Oh, it is so good to be bad. Yes, they are some of the best villains bar none but each of them has, at one time or another, slipped on the energy-wielding power rings of the Green Lantern Corps. Some of them you have come to know and love as fan favorites, while others are much more obscure. But regardless of their popularity, each of them are formidable forces to be reckoned with.
The might of the Guardians of the Universe first transcended the world of Oa, courtesy of the Silver-Age GL Hal Jordan in Green Lantern #1 (1960), but the power ring itself appeared on Earth, years before, in the hands of the Golden-Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott.
Since those early days, a number of power rings have emerged in a rainbow of colors and values spanning the Emotional Spectrum. Those variations are harbored by Green, Sinestro (yellow), Red, Orange, Black, Blue, Indigo, White and Star Sapphire Lantern Corps. But emerald is the color of the day. And now, here are the 15 Supervillains Who’ve Worn A Green Lantern Ring.
The three-issue wonder named Lord Malvolio appeared in Action Comics #632-634 (1988). His mother was human, but she died giving birth to Malvolio. The youth was raised by his father, who was the Green Lantern of Sector 1634. But the boy was nothing but trouble. Eventually, Malvolio murdered his dad and absconded with his power ring.
Malvolio was imprisoned by his father’s replacement as Green Lantern, Priest. Later, Hal Jordan was transported to Malvolio’s location while aiding Priest in a border dispute. Malvolio and Jordan battled, but the evil Lord destroyed Jordan’s power ring.
Green Lantern managed to combat Malvolio with a makeshift bow and arrow. Hal fired a blast into the Lord’s chest and appeared to kill him. Jordan took his ring and returned to Earth, but following his departure, Lord Malvolio stood and removed the rod from his chest. The whole battle was an illusion manufactured by the Lord to force Green Lantern to use his power ring, so that he could orchestrate his revenge on the Guardians of the Universe. Sadly, DC decided not to pursue the storyline further.
Big Barda first appeared in Mr. Miracle #4 (1971), as one of the New Gods fresh from Granny Goodness’ orphans home. In her earliest adaptation, Barda began as an evil New God being groomed to lead the Female Fury Battalion, which were loyal to one of DC’s biggest baddies – Darkseid. However, Barda eventually rebelled, married Scott Free, aka Mr. Miracle, and fled Apokolips for Earth.
During the Elseworlds limited series JLA: The Nail (2004), the already powerful Barda was chosen by a fallen Green Lantern’s ring to join the Corps. Along with her husband, Big Barda used the power ring and a Mother Box to disintegrate Darkseid and scatter his dusty remains across the galaxy.
Sadly, Big Barda was killed in The Death of the New Gods #1 (2007). It turns out she was taken out by the Infinity-Man, who was on a mission to destroy all of the New Gods.
Very few villains can gloat about offing Superman. Not that Doomsday needed a Green Lantern’s ring, but one of DC's most notorious murderers got his hands on a ring just the same. The creature most well-known for killing the Man of Steel in Superman #75 (1993) was able to procure a power ring after returning from his own death in the Doomsday! storyline (1992-1993).
After battling a somewhat maligned, B-List Justice League - featuring Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Guy Gardner – Doomsday fought the Last Son of Krypton until both succumbed to each other's violent attacks in Metropolis.
Following the monster’s resurrection in the three-issue limited series Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey (1994), Doomsday encountered the Green Lantern Corps in the 1995 annual Doomsday: Year One. While battling the Lanterns, and the Guardians themselves, Doomsday utilized a power ring in the clash.
In the beginning, there was Volthoom. Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver added another layer of intrigue and danger to the DC universe by introducing readers to their new character Volthoom: The First Lantern in Green Lantern Annual #1 (2012). Born on Earth 15, in the future, the scientist Volthoom discovered the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum.
With the help of his mother, Volthoom created a Travel Lantern which allowed him to journey to Earth 0 - ten billion years in the past. Along with the Maltusians, he created the very first power ring. Claiming the weapon as his own, Volthoom became the original Lantern. However, while his power grew from his connection to the Emotional Spectrum, Volthoom became mentally unstable.
In order to safeguard their inventions, the Maltusians did away with the Travel Lantern and thus imprisoned the First Lantern on Prime Earth. Enraged, Volthoom murdered thousands of the Maltusians, who are now known as the Guardians of the Universe. Seven of the original Green Lanterns managed to imprison Volthoom in the Chamber of Shadows. Their actions made it inevitable that the First Lantern would become one of the Corps' most dangerous enemies.
Gil Kane and John Broome created one of the most intriguing female characters inhabiting the comic book world in Showcase #22 (1959) – Carol Ferris. She wasn't just a girlfriend/counterpoint for Hal Jordan. The scrappy Ferris was a worthy character who stood up to her boyfriend Jordan’s egotistical nature and cocky charms.
In Green Lantern #16 (1962), Carol was abducted by the alien Zamarons who chose Ferris to by their new queen. Knighted as the first Silver-Age Star Sapphire, she was suddenly both Hal Jordan’s lover and his most formidable foe.
Originally, Carol’s super abilities were powered by a gem, but in Green Lantern #20 (2007), the Star Sapphire ring was first introduced. It worked similarly to the power ring utilized by the Green Lanterns. And on the cover of Green Lantern #19 (2007), a flirty Star Sapphire slipped Hal’s power ring on her finger.
Green Lantern (2011) wasn't the best movie ever, but it had its moments. In fact, one of the most unscrupulous supervillains of all time found himself in temporary possession of Green Lantern’s power ring. Hector Hammond is one of Hal Jordan’s oldest enemies. The brilliant baddie made his first appearance in Green Lantern #5 (1961).
Hammond's ascent from petty thief to mastermind began when he discovered meteor fragments in the woods. After he exposed himself to the rocks, Hector not only became immortal but he developed both telepathic and telekinetic powers from the mutation of his brain.
Actor Peter Sarsgaard portrayed Hammond in the Green Lantern film. Prior to the arrival of Parallax, Hector kidnapped Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) and threatened to mutate her into a foul creature like himself. Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) offered Hector his power ring if he would release Carol.
Hector accepted and briefly wielded the ring's unfathomable powers. But when he tried to kill Hal with an energy burst, the tide turned. Jordan revealed to Hammond that you have to be chosen to use the ring, and the villain’s construct backfired. Hammond was incapacitated until the arrival of Parallax, who absorbed poor Hector Hammond.
The resourcefully rotund Penguin finally trumped the Batman when it came to wonderful toys, even if it was short lived. After Green Lantern was bested by Sinestro in battle, Hal Jordan ordered his ring to seek out the Batman. Despite their uneasy relationship, Jordan knew the power ring would be safe with the Bat. Oswald Cobblepot got the emerald trinket first, though.
Fortunately for all involved, Cobblepot’s willpower left a lot to be desired. The ring frequently powered down when the Penguin tried to create constructs. It was a lot like giving Negan his baseball bat: you didn't know exactly how, but something bad was going to happen.
Sinestro arrived on the scene and quickly showed Oswald the power of fear. After a very unpleasant encounter with the Korugarian, the Penguin was all too happy to relinquish Hal’s ring to Batman. The Dark Knight defeated Sinestro and turned him over to the Green Lantern, so that Hal could dispense with him.
Power Ring has been terrorizing the Green Lantern Corps, and the rest of humanity, since his first appearance in Justice League of America #29 (1964). The first incarnation of the supervillain was an evil opposite of Hal Jordan who resided on Earth-3. Instead of receiving his ring from Abin-Sur, Power Ring was granted his destiny by a mysterious monk.
Justice League of America #50 (2010) marked the first appearance of Joseph Harrolds: an antimatter version of Power Ring. And prior to Jessica Cruz becoming a Green Lantern, she was consumed by the evil of the Ring of Volthoom and transformed into Power Ring.
The cowardly janitor Harold Jordan of Earth-3 took over after he was deemed worthy by his world’s Abin Sur. In Forever Evil #5 (2014), Harold foolishly attempted to fight Sinestro without recharging his power ring. Sinestro defeated Power Ring and ripped off his arm, as Harold took his final breaths.
DC was shaking things up to close the 20th century, as they put their most popular heroes through their own respective versions of hell. The Man of Steel died in Superman #75 (1993), while the Dark Knight was broken by Bane in Batman #497 (1993). When Hal Jordan witnessed the destruction of Coast City at the hands of Mongul and the Cyborg Superman, following the events of The Reign of the Supermen (1993), Green Lantern would never be the same.
Jordan went on an unforgettable rampage, in which he journeyed to Oa to wipe out the Corps. Along the way, he killed many Lanterns and absconded with their power rings. Hal obliterated his old friend Kilowog, leaving only skeletal remains, before he snapped Sinestro’s neck.
Hal merged with the Central Power Battery, as the Guardians endowed all their energies to Ganthet. Jordan emerged from the Battery in a new costume, and the physical embodiment of fear was unleashed on the galaxy - Parallax. Many characters have been Parallax over the years, but it was that one moment in comic book history that changed the GL Corps forever.
When it comes to pure evil, nobody does it better than Sinestro in the Green Lantern canon. The former GL, who was one of the Corps most powerful members, was protector of Sector 1417. After the events of Emerald Dawn (1989-1990), Sinestro was charged with training young Hal Jordan in the ways of the Green Lanterns.
Later, Sinestro was put on trial after being charged with misusing his powers to oppress those he was supposed to protect on his homeworld of Korugar. Sinestro was found guilty and banished to the antimatter universe known as Qward. The scorned former Green Lantern was incensed and vowed revenge on the Corps before being banished.
Sinestro soon met the Weaponers of Qward, who helped him forge a yellow power ring which thrived off the energy of fear. Over the years, he has tormented the Corps through a variety of means. Sinestro has served as a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, but he has also teamed with the Anti-Monitor thanks to the Infinite Crisis (2005-2006). From that partnership, the Sinestro Corps was born; devoted to destroying the Green Lanterns.
It wouldn't be a party without Harley. Harley’s Little Black Book #2 (2016) created a unique partnership between the Joker’s gal and Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern. It’s safe to say that Harley digs red hues mixed with black values. So, it’s only natural that Miss Quinn had to have a Black and Red Lantern ring that had merged into one. When she slipped it on her finger, all hell broke loose.
Green Lantern arrived on the scene, and even arm wrestled Harley in true power-ring style, but eventually the alien Azakarians got a hold of the ring, which was powered by rage and death.
Hal gets knocked out during the battle and both he and Harley plummet toward impending death. Quinn managed to put on Jordan’s Green Lantern ring and she saved them both. Harley and Hal even made out a bit at the end, as she kissed the emerald knight and squeezed his butt for good measure.
After Superman was killed by Doomsday, and the ensuing Funeral for a Friend (1993) storyline, four mysterious figures emerged. Each of these men claimed to be the Man of Steel, but time revealed their true identities. Among them was one of DC’s deadliest new enemies: Cyborg Superman aka Hank Henshaw. Already possessing some of Kal-El’s DNA, the Cyborg had immense powers, but he only grew stronger once he wielded Green Lantern’s ring.
Henshaw has been an imposing presence in numerous realities. In 1995, Thanos and the Marvel Universe collided with D.C. in the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover event Unholy Alliances. Cyborg was a catalyst both there and in 1999’s Superman/Fantastic Four: The Infinite Destruction. Henshaw even showed up in the four-issue limited series Superman vs The Terminator: Death to the Future (2000).
Cyborg Superman has a small collection of Green Lantern rings at his disposal, in addition to many more Qwardian yellow power rings. The clever criminal has even modified his Kryptonian components so that he is no longer vulnerable to Kryptonite. In addition to being Grandmaster of the Manhunters, Henshaw also assumed control of the Alpha Lanterns.
Modern-day comic book fans are well aware of Lex Luthor’s exploits with the orange power ring of avarice, during the epic crossover event Blackest Night (2009 – 2010). But this was certainly not the first time Alexander Luthor utilized a Lantern ring.
Almost forty years ago, the animated television show Challenge of the Superfriends: Attack of the Legion of Doom (1978) aired an intriguing episode. Titled "Secret Origins of the Super Friends", the show explored the notion of time travel. The Legion journeyed backward in time to alter three significant events that led to the creation of Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern.
As Abin Sur’s emerald energy prepared to transport Hal Jordan to the dying alien, Lex Luthor quickly rushed in. Luthor warned Hal that he was in danger, so the pilot jumped out of his cockpit. Lex took his place and journeyed to Sur’s crash site. The mortally wounded Abin had no idea this human was not the chosen one. With his dying breath, Sur handed over both his power ring and lantern to Sector 2814’s new Green Lantern: Lex Luthor.
Mongul has seen many iterations and incarnations since his original creation by Jim Starlin and Len Wein in DC Comics Presents #27 (1980). Mongul was the alien dictator of Warworld and he possessed super strength, speed, stamina and vulnerability. However, it was his son, Mongul II, who took the family’s power to a whole new level.
First appearing in Showcase ’95 #8 (1995), Mongul II became a collector of sorts. Much in the same way General Grievous of Star Wars fame collected the lightsabers of the Jedi he slayed, Mongul took to absconding with power rings. Most notably, in Green Lantern Corps #19 (2008), Mongul murdered a Sinestro Corps member by breaking his neck. He then took his yellow weapon.
Mongul offered a deal to other members of the Sinestro Corps, during the Ring Quest storyline, but in the end he murdered them and collected their power rings, too. Later, in a promotional image for the 2009 comic book event Faces of Evil, the merciless Mongul could be seen sporting green, yellow, and red power rings.
Earth-Man, aka Kirt Niedrigh, wanted to be a hero, but he was doomed to become the villain. However, a Green Lantern’s ring was still in his future. Niedrigh exhibited a limited capacity to absorb the superpowers of metahumans. He longed to join the Legion of Super-Heroes as Absorbency Boy, but was refused membership. The Legion felt his powers were too limited, and Saturn Girl had seen the potential evil within him.
Incensed, Kirt eventually became the Earth-Man. His rejection by the Legion led to a deep-seated hatred of aliens. As a result, Kirt became the leader of the Justice League of Earth, which was comprised of those who were rejected by the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Earth-Man was eventually given two chances to redeem himself. First, the Earth’s government forced the Legion to take him in. Second, Kirt was approached by Dyongene, an emissary of the Guardians of Oa. Kirt rejected the invitation to join the Corps though when his power ring failed him during a conflict with the sentient beings of the plant Xerifos.
Are there any other villains who wore Green Lantern rings? Leave them in the comments!