Article: Jessica Plummer Spotlights The Various Costumes For Female Green Lanterns!

Note: We’re excited with all the feedback we’ve received about yesterday’s Green Lantern: Emerald Ensemble winners; tomorrow we’ll show the rest of the Top 20 entries, but today we wanted to give P:R contributor Jessica Plummer the floor to spotlight the various female Green Lantern who’ve graced DC comics over the years. With two of our top three spots being claimed with a rendition of female Green Lanterns, it’s long overdue! – Chris Arrant

Though we’ve seen many, many Green Lanterns over the decades, a fairly small percentage of them have been women.  That said, despite the fact that the Corps has always been a bit of a sausagefest, there are some kickass lady Lanterns among its ranks.  And mostly fully clothed, even!  Let’s take a look-see:

1. Katma Tui (1964)

With her 1964 debut, Katma is the oldest of the female Green Lanterns, and gave us our first chance to see what the other half wears:

…the same thing as Hal.  Oh well, we can’t all be fashion plates, and Hal’s uniform doesn’t look half bad on her.

Once she and John Stewart got serious, though, Katma redesigned both of their uniforms to match, which is a detail I love.  It’s like Beyonce and Jay-Z taking each other’s names…IN SPACE!

Sadly, though, the costume is pretty lackluster – for both of them.  It’s not awful or anything, but that line down the center plus the green groinal area turns it into one big crotch arrow.  And look, I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, but when I look at those costumes something about them says “big green diaper” to me, which is probably not the look Katma, Joe Staton, or anyone else in the universe ever was going for.  Hey DC, how about bringing Katma back so she can try again?

2. Arisia Rrab (1981)

Like Katma, Arisia started out wearing the standard Gil Kane suit:

Again, it’s a great design, and kind of emphasizes the whole “little kid wearing her big brother’s clothes” thing she had going on.  But around the same time Katma and John switched it up, Arisia did likewise (in fact, it was her idea to have all the Earth GLs come up with individual looks):

I LOVE THIS COSTUME.  Haha, you thought I was going to say it was too skimpy, right?  Because she was 13?  But weirdly, that’s exactly why it works.  Arisia’s whole deal at the time was trying to get Hal to see her as an adult, and showing some skin is an age-old way for tween girls to “prove” their “maturity.”  I speak from experience here.  Plus, the tube top + miniskirt + silly little capelet, while wildly impractical (which doesn’t matter too much when your costume is made of light), is such a youthful ensemble.  No one over 18 could get away with that jazz.  And it stands out from the mostly green and black outfits of her cohorts, which is perfect for an aspiring fashion designer.  And she’s cute as a bug’s ear.  Full marks, Staton!

Unfortunately, Arisia is still rocking essentially the same togs, but Extra Sexy Edition, and that’s where the whole “this kind of goofy costume works because it fits the character” thing falls apart.  No adult woman would still be running around in the outfit she came up with when she was 13.  Wouldn’t happen.  Plus, I know I just said that practicality doesn’t matter when your costume is made of light, but I can’t look at those breastflaps without thinking they’re going to roll right down her chest.  There’s “not needing to worry about gravity too much,” and then there’s “actively and pointlessly distracting.”  Arisia’s still young and I have no problem with her wearing something cute and attention-getting, but this is over the top.  It is a quasi-military uniform, after all.

3. Jennifer-Lynn “Jade” Hayden (1983)

I know she wasn’t picked by the Guardians, but she did fill in for Kyle that one time, so she totally counts.  Plus, I like her.

Anyway, Jennie!  She debuted on Earth-2, the daughter of the original Green Lantern, and so got to bypass the Gil Kane Standard in favor of this:

Super cute, right?  (Ignore that miscolored left shoulder.)  Like Arisia’s second costume, it’s youthful and flashy in a way that suits Jennie’s aspiring-movie star personality.  The green-on-green palette of her hair and skin is tricky to work with, but Jerry Ordway managed it.  The chest cut-out is tasteful.  And even though her color scheme is lime green and white, she still looks more streamlined and thematically appropriate than her dad’s wacky mess of hues.  I don’t think I would be down with white thigh-highs today, but for 1983, they work.

Jen temporarily lost her powers for a while, but it was cool – her boyfriend Kyle Rayner had a spare ring, and needed someone to look after the Earth while he went on some space missions.  So…Gil Kane Standard time!

It’s a classic for a reason, folks.

Shortly thereafter, Jen got her own, natural-born powers back, and a makeover to go with it:

This one is nice, but it’s also pretty much just Kyle’s costume with the chest stripe centered and the GL logo replaced with Jade’s. Considering Kyle made it for her…dude, that’s a little tacky.

When Jennie joined the Outsiders, she adjusted the costume, but in kind of random ways.  I like the idea of bringing back the high neck, no sleeves, and opera gloves as Jennie’s “thing,” but the rest sort of fizzles out into a shrug from the knees down (black boots on black tights?), and what’s with those loops on her biceps?  It’s also backless for no reason, which is just kind of strange and tacky on an otherwise pretty full-coverage look.  Plus, it’s rare that you’ll hear me argue for a chest cut-out, but when her logo is just a logo, the colors need to be carried through the rest of the suit.  The whole look is just kind of indecisive.

Finally, Jennie returned from the dead in this little number.  It’s basically what would happen if her original costume and the Gil Kane Standard had a baby.  The white kind of overwhelms this one; my eyes aren’t sure what to focus on.  The last costume had too many ideas going on; this just has the one, and it’s, um, very shiny.  It’s not a terrible costume – none of Jen’s have been awful – but it’s not quite there either.  With luck, some enterprising creators will figure out a way to shoehorn her back into the DCU, and with a more polished look.

4. Boodikka (1991)

Boodikka is an alien brawler named after an ancient warrior-queen, which is the best sentence I’ve ever typed.  As such, she didn’t seem to have a terrible consistent costume for while, so much as a general sense of “barbarian space warrior.”  Refreshingly, it was less Red Sonja-style and more “armored skirt and/or loincloth, epaulets, giant headdress, gruesome sneer.”  Basically, artists seemed less interested in making her stylish than they were in scribbling as many details as possible on her to convey the “wild and fierce” concept, but that gets her personality across pretty elegantly, so I’m down:

She disappeared for a while, then popped up again after Hal’s return with a sleeker look:

Easier to draw, but somewhat unimaginative, no?  It’s basically just a leotard and a headdress.  Using this costume to convey “space barbarian” is the comic book equivalent of cutting two holes in a sheet and going as a ghost for Halloween.  Sure, you can get away with it, but come on, put in a little effort.

Eventually Boodikka became a cyborg Alpha Lantern, because comics:

Now this is cool.  Take note, Alan: this is how you turn your chest into a giant lantern without looking like a total goober.  The headdress and epaulets evoke her roots, but the overall impression is sleek, robotic, and alien, perfect for a Lantern/Manhunter hybrid whose job is to keep GLs from using their rings illegally.  It’s cold and futuristic and very intimidating, but also oddly chic?  Boodikka, you rock.

5. Laira (1993)

Laira is what happens when no one bothers to put any thought into a female character’s costume, and also it’s the early 90s.  Ridiculously high-cut leotard?  Check.  Pointless belt and armbands?  Check.  Long flowing ponytail?  Check.  Color it all green, slap a GL insignia wherever it fits, and you’re done in time to catch that new X-Files show everyone’s talking about.  Which is fine, I guess, but I wish the poor thing had at least gotten an updated look before getting killed off.

6. Soranik Natu (2005)

Soranik has had pretty much the same look since her debut, and it’s a fairly simple one:

No reinventing the wheel here – it’s basically the Gil Kane Standard with a green triangle on the front and a different neckline.  Which is fine, actually – it does a very nice job of giving her her own visual identity while still making her look like a member of the Corps.  It’s simple, it’s clean, and it looks like a space uniform.

Uh.  Under some artists.

Seriously?  The woman is a neurosurgeon.  Protip: if you have given your female space cop a neckline so plunging you are having difficulty squeezing her logo into a non-awkward place, you have gone too far.  There are some characters I would buy as being willing to fight space crime with their boobs hanging out.  Soranik Natu, hardass doctor, is not one of them.

7. Princess Iolande (2005)

And finally there’s Soranik’s partner, Iolande.  Iolande basically wears the standard GL costume, but with a cloak because she is a space princess, and that makes all the difference.

I know I’ve skipped over a whole bunch of less-prominent characters here, some of whom have some pretty snazzy threads.  Who’d I miss?  And what’s your favorite female Green Lantern costume?

13 comments to “Article: Jessica Plummer Spotlights The Various Costumes For Female Green Lanterns!”
  1. I don’t know much about Laira, but I love her color scheme. Purple skin and red hair with the green/black/white? Hints of red on the costume? Potential!

    Soranik’s costume is simple and classic, with just the right hint of individuality. I just wish the neckline didn’t keep coming slowly “unzipped” at times.

  2. I know it was never included in the comics but I would have loved a mention of Laira’s costume from the “Emerald Knights” movie. That asian-ish armored look was awesome.

  3. Every complaint about non-Earth native Green Lantern’s costume designs can be dismissed with one word: ALIEN. Duh. Of course they look awkward, inappropriate, strange, etc. because those characters aren’t based on our cultures.

    As offhandedly dismissve as that response seems, I’m also serious — this is exactly the reason I’ve never been too fan-picky about the GL Corps outfits. Space opera requires a slightly different suspension of disbelief than standard superheroics.

  4. It’s nice to see my obsession with supersuits is shared by others. Plus, I’m not a Green Lantern reader, generally, so it was mostly new to me. Great article!

  5. I am a Jade fan, and have always been a Jade fan–and I will always contend that her first outfit was the best.

    As for the worst…you forgot to mention the outfit my friend Shawn ‘JUST ONE OF THE GUYS’ Engel and I call the ‘Hooker Jem Outfit’ that Arisa sported when she was a supporting character in GUY GARDNER, WARRIOR…simply the worst excesses of male chauvinist design in the 90’s…

  6. Bruce B.: Every complaint about non-Earth native Green Lantern’s costume designs can be dismissed with one word: ALIEN. Duh. Of course they look awkward, inappropriate, strange, etc. because those characters aren’t based on our cultures.As offhandedly dismissve as that response seems, I’m also serious — this is exactly the reason I’ve never been too fan-picky about the GL Corps outfits. Space opera requires a slightly different suspension of disbelief than standard superheroics.

    Well, if aliens were real and they came to Earth to tell us how to draw costumes for comic characters, your argument might have some validity. But these are fictional characters designed by actual human men, and sometimes their costume reflect that. You’re just using the same excuse for Powergirl’s boob window, and it really doesn’t hold any water. :\

  7. Interesting female Green Lanterns?

    K’rysmma – the original butterfly Green Lantern and member of the Honor Guard. She had a unique look, until pre-Emerald Twilight, where she was redesigned as a “hot space bug.”
    KT21 – had a unique look before Green Lantern: Rebirth. When she was re-introduced (and then killed), she was relegated to the standard “cute space chick” look.
    Sherif Mardin – Easily one of the most unusual designs, she had a frumpy look to her. Of course, she too was sexified when she was brought back post- Green Lantern: Rebirth.
    Brik – When she was originally introduced, Brik was built like her namesake – solid. Unfortunately, over the years artists have softened her and made her just another “hot alien babe.”

  8. I hope they bring back the Hornets in Charlotte. I was crazy for the Hornets back in the days of Grandmama and Gonzo. Maybe the name change will inspire them to bring back those days.

  9. I always liked Jade’s Outsiders outfit. I think the opera gloves really make it. I am also okay with the circle thingies on her gloves. I feel they add a slight alien look to it.

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