One of DC Comics’ most eclectic and powerful heroes is none other than Green Lantern. Over the course of his lengthy history, there have been a multitude of individuals to wear a Green Lantern Power Ring, even more when you take into account that there’s an entire Green lantern Corps that protects all of space. Out of all the Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan is likely the most popular and definitely boasts incredible power. A great aspect of Green lantern stories is that anything can happen. Hal, or whoever is the Green Lantern at the time, have adventures that involve time travel, alternate realities, alien worlds, and pretty much every other science fiction trope and scenario you can think of. Just like the Power Rings these heroes (and sometimes villains) wield, the scope of the stories told is only limited by the imagination of the writer.
It isn’t only the situations that leave themselves open to countless possibilities, but the individuals who end up wearing the rings. With seven different emotional spectrums to choose from, there’s a Lantern ring out there for everyone. That said, today at CBR we’re looking at 15 characters you didn’t know donned a Green Lantern ring and in turn became Green Lanterns.
15 CAPTAIN KIRK
Space is the final frontier, not just for Hal Jordan and his merry band of Green Lanterns, but for the crew of the Starship Enterprise, including James. T. Kirk from Star Trek. Star Trek/Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds is the second crossover between the two, with the first featuring Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern Corps, and other Ring-powered friends fighting Nekkron with the help of the Enterprise. The follow up series saw the Green Lanterns attempting to find a new power battery, seeing as they’re trapped in the Star Trek universe.
However, Sinestro is also after the power, and the situations get more precarious when Kirk’s nemesis Khan gets a Red Lantern Power Ring. When things are at their bleakest, the Guardians of the Universe whip up one last Green Power Ring. It finds its way to Kirk and through him, the day is saved.
The premise of giving Superman a stupidly powerful weapon is considered, above other things, overkill. Several Elseworlds stories and even in-canon tales have featured him acquiring a Green Lantern Ring. First, there’s the Superman story "The One-Man JLA". In the story, a villain captures Superman and uses simulations created by Superman’s father, Jor-El, to put Superman through scenarios of what if he didn’t land on Earth. Kal-El sees what his life would’ve been like if he’d been raised by the Guardians of the Universe.
He’d become one of the greatest Green Lanterns, but when me meets Hal Jordan, he learns he lost some the humanity that informed his heroism as Superman. Then there’s the Elseworlds story Superman: The Last Son of Earth where Clark Kent is sent from Earth to Krypton, gets a Green Lantern Ring, and has its fabled might added to the powers he acquires on Krypton.
13 HARLEY QUINN
Depending on who’s writing her, Harley Quinn is either a gag character or she’s portrayed in a grounded light. The series Harley Quinn’s Little Black Book took the former approach and featured Harley engaging in a series of humorous team-ups. In the series’ second issue she encounters Green Lantern.
A Red Lantern Ring is on Earth and a bunch of evil aliens are coming to claim it. Since this is a Harley book, she ends up possessed by the Red Lantern Ring and fights Green Lantern to a stalemate. Along the way, she loses the Red Lantern Ring, the aliens get a hold of it, and Green Lantern has to rescue her, but gets knocked out in the process. With no one left to defend the planet, Harley takes his ring and uses it to create a green sledgehammer to destroy the aliens’ ships and save everyone.
12 DAFFY DUCK
Daffy Duck is an incredibly popular Looney Tunes characters, and has a habit of getting into crazy situations. Back in 1953, Daffy spoofed the pulp space hero Buck Rogers in Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century. Because of this, a whole array of science fiction stories were left open to be told, and in comedic satirical fashion no less.
In the The Green Loontern Hal Jordan and Duck Dodgers get their costumes mixed up at the dry cleaners. Hijinks follow which leads to Daffy becoming a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Things get troublesome when Dodgers is pulled into a huge battle against Sinestro. True to his Daffy Duck alter ego, he bumbled through the fight, but he proved helpful when he revived a group of Green Lanterns who had been put to sleep by Sinestro. Eventually Hal Jordan turns back up and is wearing the Duck Dodgers uniform.
11 KID FLASH
People forget that Hal Jordan is a good friend of Barry Allen, the Flash. In fact, the Scarlet Speedster was the first superhero Green Lantern ever teamed up with. Yet in the late '90s, both Barry Allen and Hal Jordan were both dead.
Mark Waid decided to tell stories that harkened back to the bright and happy days of comics, with his mini-series, Flash/Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold, Taking place after Waid’s JLA: Year One, the miniseries showed team-ups between Barry and Hal at different points in their history. The second issue featured Kid Flash discovering Hal’s secret identity. In a battle against the Black Hand and Mirror Master, Kid Flash takes an attack meant for Green Lantern. As a result, Wally loses his speed, so Hal gives him a ring and lets him be Kid Green Lantern until they got his speed back.
Back in the early ‘90s, DC decided to murder Superman. They needed to find a character capable of killing the Superman. They couldn’t find one, so they created Doomsday. And kill Superman he did in the "The Death of Superman". Superman soon returned to life in the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline. After the hero and villain were resurrected, they were featured again in the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey mini-series.
The story detailed some of Doomsday’s adventures off-world and in Doomsday: Year One Annual #1, we got to see some additional past exploits. In one instance Doomsday met, rather violently, a Green Lantern. True to his nature, Doomsday killed the Green Lantern and took his ring. Doomsday then somehow traced the ring’s power to back Oa. Practically unstoppable, now that he had a Power Ring, one of the Guardians sacrificed himself to temporarily destroy Doomsday.
9 SPACE GHOST
While Green Lantern might be the go-to hero these days when thinking about space-faring adventurers, lest not forget the days when Space Ghost also patrolled the stars. In DC Comics’ Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special #1, the two iconic heroes meet for the first time in comic books. After they each get trapped in a rift in space and time, Green Lantern and Space Ghost encounter one another on a xenophobic planet.
By way of a classic misunderstanding, the two fight one another and knock each other out. When they come to, they realize they’re on the same side, but they’ve been stripped of their weapons. It takes some sneaking around, but eventually the duo gets their weapons back and Space Ghost temporarily wields Hal Jordan Green Lantern Power Ring.
8 UNCLE SAM
In issues #14-18 of Superman/Batman, the Legion of Super-Villains has re-written history, sending the planet into a dark age. Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen raise Batman and Superman as theirs. In this alternate timeline there are still pockets of resistance, with one in particular led by Wonder Woman and Uncle Sam.
A hero from the Golden Age, Uncle Sam is a superhero whose power comes from the will of the American people. Wonder Woman finds him in a gutter, having forgotten his true identity, and uses her Lasso to make him remember himself. He then grasps a Power Ring. Since a Green Lantern Ring is powered by will and Uncle Sam is powered by the will of the people, the fatherly hero becomes incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, once Wonder Woman kills Batman, an enraged Superman is able to easily overpower Uncle Sam.
Despite his villainous tendencies, the Penguin is actually an extremely willful individual. In the episode "Ring Toss" of The Batman television show, Green Lantern comes to Earth and teams up with Batman and Robin to find the baddie Sinestro. Over the course of the episode, Hal Jordan tries to give his ring to Batman, but through a series of convoluted and wacky events, the Penguin manages to intercept the Power Ring, and take control of the mightiest weapon in the universe.
As you’d expect, despite their tenacity, Batman and Robin find themselves in a fight they can’t possibly win. Even though Oswald Cobblepot has no experience with wielding such a weapon, he proves exceptionally deadly. He would have won the day if not for Hal Jordan getting back in the fight, asserting his will, and taking back his ring.
6 IRON MAN (SORT OF)
Iron Man is a genius, billionaire with a suit of armor capable of taking on any and all comers. Green Lantern wields one of the most powerful weapons in the universe and uses it to devastating effect. Both fight on the side of angels, and somehow both of them fused into Iron Lantern in Marvel and DC Comics’ Amalgam comic line.
In this universe, Hal Stark was a billionaire and founder of Stark Air-Crafts. While working on a flight simulator, it flew into space and took him to another planet where he found the alien Rhomann Sur. Sur was supposed to give Hal a message, but died before he could. Hal, who was injured from the crash, engineered a high-tech suit made from Sur’s ship; a lantern-looking battery powered it. The armor gave Hal all sorts of abilities, including time travel, telepathy, faster than light travel, etc.
5 LEX LUTHOR
Lex Luthor is perpetually looking for ways to one-up Superman, attain great power, and be worshipped and looked on as a god. Following the events of "Blackest Night", Luthor was driven by the compulsion to get his hands on an Orange Power Ring, to mixed results. That wasn’t the first time he tried to get a Power Ring. In the episode "Secret Origin of the Super Friends" of The Challenge of the Super Friends animated TV show, Lex gets ahold of a Green Power Ring. The Legion of Doom travels back in time to the moment of each Super Friend’s origin so they can replace them.
Luthor, rather than Sinestro, ends up being the one to replace Green Lantern. When Abin Sur is dying, he gives the ring to Lex rather than Hal. The villains’ victory was short-lived as the remaining heroes brought their teammates back into existence.
4 PLANET OF THE APES
Green Lantern and Green Lantern Power Rings have been the subject of many bizarre and unique crossovers. Yet perhaps the craziest crossover was when the Green Lantern Corps and their Power Rings met the apes from Planet of the Apes.
After astronaut Colonel George Taylor gets temporally displaced, the ape Cornelius investigates the matter and discovers a Power Ring. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Multiverse, the Guardians of the Universe send the Green Lantern Corps to the alternate Planet of the Apes world in an attempt to get the lost Power Ring before Sinestro does. Hijinks ensue, apes get Power Rings of all colors, and there are epic battles and sacrifices. While the situation gets resolved, a tremendous mess has been left in the wake of the Power Rings interacting with this alternate world.
3 BIG BARDA
In JLA: The Nail by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, there’s a nail that goes through the tire of Jonathan and Martha Kent’s truck, which prevents them from arriving at the place where baby Kal-El crashed. Because of this, Kal-El never became Superman. Though the Justice League still forms, they eventually break up since Superman never was part of the team.
The follow up mini-series, Another Nail dealt with Apokolips. The story opens with Darkseid killing Mister Miracle. However, Mister Miracle “escapes” into Big Barda’s Mother Box. From there, the New Gods and the Green Lantern Corps launch a massive assault on Apokolips. When one of the Lanterns is killed, their ring went to Barda, who uses the ring to bring Mister Miracle back as a being made out of energy.
2 BARBARA GORDON
Barbara Gordon, the daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon, has experienced numerous identities and trials in her life, including being paralyzed by the Joker. Things changed for her in the Elseworlds tale, JLA: Created Equal. In it, a plague kills the world’s male population outside of Superman and Lex Luthor. Wonder Woman and the Amazons are front in center with keeping the planet turning, since they have experience with living in a society of only women.
At one point during the story, the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner dies. A failed comedian steals his Power Ring, but she’s later defeated by a bunch of female heroes. When all is said and done, the ring chooses Barbara Gordon to be Earth’s new Green Lantern. Aside from now being a Green Lantern, the ring also gave Barbara the ability to walk again.
Batman is known for a lot of things, insane wealth and killer martial arts moves among them, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s his intelligence and resolve that puts him above most superheroes. The idea of then arming him with a Green Lantern Ring, a weapon fueled by willpower and imagination, is either a brilliant move or the most terrifying thing in the universe.
A couple stories have featured Bruce Wayne being equipped with “the most powerful weapon in the universe,” and each time he becomes godly. One in particular is Batman: In Darkest Knight. One night while in the Batcave, Abin Sur crashed outside Wayne Manor and gave Bruce his Power Ring with his dying breath. Batman slides on the ring and becomes the most overpowered Green Lantern ever. The Green Lantern Corps so impressed they demand he teach them. Green Lantern Batman refuses.