Len is a writer who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has had a fascination with games and media that has lasted a lifetime.
The Green Lantern Corps has soared from A-minus list superheroes to the big names that are slowly infecting pop culture and will soon be as well known as costumed heroes such as Spider-man, Batman, Wonder Woman, and of course, Superman. As the Ryan Reynold's helmed Green Lantern film begins production and comic book smash hit Blackest Night continues, it seems like a good time to help fill in the blanks on the powers and uses for the various Green Lantern Corps power rings—and of course, those of the other wielders of the emotional light.
What is the Emotional Spectrum?
For years, it seemed that the only power rings in existence were the Green Lantern rings, with the exception of the lone yellow ring wielded by the villain, "Sinistero." Today, however, there's a power ring for every color of the rainbow, each attuned to a specific emotion. Filled with superheroes, supervillains, and plenty of ambiguous characters, the Green Lanterns stand in the middle of this diverse crowd as super-powered space cops.
The 7 Lantern Rings
Here are the seven major lantern rings and what emotions they represent
- Red Lantern Ring: Rage
- Orange Lantern Ring: Greed
- Yellow Lantern Ring: Fear
- Green Lantern Ring: Willpower
- Blue Lantern Ring: Hope
- Indigo Lantern Ring: Compassion
- Violet Lantern Ring: Love
As you can see, three "evil" emotions and three "good" emotions are on either side of the spectrum, anchored by the neutral Green Lanterns in the middle. The further from the middle the ring is on the emotional light spectrum, the more their personality is influenced by that emotion.
Here is a brief rundown of the capabilities and weaknesses of each ring.
The Classic: The Green Lantern Corps Power Ring
Easily one of the most recognizable tools in the world of comic book heroes, the Green Lantern ring allows its wearer to wield one of the most powerful energies in the world. Like all Lantern Corps rings, the Green Lantern ring allows its users to fly, survive in a hostile atmosphere (the vacuum of space, etc) and resist injury.
In addition, they can create powerful physical constructs using only their own will power. These constructs can take any form or function. Guns, swords, buzz-saws, giant robots, space ships, anything the Green Lantern can think of, they can successfully recreate. It can even be used to restore lost limbs or other body parts to Green Lanterns.
When fighting alongside the Blue Lantern Corps, the Green Lanterns receive near-infinite power supplies and can fly faster.
- Strengths: Powerful constructs, ability to team up with all shades of the Lantern Corps, ability to overcome Yellow Lanterns
- Weaknesses: When Lanterns show fear, their constructs can be destroyed or bypassed by all things yellow. Until they overcome that fear, they will remain vulnerable.
The Good Power Rings
Fighting (mostly) for the side of the angels are the Blue, Indigo, and Violet Lantern Corps. These power rings take a variety of forms and can be used in a number of different ways.
The Blue Lantern Corps Power Rings
The Blue Lantern's power rings are fueled by hope. Technically the most powerful shade of the emotional spectrum, the Blue Lantern rings can perform great feats. Able to reignite stars, inspire hope and calm in the masses, fire powerful blasts, and cure the taint of rage from Red Lanterns, the Blue Lanterns are not to be underestimated. Their great power has a catch, however—their rings only run at full power when near a Green Lantern. When separated from a Green Lantern, the Blue Lantern Rings are only able to provide flight and basic protection from the elements to their user.
But the relationship is not one way! A Green Lantern teamed with a Blue Lantern will find his power ring constantly recharging and providing extra power and strength to their already formidable repertoire of tricks.
- Strengths: Strongest Lantern Corps
- Weaknesses: Dependent on Green Lanterns
The Violet Lantern Corps Power Rings (aka the Star Sapphires)
Violet Lanterns are individuals fueled by their loss to spread love throughout the universe. Deceptively powerful, a Violet Lantern Power Ring allows for these champions of love to create crystal constructs, find and protect love in all its forms when it is in danger, and fly through space like other Lanterns. A power unique to the Star Sapphires is the ability to telepathically see other people's past loves and force them to relive it.
Unfortunately, being at the end of the emotional spectrum leads to extreme changes in personality to the owners of a violet lantern ring. Although they only act altruistically, Violet Lanterns are firm believers that all creatures should follow the ways of love. This is done through force in the case of captured criminals or through political pressure or heated conversation when dealing with innocents.
- Strengths: Attuned to love, Ability to control crystals
- Weaknesses: Often warped by the intensity of their love
Indigo Lantern Power Corps Rings (aka The Indigo Tribes)
These enigmatic figures have great power but are reclusive and lack in numbers. Indigo Lantern Power rings give their members the ability to redirect other lanterns' emotional energy as well as cure wounds and teleport.
Although much is left to learn about this small group, it does seem that their power is limited by the relative lack of compassion found in the universe. Their own compassion is tested daily and they must renounce their old lives to join the corps.
- Strengths: Healing, Perfect replication of nearby Lanterns Powers
- Weaknesses: Limited numbers, Small amount of emotional energy
The Bad Power Rings: Yellow, Orange, and Red
A disparate group of villains and violent individuals, the owners of the rings representing negative emotions are some of the most feared individuals in the universe.
The Yellow Lantern Corps Power Rings (aka The Sinstero Corps)
Powered not by their own fear but the fear they instill in others, Yellow Lanterns are some of the most terrifying creatures in the world. With abilities and strength equal to the Green Lantern Corps, Yellow Lantern rings are able to project fearsome constructs designed to terrify and destroy any and all who oppose them.
Their ability to instill fear is their greatest weapon against the Green Lantern Corps. However, any Green Lantern able to put their fear aside will have a significant advantage against the yellow light.
- Strengths: Powerful Constructs, Insight into others Fear
- Weaknesses: Fearless Green Lanterns have the upper hand
The Orange Lantern Corps Power Rings
Although many Orange Lantern power rings exist, they're all held tight by the owner of the Orange power battery: Larfleeze. The lone Orange Lantern greedily hordes the rings and prevents them from finding hosts. Instead, he is able to create monstrous avatars of any creatures he has killed in the past as avatars of his power. These orange avatars are under his control but can act semi-autonomously or at the very least, still display their original personalities.
When these avatars are called in, Larfleeze gains increased abilities depending on how many of the avatars are active. When all avatars are recalled, he has the ability to take on a roomful of Green Lanterns and their Guardians by himself.
- Strengths: Ability to create his own one-man army with his ring, can send them out through the universe
- Weaknesses: Significantly weakened when avatars are away and unable to be recalled fast enough
The Red Lantern Corps Power Rings
The Rage Lanterns are consumed by rage through and through. The most significantly changed of any Lanterns, the Red Lanterns entire physiology is changed when the ring chooses them. All of their blood is expelled from their bodies and replaced with a blood-like acid.
In addition to the power their rings grant them, they are able to expel this corrosive blood from their mouths and control it much the way the Green or Yellow lanterns would their constructs. Blindly angry and impervious to the influence of other emotions, the Red Lanterns never stop showing the world how angry they are.
- Strengths: Acid Blood, Ignore Pain
- Weaknesses: Reduced to mindless rage, members who resist the red ring can be cured by Blue Lanterns
Black Lantern Rings
The Black Lanterns, controlled by Nekron and the Black Hand, scoured the universe, attaching themselves to the corpses of significant people in the lives of their victims. These corpses were animated and attacked others.
These corpses, while retaining the personality they once had, were not actually resurrected individuals. They were, in reality, controlled by the rings and had no will or thoughts of their own. Like complicated computer programs, they mimicked the behavioral patterns of the dead individual.
The Black Lantern Ring could create constructs like a Green Lantern ring. In addition, the animated corpses could sense the emotions of nearby creatures.
- Strengths: Unkillable with normal force, light constructs, emotional senses
- Weaknesses: The light of a Green Lantern Ring mixed with any of the other emotional spectrum, white light, can not feed on those who have no emotions, can not feed on those whose only emotion is will power
White Lantern Power Ring
Still very mysterious, details about the White Lantern Power Ring are still coming to bear. It is known that it has the ability to return the dead to life. Many superheroes who had returned from the dead briefly wielded a White Lantern ring, but as of now, the only hero currently using a white ring is Boston Brand, the former Dead Man.
DC recently released Brightest Day White Lantern rings. Look to the right to buy a white lantern ring online!
Choose a Side
Bobby on July 25, 2020:
Blue is better
Unknown on March 13, 2019:
The black ring is the lantern corps.of death
Christopher Peruzzi from Freehold, NJ on November 04, 2018:
It recruited corpses. Unless the corpse was fully at peace when they died, a corrupted version of the deceased would be animated by the ring.
Chris on November 04, 2018:
My question is: What does the Black Lantern ring represent?
Kuya v on January 21, 2014:
White lanterns obiviously is life.
Domenick Dicce on September 21, 2012:
Great breakdown of the different rings. I think the different colors have added a nice layer to the corps mythology.
Christopher Peruzzi from Freehold, NJ on June 25, 2012:
I had the opportunity to ask Geoff Johns about his inspiration on the ring colors. He mentioned that this creation and plot happened quite organically.
My only critique is that you missed the true vulnerability of the yellow rings - they can be drained by a blue one. The message being that hope can neutralize fear.
The other message is that someone who has hope and will power can accomplish anything. Blue and Green can ignite a sun.
One last thing which may help "enhance" your appreciation of these colors - chakras. If you look at the meanings of Hindu chakras, you may get more insights about the rings.
oldnoname on January 26, 2012:
I hear the next arc of Green Lantern delves into the mystery of the Indigo Tribe.
taco dude on December 10, 2011:
love,love,love the green lantern series,but my fav lanterns r the white lanterns
samanthamsmith from Small Town USA on October 28, 2011:
Blue lantern. We need it, nice hub.
ANTHONY HAWK on July 08, 2011:
I would like DC to make a Blue Lantern die cast ring I have the movie one of the Green Lantern and its very nice thanks e-mail me if u do make or kno where I can get hope ring at firstname.lastname@example.org please and thanks
blacklantern96 on January 18, 2011:
Does anyone know where I am able to find a sterling silver Black Lantern Corps ring?
Matthew Gabriel from Eugene on November 21, 2010:
Hey they are reviling more about the Indigo tribe in current comic books so you may want to update this a bit or write a new hub about what is being reviled so far.
Matthew Gabriel from Eugene on October 13, 2010:
Loved it man. I am a huge fan of the GL lore and you laid it out quite well. My hat is off to you.
surlyoldcat on October 07, 2010:
Very well-done and detailed. I am looking forward to getting back into comic books again. GL has always been one of my absolute favorites. Thanks you.
Now I gotta get those damned rings! XD
Rengaw on October 05, 2010:
Green Lantern forever, I don't really buy into all the other spectrum color rings stuff but it's just more umph for the Green guy power fanbase, I've yet to see a great Green Lantern ring I'd be willing to pay a lot to own, I might end up having one made, Go Green Lantern.
robiwi2 on July 13, 2010:
Have been enjoying the Blackest Night series, good info on the different Corps!
roger on April 12, 2010:
what and where are the black lanterns about?
havw no clue yet it intrigues me.
Stevennix2001 on April 10, 2010:
interesting. great hub.
sunspot1214 from somewhere on earth on February 26, 2010:
Simple, yet colorful presentation of the green lantern power rings. Hope you can elaborate on the "Blackest Night" series.
AK Nicole on February 15, 2010:
I've always been a green lantern fan, ever since I saw justice league as a kid. Needless to say I was excited to hear that green lantern was finally getting a turn in the spot light, so it's good to get some more info on one of my favorite superheroes.
melon on February 13, 2010:
dude this is bomb my teacher is all over this kinda stuff!
Mikipedia on January 10, 2010:
So I think that Blue Lanterns should not have to rely on Green Lanterns ...Just my opinion
bill yon from sourcewall on November 03, 2009:
sup cannon?I started to do a hub on the lanterns but you beat me to it!nice hub.personally I don't like the new rings I think it should only be two Green and yellow.It feels like a Rip-Off of marvels infinity gems to me.but that's just me.great hub,peace I'm Audi 5000.