- Power ring (weapon)
: "This article is about the
Green Lantern Corpsweapon. For the comic book characters, see Power Ring (character)."
A power ring is a weapon in the
DC Universe, most notably used by the Green Lantern Corps. These rings are considered to be the most powerful weapons in the DC Universe, as its effects are limited only by the imagination and willpower of its wielder.Citation | last = Wallace | first = Dan | author-link = | contribution = Green Lantern's Power Ring | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The DC Comics Encyclopedia | pages = 92 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley| place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4119-5 | oclc = 213309017]
Green Lantern Corps
Guardians of the Universe, possibly the oldest sentient race in the DC Universe, have held several campaigns over their enormously long existence in an attempt to police and bring order to the universe. Their most successful and enduring campaign so far has been the Green Lantern Corps. Dividing space into 3600 sectors, they have currently assigned two Green Lanterns to patrol each sector. To help perform his, her, or its duties, each member of the Green Lantern Corps is armed with a power ring. Power rings are staggeringly advanced technological artifacts capable of generating a variety of effects, sustained by the wearer's orientation to a particular aspect of the emotional spectrum.
Normally, an individual will only receive a power ring upon the death of the previous wielder, and then only if they pass the criteria for membership in the Corps. It is unusual for someone to wield more than one power ring at once.
The power ring has been shown capable of accomplishing virtually anything within the imagination of the one wearing it; the greater the user's willpower, the more effective the ring. No hard upper limit to the power ring's capabilities has yet been demonstrated and it is often referred to as "the most powerful weapon in the universe". On at least one occasion the rings have been shown to be capable of creating physical changes in the wearer (such as when Arisia aged herself to adulthood). However, there is a limit to the amount of willpower the ring can take, as seen when John Stewart attempted to use his ring to re-build a destroyed planet, only to fail, and receive a warning from his ring saying "willpower exceeding power ring capabilities". ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #26 (December 2007)]
Power rings allow the user to fly and to cover themselves and others with a protective, life-supporting force field, suitable for traveling through
outer space, underwater and other hostile environments. The ring also generates its wearer's Green Lantern uniform; the uniform is not made out of fabric. It is created by the Power Ring whenever the wearer wills to wear it. It automatically appears over the wearer's normal clothing, and vanishes when the wearer wills to return to their civilian attire (in battle, a Green Lantern's costume is often shown tearing. This is more for dramatic effect.)The uniform varies from lantern to lantern, based on anatomy, personal preference and the social norms of their race. The only rule in this regard seems to be that the lantern must openly display the symbol of the corps, though even this has been modified based on preference (a vampire-hunting Lantern adapted the symbol into a cross, and a blind Lantern used the image of a bell).
The power ring's most distinctive effect is the generation of green 'solid-light' constructs, the precise physical nature of which has never been specified. The size, complexity and strength of these 'solid-light' constructs is limited only by the ring-bearer's willpower. Thus Green Lanterns are often seen creating cages, transportation platforms, restraints, weapons, walls, battering rams, vehicles, tools, boxing gloves, etc. The style of construct varies with the character and mindset of the person wielding the ring.
Hal Jordantends to create solid, workmanlike constructs; John Stewart's constructs are almost like three-dimensional blueprints, with carefully-designed internal workings, as he is an architect by trade; Kyle Rayner, an artist, uses the ring as an imaginative outlet, envisioning cartoonish and often highly detailed constructs. Guy Gardner's ring is constantly sparking, even at rest, and his creations are simple, and often blurred by the excess energy his willpower causes. The alien Kilowog's ring, for reasons yet unrevealed is, according to Hal, "The only one that makes a sound". Kilowog unleashing his power ring is often accompanied by a loud sonic boom. ["Green Lantern: Rebirth" #6 (May 2005)] Power rings are capable of generating electromagnetic radiation of various frequencies. This radiation can be focused by the wearer into a beam, similar in appearance and effect to a massively powerful laser. The ring can also scan for energy signatures or particular objects and often serves as a universal translator. Less frequently used capabilities include splitting atomic nuclei and manipulating subatomic particles (thereby transmuting chemical elements). A power ring is also capable of creating new, fully functional duplicates of itself. Each of these duplicates shares the qualities and capabilities of the original ring; however, each duplicate still requires recharging by a power battery.
Power rings usually have to be worn to be effective. However, it has occasionally been shown to be possible to wield (or at least summon) the ring without touching it, or while somebody else is wearing it, or to order it to carry out commands automatically after being removed. Power rings also appear to be highly advanced
computers, able to talk to and advise the wearer as to various courses of action; the ring of a killed Green Lantern will automatically seek out a suitable replacement Lantern.
The requirements needed to wield a power ring have changed sporadically across the years, often creating continuity confusions. Allowing power rings to fall into the wrong hands has been a favorite plot device in many previous Green Lantern stories, since in general, power rings can be wielded by whoever wears them. However, only people with exceptional wills can use power rings, a restriction which makes uses of the rings by average individuals impossible."Green Lantern: Rebirth" #1-6]
In some versions, a power ring can only be used by someone who literally has no concept of fear and is completely honest. Sometimes, this is treated as just a recommendation.
Some power rings have been shown to have genetic 'locks' allowing use only by their designated owner, such as
Kyle Rayner's, which could only be used by him or his descendants. Although this does provide a good level of security, villains have found ways around it, such as the Manhunters who used tissue samples to make the ring think it was still on Kyle's hand. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 3) #130]
Power rings typically hold a limited charge. Originally, they required recharging every 24 hours, but more recently it seems that they possess a fixed amount of regular charge. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #12 (July 2006)] Power rings are usually recharged by a Green Lantern's personal "power battery", which looks like an old fashioned lantern made of dark green metal. The user typically points the ring towards the lantern, and usually gives a Green Lantern oath (below) while recharging the ring. These batteries are directly linked to the Central Power Battery on
Oaand do not themselves need recharging.
Green Lantern Corps rings typically reserve a small portion of their power for a passive force field that "protects the wielder from mortal harm". In dire emergencies, that energy reserve can be tapped, at the expense of said protection, until it too is exhausted.
For a very long time, power rings were unable to affect objects colored
yellow. Lanterns have typically found ways to get around these limitations by affecting objects indirectly. For example, if the Lantern is faced with a yellow gas approaching him, a fan can be created to blow it away since the fan only directly affects the normal air around it, not the gas. Originally, it was believed that the "yellow impurity" was implanted deliberately because the Guardians wanted the rings to have a weakness to prevent a Green Lantern from becoming all-powerful. More recent events have revealed that the "yellow impurity" was in fact caused by a yellow energy being, named Parallax, made of pure fear imprisoned in the Central Power Battery. Following the defeat of this creature, an experienced wielder of a power ring can, with effort, overcome the yellow weakness by recognizing the fear behind it, and facing that fear. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #1 (July 2005)]
By far, the most significant limitation of the power ring is the willpower of the wielder. Mind control, hallucinogens, psychic attacks, "neural chaff" and other phenomena that disrupt thought processes will all indirectly impair a power ring's effectiveness. More abstractly, so can a weakening of resolve and will. For example, during the Millennium crossover, Hal Jordan fights a Manhunter who
psychologicallyattacks him, to make him doubt that the people he is protecting value the principles he is fighting for. Jordan's resolve begins to weaken and his ring loses effectiveness until one of his charges strikes the Manhunter, declaring that she does deeply value Jordan's principles as well. With this dramatic affirmation, Jordan's faith in his cause is restored and the ring instantly returns to full power. The ring, though, does have some psychic defenses: Guy Gardner's ring apparently is able to put up psi-shields around him and Blue Beetle in their battle against the Ultra-Humanite. ["Blue Beetle" (vol. 7) #14]
In the current incarnation of the Corps, the ring is programmed to prevent the wielder from using it to kill sentient beings. Hal Jordan was thought to have used power rings to kill a number of Corps members during
Emerald Twilight, though he did tell Kilowog that he "left them enough power to survive" ["Green Lantern" (vol. 3) #49] (they were revealed years later to be alive, held prisoner by the Cyborg Superman on the planet Biot. These lanterns are referred to as the "Lost Lanterns"). Any attempt to kill will be diverted by the ring, and in some cases may result in the ring locking out the user. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #22] However, this restriction was rescinded by the Guardians to combat the Sinestro Corps. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #23] Originally permission to kill was only given with regards to Sinestro Corps members, but later the Corps was given permission to kill any who oppose them. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #28]
It has been revealed that only a certain type of willpower can use the ring effectively, or rather, that the willpower must be pure. When
Green Arrowtried to use a Power Ring against Sinestro it caused him great difficulty because, according to Sinestro, Green Arrow's will was "cynical"-- he was still able to launch a rudimentary attack against Sinestro, however, despite the difficulty.
All power rings need periodic recharging. The process is not instantaneous, so many Green Lanterns recite an oath while the ring charges. The oath is not required to charge the ring, but is recited to reaffirm the person's commitment to the Green Lantern Corps, and to measure the time it takes the ring to charge. While many Green Lanterns create their own oath, the majority use Hal Jordan's oath as a sign of respect. In the interests of political correctness on the part of DC (or, in context, Hal Jordan), the word "blackest" is often replaced by "darkest", especially in more recent comics.
After the destruction of Coast City during the "
Reign of the Supermen!" story-arc, Green Lantern Hal Jordan goes mad and betrays the Corps. He kills most of the Corps on his way to Oa, enters the Central Power Battery, and absorbs most of its energies along with the yellow impurity to become the villain Parallax. With the Central Power Battery destroyed, all the remaining power rings stop working. In desperation Ganthet, the only surviving Guardian, uses what little power remained to create a new power ring and gave it to Kyle Rayner.
Kyle's ring is unique throughout the history of the Green Lantern Corps, and, for a while, the only working power ring throughout the universe. This ring is not dependent on the Central Power Battery, and free from the yellow impurity. However, the ring does not prevent mortal damage automatically. The ring no longer needs to be charged every 24 hours; instead, it depends on how much power the ring absorbs and/or uses. For example, after the destruction of Oa, Kyle's ring has more power than ever before and does not need to be recharged for an extended period of time. Unlike Hal Jordan's ring, it is unable to make copies of itself.
When a Hal Jordan from the past visits Kyle's time after his own death as Parallax, he gives a copy of his ring to Kyle. Kyle attempts to use the self-replicating ring to restart the Green Lantern Corps, with lackluster results.
It was revealed that Kyle was not chosen at random by Ganthet. Kyle was in fact chosen by the ring because he is a "hopeless romantic," someone who believes in second chances. After the events of "Rebirth", the Parallax entity is once again imprisoned within the Central Power Battery. Since the Corps is now aware of its existence, all ring wielders who remember fear and overcome it can use their ring against yellow.
Members of the "The Corpse" (an elite, top secret
black opsdivision of the Green Lantern Corps) do not use the standard power ring. Instead they swallow a coin-like disk that gives them all the powers of a standard ring for a limited time, except that the energy it generates is purple instead of the traditional green. ["Green Lantern Corps" #7-9 (2007)]
Other power rings
The Book of Oa has a forbidden chapter on cosmic revelations, which included prophecies about the "Blackest Night". At the end of the
Sinestro Corps War, the Guardians of the Universeknown as Ganthetand Saydreveal to the four Earth-based Green Lanterns the final verse of the prophecy, known as the "Blackest Night", which reveals that five more Corps, one for each of the remaining colors of the rainbow, will be created in the future and that war will break out between the seven Corps until they destroy each other and the universe, leading to the Blackest Night. [ [http://comics.ign.com/articles/841/841724p1.html - IGN.com: Green Lantern: The Dawn of Blackest Night] ] [ [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=140352 Newsarama.com: THE LANTERN'S ARTISTS, I - ETHAN VAN SCIVER] ]
Other color variants
The known variants of power rings are the Oan ("willpower"),"Green Lantern: Rebirth" #4 (2005)] Qwardian ("
fear"), Zamaron (" love")"Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #20 (2007)] , and Ysmault ("rage")."Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #28] rings. Three more variants were revealed after the conclusion of the war with the Sinestro Corps: orange ("avarice"), blue (" hope"), and indigo (" compassion" - although the indigo light is channeled through a staff instead of a ring). "Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #25]
According to Ganthet, the farther from the center of the spectrum the color, the more control the rings have over their users; therefore, red and violet rings have a considerable amount of influence over their users."Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files & Origins" #1]
A red ring is capable of feeding on the rage of its user. The ring auras of the Red Lantern Corpsmen emanates from their mouths, in addition to a standard aura. The Red Lanterns were first mentioned in "
Booster Gold" (vol. 2) #2 in a note written on Rip Hunter's chalkboard which read "Beware the Red Lanterns???". In issue #10 another note appears which read "RED LANTERNS = BLOOD". Atrocitus, a member of the Empire of Tearson the prison planet Ysmault, forges the first Red Power Battery from the innards of Qull, the being who told Abin Sur the prophecy of "the Blackest Night". Laira, one of the "Lost Lanterns", later receives the second red power ring.
An orange ring is powered by avarice, or greed. The wielders of the orange rings are covered in a deeper aura than members of other Corps. According to Ganthet, "the orange light of avarice will be discovered and manipulated by a being whose greed knows no bounds". The Controllers, an off-shoot of the Oan race, are searching for the orange light in order to create their own Corps. Wielders of orange rings also appear to steal the powers rings of other Corps.
The first yellow ring was accquired by Sinestro following his banishment to the anti-matter universe of
Qward, and could only be recharged by fighting a Green Lantern. Years later, after losing the ring to Guy Gardner and reaccquiring it, Sinestro created the Sinestro Corps. ["Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #10 (May 2006)] The yellow rings used by the Sinestro Corps are fueled by fearas opposed to willpower and are recharged by Yellow Power Batteries.
At the end of the war with the Sinestro Corps, former Guardians of the Universe
Ganthetand Saydused the emotion of hopeto create the first blue power ring. [ [http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/showpost.php?p=4741279&postcount=1 Jinxworld Forums - View Single Post - Dr. Catclops] ]
The bearers of the indigo power wield staff-like lanterns composed of coral-like material, which are powered by
compassion. The wielders of this power resemble shamans and tattoo their bodies with the symbol of their Corps. They appear to be neutral in the war helping injured on both sides. [ [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=140352 Newsarama.com: THE LANTERN'S ARTISTS, I - ETHAN VAN SCIVER] ] This corps exists to spread goodwill throughout the universe.
After realizing the power of the Star Sapphire was too great for them to control, the
Zamaronsforged a Violet Power Battery and power ring out of the Star Sapphire gem. Violet power rings are fueled by the emotion of love, one of the two emotions, with the other being rage, that most influence their user."Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #20 (2007)] At this moment, it is unknown whether or not the Corps will include male members. [ [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=140352 Newsarama.com: THE LANTERN'S ARTISTS, I - ETHAN VAN SCIVER] ]
Black power rings are wielded by the deceased. The symbol on black power rings is the same symbol used by Green Lantern super-villain Black Hand (a triangle pointing downwards, with five lines radiating upward from the base). The black rings also symbolize a total absence of emotion and life. [ "Green Lantern" (vol. 4) #30]
Other similar power rings
Power Ring is also the name of several supervillains from Earth-Three, Earth-3, and the anti-matter universe, usually associated with the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. He has had several incarnations and all have been evil versions of current Green Lanterns, including
Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner,"JLA: Earth 2" (2001)] and John Stewart. ["JLA" #107 (2005)] Their power rings are cursed with the entity Volthoom, who communicates much like the AI of Corps power rings. Other than that, their powers are mostly similar to the positive-matter power rings.
Alan Scottuses a power ring that draws energy from the Starheart. Before the creation of the Corps, the Guardians gathered all the magic they could and imprisoned it in the Starheart. The Starheart found its way to Earth, and met with the power ring and lantern of a banished ex-Green Lantern of Sector 2814. The combined chunk hurtled through the atmosphere and was smelted together into a green rock, which was then forged into a ring by Alan Scott. The limits of this ring's power are currently unknown. Residual effects from wearing it were, however, passed down to Scott's children, the metahumans Jade and Obsidian.
Jade was able to tap into the Starheart naturally and use its power without the necessity of a ring. For a time, Alan Scott absorbed the Starheart, and was able to use the power in similar fashion. When Jade died,
Kyle Raynerabsorbed her energy, and could tap into both the Starheart and the Central Power Battery as Ion. During the Sinestro Corps War, Rayner was separated from the Ion entity, a benevolent symbiote and living embodiment of willpower, and was granted a standard power ring to become a normal Green Lantern. It is unclear if Rayner's link to the Starheart remains, or if it was transferred with the Ion symbiote to its newest host, Sodam Yat.
* [http://www.glcorps.org/oa-oath.html Green Lantern Oaths]
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