For a superhero who’s primary ability is to harness the power of imagination, the Green Lanterns are pretty badass. Just in case you’re not familiar with them, or have had your memory erased on account of Ryan Reynold’s 2011 movie, a Green Lantern is a member of an intergalactic police force dedicated to maintaining peace and order throughout the universe. Though things have changed drastically for the Corps over the years, they’re currently going through a bit of a comic Rebirth that arrives just in time for a triumphant return to the movie mainstream. Given all that, we’re sufficiently stoked to see what the Green Lantern Corps will dream up in the years ahead.
Which brings us to the topic on hand. Green Lanterns and their power rings go together like Hulk and puppies. Like Thor and Mjolnir. Like Batman and sex. Every GL possesses a ring which allows them to conjure objects, images or whatever else their wills desire in the form of energy constructs. These constructs are then used to help serve in the good fight against evil. At least most of the time. With thousands of Lanterns in action, we’re bound to get a variety of amazing constructs, like gatling guns or three-headed dragons. We’re also just as likely to get some stupid ones. After all, not everyone has a great imagination. Or in the case of some below, way too much imagination. Keep in mind though, one Lantern’s dumb is another’s awesome. So while most of these constructs are utterly useless, silly and over the top, it doesn’t mean they still can’t be entertaining.
Here are the 15 Most WTF Uses Of Green Lantern’s Power Ring.
15. Everything Created in the 2011 Movie
Okay, this one’s not entertaining, it’s actually quite sad. The Green Lantern movie was pretty pointless all around. This especially goes for the constructs Reynold’s Hal Jordan found the time to muster in between flirting with Blake Lively and saying things like, “the power of Grayskull.” To be fair, maybe his creations weren’t so much pointless as they were uninspired. Long-time fans finally have the chance to see a Green Lantern do his thing live on the big-screen, and what do they get? A sword fight, two-seconds of unnecessary gatling gunning and a necklace. Hal isn’t the only one to blame though. How about when an elite force of experienced Lanterns try and stop Parallax, the living embodiment of fear and greatest threat the Corps has ever known…with a net.
Then there’s the racetrack Hal Jordan built so a helicopter could land safely in the middle of a dinner party. The scene is one of the bigger set pieces of the film and the first time we get to see a heroic Green Lantern in action (other than when he kills three people in a bar parking lot with a large fist). Sure, there are probably a ton more reasonable ways to stop an out-of-control copter carrying Tim Robbins than to have it caught by a race car and sped around a winding mid-air green racetrack. But we ask you, how else do you expect the movie to tie-in its merchandising deal with Hot Wheels?
14. Turning into an Envelope and Mailing Oneself
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of criminals like receiving unexpected letters in the mail. This is probably why in the earlier days of the Emerald Crusader’s adventures, Hal Jordan decided the best way to foil a group of spies was to turn himself into an envelope and have his racist-named sidekick, Pie-Face, mail him to the criminals.
Having a Green Lantern use his extraordinary powers to conjure mail might seem strange considering how normal comics are today, but in the early days of the Silver Age, they hadn’t really figured out the whole magical power ring thing yet. We’ll save you the details of this cockamamy story, but basically the goons pick up the letter and bring it to their secret hideout. Hal is awake he entire time, observing what life as a letter is like, and biding his time until he can turn into an even larger envelope and deliver a surprise…. with his fist. The spy in yellow’s expression over seeing an arm shoot out of his mail pretty much says it all. We’re not entirely sure why Hal had to make his transformation while asleep or why it was so easy to send something in the mail to spies, but it finally gave comic artists the opportunity to draw someone dressed in pajamas turn into stationary. And show a letter punch someone in the face.
13. Making It Rain Acorns
If you’re a squirrel, you probably don’t have a lot on your mind most of the time. And if you do, it has probably got something to do with nuts. Which is why we can forgive the pint-sized Green Lantern known as Ch’p for using his power ring to make acorns of various sizes and use them as weapons.
Ch’p hails from a planet inhabited by a race of intelligent beings that resemble cartoon Earth animals. (Yep, that’s a thing.) As a Green Lantern he pretty much sucked. Probably in large part because his signature move was to construct a rainstorm of acorns. Sure, the pointy tips of acorns can sting a little, but somehow we don’t see them doing much to stop the likes of Sinestro. Unless maybe he gets poked in the eye by one. But what do you expect from a talking squirrel who likes to dress in overalls and a bow-tie? Of course, there was that one time he kicked the Man of Steel’s ass. So maybe Ch’p’s tougher than we thought. Then again, he did get killed by a yellow truck, so maybe not.
12. Creating Emoticons
The Superman/Batman series was pretty strange all around. But it was also adorable thanks to issue #51, when a chibi Justice League from an alternate dimension turned up in Metropolis as a result of a wager between chibi OGs Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. Seeing chibi Batman get in an argument with regular Batman over who’s actually Batman is wonderful, and things just gets better when chibi Joker and chibi Doomsday show up. Not to mention there’s a surprising amount of insightful meta-commentary on the dark nature of comics.
For those who don’t know, “chibi” is Japanese slang for a small person. In anime and manga, the term refers to the stylized drawing of super deformed child-like characters with stubby limbs and oversized heads. Kind of like Bat-Baby, only less weird. Usually, chibis are only used for brief interjections to show a normal character’s exaggerated emotion. In the case of Superman/Batman‘s “Lil’ Leaguers”, they stick around the entire time, though they still find stupid ways to express themselves. Most notably Lil’ John Stewart, who with a maturity level befitting his size and the imagination of an AIM user from 1997, uses his power ring to show exactly how he feels about girls with a grossed out emoticon after several of his female teammates fawn over life-size Robin.
11. Fighting Nazis with a Giant Cupid
A girl you used to date is going out with another guy. You creepily follow them, because love. All of a sudden a Nazi shows up. If you’re smart you’ll use this opportunity to show the girl just how charming you are. Also, that you hate Nazis. So what’s the best way to do this? Construct a giant baby Cupid to beat the crap out of that Nazi, obviously.
Titan teammates Donna Troy (aka Troia) and Roy Harper (aka Arsenal) go for a leisurely after-dinner stroll through Harlem. As Donna tells Roy about all the men she’s been with, the villain Red Panzer and his merry band of neo-Nazis appear out of nowhere and start lighting up the neighborhood. Luckily, everybody’s favorite Green Lantern Kyle Rayner swoops in to save the day. Perfectly blending romance with Nazi-beating, Kyle uses his Green Lantern powers to have a giant naked Cupid stab Red Panzer with an arrow. (Two things: 1. shouldn’t getting struck by Cupid’s arrow mean that Red Panzer now falls in love with Kyle? and 2. WTF is with that massive scar running across half of Cupid’s face?)
Now this might seem like a gentlemanly use of the GL power ring, only it proves entirely ineffective in every way. While everyone’s distracted by the Green Lantern doing his thing (bonus points for sweeping up Nazi’s with a massive dust pan), one of Red Panzer’s goons punches Troia in the face and a building falls on top of her and Panzer, who by the way, was barely fazed by Kyle’s chimerical construct. They’re ok, but once the guys rescue them from beneath the rubble, Donna takes the opportunity to tell both Hal and Roy she’s not really into either of them, proving that even a giant Cupid that’s gotten into one too many knife fights isn’t enough to make someone love a Green Lantern. Troia then turns to Red Panzer and tells him just because he’s half black it doesn’t mean he has to be a bad guy.
10. Kicking a Cat with a Cowboy Boot
Anyway you look at it, seeing a Green Lantern use his ring to kick an evil cat with a giant Cowboy boot is hilarious. So shouldn’t this entry be on the list of the “Best Uses of a GL Ring?” Well, while this isn’t necessarily the worst way someone could use a power ring on a cat, it isn’t exactly the best either, especially if you’re PETA. To be fair though, the cat is a real jerk. And it had just eaten like three people.
A little background. Dex-Starr was once a mild-mannered blue Earth kitten that circumstance turned into one of the most malicious Red Lanterns the galaxy has ever known. “Rage Kitty” would eventually become the pet of Atrocious, founder of the Red Lanterns, under whose guise he would hone his special blend of cuteness and acid blood spit. In 2010’s Green Lantern #54, Hal Jordan intervenes with a good swift kick to the feline. Adding insult to injury, he then calls Dex a derogatory cat name. Of all the things to stop Dex-Starr, was a cowboy boot really the best choice? Probably not, but it sure was funny. By the way, is it just us or does that boot look like it’s made out of crocodile? What an oddly specific construct.
9. Providing Aquaman a Dolphin to Ride
One of a Green Lantern’s most important duties is to provide pointless forms of transportation for his fellow Justice Leaguers. Like the time he whipped up a dolphin for Aquaman to ride during a trip to Central Park. The reasons behind all this are pretty complicated, but basically everyone on Earth goes for a run to help the Flash win a cosmic race involving his boyhood imaginary friend whose made out of radio waves. Aquaman, Kyle Rayner, Wonder Woman and Steel head to New York to take part in the worldwide marathon. While the latter three gracefully soar there, Aquaman is left no other choice but to travel on whatever brilliant means of transpo Kyle dreams up for him. Namely, a flying dolphin.
Aquaman is no stranger to riding creatures of the sea. Manta rays. Seahorses. Flying fish. Hammerheads. Octopi named Topo. Senior citizen sea turtles. Whales. Even great white sharks as a baby. But of all those, everyone knows Aquaman loves dolphins best. Literally, he loves dolphins. His first romantic relationship was with one named Nera. But that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that while a dolphin seems like a natural fit for the Sea King to fly through the air on, it’s a bit of a fin in the face. We get it. Aquaman can’t fly. It’s nice of Kyle Rayner to give him a lift and all, but did he really have to so blatantly point out the Aquatic Ace’s shortcomings, especially beside two flying aces like Wonder Woman and Steel? He could’ve just as easily had the ring let the guy fly without any extra furnishings, or at least given him something a little cooler. You gotta give it to Aquaman though, he’s riding the heck out of that fake green dolphin with a determination only the King of the Seven Seas could muster.
Wait a second…. what the hell is this?!
8. Catching a Thief with a Giant Teddy Bear
Before Kyle Rayner came along, the Green Lantern Corps was putting out some incredibly boring constructs. While a whole bunch were just straight up unimaginative, the same could not be said for those from Kyle. Absurd? Yes. But definitely not commonplace. However, a Green Lantern can pretty much do whatever they want superpower-wise, so stopping an unbalanced homeless man from stealing someone’s purse by having a massive teddy bear sit on him might be a bit much. All the guy really wanted was some money so he could eat. Instead of doing something heroic like buying the guy a ham sandwich, Kyle thought it best to publicly humiliate the man and then give him a lecture on swearing.
As far as crime fighting techniques go, this one is pretty awful. The bear seems to accomplish nothing other than to agitate an already mentally unstable hobo. What’s more, when the police arrive to arrest him, he will undoubtedly start blabbering about the giant stuffed bear that tried to have its way with him and practically guarantee himself a one-way ticket to the looney bin. Maybe the GL Corps should stick to problems on a more intergalactic scale, like stopping the universe from un-aging, and leave petty crimes to the local police. Because sometimes giving a Green Lantern free reign to do whatever their will desires, whenever and where ever they desire it, can be a bad thing. Especially for homeless people.
7. Carrying Superheroes in Baby Baskets
We’re pretty sure when the Guardians of the Universe forged the Green Lantern power rings harnessing the cosmic energy of willpower, one of the most powerful forces in existence, they didn’t intend it to be used to humiliate people. But who are we to say what these blue skinned munchkins think? Maybe they thought it was hilarious when they saw Kyle Rayner stuff another superhero into a bassinet from high atop their emerald tower on Oa.
About a year after Kyle interrupted Arsenal’s date with Donna Troy by sending in a giant Cupid, the two found some time to shoot the breeze and bury the hatchet over a game of darts. They talk about how their sex lives are going and Arsenal scores a woman’s phone number (even though he’s still dating Donna. Bros, amirite?) by shooting an apple off Kyle’s head. Sadly, their bro time gets interrupted when a bunch of punk ass terrorists take a building hostage downtown. So off they go to save the day, only Arsenal can’t fly and has to hitch a ride, giving the Green Lantern an opportunity to have some fun at his friends expense. Maybe Kyle was cool with almost getting impaled with an arrow while his friend impressed a girl. And maybe he was cool with that same friend still hooking up with his ex-girlfriend. But it’s a little hard to believe all that when we see him towing Arsenal along in an undersized frilly baby basket. Dolphins for Aquaman, bassinets for a Teen Titan; Kyle Rayner sure likes making it clear that he can fly and you cannot. The Guardians would be so proud.
6. Saving a Crowd with Giant Construction Workers
Kyle Rayner has done a lot of great things for the galaxy. And, as we’ve already seen with his giant Cupid and Teddy Bear, he has a certain knack for being in the right place at the right time. But while his results and timing are undeniably sound, his methods are a little more questionable. Sure, stopping a massive crane from crashing down onto a bunch of innocent people is heroic. Taking the time to fashion an elaborate foursome of gargantuan, stereotypical city construction workers to do so? Not so much.
Sometimes you get the feeling Kyle Rayner is more concerned with being ostentatiously awesome, then he is with protecting people. He could have just as easily flown in and grabbed the steel framed crane with a large hand or mere energy field. But then where’s the pizzaz in that? Only problem is it takes some imagining to come up with a construct with this level of detail, hairy chests and all. That is unless Kyle has 1930s construction workers regularly at the forefront of his mind. Most likely though, this elaborate construct meant the people below and poor real life construction dude trapped inside the crane had to endure several long seconds of believing they were going to die that could have otherwise easily been avoided. Not cool Lantern.
5. Protecting Superheroes from Rain with Umbrellas
It’s not so much that using the power ring to provide cover during a rainstorm to his fellow Justice League teammates is a bad thing (that was actually pretty considerate), but doing so in a thinly veiled attempt to make Batman feel bad is a bit of a low blow. Even Aquaman got an umbrella, and he can breathe underwater. Again, this is probably not what the Guardians had in mind when they created the rings.
One of the pre-requisites for owning a power ring is that the user must never use it for personal gain. Hal seems to have missed the memo on that one since we’re pretty sure he’s laughing on the inside here. (Could be worse. He could be using his powers to create French maids so he can look up their skirts, like Kyle once did.) Sure, seeing Hal Jordan exclude Batman so he gets wet while everyone else remains dry is funny. Batman is a jerk. He deserves it. But it still wasn’t very nice. Or useful. Is the Green Lantern really helping here at all? We mean everyone else is rationally discussing how to catch a deadly virus-infected monster while Lantern is flying around like an ADHD riddled mosquito and offering nothing but umbrellas. Come on Hal, get with the program.
4. Sailing on a Pirate Ship in Space
If it’s not abundantly clear yet, Kyle Rayner can get a bit crazy when it comes to conjuring constructs. But he’s a graphic artist by trade so it’s expected he exert certain levels of creativity that say, the pilot Hal Jordan, the engineer John Stewart, or the living mathematical equation Dkrtzy RRR won’t. However, like a lot of misunderstood artists, Kyle devises constructs that are too complex for their own good. In what way are flying seagulls, bubbling waves and a sword necessary here? We get it, Superman has gone missing and you and your fellow Justice Leaguers need to find him. But is a massive pirate ship, complete with war drums and a Superman figurehead, really the best way to traverse through space? Even Flash recognizes how horrible an idea this all is, probably because he knows if Kyle loses control they’re all goners. Which brings up a very important point.
Green Lantern constructs are generated by pure willpower and their rings only contain so much magic energy. The bigger and more complex the construct, the more willpower and energy it demands. Not only is Rayner exhausting himself for the inevitable battle ahead, but one moment of distraction and he’s just killed off a sizable chunk of the Justice League. All in the name of fun. Moral of the story? As a pragmatic superhero, Kyle Rayner is the worst.
That said, the man’s craftsmanship is extraordinary. His morals? They leave something to be desired. When he later reprises his goofy pirate ship to attack a massive alien spacecraft, the Green Lantern decides the best way to strike is to have it womanned with busomy, scantily-clad sea babes happily firing cannonballs. Presumably for the sole purpose of finally being able to say things like, “fire at will, wench!” Keepin’ it classy, Lantern.
3. Building a Restaurant to Feel Lonely In
Kyle Rayner is a fun-loving guy who most of the time gets high off of being a Lantern. But what goes up, must come down (unless you’re Mogo the planetary Green Lantern, in which case you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want with gravity). If there’s one thing DC has taught us, it’s that when a Green Lantern gets depressed, it can get pretty pathetic (just ask Hal Jordan). No one wants wants to see a sad Green Lantern use his power ring to make it painfully obvious just how much of a loser he is. Come on Rayner, you’re better than this.
At this point, Kyle was the last living Green Lantern in the universe, so you could understand why he might occasionally feel lonely. But he could just as easily have gone to any of a million real life roadside all-night diners to wallow in self pity. That however would have been too ordinary for someone who once formed a huge floating decapitated head to save a city from flooding. Instead, he opted to construct his own mini-diner, complete with pretty waitress (do you expect sad Kyle Rayner to create an ugly waitress?) and tabletop jukebox. Surprisingly, DC hasn’t started franchising “GL’s” diners yet, but give it time.
2. Wearing Stupid Outfits
Superhero costumes are ridiculous by nature. So why try and make them look even worse by constructing additional layers of ridiculousness upon them? As far as multi-color unitards go, the Green Lantern costume might not be the coolest we’ve ever seen, but they’re not the worst either.
More often than not, Kyle Rayner seems to create a construct just so he has an excuse to insert an ill-timed quip into the conversation. Like with that samurai armor that looks like it’s one size too big. We’re pretty sure the only reason he created it was so he could talk about committing (or not committing) seppuku. Practice makes perfect though. The next time he did this it made a little more sense. The cowboy outifit, chaps and all? We’re not sure what he was thinking with that one. Maybe he should spend a little less time worrying about his appearance, and a little more focusing on fighting evil.
Of course, Kyle isn’t the only Lantern to use the power of the ring to construct stupid clothing. Given that a Green Lantern can materialize any outfit they desire, is Arisia’s really the most sensible for policing the galaxy? Same goes for Kraken. And then there’s John Stewart. Not only has he paraded around as a puffy-vested soldier, but he also makes sure the Lanterns aren’t the only ones getting in on the unnecessary stylish fun. After a bunch of crazy aliens attack a human settlement on Oa, John rescues the group by retrofitting them all with interlinking diapers. We guess technically those could be considered booster seats, but we’re going to stick with adult diapers on this one.
1. Mooning Batman
Batman has had his fair share of WTF moments. And while this one might not rival getting Batgirl pregnant, it certainly ranks high amongst occasions involving him and a green power ring.
Following the events of Emerald Twilight — which saw all but one of the Green Lanterns wiped out — and their eventual resurrection in Green Lantern: Rebirth, it was necessary for the Corps to go through a bit of a recharge by enlisting a whole new crop of recruits. This meant existing GL’s from all over the universe were called in to help with the training, including Earth’s protectors Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner. Before making the trip to Oa, the two Lanterns say goodbye to the Justice League and wish them well. Or at least Kyle does. Guy takes the opportunity to stick it to Batman by mooning him. What’s more, he uses the ring to construct the words, “Bye Bye Bats” to make it abundantly clear who his crude gesture is intended for. Using a power ring to taunt one of most fearless men in all of comics is pretty stupid. Oddly, Batman doesn’t seem to mind.
As they fly away to start rebuilding the Green Lantern Corps, Kyle asks why the heck Guy just did that. Guy’s reply is that Lanterns and Batman don’t mix. That may be true, Batman and pretty much everyone don’t mix, but we think the real reason is because Guy Gardner is a huge a-hole. And enlisting one of the most powerful objects in all of existence to get everyone to look at his naked butt, is the absolute worst way to use a Green Lantern’s power ring.
Know of any other horrible constructs a Green Lantern has made using their ring? Tell us in the comments.