Epic Showdown: Green Lantern Corps vs the Nova Corps
What if the galaxy had a police force that could protect it? What if it had a group of extremely powerful creatures and beings who could do practically anything to keep law and order? And what if that group were as disciplined and effective as a military force?
The galaxy would be a pretty safe place, wouldn’t it?
Often drawing comparisons to DC’s Green Lantern Corps, Marvel’s Nova Corps is also an intergalactic police force created to keep peace in the galaxy. Because the Green Lantern Corps debuted long before the Nova’s and the way in which they each operate is eerily similar, comic book purists have accused Marvel of copying DC.
This, as I’m sure you’re aware, isn’t the first time in their history that Marvel has been accused of copying DC. However, aside from Black Cat and Catwoman, it might be the most obvious.
Or is it? I ask, are the Nova Corps an actual copy of the Green Lantern Corps? Is there even a reason to pit the Green Lantern Corps vs the Nova Corps
I’ve thought about this long and hard for years. Although it’s inevitable, it’s bothered me that the two companies and their properties are always being compared to one another. To me, the two are like a dog and a cat. Both can do pretty much exactly the same things and both make great pets, but at the end of the day, one is a dog and the other a cat.
So, to help figure things out, I decided to write my thoughts down. But before I get to those…
The Green Lanterns are the creation of John Broome and Gil Kane. They made their debut in 1959 and have patrolled the galaxies since. Similar to the Nova Corps, the Green Lanterns have tremendous power and use their power to keep peace and understanding in the DC Cosmic Universe.
The Green Lantern’s called Oa home and Oa is home to the Guardians of the Universe. The Guardians of the Universe, even though they don’t necessarily conjure up images of power, are a group of immortal beings who have been around since the beginning of time. After the Guardians of the Universe became wise to the notion of Evil, they created the Green Lanterns.
If you’re confused, let me explain.
At the dawn of time and on the planet Maltus, lived a group of multi-celled organisms who began to interact with the other beings on the planet. Their interaction caused the planet’s inhabitants, if we can call them that, to grow into humanoid creatures. These creatures established colonies and made dramatic advancements in both science and technology.
Sadly, a plague like devastation hit Maltus and wiped out any who resided in its cities. All was not lost, however, as the plague did not affect those who lived outside of the cities. Now without a home, a few scientists left the devastation and found a group of women who had somehow survived the plague.
The group survived because the plague was triggered by men. Because the women had no contact with men, it remained dormant and was never triggered.
Due to the interaction between women and men triggered the plague, the scientists set out to create genetically engineered children. As the years passed, the methods of engineering children became more advanced. This was so much that the children who were being born were born immortal. With immortality achieved, the scientists stopped creating children.
Most in the race were satisfied with this decision. Krona (a brilliant scientist), however, was not. He understood that the race could, with more time and understanding, see the Origin of the Universe. Fuelled by his desire for more, he went rogue and set out seeking the Origin of the Universe. Unfortunately, while doing this he also inadvertently created evil.
With the appearance of evil, the Maltusians left their world for Oa. Once there and in an effort to curb evil, they created the Manhunters. The Manhunters, for all they were supposed to stand for, were flawed and, to the disappointment of the Maltusians, began to malfunction. Their malfunctioning caused the Maltusians to use the Central Battery to create the Green Power Rings.
Becoming a Green Lantern is a true honor. To become one means that you have been chosen by the Ring of a deceased Lantern. This means that when a Lantern dies, its ring leaves the wearers finger and seeks out a new owner. But the Ring doesn’t just choose anyone. Being a Green Lantern means that whomever it chose must possess an indomitable will, be able to overcome fear, and do whatever it takes to uphold the Oath of the Green Lantern’s.
Speaking of the Oath…
“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power–Green Lantern’s light!”
The Power Ring that each member wears grants the user incredible abilities. Most widely known of the abilities is that the Ring allows the user to create anything they can imagine. In addition to that, it gives the wearer flight, acts as a universal translator, offers a degree of protection in the harshest of environments, and so much more.
As for the Nova Corps…
The Nova Corps first appeared in Fantastic Four #205 back in 1979 and are the creation of Marv Wolfman. But they appeared only after their most famous member, Richard Rider. He first appeared in The Man Called Nova #1 in 1976.
As I already eluded to, the Nova Corps i an intergalactic police force created to keep law and order throughout the galaxies. Their base of operations sits on the planet Xandar and although the planet has been decimated on more than one occasion, it contains one of the most powerful computers in the Universe, the Worldmind.
The original Nova Corps consisted of approximately 500 soldiers. Within the 500 soldiers, were ranks raging from Corpsman to Centurions. Leading all members of the Nova Corps is Nova Prime. Just below the high ranking Centurions lie the Denarians. The Denarians outrank the Millennians, who outrank the Corpsmen. A Nova’s rank is easily identified by the number of stars on their chest and how detailed their helmets are.
Richard Rider, the most famous Nova, for example, began as a Centurion after Rhomann Dey selected him as his replacement. Over time, and through mass destruction, Rider became the last of the Nova’s and was given the full power of the Nova Force and the entirety of the Worldmind.
But before we get to the Worldmind…
The home of the Nova Corps, Xandar, is a planet from deep within the Andromeda System. Along with being the home to the Nova Corps, it’s also the home to both Firelord and Air-Walker. For reference, Firelord and Air-Walker both served time as Heralds of Galactus.
Xandar is also home to the Xandarian Worldmind. As mentioned, the Worldmind is a supercomputer and it’s located deep within the core of the planet. The Worldmind is made up of the collective memories and knowledge of the deceased Xandarian people and the Nova Corps. The Worldmind is responsible for powering the Nova Corps through the Nova Force. Each member of the Corps receives an amount of power based on their rank.
The symbol on the chest of a Nova Corps pays homage to the suns that power the planet. Within the Andromeda Galaxy lie three suns, each of which, as mentioned, power Xandar. As a tribute to that which gives them life, the uniform that the Nova Corps wears contains up to three suns, with each sun representing a rank.
As you can see, the origins of the two groups are drastically different. If we were to base Marvel’s copying on that alone, it’s pretty obvious that they haven’t copied DC. But that would make for a sad article so we’re not going to base it solely on their origins.
Green Lantern Corps vs The Nova Corps – Driving Force
The Green Lanterns and all Lantern groups for that matter are based on the Emotional Spectrum. And the Emotional Spectrum gives the characters a level of depth that the Nova’s don’t have. In case you’re wondering what the Emotional Spectrum and various Lantern Corps represents…
- Red – Rage
- Orange – Avarice
- Yellow – Fear
- Green – Will
- Blue – Hope
- Indigo – Compassion
- Violet – Love
- Black – Death
- White – Life
Over the last couple of years a new level to the Emotional Spectrum has been introduced (Ultraviolet) but for the purposes of this, I won’t go into it.
Creating a group of individuals around natural emotions is a great way to create relatability. What makes the Lantern Groups so unique in comparison to the Nova Corps, is that each group allows the reader to envision themselves in it. Some, like myself, are filled with Hope so my natural tendency is to relate to the Blue Lanterns. Others may find themselves angry so they relate to the Red Lanterns. The creation of the Emotional Spectrum was an extremely intelligent move by DC and one that has paid off tremendously.
It, however, isn’t without its flaws.
One of the largest drawbacks in classifying an individual to a specific group is that it has the potential to create an argument. I’ll use myself once again as an example. Although I relate most to the Blue Lanterns, this doesn’t mean that I don’t get angry, lack compassion or love. It’s quite the opposite. I do feel all the emotions on the Spectrum. But based on the Emotional Spectrum, I am only a Blue Lantern and therefore not a Red, Orange, Violet, or Green one.
So, while the Emotional Spectrum is a really good idea, it is inherently flawed.
Unlike the Lanterns who are driven by various emotions, the Nova Corps are driven by the definition of right and wrong in the eyes of the law. They are not driven by something ambiguous, nor are they driven by their own personal feelings. The Nova’s are driven by a set of standards and guidelines written to keep order and each is held accountable against them.
From a purely judicial standpoint, the ways of the Nova Corps should be flawless. It’s Right vs Wrong. Good vs Evil. Police Officer vs Criminal. There shouldn’t be a grey area in which any member can operate within. The laws are the laws and as they say, they are very black and white.
However, you and I both know that the judicial system is flawed and as such, so are the Nova Corps. As history has shown, the Nova Corps operate on a frail foundation that has, on more than one occasion, been toppled.
Just look at Garthan Saal.
After Nebula decimated Xandar, Garthan Saal was given the near-entirety of the Nova Force. What should’ve been seen as the saving of the Nova’s, became one of the worst days in their history.
The Nova Force caused Garthan Saal to be driven mad with both power and grief. When he confronted the Avengers, who he thought gave aid to Nebula, they asked him to search the time stream. He learned that the attack on Xandar was actually the criminal Ravonna dressed as Nebula. This, unfortunately, didn’t do anything to change who he now was. A short time later, he confronted Richard Rider, drained him of all his power, and almost killed him.
Corruption, much in the same way it lies in our judicial systems, can and does lie within the Nova Corps. As such, the Nova Corps are also inherently flawed.
Let’s double back to the accusation that Marvel copies DC. I’d argue that if this was based on the inherent flaws of the groups and not what the flaws were, the accusations would probably be correct. But they’re not. The accusations are based around the thought that both are police forces imbued with power from an object.
So, let’s talk about the objects.
Green Lantern Corps vs The Nova Corps – Objects
The Green Lanterns are powered by a Power Ring. The Ring, when worn and fully charged (I’ll get to that in a second) give the Lantern’s all the powers mentioned earlier and more. The Power Rings are their life support and without them, the Lantern’s are nothing more than strong-willed beings.
The problem with the Ring, although I’d still own one if I could, is that it needs charging. No different than a phone that needs to be plugged in, the Power Ring only has so much power and when drained, becomes nothing more than a piece of jewelry. I will say that for as annoying as it is to have to charge a Ring, the fact that it can become drained has made for some excellent storytelling.
The Ring has found ways to become perfectly useless in the most inopportune of times. Worse yet, when it is about to die, it only gives its wearer a few minutes notice. The very thought of this drips with irony. Arguably the most advanced piece of technology in the Universe isn’t advanced enough to give adequate notice…
All that aside, I’d still love to have one.
So what about the Nova Corps’s helmets?
The Helmets are their safeguard against most things that they come up against. In addition to looking really awesome, the helmets:
- Record all actions of the Nova for the Worldmind
- Translates various languages
- Allows the wearer to breath in space
- Permits the wearer night vision, heat vision, and telescopic sight
- Picks up radio transmissions
And a little bit more.
Whereas the Green Lanterns receive their power from the Power Ring, the Nova’s helmet only enhances what they may or may not already be able to do. Remember, the Nova Corps are powered through the Nova Force by the Worldmind. And the Nova Force, if you don’t remember, is an energy source that hasn’t been placed inside a piece of jewelry.
Although what the Nova Force can do and provide remains ambiguous, understand that it is extremely powerful. It’s so powerful that many, myself included, consider it one of the most powerful forces in Marvel.
So, if their origins are different, how they police the galaxy isn’t the same, and the ways in which they receive power aren’t copied, what about their costumes? Surely, those are the same?
In short, no. Not even close. One is green and black while the other is blue and yellow.
I’d be remiss to say that the accusations have no merit whatsoever. No matter which way it’s looked at, the Green Lanterns and the Nova Corps are both intergalactic police forces. So for that, sure, the Nova Corps is a copy of the Green Lantern Corps.
But, what do you think? Are the Nova Corps a copy of the Green Lantern Corps? Is there even a point of debating the Green Lantern Corps vs the Nova Corps?