Warning: contains spoilers for Future State: Green Lantern #2!
Green Lantern just pulled off an awesome version of the popular fan theory of how Ant-Man could take down Thanos. Shared tirelessly on the internet in the lead-up to Avengers: Endgame, the theory suggests that Ant-Man could crawl inside Thanos and then grow, bursting the villain apart. In the near future of DC’s Future State, Green Lantern goes one better.
Writer Geoffrey Thorne (Infinite Frontier, Black Panther) and artist Tom Raney (Action Comics, Outsiders) open Future State: Green Lantern #2 with a story titled ‘Last Lanterns: Part Two.‘ The story features John Stewart, a mainstay Green Lantern previously designated to Earth’s sector, facing a terrible threat with no way to use his power ring. Seemingly serving as loyal followers of the proclaimed “God in Red” Orion, a fierce army of Khund aliens continue to raze the world around him, with a helpless John Stewart allowed nothing but to bear witness.
Without his usual powers, Stewart must utilize his own survival instincts to prevent the Khund wiping out their fleeing victims. John’s status as a renowned leader comes in handy during this event. Though largely outnumbered, Stewart and his troop manage to dispatch numerous Khund Acolytes before facing the greatest obstacle yet in the form of the Khund leader, aka the “Firefist.” Bearing armor made of the deceased robotic Green Lantern RRU-9-2, the vicious Khund Firfist means to end the battle as quickly as it began. But the Firefist is shocked when a cloud of “mites” swarm out of Stewart’s belt.
The mites are actually Imskian scientists, able to shrink down to a minuscule size like Marvel’s Ant-Man. But rather than infiltrating the Firefist himself, they head for RRU-9-2’s remains, activating his weaponry and forcing the Firefist to blow off his own head. That’s right – the Imskian’s infiltrate a body the Firefist is already wearing as armor and then puppet him into an early grave. While not quite as battle tested as the Green Lantern Corps, the Imskians are a race capable of shrinking the size of their anatomy to microscopic levels at will.
Ant-Man’s take-down of Thanos was always a joke – a solution too gruesome to actually happen – but this issue reveals that when it comes to genocidal warlords who resemble Thanos in many respects, John Stewart isn’t pulling any punches. With the Green Lanterns in disarray, Stewart emerges as a true warrior; one who has found new weapons in the battle of a lifetime. Seeing as several beloved allies fell in the battle with the Khund, it’s particularly satisfying to see the Firefist get his just desserts for seizing the body of a loyal Lantern to use as armor, but there’s definitely a darkness to Stewart’s decision that should give readers pause; especially since he ends the issue now leading the Khund.
Whether or not Ant-Man could actually kill Thanos was a fun thought experiment, but in sending in tiny experts to disrupt the Firefist’s new armor, John Stewart shows how a tactical mind might actually make use of the size-changing hero to deadly effect. Hopefully, DC will revisit this potential future down the line, and share more instances where the warrior Green Lantern is prepared to cross the line of decency if it means leaving the galaxy a better place.