Green Lantern has been a staple of the DC universe since his premiere in “All-American Comics” #16 (July 1940). Created by John Broome, Gil Kane, Bill Finger, Martin Nodell and Gardner Fox, the superhero has gone from a magic-based figure to a group of elite, intergalactic, law enforcement officers. There have been several Green Lanterns on Earth and thousands around the universe, but they all share the same power of the ring.
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The best-known power of the Green Lantern is to create green energy constructs that reflect the will and imagination of the wearer, but that’s not its only trick. Not by a long shot. CBR is here to go over 15 things you didn’t know Green Lantern’s ring could do.
15. LIFE SUPPORT
The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic organization, so Green Lantern can’t just hang around on Earth. He or she (or it) has to travel through deep space, and has also faced a lot of dangers underwater or even in the heart of volcanoes, where Lantern often need to protect themselves. That’s why Green Lantern’s ring is capable of creating a field around them that keeps them alive within a self-contained life support system.
While flying, the field protects Green Lantern from extremes of heat or cold, and can also block radiation and impacts from objects like bullets or flying debris. If he or she goes underwater or into space, the ring can create a barrier that allows the wearer to breathe and will get rid of waste products like carbon dioxide. The ring can keep Green Lanterns alive almost indefinitely, at least until they need to eat or drink. The only catch is the ring can’t make food or water, since it would disappear if the wearer stopped thinking about it.
14. CHANGE CLOTHES
Like all good superheroes, Green Lantern has a costume to wear when going out to fight evil, but the Lantern costume is a little different than others, and not just because it’s technically a uniform. It’s not something he or she wears under clothes like Superman, or carry in a briefcase like Iron Man. When Green Lantern needs a costume, the ring itself can change whatever clothing the wearer has on into the uniform. In fact, it can change clothing into anything else it needs, like a quick disguise.
In fact, the ring can also change the costume in different ways. Hal Jordan learned that in 2011’s “Green Lantern” #3, written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Doug Mahnke. In that issue, the rogue Lantern Sinestro had been allowed back into the Green Lantern Corps, and he needed Jordan’s help to do it. At one point, he instructs Hal to “go dark,” changing his costume from green to black, making him more stealthy. It also just looks cool.
13. COPY ITSELF
You know the old joke about a guy who uses his three wishes to get more wishes? The Green Lantern power ring is kind of like that. It can create almost any object the wearer can imagine, limited only by the user’s will and imagination, but can it also create more rings? Yes, it can. A Green Lantern can use his or her ring to make a new power ring for someone else to wear, and the duplicate power rings give the wearer power to make energy constructs, although usually with some strings attached.
That happened in “Green Lantern” #2 (2011) when Sinestro gave Jordan a ring, but set it so it couldn’t hurt Sinestro; plus, the rouge rogue could turn it off at any time. Another incident came during the “Blackest Night” event in 2009-2010, when the Guardians of the Universe decided to create a team of “deputy lanterns” out of heroes and villains on Earth. The rings gave them Lantern powers on top of any other superpowers they had, but were limited to 24 hours of use.
12. WALK THROUGH WALLS
Other superheroes like Martian Manhunter and the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde have the power to pass through objects, but many readers don’t know Green Lantern has the same power, to a degree. Physical barriers are no match for the ring when it uses its power to turn the wearer intangible, able to literally walk through walls. That also means any attacks like bullets will pass right through, but Green Lanterns usually prefer to make shields instead.
If you’re a Green Lantern fan, you may be wondering when you’d ever see him pass through objects. The Green Lantern Alan Scott actually did it first, way back in 1940’s “All-American Comics” #16, written by Bill Finger with art by Martin Nodell. When Scott first gained the power of the ring, one of his first tricks was to pass through “the fourth dimension,” and walk through a wall to get some crooks by surprise. The modern Lanterns, whose rings are based more on science than magic, have explained that their rings’ light merely pushes the molecules of a given surface or material apart, bringing them back together after the Lantern is finished passing through.
11. CREATE YELLOW
Most people who know the Green Lantern Corps know that all their energy constructs are green, and the ring’s weakness is the color yellow. Did you know that wasn’t always the case? For a long time, Green Lantern’s constructs wouldn’t affect objects that were colored yellow, but it turned out that the yellow impurity was just a side effect of the fear entity Parallax that had been trapped in the power battery. With enough willpower, the impurity could be overcome.
There was even a time where Hal Jordan was able to create yellow constructs himself in 1992’s “Green Lantern: Ganthet’s Tale,” written by Larry Niven with art by John Byrne. In the story, Jordan went up against two children armed with power rings and a hundred years more experience than him. The only way to stop them was for Jordan to move away at high speed, causing his ring’s wavelength to shift from green to yellow. Neat trick.
10. SOUL STORAGE
The Green Lantern power ring isn’t just a hunk of metal. It’s actually a powerful object with dimensions that go beyond time and space, and abilities that are almost limitless. The best example of that came from the Green Lantern Kilowog, when he used his ring to preserve the population of his entire planet.
Kilowog came from the planet Bolovax Vik, home to 16 billion people, making it one of the most overpopulated planets in the universe. In “Green Lantern Corps” #218 (1987, written by Steve Englehart and art by Bill Willingham), Kilowog revealed the fate of that world. During the 1985 crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Bolovax Vik was destroyed, which would have meant Kilowog’s race was exterminated, but he quickly captured the souls of all of his people inside his ring. Later, Kilowog was able to find a new planet where he released them, alive again. Sadly, Sinestro destroyed the new world, killing all 16 billion all over again, and this time, Kilowog couldn’t save them. Still, they had a good shot at it.
The Green Lantern Corps travels around the universe, crossing solar systems and galaxies in their pursuit of justice. That would make communication a huge problem, since good old radio just wouldn’t cut it. If it weren’t for the power of their rings, Green Lanterns would be cut off from each other and their (now former) leaders, the Guardians of the Universe. That’s why the power rings give the wearer telepathy, allowing them to communicate with their minds at speeds faster than light.
While using the power ring, the Guardians can instantly be heard by any Green Lantern in the universe, and the Lanterns can also communicate with each other. That comes in handy, especially in 2016’s “Green Lantern: The Lost Army” #1, written by Cullen Bunn with art by Jesus Saiz. In the issue, members of the Green Lantern Corps wanted to talk privately, so they switched to their telepathic channels to talk in secret. It’s better than passing notes in class.
8. UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR
Even on Earth, it’s hard to have a conversation with people in different countries, so imagine what the Green Lantern Corps faces when they travel the Galaxy, meeting thousands of different species on a daily basis. It would be almost impossible to get anything done if it weren’t for another handy power of the ring, serving as a universal translator. The ring is able to translate almost all languages, letting the Green Lantern hear in his or her native tongue, and speak in the language of the user.
The ring isn’t perfect, though, as evidenced by “Tales of The Green Lantern Corps Annual” # 3 (1987), written by Alan Moore and penciled by Bill Willingham. There, Katma Tui tried to recruit Rot Lop Fan, who lived in a lightless void and had no concept of light or the color green. Katma had to translate the Green Lantern Corps as the F-Sharp Bell Corps. He got the message.
7. RAPID HEALING
Even though Green Lanterns can create barriers to protect themselves, they’re not invulnerable. Green Lanterns can get hurt, sometimes seriously, like Hal Jordan was in “Green Lantern” #46, written by Gerard Jones and penciled by M.D. Bright. Part of the “Reign of the Supermen,” Hal Jordan fought the supervillain Mongul and had his arm and leg broken in the process. He was able to make a splint and keep fighting, but he was pretty banged up. With time and energy, though, another ability of the ring can kick in, which is the power to heal wounds rapidly. It just takes a lot of work for the ring to help the wearer.
In “Green Lantern” #142 (2001), written by Judd Winick and penciled by Eric Battle, Kyle Rayner suffered horrific third degree burns during a fight with a trio calling themselves Inferno who had fire powers. Through sheer force of will, Rayner was able to quickly heal the burns, but it took a lot of willpower to do it.
6. TIME TRAVEL
The Green Lantern Corps doesn’t just have power over space, but also time. That’s right, a Green Lantern power ring can be used to travel through time. It’s not something Green Lanterns do often, and it’s not easy because it take enormous amounts of willpower, but it can be done. A perfect example is when Hal Jordan was brought to the future to bring down a tyrannical government in space. Unfortunately, in the process, he lost his memories, which were then replaced by the alias Pol Manning. During this period, he effectively lived a double life as a hero in two eras.
Hal Jordan first used the Pol Manning monicker in “Green Lantern” #8 in 1961, written by John Broome and penciled by Gil Kane. In the story, humans from the distant future began pulling Jordan forward in time to make him their savior, but would send Jordan back to the present when his adventures were done, his memory wiped. Jordan didn’t realize it until issue #51 when he heard cries for help in the present. Using his power ring, Jordan circumvents the time machine the people used, utilizing his ring instead to travel forward into the future. Take that, TARDIS!
5. CONTAIN A PLANET
As we mentioned earlier, the Green Lantern power ring has an incredible output capacity, and here’s another example that could blow your mind. Not only can a power ring contain the souls of 16 billion people, it can also contain an entire alternate reality. Hal Jordan found that out in “Green Lantern” #26 in 1964, written by Gardner Fox and penciled by Gil Kane, when he literally went inside of his own power ring.
In the backup story of that issue, Jordan discovered that his predecessor Abin Sur had faced a powerful wizard named Myrwhydden, who had great powers to go with his hard-to-pronounce name. In order to stop him, Abin Sur shrank Myrwhydden down to microscopic size and created another world inside the ring where magic wouldn’t work. The wizard remained imprisoned inside the ring until he gained enough power to try to break out. Jordan shrank down and went into the ring to fight him, amazingly, and defeated him.
4. STORE INFORMATION
Long before the Internet and Wikipedia, the Green Lantern Corps had their own huge storehouse of knowledge, and they kept it on their finger. The power rings of the Green Lanterns are connected to the power battery on Oa, and can access all the knowledge of the Lanterns at any time, anywhere. Considering the Guardians of the Universe have lived for billions of years and the Lanterns travel throughout the universe, that’s a lot of data at their fingertips… quite literally.
Whenever a Green Lantern needs to research something, they can just ask their ring. Not only can the ring give them the information they need, it can even create holographic projections that recreate people and events related to the topic. Very little is hidden from the Lanterns, and even then usually only by the orders of the Guardians of the Universe. With a Green Lantern ring, you don’t need the Internet. The ring is the Internet… but better.
3. MAKE KRYPTONITE
Green Lanterns can make anything that’s green, and what’s the most famous green object in the DC Universe? No, not a leprechaun. We’re talking about kryptonite, the mineral that’s deadly to Superman. The question has come up whether the Green Lantern can make a working kryptonite construct that’s fatal to Superman, and the answer is yes. The power ring can simulate any form of radiation, and kryptonite is no exception. It’s actually been done a few times, but one of the most famous moments came in “Superman: Man of Tomorrow.”
In 1999’s “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” #13, drawn by Paul Ryan and written by Louise Simonson, Superman seemingly went out of control, destroying nuclear weapons and unleashing an army of robot duplicates. To stop him, Martian Manhunter used his telepathy to read the formula for kryptonite from Superman’s mind and send it to Kyle Rayner to duplicate it. Superman managed to get away, but the message was clear. It’s not easy being green.
2. BRAIN SURGERY
A Green Lantern has to have a strong mind to create his constructs and control his ring, but the ring itself has a lot of power over the mind as well. It can read the thoughts and memories of other beings and give them to the ring’s wearer, giving the Corps the ability to read minds. On top of that, the ring can also change the brains of others.
Jordan has been one who likes to play fast and loose with neurons. For instance, his enemy Major Disaster has been the brunt of it ever since his first appearance in 1966’s “Green Lantern” #43, drawn by Gil Kane and written by Gardner Fox. Major Disaster found out the secret identity of the Flash and Green Lantern, so Jordan used his ring to erase Major’s memory, and later put in mental blocks to keep him from revealing the secrets. Here’s hoping Jordan didn’t cause too much damage in the process.
Here’s one you definitely never thought about a power ring doing, and that’s taking the place of a hot cup of coffee. In 1986’s “Green Lantern Corps” #211, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Joe Staton, Guy Gardner was frustrated by a seemingly dull New Year’s Eve, so he decided to get the Green Lantern Corps liquored up. He used his ring to teach him how to create an intoxicating but tasteless chemical in the water supply (told you it was an encyclopedia), and sat back to watch as the Corps got thoroughly blasted.
It started out entertaining with the Green Lanterns drunk and staggering all over the place, but the plan took a turn for the worse when the Green Lantern Salaak started seeing pink elephants, which his ring brought to life, causing the creatures to begin attacking the city. In order to stop them, Guy used his ring to blast the Green Lantern Corps with a beam that sobered them up immediately. Bet some of us could use a ring like that on Sunday mornings.
Which do you think is the weirdest power of a Green Lantern ring? What power do you think would come in handy? Let us know in the comments!
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