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Off My Mind: Green Lantern's Suit—Fabric or Energy Constructed?

What is the better choice for members of the Green Lantern Corps?

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When comics are adapted into movies, we all know there's going to be quite a few differences between the two interpretations. I brought up the idea of comic book movie costumes before and because I've been reading some classic Green Lantern issues, I thought it was time to voice my opinions on the Green Lantern movie suit.

One of the first things you'll notice in the footage for the upcoming Green Lantern film with Ryan Reynolds is the suit is pretty different. It's debatable whether it can even really be called a suit since it's all CG. When it came to this decision, I'm sure everyone involved in making the film gave it some thought. There are advantages to having the suit be computer generated. But I'm don't want to get into the technical aspects of how the suit is created for the film but rather the difference between a suit generated by the power of the Green Lantern power ring and a traditional old fashion suit.

In other words, what is the better choice for a Green Lantern, regular clothes or a suit made out of power energy constructs? == TEASER ==

What are the advantages of an energy constructed suit? Obviously there's no need to worry about carrying the suit around or wearing it under your street clothes. You don't have to worry about any rips or tears during battles since it's all pure energy. If an emergency comes up, as long as your power ring is fully charged, all you have to do is think and will your costume to appear. 

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Things were a bit different in the early days. While Hal Jordan was constantly doing new and different things with the ring, he did wear a traditional suit. In fact, when Abin Sur crashed on Earth and handed over the ring and battery to Hal, he also relinquished his costume. Let's think about that for a bit. Hal Jordan had to strip down a dead alien and put on his clothes. Did Abin Sur have any physical injuries? Was there any of his alien blood or juices on the suit? Hal didn't have time to wash the suit. He just put it right on. It also makes you wonder if Abin Sur was wearing any alien underwear or if Hal just left a dead and naked alien out in the wreckage.

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Moving beyond whether or not the suit was clean, Hal was forced to physically change into suit when danger arose. It's pretty amazing that he could figure out the different powers of the ring such as moving through solid objects, creating fully powered duplicates of himself and even the ability to change bullets into water. Yet the idea of creating an energy constructed suit didn't cross his mind.

It might sound like an energy suit would be the best choice, right? But what happens when the ring runs out of power? What if Hal was unable to get to his ring in time to recharge it? And what if he wasn't wearing anything (or very little) underneath? That could cause an embarrassing moment. 

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With the suit that Ryan Reynolds appears to wear in the movie, it's a pretty tight fit. What exactly does it do to the clothes underneath? Are his street clothes sent to some parallel coat check universe or are they simply smooshed down underneath? A suit that tight on top of your regular clothes would make them pretty wrinkly. I suppose you could always create a power constructed iron and ironing board to avoid explaining why your new suit suddenly looks like it's been wadded up in a tiny ball. Or maybe there's some sort of molecular change and wrinkles aren't an issue.

Despite this concern, I would have to say that the power constructed suit would be more practical. In the Spider-Man comics, Peter Parker can't keep his suit and gear in his apartment now that he's dating Carlie Cooper, a CSI police officer. Having a power constructed suit means you don't have to worry about anyone stumbling across it.

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But what happens if Green Lantern is knocked unconscious or losing his will power? If he loses his focus, does that mean his suit and mask disappear? In the original comics, Green Lantern mentioned that his mask (which it was never explained where it came from since Abin Sur didn't have a need for one) was kept on by his will. In both cases, getting knocked out could jeopardize his secret identity.

Neither a traditional suit or a power constructed one are perfect. One created by your mind would make things easier for heroes that don't have the luxury of being friends with Reed Richards, who often gives costumes made from unstable molecules to others. Which makes more sense for Green Lantern? If the ring truly is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, surely generating a suit and overcoming any of the problems I mentioned above should be a piece of cake.