Thousands of years ago before Green Lantern, a mystical "green flame" fell to Earth. The voice of the flame prophesied that it would act three times: Once to bring death, once to bring life, and once to bring power.
By 1940, the flame had been fashioned into a metal lantern, which fell into the hands of Alan Scott, a young engineer. Following a railroad bridge collapse, the flame instructed Scott how to fashion a ring from its metal. It gave him fantastic powers as the superhero Green Lantern. He adopted a colorful costume and became a crime-fighter.
All Green-Lanterns wield a power ring that can generate a variety of effects and energy constructs, sustained purely by the ring wearer's strength of will. The greater the user's willpower, the more effective the ring is.
Power rings allow Green-Lantern to fly and to cover him and others with a protective force field, suitable for travelling through outer space. He can also generate beams and solid structures of energy that can be moved simply by thinking about doing so, enabling Green Lantern to create cages, transportation platforms, walls, and battering rams.
The ring can also be used to search for energy signatures or particular objects. It can serve as a universal translator. The ring can manipulate sub-atomic particles (effectively producing new elements) and split atoms, but those powers are rarely used by Green-Lanterns.
The power rings of the Green-Lantern Corps appear to be semi-sentient computers, able to talk to and advise the user as to various courses of action.
Rings typically hold a limited charge. Alan Scott's ring and the Green-Lantern Corps rings must be recharged every 24 hours. Kyle Rayner's ring also has limited energy, but no set time limit; the energy is expended by Rayner's use of the ring, so the duration of each charge is determined by his actions.
Alan Scott's ring can’t directly affect objects made of wood, and Green-Lantern Corps rings can’t directly affect objects colored yellow. Originally it was believed that the Guardians wanted the rings to have a weakness to prevent a Green Lantern from becoming all-powerful. Recent events though, have revealed that the yellow "impurity" was in fact a yellow-energy being of pure fear, trapped in the Central Power Battery.
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.
Kyle Rayner's ring can affect both wooden and yellow objects, but his mind has proven to be susceptible to forms of external control (such as hallucinogens, psychic attacks, and other phenomena that disrupt his thought processes). Nowadays, a holder of a Corps ring can overcome the yellow weakness by recognizing the fear behind it, and facing that fear (Green-Lantern (4th series) #1, July 2005).
The 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 emergency, that energy reserve can be tapped, at the expense of said protection, until it too is exhausted. Kyle Rayner's reconfigured ring can run low, but never completely loose its charge; however, it doesn't shield him from harm if he's caught off-guard.
The GLC rings need not be worn to be wielded in some functions. For instance, the Green Lantern, Ch'p, once faced a hostage situation where the villain demanded he take off his ring or the hostage would be harmed. Ch'p complied, but not before ordering the ring to fire a restraining beam on the villain seconds after being removed from physical contact (which was done, and the villain was captured). Rayner can will his ring to return to him if it is ever removed or lost.
GLC rings can also be used to emit simulated radiation from Green Kryptonite. This radiation is apparently just as powerful and painful to Superman and other Kryptonians as the genuine rays, but the ring wielder needs to concentrate to maintain this effect. An alien imposter who stole Jordan's ring used this ability to subdue Superman in order to kill him, only to be struck by Jordan to break his concentration to allow Superman to recover and attack.
Standard Green Lantern Corps and Alan Scott's rings can be used by anyone who wears them. Rayner's ring is keyed to his genetic pattern and is useless to anyone else, except for Hal Jordan, as shown in Green Lantern (3rd series) #99. However, this has also been subsequently changed. Currently, anyone who has the massive amounts of willpower that a typical Green Lantern wields can use the ring.
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. Often, a current Green-Lantern consciously initiates the search for a new wielder when he realizes death is imminent. It has also been demonstrated that a ring can conduct such a search on its own if circumstances require it.
It is frequently implied that there are a
fixed and finite number of power rings in existence. Many stories show
power rings creating duplicates of themselves for the purpose of arming
auxiliary Green Lanterns. One story had a pre-Parallax Hal Jordan cast
forward in time to meet Kyle Rayner. It was stated that a ring of the
Green-Lantern Corp had the ability to duplicate itself without limit.
This allowed the entire Corps to be reconstituted from a single ring, if
Now if you happen to be into collecting and reading more, I have researched some excellent resources. Here is a collection of Green Lantern comics and back issues . I don’t think you will be disappointed.
You may very well find a tidbit or two worthy of your interest. And of course, the ole standby, Amazon has a multitude of itemsto tickle your taste buds. Just click on the image to the left. Don’t stay too long though, and come back here.
If you want to keep up on the varied and interesting activities going on in the world of comic books, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter “Comics Galore” in the form below. And by all means, I would love to hear your comments and opinions on the multitude of Green Lantern characters. You can sure leave them for me at my contact page in the menu at the left. I may even be able to include them in my newsletter. I thank you ahead of time.