Even if space opera is not your thing, you’ve got to love Larfleeze!
As he describes the Orange Lantern in my exclusive interview with him elsewhere on
Writer Geoff Johns developed Larfleeze as a key participant in the Blackest Night storyline, explaining that he came up with the name "Larfleeze" by combining the words "lard" and "sleaze." Johns also revealed that the Claim Jumper restaurant chain was his inspiration behind writing about greed. Johns states that Larfleeze is one of his favorite characters to write because of how "out of touch" the character is, adding that, other than greed, emotions have no value to him because they do not provide him with anything material.
After his brief first appearance in DC Universe #0 (April 2008), the character went on to be shown in smaller teaser appearances within the Green Lantern series until his first extended appearance in Green Lantern #39 (April 2009). The issue leads into Agent Orange (named after the code name Larfleeze is given by the old Guardians of the Universe), the storyline detailing the character's origin that also serves as a prelude to Blackest Night.
Larfleeze is the first and for a long time the only individual to wield the power of the orange light. Little is known about his past except that he comes from an incredibly long-lived species, as Larfleeze is said to be over several billion years old. He was taken from his parents for reasons yet to be revealed and forced to work as a slave. His time as a slave was cruel and harsh: his cruel and sadistic masters starved Larfleeze and his fellow slaves in order to weed out those too weak to work in the hellish conditions they were forced to toil in. This cruelty and deprivation deeply affected Larfleeze, who at some point escaped and became a wanted criminal, along with several of his species.
What is known is that billions of years ago, Larfleeze belonged to a small guild of thieves which stole a number of artifacts from the planet Maltus, including a mysterious box supposedly worth an entire star system to the right buyer. In retaliation, the Guardians of the Universe sent their Manhunters to pursue them. Those that escaped discovered a map belonging to the Guardian Krona that told of treasure.
The guild followed the map into the Vega System to the planet Okaara. There they discovered a temple, inside of which was a Power Battery containing the Orange Light of Avarice. Feeling its power "speak" to them, the criminals fought amongst themselves for it. Eventually the Guardians and their Manhunters found them; however, because of its proximity to Larfleeze and the others, the Guardians could not get within reaching distance of the box.
The Guardians and Manhunters who tried were incinerated by the Orange Light of Avarice. Fearing its power, the Guardians offered the two surviving guild members (Larfleeze and Turpa) a deal: in exchange for the mysterious box, the Guardians would trade the orange light with two additional conditions. First, as long as the orange light remained within the Vega system, the Guardians would agree not to interfere with it. Secondly, for the safety of others, only one of the two thieves would be allowed to keep the orange light for themselves.
Larfleeze explained that the Guardians were desperate to get the box back because it contained the fear entity Parallax. Agreeing to these terms, the two guild members fought to the death for the right to own the orange light, and Larfleeze emerged victorious.
One of my favorite things about Larfleeze is his ring-charging oath:
What's mine is mine
And mine and mine,
And mine, and mine, and mine!
How can you not love a character with that oath?