Green Lantern (2023) #3 Cover Cropped
(Image Source: DC Comics)

The Evolution of Green Lantern’s Power Ring Explained

The Power Ring of Green Lantern is one of the most impressive weapons in the DC Universe. Powered by the will of its wearer, there is much a sufficiently resolute soul can accomplish with a Power Ring.

The Power Ring has exhibited many abilities over the years, dependent on the needs of the Green Lantern writers. It has also held many limits, so as to keep the Green Lantern comics exciting and the heroes humble.

The Green Lantern Corps Power Ring

Green Lantern Corps
(Image Source: DC Comics)

Many heroes have borne the title Green Lantern while serving in the Green Lantern Corps. Founded by the Guardians of the Universe, the Corps is the premiere peacekeeping force in the DCU. The Corps recruits strong-willed sentients from across the universe, arming them with a Power Ring and Battery.

The Power Ring must be recharged regularly with the Battery. The Battery offers unlimited energy for the span of one planetary rotation, dependent on where the wielder is.

The Power Ring allows the wielder to do almost anything they can imagine. Their most famous ability is the creation of constructs made of pure willpower. These constructs usually manifest as solid green light. Some Lanterns have sufficient willpower to create full-color constructs or illusions. They can also use the rings to become invisible.

Beyond that, the Power Ring allows the wielder to fly, create force fields, heal themselves, and alter the memories of others. It can preserve the life of its wielder, generating whatever gases they need to breathe. The Power Ring also acts as a universal translator and grants the Green Lanterns access to a database of the Guardians’ knowledge. This enables a Corps member to go wherever they are needed across the universe.

Sufficiently willful Lanterns can duplicate their rings, deputizing a worthy sentient. Hal Jordan of Earth crafted such a duplicate for his friend Oliver Queen to be used in emergencies.

The Yellow Impurity Revealed

Parallax DC Comics
(Image Source: DC Comics)

Originally, the Power Ring of the Green Lantern Corps had only two weaknesses. It could not be used to take a life in keeping with the Guardians’ mission of peace, and it could not affect anything that was yellow.

This was presumed to be a programmed weakness, so that no Green Lantern would be all-powerful. Later stories revealed this was not the case, and that the “impurity” was due to the influence of the fear avatar Parallax.

Trapped within the Central Power Battery, Parallax could only manifest by drawing on the fears of the Green Lanterns. Once Parallax’s existence was made known, sufficiently strong-willed Lanterns were able to overcome the yellow weakness by mastering their fears. The Guardians also removed the prohibition on lethal force during the Sinestro Corps Wars,

The Power Ring of Alan Scott

(Image Source: DC Comics)

The first hero to use the Green Lantern name on Earth, Alan Scott, is a special case. His Power Ring and Lantern have always been mystical whereas other Green Lanterns drew their power from alien science. However, later stories gave Alan Scott’s magic Power Ring a connection to the Green Lantern Corps.

Green Lantern Vol. 3 #19 told the story of Yalan Gur, who was the greatest Lantern of his age. The Guardians removed the yellow weakness from his ring, confident he would not be tainted by unlimited power. Sadly, he became corrupt and set himself up as a tyrant in Ancient China. The Guardians reprogrammed his ring so that it would not work on wood. This made Yalan Gur vulnerable to the clubs wielded by the farmers who turned against him.

Yalan Gur’s ring and battery were later corrupted by a fragment of the Starheart. Made up of the wild magic gathered by The Guardians when the universe was young, the Starheart was a gem of vast mystic power. It provided a new energy, dubbed the Green Flame of Life, which repowered Yalan Gur’s ring and battery. This battery and ring later came into the possession of Alan Scott.

Despite these differences, Alan Scott has the same creative powers of the Green Lantern Corps. He only lacks a connection to the database on Oa and his ring has not displayed the Guardians’ automatic life support system. Despite effectively being a full-fledged mage, Scott still retains the weakness against wood.

The Honor Guard Power Ring

Kyle Rayner Green Lantern
(Image Source: DC Comics)

When Hal Jordan seemingly went mad with power and decimated the Green Lantern Corps, artist Kyle Rayner was chosen to wield a new Power Ring. Crafted by the last Guardian, Ganthet, this ring lacked the yellow impurity of the Green Lantern Corps rings. (This was later revealed to be due to Parallax’s possession of Hal Jordan.)

Despite a lack of formal training, Kyle eventually mastered the Power Ring and manifested nearly all the standard Green Lantern powers. The chief exception to this was the ability to duplicate his ring so he could share his power with others. He also could not access the Guardians’ knowledge due to the lack of a Central Power Battery.

When the Green Lantern Corps was restored, Rayner’s ring model became known as the Honor Guard Power Ring. With the Central Power Battery restored, it exhibited the full range of Green Lantern powers, with the added bonus of lacking a time limit on recharging. These new rings were reserved for Veteran Lanterns, who had proven their worthiness.

Hal Jordan’s Power Ring in Dawn of DC

Hal Jordan creates real holograms in Green Lantern 2023 #3
(Image Source: DC Comics)

Exiled to Earth in the absence of the Guardians, Hal Jordan created a new Power Ring forged from sheer willpower in the Dawn of DC 2023 Green Lantern series. Thus far, Jordan has proven capable of crafting simple constructs and illusions. He is also able to fly and create force fields but cannot leave Earth’s atmosphere.

This suggests that the Guardians are still watching after the greatest of Green Lanterns and limiting his ability to travel. This may be because Hal Jordan’s greatest enemy, Sinestro, is similarly trapped on Earth and plotting some sort of scheme.