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Dark Green: The 15 Most Unsettling Secrets About Green Lantern's Ring

There are many powerful weapons in the world of comic books, but a simple ring may be the most special and powerful of them all. Often billed as the most powerful weapon in the universe, the Green Power Ring uses incredible technology to assist its wielder in protecting the universe. The ring may seem simple enough, but it actually takes a large amount of willpower to operate on a regular basis. It responds to the user in order to create whatever they can think up. In essence, the Green Lantern Power Ring weaponizes the imagination to keep innocent people safe.

You might be asking yourself at this moment how you can get your hands on one of these rings. Well, you can’t just go and get one, you have to wait for one of them to seek you out and determine that you have the ability to overcome a great amount of fear. Only then will you be inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, taken to their headquarters at the center of the universe, and given a power battery in the shape of a lantern so you can charge the ring. Before you go off in search of one or start beefing up your ring-slinging profile in hopes of being chosen, it’s important that you know everything you’re getting into. Here are 15 dark secrets about Green Lantern’s ring.

15 THE RING HURTS TO USE

It was established in Green Lantern: Rebirth back in 2005 that it is excruciatingly difficult to use a Green Lantern ring. When Sinestro goes after Green Arrow in order to steal the ring Hal Jordan left behind, Oliver decides to finally use it to protect himself. All he can muster out is a single arrow construct, but the act of using it proves to be extremely painful for him.

Oliver asks Kyle Rayner if that is what it’s like to use the ring, and the Lantern tells him that it’s like that every time. For a Green Lantern, power is also pain, so the ability to overcome great fear is only one half of the equation. Apparently the other half is the ability to overcome a great amount of mental and physical pain.

14 IT RUNS ON THE EMOTIONAL SPECTRUM

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A Green Lantern ring isn’t just fueled with generic magic or energy, it actually channels a part of the secret cosmic power source known as the Emotional Spectrum. This energy is representative of the emotions sentient beings feel — including anger, greed, fear, hope, love, compassion, and will. Each emotion is associated with a specific color and each power can only be used by embracing that emotion.

You might imagine then that the Green Lanterns channel the green energy of the Emotional Spectrum, which is willpower. By channeling this emotion, Green Lanterns can overcome their fears and protect the universe from danger. Their leaders, the Guardians of the Universe, chose this emotion because it is the most stable of the Emotional Spectrum and is therefore easiest to control.

13 THERE WAS AN IMPURITY

For a long time the Green Lanterns could use their rings to affect anything in the known universe, as long as it wasn’t the color yellow. Sure, it might sound like an incredibly ridiculous weakness for the strongest weapon in the universe to have, but there is a reason for it. The Yellow Impurity that existed in the Central Power Battery that connects all Green Lantern rings was tainted.

Long ago, the Guardians of the Universe had imprisoned the yellow fear entity known as Parallax inside the Central Power Battery. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove to be a perfect prison, and it influenced the rings to be weak to the color yellow, and by extension, to fear. Following the resurrection of Hal Jordan, that infection has been removed and now the rings have no problem with yellow.

12 ANYONE CAN WEAR A RING

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While the Green Lanterns are usually presented to be the good guys, it doesn’t mean that evil can’t also wear the ring. The only requirement to use a Green Lantern ring is the ability to use willpower to overcome fear. Many villains have proven capable of doing that, including the Cyborg Superman, Doomsday, Earth-Man, and even Harley Quinn.

Sometimes those who have worn the ring have been corrupted by its awesome power and have ultimately gone to the dark side. Sinestro was once the greatest Green Lantern of them all before he used his ring to govern his home planet under a dictatorship. The Dark Multiverse also showed us what evils an angry and frightened Bruce Wayne could do with a power ring if he was given such a weapon at a vulnerable age.

11 RINGS CAN SPLIT IN TWO

While there is a full corps of Green Lanterns patrolling the universe, sometimes backup isn’t right around the corner. That’s where the ring’s ability to duplicate itself comes in handy. A Green Lantern can temporarily induct someone into the GLC by splitting their ring, and then the inductee has all the powers of a real Green Lantern for as long as their help is needed.

In the past, Kyle Rayner once tried to use this ability to reform the Green Lantern Corps back when he was the only one left. It didn’t work, to put it lightly. More recently, when Hal Jordan’s ring was stripped from him by the Guardians of the Universe, the newly-reinstated Sinestro used his ring to give Hal a duplicate. This is how they operated together for a time before Hal became a permanent member again.

10 THE RINGS NEED A GUIDE

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You don’t find the ring, the ring finds you. However, for the ring to actually be able to go out and look for a worthy wearer, they need a guide to show them what exactly they are supposed to be looking for. That guide? Why, it's the sentient planet Mogo of course. The biggest member of the Green Lantern Corps is also one of the most important, as he assists in the distribution of the rings throughout the universe.

His importance to the entire process is put on display when Green Lantern John Stewart is forced to kill Mogo during the “War of the Green Lanterns” storyline. With him gone, the rings are unable to be sent out to find new recruits. It isn’t until the planet reforms that the rings can be sent out again.

9 ALL RINGS ARE CONNECTED

When you’re in the Green Lantern Corps, you’re never truly on your own because the rings can act as communicators over millions of miles of space. Since each ring shares the same energy from the Central Power Battery, each ring is also connected. It’s that connection, though, that can sometimes land the Green Lanterns in hot water if something goes wrong.

During the storyline “War of the Green Lanterns,” the fear entity Parallax is reintroduced into the Central Power Battery, restoring the yellow impurity into everyone’s rings. With a strong connection this time around, the entity is able to control everyone who wears a ring and force them to fight each other. This connection nearly led to the entire destruction of the Green Lantern Corps until Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner were able to set things right.

8 IT CAN ACTUALLY KILL YOU

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As the most powerful weapon in the universe, it’s remarkably easy to handle and surprisingly safe to use. However, it has been revealed in Green Lanterns that this is because there are safeguards in place. When the rings were first created, if a wearer wasn’t careful, their willpower could overwhelm them and actually destroy the ring and themselves.

This happens to a Kryptonian explorer by the name of Jan-Al billions of years in the past when the Green Lantern Corps was first formed. Seven new rings were sent out to stop the villainous Volthoom, but Jan-Al, not knowing how to temper her willpower, ended up dying because she overloaded her ring. The incident convinced the other recruits that they needed to learn how to responsibly use their rings.

7 THERE WERE PROTOTYPES

The Green Lantern power rings didn’t just pop up out of nowhere once the Guardians of the Universe first decided to create a universal police force. It took time and research to come up with the perfect way to do it. At first, the Guardian known as Krona developed an energy gauntlet that could help the user channel the emotional energy of willpower.

When that device proved to be too impractical, Rami came up with the idea of power rings. While later rings were designed to manipulate willpower, Rami’s first design was known as the Phantom Ring, which could channel any emotion that the user feels. This proved far too dangerous, so the Guardians decided to concentrate their efforts on controlling willpower, the most stable of the Emotional Spectrum.

6 THE RING CAN BREAK REALITY

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During the events of Dark Nights: Metal, we learned that power rings actually have the ability to break all of reality if the user is powerful enough. In a world that looks familiar, but is also doomed to go very wrong, a young Bruce Wayne who just witnessed the murder of his parents is given a Green Lantern power ring.

Considering the level of devastation he feels in that moment, it proves to be a huge mistake. He kills the attacker as the will of an unstable child proves to be too much for the ring to handle. He manages to tap into the energies of the Dark Multiverse, able to consume light and destroy the entire Green Lantern Corps. The Dawnbreaker may have been in the Dark Multiverse, but who knows what power a ring from the regular Multiverse could tap into.

5 THE RING IS VULNERABLE TO CERTAIN ATTACKS

A Green Lantern’s ring can protect the wearer from a lot of different kinds of attacks, but over the years we have seen that these ringslingers are not immune to everything. Mental attacks have shown to be able to disrupt a Green Lantern’s concentration enough for an attack to get through the usually impenetrable defenses. This is why enemies like Hector Hammond and Despero are so dangerous.

It has also been shown that certain sonic attacks can break energy constructs and leave the Lantern incapacitated from the attack. In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the Controllers were able to develop a new plan of attack that could break down energy constructs and leave Green Lanterns defenseless. A coordinated attack using this technology could ultimately lead to the group’s doom.

4 YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO MAKE YOUR OWN

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If a Green Lantern ring doesn’t come find you, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to make your own. This is not like the Jedi and their lightsabers, it is widely believed that only the Guardians of the Universe have the ability to create a power ring. They constructed an entire ring-making factory under the surface of Oa, where each ring is imbued with the power of a Guardian.

That theory was put to the test when Hal Jordan became pure willpower in Rebirth’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. Prolonged exposure to Krona’s gauntlet changed Hal’s body, allowing him to craft his very own power ring. It was the first time that another being other than the Guardians of the Universe had been able to create a power ring.

3 THE TECHNOLOGY IS NOT FROM AROUND HERE

What the power rings are actually made of has always remained a mystery. Part near-magic and part tech, there was nothing else like it in the universe, and there’s good reason for that. In the Rebirth title Green Lanterns it was revealed that the rings were originally developed from technology that came from a different universe.

The scientist Volthoom came to this universe from Earth-15 with what he called his Travel Lantern, a device that allowed him to traverse the DC Multiverse. After befriending the Guardians of the Universe billions of years ago, they eventually turned on him and took his technology. Destroying the Travel Lantern, they used the technology to create power rings that could process and control pure willpower. It’s a dark secret that no one was ever supposed to know.

2 THE RING’S LIMITATIONS HAVE CHANGED

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Many things in comics have changed over the years, including the abilities of the Green Lantern power ring, as well as its limitations. According to original Green Lantern continuity, the rings had to be recharged every 24 hours, no matter how much they were used. That basically implied that the power was seeping from the ring and that they were not very energy efficient.

In the 1990s, when the entire Green Lantern Corps was destroyed, DC Comics decided to change this limitation. Kyle Rayner’s ring could hold a charge directly based on how much he used it, and would need to recharge it based on how empty it was. This made far more sense and was much more efficient. When the Corps came back, everyone’s ring did the same thing.

1 THE RINGS ARE DESTROYING THE UNIVERSE

As much as the Green Lantern Corps was created to do good, it is also unintentionally destroying the universe because of its reliance on the power rings. Since these rings are powered by the Emotional Spectrum, the fact that so many of them exist has led to a depletion of the emotional energy reserves of the universe. When those reserves hit zero, the universe ends.

That’s the truth we learned about the power rings at the end of the Green Lantern crossover storyline “Lights Out,” when a being from the universe before the current one came to stop the Lanterns from destroying this universe too. Luckily the day was saved in the end, but it’s still a fact that the power rings are slowly bringing the universe to a premature end.

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