When news broke in August ’09 that the big bad guy behind the Black Lanterns was Nekron, Lord of the Unliving, I dug out my copies of TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 to #3 from 1981 which detail his first appearances and thought I’d include them here.
Issue #1 – Challenge!
Hal Jordan, along with every other Green Lantern, is called to Oa for an emergency meeting. On the way, he meets Arisia, his new neighbour from sector 2815 who is also making her first appearance.
Making their way to Oa along with the others, Jordan meets with several other Lanterns of note, including Katma Tui, Stel, Arkkis Chummuck and more. When challenged by Eddore to explain what happened to Jordan’s predecessor Abin Sur, Jordan gives a quick run down of his origin story.
The Guardians appear moments later and attempt to allay the fears of some Lanterns by explaining that some of their number are out protecting the universe while the Lanterns are gathered on Oa. As Arisia has only recently become a Green Lantern, Jordan explains how one of the Guardians, Krona, was responsible for unleashing evil into the universe.
As he finishes, the Guardians’ stellar screen – a device for seeing light years away – shows the threat that they face as Krona himself tears the fabric of reality asunder, stepping into the universe and threatening the Guardians with destruction.
The Guardians, concious that Krona and his master must be stopped, have every Lantern recharge their ring at the Central Battery which, in moments, explodes, killing many Lanterns. With the Guardians vanished to battle Krona’s master, and realising that with the Central Battery destroyed they only have 24 hours to defeat him, Jordan musters the Lanterns to find and attack Krona.
Issue #2 – Defeat!
At the very edge of the universe, the Guardians discover the rent in the fabric of reality that Krona used to return. As they approach it, a giant hand reaches out, blasting them with power, forcing them to take cover. As the figure of Krona’s master taunts them, the Guardians send one of their number to bring the Green Lantern Corps to their aid.
On Oa, Jordan takes charge, gathering the Corps in their attempt to find and defeat Krona. They leave the planet and warp out into the universe and in moments, one of them, Stel, finds their quarry but is attacked and almost destroyed. Before he dies, Stel sends out a beacon which brings the other Corps members to his side. With information from the dying Lantern and his own investigations, Jordan realises that Krona plans to shrink the universe, forcing it to implode.
Continuing their search, they find Krona’s army led by an alien named Tylot. Casualties on both sides mount until the Corps are victorious. Capturing Tylot, Jordan discovers that his and Krona’s master is Nekron, Lord of the Unliving! Dwelling in a dimension where the dead gather, Nekron was first made aware of the universe of the living when Krona’s energy form broke through into his realm. Knowing that the hole between the realms could only be made larger by the death of immortals, Nekron restored Krona and sent him back to kill the Guardians, widening the hole and thus freeing Nekron.
The Guardian sent to find the Corps reaches them and, having passed on his message that Krona is on Oa, dies. Allowing Tylot to go free, the Corps rush to Oa and engage Krona who, to their surprise, soundly defeats them.
Issue #3 – Triumph!
Back on Earth, Jordan’s friends fear something has happened to him but cannot know what while above the planet a Guardian protects the Earth from the terrible effects of Krona’s plan to shrink the universe.
On Oa, the Corps recover slowly from their defeat, some of them planning to return to their homes and await the end. Inspired by Jordan, though, they leave the planet together, once more tracking Krona.
At the edge of the universe, Nekron and the Guardians battle before the Lord of the Unliving summons Krona to his side. He battles his fellow Oans, killing one of them and opening the portal between the universe and Nekron’s realm a little more. The Green Lantern Corps arrive and engage with the army that Krona summons though one of his soldiers, Tylot, hesitates, remembering the kindness the Corps showed him following their last battle. Forced into the fight by Krona, Tylot rebels, helping save Arisia, earning him a temporary place in the Corps from Jordan.
Nekron’s power, however, is drawn from the dead and is limitless. He uses the dead loved ones of the Corps against them, before Jordan gambles on an idea. His protective shield at full power, Jordan enters Nekron’s realm and before he succumbs to the power of that dimension, speaks out to the dead souls gathered there, specifically to the dead Green Lanterns. Encouraged by Jordan, the dead Lanterns rise up and attack Nekron, distracting him long enough for the Guardians to strike at Krona and his army, forcing them back into the realm of the dead, sealing the rift behind them.
Still inside, Jordan waits for his own death before Abin Sur’s spirit thrusts him back into the universe. Just before their power rings give out, the Guardians use their powers to protect them and return them all to Oa. Redeemed by his acts, Tylot vanishes, heading for a happy place.
Back on Oa, the Guardians offer Jordan a place in their honour guard but he refuses, preferring to be one of the crowd.
With their rings recharged, the Green Lantern Corps return to their duties.