A favorite pastime among comic book readers involves pitting two super-heroes (two who normally wouldn’t oppose each other) against one another in a hypothetical battle, and then arguing about which hero should win the fight. One common face-off involves pitting Superman against a member of the Green Lantern Corps, usually Hal Jordan.
Fans on either side have convincing arguments over why one hero should be able to best the other. Superman fans, for example, tend to argue that “Superman is strong -- VERY strong,” or, “Superman is superior in close-quarters combat.” Like so (DC Comics Presents #26):
Green Lantern fans, on the other hand, have the following arguments for their heroes: “Green Lantern power rings are the most powerful weapons in the universe,” or, “Green Lanterns are superior at strategy and long-range combat.” Case in point (Green Lantern: Rebirth):
There have actually been quite a few altercations between Superman (and his fellow Kryptonians) and various Green Lanterns over the years -- enough to give the impression that Superman and Green Lantern are pretty evenly matched. Superman obviously has the clear advantage in some areas, and Green Lantern has the advantage in others. If nothing else, the potential opponents have learned enough about each other by now that any real fight between them (that is, any fight that doesn't involve some sort of alien possession, or mind control, or crazed relative/team member, or stolen power rings, etc., etc.) would be pretty darned interesting.
First, here are a few items that various members of the Green Lantern Corps should have learned about Superman (and Kryptonians) over the years -- assuming the lessons got through the Green Lanterns’ notoriously thick skulls:
1. Never touch Superman’s cape. (The Adventures of Superman #473)
2. Never get fresh with one of Superman’s female Kryptonian relatives. (Justice League International #56)
3. Don’t bother with trying to trash-talk Superman ...
... because he’ll only make you feel guilty about it later. (Green Lantern Special #1)
4. An out-of-control Kryptonian is very, very dangerous. (Infinite Crisis)
At the same time, Superman and his Kryptonian relatives need to make sure they don’t forget a thing or two about the Green Lanterns:
1. Those power rings pack a heck of a punch. (Superman-Batman #29)
2. Hal Jordan isn’t afraid of you. In fact, he thinks Batman is more dangerous than you are. (Legacy: The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan)
3. Kilowog isn’t afraid of you, either – and he’s a lot bigger than you. (Superman-Batman #29)
4. Even if you defeat one Green Lantern in combat ...
... you won’t be able to defeat all 7200 of them. (Infinite Crisis)
5. An out-of-control Green Lantern is very, very dangerous. (Zero Hour, painting by Thomas Fleming)
PART II: Superman vs. Green Lantern