To say I was flattered when I heard Six Flags was interested in developing a thrill ride bearing my name is an understatement. I was quite frankly honored, and even excited, that someone would choose to tell my story in roller-coaster form. I just thought, “What a cool thing,” you know? It was a real feather in my cap, and a real treat.
But I have to say, when I finally saw my namesake ride, my enthusiasm quickly turned to disappointment. The Green Lantern roller coaster may be fun for the casual amusement-park patron, sure, but it is a complete and utter failure when it comes to telling the tale of my heroic exploits.
I, who saved the universe from the Sinestro Corps when they spilled forth from Qward to instill fear in all whom they encountered, no longer feel honored. Now I merely feel like a guy whose name has been cheaply plastered all over a poorly planned, woefully unrepresentative green roller coaster.
First of all, the ride is over in 150 seconds. That’s not even the length of time it takes to tell the story of a single one of my battles with Solomon Grundy, let alone the decades of daring feats I, and those others who have worn the power ring, have undertaken. I’m not asking for some sort of all-day epic here. It’s a roller coaster. They go fast. I get it. But would lengthening the ride so passengers could at least gain a cursory knowledge of the power ring’s origins or the Guardians of the Universe really be too much to ask?
But let’s get to the actual content of the ride. It is essentially a series of corkscrews, loops, and drops on a green track surrounded by absolutely no accompanying scenery, animatronic characters, textual support, or—aside from a low-quality and largely obligatory audio clip of the Green Lantern oath that plays in the first few seconds—story exposition. Take out that sound bite and replace the sign out front and what do you got? A big spiraling piece of metal, folks. Nothing more, nothing less.
And why exactly is riding around in loops and corkscrews the primary focus of a Green Lantern ride at all? I don’t think I’ll be blowing a lot of minds here when I say that I don’t exactly do a lot of looping and corkscrewing in my day-to-day life. In fact, I never do those things. And if I did, I certainly would not do them while standing vertically in a car. I can fly, you know. You’d think that, with a little bit of effort, Six Flags could one day build a roller coaster ride that actually tries to simulate the act of flying. Oh, that’s right—they already have. It’s called Superman: Ultimate Flight, and it’s at Six Flags Great America. Unbelievable.
I won’t even get into how my roller coaster’s tagline, “Stand Up to Your Fear,” is something I have never said, and seems to exist solely as a reference to the fact that this is a stand-up roller coaster.
Now, I suppose one could, if one were being exceedingly generous, make an argument that the 15-story ascent and drop at the beginning could parallel my origins, when I was a fighter pilot and happened upon the crashed spaceship of the dying alien Abin Sur, who gave me my power ring. But at 63 miles per hour, it hardly approximates the speeds I achieved in a jet, let alone the speeds I now reach flying through the depths of space to visit Oa, the home of the Green Lantern Corps. And, again, absolutely no backstory is provided at any point during the ride, so let’s just get real here and admit that none of this has anything to do with me or my adventures. It’s just a drop. They wanted to build a roller coaster with a drop. Whoop-dee-do. Mission accomplished.
And while we’re talking about backstory, where were the other Green Lanterns? Where were Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner? Not even a nod to Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern? I’m sorry, but that’s a slap in the face of the Green Lantern legacy. Dishonor me if you must, but at least throw a bone to those guys, for God’s sake.
It’s as if the people who run Six Flags never even researched my exploits before affixing my name to the coaster. In fact, I bet park-goers probably walk out of the Green Lantern ride knowing less about me than they did going in. If you’re going to put a person’s name on something, then make it at least somewhat representative of that individual. As it is currently constructed—and I would be shocked if they didn’t come to their senses and make some major changes very soon—the Green Lantern ride could pretty much be “about” anyone or anything. With a few tiny alterations, it could be the Green Arrow ride. Or the Green Hornet ride. Or the fucking Jolly Green Giant Ride. Or just Green: The Ride. That’s right. A roller coaster all about the thrilling adventures and captivating saga of the color green. How’s that sound, everybody?
Now, if the people at Six Flags would like to sit down and talk about how to make this ride truer to my story, then we can do that. I still think a Green Lantern ride is very interesting in theory, I have a lot of ideas, and I work well in groups. So if there’s any interest in that, I am more than willing to sit down at a table and hash it out.
Otherwise, I have to say, agreeing to license my name and likeness to Six Flags is starting to look like a seriously bad move on my part.