique among the different Corps, but that may be for another day. Instead, I’m here this time to cover the Orange Lanterns.
There was only one of them. Sort of. His name is Larfleeze.
See, it does make a certain amount of sense that there would be only one Orange Lantern. To create a Lantern Corps, the founder would need to share the power with other welders, and if this the light is about greed, the last thing the lone welder is going to do is share.
That leads to how Larfleeze got the Orange Lantern in the first place. He wasn’t a very bright guy to begin with, but he was part of a guild of thieves that manages to steal a bunch of stuff from the planet Maltus. That included a box and a map. They followed the map to the Vega System and found a temple on a deserted planet, inside of which was an orange lantern that seemed to speak to all of the thieves. As such, they started to fight over it, with two, Larfleeze and another guy, each grabbing the lantern by the handle and fighting over it, giving off big blasts of energy and gaining the attention of the Guardians of the Universe. They, with their Manhunters, tried to do something about it. It did not go well at all. Any Manhunters or Guardians that got anywhere near the fight were incinerated, so instead, they made a deal. The Guardians would let the survivor of the fight have the lantern and they would stay out of the Vega System, but they would be taking the box back with them. The box may or may not have included the Fear Entity Paralax. The last two thieves agreed to it with Larfleeze eventually winning the fight.
That was billions of years in the past. Yes, he’s still around. Sometimes known as “Agent Orange,” Larfleeze may be the most powerful Lantern in the universe because, you know, he doesn’t split his power to other ring-welders. That said, he does still have a Lantern Corps. They’re just all light constructs. Oh, and if you die fighting one, your identity is “stolen” and you come back as another Orange Lantern.
After the Sinestro Corps War, with Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns aware that other Lantern Corps could exist, it did seem to spark an arms race for powerful entities to try to make their own Corps. For the Guardians’ “cousins” the Controllers, they opted for the Orange Light. They never came back. In fact, Larfleeze accused the Guardians of breaking their promise because he wasn’t very bright or attentive and didn’t care that the Controllers and the Guardians were different beings. A group of Green Lanterns were sent to confront Larfleeze directly, during which Hal did temporarily wrestle the orange lantern away from Larfleeze. Hal then heard a voice in his head chant “mine mine mine” over and over again as he too started to fall to greed. Hal managed to hit back harder as he also had a blue power ring, one that supercharged his own green ring. The Guardians then struck a new deal with Larfleeze for the location of the Blue Lantern Corps, and that was that for a little while at least as Larfleeze’s attempts to steal the Blue Lanterns’ central power battery failed miserably. That was because Blackest Night struck and Black Lantern rings rained down around Larfleeze’s sanctuary. That was when the Black Lantern Corps appeared, and they were essentially reanimated corpses since that’s about all the Black Lantern Corps essentially was. Surrounded by former victims, none of which he could destroy, Larfleeze wanted something new: help.
That was a good thing. The only way to defeat them was to unite the Lantern Corps, and that meant Hal, Sinestro, Carol, and Atrocitus, among others, had to travel to Larfleeze’s planet and recruit him. He agreed to go if he got one of the two free Guardians of his own (see pic), and he really didn’t like it when Ganthet the Guardian created back-up Lanterns for each Corps, giving Lex Luthor an orange power ring and temporarily making him the second Orange Lantern.
Larfleeze took it back before too long. He isn’t a good teammate.
Larfleeze would stick around for the New 52, during which he and the other top Lanterns would do a couple more team-ups and one of his construct-Lanterns would join forces with Kyle Rayner while he was the universe’s only White Lantern, able to use all of the colors of the emotional spectrum as white light represented life but was actually kinda weak on its own. Heck, Larfleeze even got his own solo series, played largely for laughs, particularly when it came up he was actually a cousin to Green Lantern G’nort. He even appeared in one episode of a Green Lantern animated series and a number of DC video games.
Larfleeze did eventually give up that Guardian, and there were prophecies that he would be freed of the curse of the Orange Lantern when he eventually gave all his possessions away. Since then, he was teased as a master villain in a DC Rebirth series, but that seems to be about it for this guy.