Most of the time, when you talk about a specific Lantern Corps, you’re talking about...well, a bunch of people wielding the same color ring. That’s kind of implied in the name, and it’s true for all of the colors on the emotional spectrum.
...Except for one of them.
The Orange Lantern Corps isn’t a corps at all. It’s just one guy. His name is Larfleeze, and he’s not going to share his power with anybody. Ever. So don’t even ask. And definitely don’t stand in his way when he’s got his sights set on something he wants to collect, because, well, as John Stewart and Soranik learned the hard way in HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS VOL. 2: BOTTLED LIGHT, it almost never ends well for anybody.
Okay, so he kind of looks like a warthog (or a Muppet? Or both?) and he’s got an oath that incorporates the word “mine” a lot, but there’s more to the One Man Corps than his signature style and obsessive need to collect things—quite a bit more, actually. So whether you’re caught up with Hal and The GLC or looking to jump in fresh at the start of Vol. 2, now would be a great time to learn the secret history of the lantern they call Agent Orange.
He may not look (or act) it, but Larfleeze is actually billions of years old.
In fact, no one actually knows how old Larfleeze actually is, just that he’s ancient.
Once upon a time, Larfleeze was a common criminal—the leader of a band of thieves who were out to take on the greatest heist in the universe. They were going to steal things from the vault of the planet Maltus.
That name might ring bell or two to you, if you’re a big fan of the Green Lanterns. Maltus was the ancestral home of the Maltusians, who later evolved into the race we know today as the Guardians of the Universe. So, yeah, not exactly petty theft.
And get this? They succeeded. Mostly. Among the things they ended up lifting from Maltus was a box containing the Yellow entity, Parallax, and part of a map that originally belonged to the infamous Guardian, Krona.
The heist cost several members of Larfleeze’s gang their lives, but that didn’t slow them down. They eventually were able to follow the map to the planet Okaara, where the crew came across—you guessed it—the Central Power Battery of Orange Light.
That’s when everything really went downhill.
Enter Agent Orange
The Orange Light is all about avarice—all consuming greed—and getting too close to it has the exact effect you’d probably expect. Within seconds of uncovering the Battery, Larfleeze and the remaining members of his gang were trying to tear one another apart for the chance to be the Battery’s sole owner.
Add to this already volatile mix the fact that the thieves were still in possession of a box containing Parallax, and you’ve got a recipe for absolute disaster. The Guardians realized this almost immediately, and attempted to intervene...but not before the Orange Light had all but completely consumed Larfleeze in the Battery’s chamber.
A deal had to be struck, or the Guardians realized they risked not only Parallax getting free, but the Orange Light escaping to corrupt the universe with toxic greed. They attempted to reason with Larfleeze as best they could by brokering a trade: Larfleeze would get to keep the Orange Battery in exchange for the box containing Parallax, but only if he kept his influence strictly sequestered to the Vega system, where the planet Okaara was located.
For all their deal accomplished (they left with Parallax and considerably less anxiety about the Orange Light infecting the whole galaxy), they made no effort to stop people from going to the Vega system to try and search the Orange Light out. Those unfortunate treasure seekers soon learned exactly how Agent Orange operates.
The real power of Larfleeze’s ring isn’t to build constructs out of will power or fear like the Green or Yellow rings, but to consume things. His obsessive greed gives Larfleeze a completely single-minded need to collect things. Everything, in fact. The screen you’re reading on? It’s his. The chair you’re sitting in? His. That burrito you ate last night? Yeah, gross as it may seem, that’s his as well.
Even you. You’re Larfleeze’s too. You just don’t know it yet.
And once something has been consumed by Larfleeze’s Orange Light, it becomes part of his army; part of his “corps,” if you will. He’s able to recreate his collection as orange constructs and send them to go and gather even more stuff to be added to the hoard. These constructs can even travel and function pretty far away from Larfleeze himself. You know, just in case he needed to be any scarier.
So, maybe the Orange Lantern Corps really is more than just one guy...in the loosest possible sense. He certainly does have some helping hands, just not willing (or sentient) ones.
And this time, Larfleeze has found himself with even more help in his collecting—from a very unexpected quarter. You can read all about that in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2.
Just try and proceed with caution, or you might end up bottled up yourself. Larfleeze could always stand to add some more humans to the collection, after all.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS VOL. 2: BOTTLED LIGHT by Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver, Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona is now available in print and as a digital download.