Comic books are a fantastic medium. Because of the visual storytelling and the frequency with which new books come out, over the course of generations, there has been plenty of opportunities to tell amazing stories of all shapes and sizes.
In the DC comics universe, often rebooted but never completely forgetting its heritage, there have been plenty of powerful items over the years that have had an enormous impact on the lore of the series. Some of these items have been plot devices for incredible stories, while others are fundamental to the powers and strengths of the various DC heroes.
A lot of these items are fantastical and very fun to speculate about. Here are twelve of the most powerful items in the DC comics universe, in no particular order.
White Lantern Rings
Power rings are a fairly common sight in the DC universe, made famous by the Green Lantern Corps who use green power rings to police the universe through converting willpower into energy, which can be used to produce energy constructs, shoot energy blasts, and give the user the power of flight, amongst other abilities. There are several other ring types whose colors correspond to the emotions they’re powered by (yellow rings are powered by fear, red rings are powered by rage, etc.), but one reigns supreme above the rest.
White Lantern rings are the most powerful form of the superweapon, capable of not only producing the same powers as any of the other rings, but also holding control over the power of life itself. These rings are able to bring people back from the dead and heal any injury, in addition to giving the user all of the powers one would expect from a Green Lantern.
Perhaps the most well-know White Lantern, Kyle Rayner, recently popped up as a rumored main character in the 2020 Green Lantern Corps movie, so we could very well be seeing the white power ring in action sooner rather than later.
Mother and Father Boxes
Mother boxes are tiny computers which are so complex and sophisticated that they’re essentially alive, and are typically referred to as “living computers.” Powered by a mystic energy known only as the “Source,” mother boxes are able to read the minds of others and have access to a huge amount of knowledge, which extends to the ability to predict the future.
A variation on the mother box is the father box, a tool used by the elite underlings of the villain Darkseid. Both mother and father boxes, in addition to their vast intellect and knowledge, are capable of gravity manipulation, healing wounds, and acting as life support devices for the user. They also have the ability to open up “boom tubes” for interdimensional transportation.
Some version of these boxes was seemingly glimpsed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in the scene where Wonder Woman witnesses the transformation of Victor Stone into Cyborg. They were also teased in the deleted Lex Luthor scene, so it seems safe to say these devices will have a role to play in the future of the DCEU.
The Helmet of Fate
Referred to in the comics as “the most powerful magical artifact the world has ever known,” the helmet worn by Doctor Fate endows the wearer with a variety of magical powers, and a significantly increased level of intellect.
The helmet has at times contained a piece of the soul of Nabu the Wise, a mystical being who has been able to either possess or aid the wearer of the helmet in order to grant them magnificent power.
The Doctor Fate character is highly reminiscent of Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, but despite the obvious parallels that fans would draw between the two, we think there’s more than enough room for him to make his way onto the big screen at some point.
Familiar to even those with only a passing knowledge of the DC comics universe, kryptonite is powerful enough to dramatically influence Superman, either by stripping away his powers entirely, severely weakening him, or altering his perception of the universe — depending on the form of kryptonite that he comes into contact with.
Radioactive chunks of Clark Kent’s home planet of Krypton, kryptonite changes in material property depend on which incarnation of the DC universe it appears in. While in some versions of the official canon there are multiple types of naturally occurring kryptonite, in other stories, only green kryptonite is natural, and all other forms of kryptonite are produced artificially.
Kryptonite isn’t just dangerous to Superman – at one point in the comics, Lex Luthor carved a ring out of a piece of kryptonite which he wore at all times, both to keep Superman at bay and as a symbol of his hatred for the Man of Steel. Eventually, this exposure to kryptonite caused Luthor to develop cancerous growths in his hand, leading him to require the amputation of part of his arm.
Anti-Life and Anti-Death Equations
The anti-life equation isn’t an object as such – instead, it’s a concept which is powerful enough to allow its possessor the power to control the will of other sentient creatures. A Martian creation, the anti-life equation comes from Martian philosophy and is incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. Anyone who knows the equation is able to not only manipulate others, but also can alter the fabric of reality.
The anti-death equation is a similarly powerful concept which can be used to upend the laws of physics, bring people back from the dead, and turn both the living and the dead into grotesque unkillable monsters, not unlike zombies.
The use of the equation in the DCEU would be an intriguing one to say the least, as his neverending search for it could theoretically give the villainous Darkseid a reason to come to Earth that’s a bit more nuanced than the desire to take control of some random blue planet, a bland desire we’ve seen a few too many times before.
A device that can grant the user unlimited control over the universe, the miracle machine is designed with the goal of turning thoughts into reality. Originally created by the Guardians (the beings responsible for the Green Lantern Corps), the miracle machine is an advanced form of the technology responsible for the power rings and their ability to create artificial constructs from the imagination of the users.
The problem with the miracle machine is that often its power proves a little too much for the user to handle. Any thought or wish, no matter how fleeting, is instantly granted by the miracle machine, meaning that an unwary user can accidentally dramatically change the universe, literally without a second thought. Remind you of anything?
More than just a throne, the Mobius Chair is a vehicle capable of interdimensional travel and the ability to easily move through time as well as space. What’s more, the Mobius Chair is a container of all of the knowledge of the New Gods, essentially meaning that whoever sits in the Mobius Chair can learn the answer to any question.
In a recent comic, the Dark Knight himself got an opportunity to sit upon the Mobius Chair, and in doing so was able to ask the chair some questions, including the true identity of the Joker. What he learned came as something of a shock, and DC Comics plans to let readers in on the mystery in Justice League #50, which hits stores on May 25.
The Lasso of Truth
The primary weapon used by Wonder Woman, the Lasso of Truth is an ancient item with a long legacy behind it. Forged by Hephaestus, the Greek god of smithing and fire, the Lasso of Truth is completely indestructible and can alter its length depending on its need.
In addition to its usefulness as a weapon (it managed to keep Doomsday in place while Superman went in for the kill in Batman v Superman), the Lasso also has a variety of unique powers. As the name suggests, anyone bound by the lasso is forced to only speak the complete truth. In addition to this nifty party trick, the lasso can also be used to destroy illusions and restore lost memories to hypnotized people.
The Spear of Destiny
An item with a somewhat more religious history than most on this list — excepting the previous example from ancient Greek mythology — the Spear of Destiny (also known as the Spear of Longinus) is the tool that was used to pierce Jesus Christ’s side while he hung on the cross. Imbued with magical power, the Spear found its way into the hands of Adolf Hitler of all people, who used it throughout World War II to keep American superheroes at bay.
In the years since, the Spear of Destiny has been made use of by various superheroes, including Superman, who took hold of it because its magical powers mean that very few superbeings can stand against it.
Also known as the Philosopher’s Stone (Americans will better know this from other popular culture as the Sorceror’s Stone in the Harry Potter book of the same name), the Worlogog is a magical item which has been used in DC Comics to alter the fabric of reality according to the user’s needs.
Considering the power of the item, it’s been the subject of a lot of fighting between various groups within the DC universe. In the wrong hands, it’s been used to murder many people, but these deaths can also be reversed by a righteous use of the item.
Scarabs are alien weapons which have been genetically engineered as living tools for a race of ancient intergalactic beings. One such scarab eventually fell into the hands of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, who used its power to defend his kingdom from evil until he died and was buried with it.
The scarab remained undisturbed until an archeologist by the name of Dan Garrett excavated the pharaoh’s tomb and discovered its power. The scarab transformed Garrett into the Blue Beetle, a superhero who used the ancient alien power to fight evil.
Garrett’s probably the least well-known of the three Blue Beetles (both Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes have far larger followings), as well as the least likely to show up on the big screen at any point.
The Cosmic Staff
The primary weapon of Starman, the Cosmic Staff (also known as the Cosmic Rod) gives its user a variety of superpowers, including the gift of flight, telekinesis, energy manipulation, the development of force fields, and the power to shoot energy blasts.
The staff’s power is so great that the heroes who take on the Starman mantle typically need to wear goggles to protect their eyes. The staff is powered by the stars, and in order for it to work effectively it must be recharged be a starry night’s sky periodically.
There are plenty of fantastical weapons and items throughout the DC comics universe. Some of these are slowly making their way into various movies, while others are perhaps a little too incredible for cinema audiences to understand without a lot of exposition.
What are your favorite items from DC comics? What items have been left off this list, and which ones are the most powerful? Share your thoughts in the comments section.