There are few items in the DC Universe that are more powerful than the various power rings that have been bestowed to the Lanterns that roam the galaxy. In spite of these weapons usually being a tool to help these heroes act as guardians of the universe, they have fallen into the hands of villains through the years, too. When the different colors of the power rings are reflecting certain emotions like greed or fear, for instance, it’s only natural that certain evil individuals are going to end up personifying those traits. Everyone is familiar with Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and the rest of the virtuous Lanterns, but here’s a healthy look into some of the more villainous superpowers that have donned the ring. None of these individuals are people that it would be wise to rag on for wearing shiny jewelry. In brightest day, in blackest night, ScreenRant presents the 17 Most Powerful Supervillains To Wear Lantern Rings, Ranked.
17. Power Ring (Harold Jordan)
Representing the delightfully backwards world of Earth-3 (and the Antimatter Universe), Power Ring is essentially an evil version of the Green Lantern. Due to the whole opposite vibe that Earth-3 is going for, rather than Harold Jordan being a bastion of willpower, he’s in fact the most cowardly individual of Earth-3. It’s worth mentioning that Jordan’s Ring of Volthoom bullies him into accepting its burden. The Ring is steadily inflicting him with pain, destroying his body, but Jordan’s too cowardly to muster the willpower to get someone to take it off him. Jordan’s abilities appear to be pretty lackluster and in spite of being a member of the Crime Syndicate, his situation plays like more of a cruel joke.
Power Ring’s fate is ultimately pretty gruesome as the Sinestro of his world, a member of the Injustice League, ends up tearing off Jordan’s arm and finally ridding him of the responsibility of the powers of this Ring. The Ring and its abilities might have turned Jordan into a villain, but he at least gets to die as a normal human.
16. The Penguin (Henry Cobblepot)
Believe it or not, the relatively family-friendly The Batman cartoon ends up having the Green Lantern stop by to pay his respects every so often. In the episode “Ring Toss,” Green Lantern enlists Batman’s help in order to apprehend Sinestro. However, amidst all of this chaos, the Penguin ends up stealing Hal Jordan’s ring in the process. The results are very bizarre, see-it-to-believe-it type stuff, but watching Batman and Robin try to take down a Ring-toting Penguin does make for an entertaining episode of television. The Penguin’s use of Jordan’s ring is largely for comedic effect. He can’t figure out how to work the powers at first, generating a giant boot as his weapon. Then an egg beater. In spite of his troubleshooting, he does eventually get the better of Batman. This is clearly a baby playing with a bazooka, though; he has no idea what he’s doing.
There’s some debate over whether the Green Ring’s emotional field of willpower is actually an appropriate fit for the Penguin, but The Batman maybe deserves to be cut some slack. When it allows a fight as weird as this to go down, try not to ask too many questions.
15. The Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane)
So when you get right down to it, The Scarecrow being chosen by the Yellow Lantern Ring makes so much sense that it’s a wonder that it didn’t happen sooner. The Yellow Ying is rooted in the emotion of fear, after all. That’d be like the Riddler getting a ring that was all about riddling. This is a pairing that’s too good to be true.
During the “Blackest Night” storyline from out of Green Lantern, Ganthet creates new copies of each of the seven Lantern Corps Rings to fight Nekron and his Black Ring army. Ganthet’s Yellow Ring chooses Scarecrow and the fit is so perfect that he’s even given the honor of Sinestro of Sector-2814 while also doing a stint as a member of the Sinestro Corps. Scarecrow doesn’t cause too much damage and is just happy to be a part of the team here while serving Sinestro. Unfortunately, Scarecrow’s time with this Qwardian power is cut short when Lex Luthor (who has a Power Ring of his own at the time) steals his Yellow Ring. It’s back to the fear toxin for good old Jonathan Crane at that point – but he gets a ring back eventually.
14. Solomon Grundy (Cyrus Gold)
Grundy becomes a bearer of the Black Lantern Ring in the monumental Lantern showdown that takes place in “Blackest Night.” In an unholy scheme to destroy all of the Lantern Corps, Nekron—Lord of the Unliving—re-animates an army of characters who have been killed or are deceased. Grundy ends up being a member of this zombified cabal of warriors, with him really just serving the purpose of brute strength for Nekron’s growing army. This allegiance to Nekron comes hot on the heels of Cyrus Gold (Grundy’s alter ego) learning some major details about his death and the curse that plagues him, making this all the more bittersweet. Grundy doesn’t really get to make his mark as a Black Lantern with Bizarro driving his corpse into the sun in a rather undignified death for the poor guy. Grundy is already a super strong individual that is practically immortal due to the curse that plagues him, but it’s still no match for something of this caliber. Solomon Grundy might have been born on a Monday, but it looks like he died on a Sunday.
13. Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor is one of the more ego-driven, obsessive characters from the DC Universe, so the idea of this megalomaniac with a Power Ring is certainly a tempting one. While Ganthet was creating duplicate Lantern Rings during the terrors of “Blackest Night,” the Orange Power Ring ended up deputizing Lex Luthor of all people. Interestingly, it was Larfleeze’s Power Ring that was duplicated, causing him to actually pursue Luthor in order to get it back. Larfleeze and Luthor duke it out, but it’s actually Luthor’s own hubris that ends up being his undoing. His feelings of avarice and greed are so tremendous that he ends up stealing Larfleeze’s Power Battery with his next aim to steal all the Power Rings, period. A power-hungry Luthor is subdued by the Lantern Corps and robbed of his power before he can do too much damage, but after the events of “Blackest Night” the man fosters a real obsession with acquiring a Black Lantern Ring and unlocking its power.
12. Fatality (Yrra Cynril)
Yraa Cynrill comes from a backstory that almost feels like a combination of Wonder Woman and Superman’s. Cynril is a member of the alien race from the planet Xanshi. When a Green Lantern’s actions (John Stewart, unbeknownst to her) lead to the destruction her home planet, Cynril dedicates herself to revenge and re-brands herself as Fatality. Fatality manages to allegedly kill hundreds of Green Lanterns and is a considerable thorn in both Kyle Rayner and John Stewart’s sides. Her alien physiology allows her superhuman reflexes and skills, which are made even more dangerous once she acquires a Lantern Ring.
During the Sinestro Corps War, Fatality temporarily joins the Sinestro Corps with vengeance on her mind. Her bitter time filled with hate for the Sinestro Corps ends up seeing her captured by Zamarons and stowed away in crystal. Fatality later emerges as a new member of the Star Sapphire Corps, complete with a Star Sapphire Ring in tow. Sometimes angry caterpillars can turn into the most inspiring of butterflies!
11. Deathstorm (Ronnie Raymond, Jason Rusch)
Nothing like adding “Death” to a character’s name to signify that it’s now an evil version of them, right? During those whacky hijinks of “Blackest Night,” the original Firestorm, Ronnie Raymond, is resurrected as part of Nekron’s Black Lantern Corps. This Black Lantern Firestorm is dead set on torturing Jason Rusch and his girlfriend, setting Ronnie and Jason up for a complicated, painful relationship. Post “Blackest Night,” the anger between Ronnie and Jason ends up leading to an embodiment of their rivalry—Deathstorm—emerging from the two of them. The result is a very powerful Venom-esque villain who also happens to be the first Black Lantern to return to the scene.
Deathstorm is the worst sort of masochist who not only goes about creating eleven more Black Lanterns out of his own evil, but wages war against all of Ronnie and Jason’s loved ones, often absorbing them in the process. In the end it comes down to the immense power of a White Lantern to deal with Deathstorm, but the guy gets a lot done for a subconscious manifestation.
10. Black Adam
When it comes to supervillain evil bromances, Black Adam and Sinestro take the arsenic-laced cake. The two titans of evil routinely work together and come to each other’s aid, with no example being more indicative of their bond than when Sinestro tossed his pal a Power Ring and made him an official member of the Sinestro Corps. One of Sinestro’s particularly nasty battles sees him up against a mighty threat known as the Paling, who happens to be threatening the safety of Earth. With Sinestro not faring too well on his own, he calls in Black Adam for help, but when the tables turn and it looks like Black Adam is about to bite the big one, Sinestro tosses him a Qwardian life preserver. A Ring-powered Black Adam is sort of like a grizzly bear with a chainsaw and Black Adam is able to handle his competition. The power of Gods plus a Lantern ring might seem a little unnecessary, but you try taking the thing away from him.
It should perhaps be a little expected that a character who is the leader of all the Orange Lanterns—the Emotional Spectrum associated with greed and avarice—would end up commanding a major war and power struggle in order to secure his sacred Power Battery. Larfleeze—or Agent Orange, as he is sometimes known—fought and scraped his away into being in control of the Orange Lantern Corps. Larfleeze sets his Orange Lanterns on a mission to systematically take down the Guardians and any opposing Lantern members, with the power-hungry team actually finding a great deal of success. Larfleeze ends up posing quite the challenge for Hal Jordan, even cutting off his arm in order to obtain his Blue Power Ring, causing Larfleeze to develop his latest obsession in the process. In spite of his immense power and supreme forces, Larfleeze’s never-sated appetite sees him coming to blows with Atrocitus, Lex Luthor, and creating his own self-imposed obstacles. The one thing that Larfleeze isn’t able to ask for is help, and sometimes having allies is more powerful than any army or Ring.
8. Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw)
Cyborg Superman has one of the most tragic histories in all of DC’s characters. The pained cyborg who has lost everything that’s mattered to him simply longs for the release of death to end all of this misery. In spite of his pained, tumultuous existence, the Superman substitute does end up making a rather large impression on the Lanterns of both the Green and Qwardian persuasion. Not only does Cyborg Supes manage to wear five Green Lantern Rings during his subjugation of the Green Lantern Corps in “Revenge of the Green Lanterns,” but he also finds himself sporting ten Qwardian Yellow Rings while helping fill out the Sinestro Corps. Jordan actually has to power up his Lantern Ring to be 100 times as strong in order to overcome Henshaw in one battle. Later Henshaw easily has Superman himself overpowered with his ten-ring setup until Supergirl and Power Girl both lend Superman a hand. With all of his superlative abilities, plus the added strength of many extra rings, Cyborg Superman is one of the deadliest adversaries to sport a Lantern Ring. His ferocity is only curbed by the fact that more than anything he just wants to not exist.
7. Mongul II
Let’s be clear here that this is Mongul’s son, Mongul, who gets the Power Ring. Mongul never gets such an honor. All good? Mongul II doesn’t waste any time with his ill-gotten Yellow Power Ring, almost immediately resorting to terrorism with his new power. To begin with, Mongul II gets his first Power Ring by breaking a Sinestro Corps member’s neck and stealing it from him. He then forces an ultimatum onto the rest of the Sinestro Corps, telling them to either serve him or be killed, a gambit that leads to him acquiring five more Yellow Rings. Mongul II is a big picture sort of guy and using his own brand of specially modified Black Mercy seeds, he attempts to have the universe answer to him. He also administers some very brutal punishment to Arkillo and any other Sinestro Corps members that get in his way. Later, after a failed takeover of the planets Daxam and Korugar, Sinestro finally deals with the tyrant, not only reclaiming his title of leader of the Sinestro Corps, but also launching Mongul II into their central Power Battery. Daddy would be so proud.
Atrocitus, formerly Atros, lived in Space Sector 666 until he saw his wife and daughter be claimed as corpses by marauding Manhunters. Atrocitus becomes bent on taking out the Guardians of the Universe, with his failed attempts leading to his corresponding imprisonment. Atrocitus is monumental in leading to the events that bring on “Blackest Night” and is responsible for finding William Hand in the first place, not to mention who many consider to be the instigating factor in Sinestro’s ultimate descent into darkness. He’s also the one responsible for Green Lantern Abin Sur’s death, which is no small feat.
With Atrocitus’ anger and rage only growing more palpable, he creates Red Power Rings out of the blood of his victims, forming the villainous new Corps in the process. Atrocitus causes major devastation throughout “Blackest Night,” but is still ultimately unable to take control of entities like Spectre. Furthermore, while wielding great power in his Ring, Atrocitus faces the problem of losing his control of the Red Lantern Corps as he achieves his goals. Constantly maintaining rage can be a tricky business.
Seen as the sentient embodiment of fear, Parallax causes all sorts of damage throughout the DC Universe. He’s sort of the Green Lanterns’ personal wrecking ball, with the fear entity successfully getting under the skins of several lanterns. After giving into his intense fears and self-doubt after destroying the Green Lantern Power Battery, Hal Jordan ends up bonding with Parallax and suddenly the heroic Green Lantern finds himself shifting to the dark side. Parallax also manages to use Kyle Rayner as a host during his reign of terror in the “Sinestro Corps Wars,” too. He even takes possession of Barry Allen for a hot second just to further enrage Jordan. During “Wrath of the First Lantern,” Lantern Corps everywhere are falling under Volthoom’s power until Sinestro talks Parallax into binding with him. With Sinestro, fear savant, being able to actually control Parallax, the two become capable of unspeakable carnage. They still might not be able to take down Volthoom alone, but they do manage to take out the Guardians of the Universe. Fear is a deeply powerful force and Parallax knows how to turn it into a heat-seeking rocket of devastation.
The story on Volthoom radically differs whether you’re looking at the character Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis, or Post-Flashpoint. The standing verdict seems to be though that Volthoom is the very first Lantern who was created by the Guardians of the Universe as a safeguard for humanity. Although created with pure intentions, due to Volthoom being able to wield all seven colors of the Emotional Spectrum, his immense powers would end up betraying him. Volthoom would end up revealing himself as an “emotional sadist” and burgeoning villain. Accordingly, the Guardians locked Volthoom away and were split into factions that would monitor Volthoom’s imprisonment as well as watching over the universe in his absence. Volthoom ends up tasting freedom again when the Guardians attempt to sap his energy in order to create the zombie-like Third Army, but this backfires on them. As a result, a renegade Volthoom is now interested in consuming the emotions of those in line with the Emotional Spectrum. With power that immense, it’s understandable why the Guardians tried to keep him locked up.
3. Spectre (Crispus Allen)
First off, there have been a few Spectres throughout DC’s long run (including a Parallax-infected Hal Jordan at one point). The basic premise of the character is that it’s a supernatural entity bound to the soul of somebody who’s deceased. The Spectre acts as a judge of sorts, inflicting the Wrath of God onto guilty, appropriate parties. Spectre’s third host, Gotham City Police Detective Crispus Allen, ends up being brought back to life as a member of Nekron’s Black Lantern Corps, with this resurrection binding Spectre’s essence to Allen’ body. Spectre has nearly unlimited cosmic and magical power, with his agenda firmly being set on reclaiming Hal Jordan as his host. This certainly puts the universe in a tough position. Parallax, in conjunction with Hal Jordan, ends up separating Spectre’s essence from Allen. During this brief moment of hostlessness, Atrocitus attempts to claim Spectre as a Red Lantern, yet his rage even manages to exceed the power of the Red Lantern Ring! Everyone wants a piece of Spectre.
Sinestro is the very best sort of supervillain in the sense that he doesn’t see himself as a villain at all. A disgraced former Green Lantern (as well as mentor to Hal Jordan), Sinestro now finds himself the leader of the Sinestro Corps and wielding the fear-based Emotional Spectrum of the Yellow Qwardian Power Ring. Acting as archenemy of the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro has earned his position near the top of this list. Due to the deficiency in the power of Green Lantern Rings to affect the color yellow, Sinestro’s Ring and Corps are a particularly strong weapon against them. While he might not appear as powerful as some of these other mega forces, his perseverance and obsessive desire to succeed make him stand out like no other. Sinestro’s ability to broker deals with other supervillains, allowing him to siphon power in the process makes him infinitely wily. The mere fact that he’s able to destroy important institutions like the Guardians of the Universe (even if it is with the added strength of Parallax) make him a supervillain that cannot be ignored. Other baddies may come and go but Sinestro will be there until the bitter end.
1. Black Hand (William Hand)
Controlling the dead and posing one of the biggest threats that the collective DC Universe has had to deal with is nothing to sneeze at. A lot of characters have ended up on this list courtesy of Green Lantern’s “Darkest Night” storyline, so of course the character responsible for it all is going to headline the thing. While Nekron himself is considered to be the embodiment of death and the Lord of the Unliving, he works hand-in-hand with Hand, making their contributions very symbiotic and co-dependent of one another. Hand is responsible for summoning Nekron, with the key in removing Nekron from the Land of the Living lying exclusively in breaking Hand’s tether to the entity. Black Hand and Nekron show they’re not playing by sending thousands of Black Lantern Rings throughout the universe, bringing back to life tons of superheroes and villains, alike. Black Hand even digs up Batman’s skull in a macabre act of baddassery before eventually turning him into a Black Lantern Batman killing machine. Ironically, in the end it comes down to bringing Hand back to life in order to take him down, which sees the introduction of the White Lanterns and their life-giving energy.
A pretty solid list has been assembled here, but does your mind perhaps go to another Lantern Ring-wearing villain? Anyone on here that’s not deserving of the praise? Let your voices be heard!