Justice League Unlimited
More info i
Justice League Unlimited / Credit: Warner Bros.

The Star Sapphires and their planet of bae

Contributed by
May 20, 2020, 3:00 PM EDT

Outside of Sinestro, Star Sapphire has been Green Lantern's most recognizable villain since her debut in 1962's Green Lantern #16. Appointed queen by the matriarchal alien society of the alien planet Zamaron, Star Sapphire strove to prove that men were inferior by attempting to best a certain superhero. Having chosen the vessel of Hal Jordan's on-again-off-again girlfriend and boss Carol Ferris, Star Sapphire had too many conflicting feelings about Jordan to beat him in a fight, so their brawls usually just ended in her passing out and him winking knowingly at the reader. Women, right?

The gimmick of Carol suddenly transforming into the misandrist Star Sapphire and going off on how inferior men are (while Hal clenched his jaw and thought "not all men!") went on for years and years, but the whole story changed in the early 2000s. Several different colors of power rings were introduced to Green Lantern canon, including the Indigo rings of an empathy-driven Corps and the black rings of the death-themed Corps. Among those were the purple rings of the Star Sapphires, who represent love. Being a part of the love Corps might sound pretty great — until you realize that love isn't just that giddy first date feeling but also includes stuff like checking your ex's Instagram and sobbing into your ice cream when they change their relationship status.

Green Lantern Vol. 2 #41, cover art by Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson, and Ira Schnapp

There are countless female villains in comics that are basically just a male response to feminism, and Star Sapphire is certainly one of them. Let's just say that their "Let's go to outer space and kill all the men!" objective is not exactly reflective of real-life feminist texts and leave it at that. Still, it's hard not to be at least a little bit on her side. Hal Jordan is brash, over-confident, and consistently undermining Carol's authority at work, so her turning into a power-hungry nemesis on the regular is fairly understandable. The randomness of her actions and Hal's "must be that time of the month" response can grind our gears at times, but for most of her Silver Age run, Star Sapphire doesn't hurt anything beyond Hal's pride every now and again. This is a casualty we are more than willing to accept.

Carol appeared to be abandoned by the Star Sapphire entity when it realized that Hal Jordan had moved on and no longer desired her. Revealing that the entity's purpose was no longer to support a thriving matriarchal society but instead to center its objectives around one random guy who is not that deep wasn't great, but at least it gave Carol space to move on with her life for a while. Just kidding. She went full-out evil.

Green Lantern #192, cover art by John Staton and Bruce Patterson

In one of the most drastic heel-turns of all time, Star Sapphire brutally murdered the Lantern Katma Tui for no reason other than to make a point to Hal Jordan. What point, exactly? No idea. During this time Carol created a third personality in her mind, a male persona named The Predator. If there has ever been a name that sent every red flag that ever was flying high in the air, that would be the one, but for some reason, Carol was attracted to The Predator and allowed him to court her until its true identity as... well, herself was revealed. We know what you're wondering and yes, this means Carol almost definitely made out with herself. More than once! We're not sure why her ideal mate at the time was apparently a bizarrely aggressive trash monster. We can't explain that part. We try not to ask questions.

Later, it was discovered that The Predator was an alien parasite that had influenced Carol's actions, which is actually how a whole lot of criminal behavior gets explained in Green Lantern comics. Also, this stuff was all later retconned, so it's OK to keep liking Carol. There was no reason whatsoever for Katma Tui to die beyond motivating the male characters, and she has since likewise made a comeback. Order has been restored to the universe… for now.

It's nice that all of the worst parts of Star Sapphire were mostly retconned away because that left room for her to make a big comeback. With the introduction of an entire Corps of Star Sapphires, their purpose was reestablished. The Sapphires were a group of women who had left the Lantern's central planet, Oa, in protest of the Guardians' decree that life must be lived without emotion. With a new purpose, the Star Sapphires joined many of the Green Lantern crossovers of the 2000s, usually as allies. Wonder Woman was even temporarily deputized as a Star Sapphire for a while, which definitely granted them some pretty solid street cred.

Green Lantern Vol. 2 #26, written by Gardner Fox, art by Gil Kane and Joe Giella, lettering by Gasper Saledino

That brings us to the thing that we want to see a whole lot more of, and that's the planet Zamaron, where the Star Sapphires congregate. Unlike the other Corps, who are mostly scattered to the ends of the universe, the Sapphires tend towards their own self-sustaining society of women. This obviously gets a lot less attention than Themyscira, but the concepts aren't so dissimilar. It leaves us asking ourselves; what is life on Zamaron like? Because it sounds amazing! A whole Planet of Bae? Sign us up!

Canonically, only women have appeared as Sapphires, but there is no reason for that to remain true. The response creator Geoff Johns gave is that men can be Sapphires — but what does that even mean? Queer Sapphires and male Sapphires are incredibly interesting concepts that have, to date, never been followed up on. We just have to wonder why women are the only ones showing up scantily clad and glowing with purple energy when that should be a gender-neutral experience.

As for Carol, she's gone from being possessed against her will to vindictive murderer to isolated career woman to the leader of the whole Sapphire Corps, so saying that it's hard to know where her story will go next is quite an understatement. This is definitely a character who was created to address male fears around feminism, but you know what that means: we kind of love her. The concept around an alien space force that is entirely motivated by the act of embracing the rollercoaster of emotional experience is definitely a lot more intriguing than we have yet to see fully explored, but at least Carol has never been forgotten. She continues to make comeback after comeback and changes just a little bit every time we see her. Her growth might be agonizingly slow, but ultimately, it's there.

fangrrls_rightrail_burst
Top stories
fangrrls_rightrail_burst
Top stories

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker