In the beginning at DC Comics, there was only a Green Lantern, with his green Power Ring and Lantern. Then, in 1961, Green Lantern villain Sinestro was introduced with his own Yellow Power Ring. And so it remained for the longest time…
…until the late 2000s, when writer Geoff Johns introduced us to the whole rainbow-colored spectrum of Power Rings that corresponded to the emotions that… uh, powered them. In the Sinestro Corps War (2007) and Blackest Night (2009) storylines, we are introduced to the entire spectrum of colors, emotions, and corresponding corps:
- Red Lantern Corps (rage)
- Orange (greed)
- Yellow Sinestro Corps (fear)
- Green Latern Corps (willpower)
- Blue Lantern Corps (hope)
- Indigo Tribe (compassion)
- Violet Star Sapphires (love)
- Black Lantern Corps (death)
- White Lantern Corps (life)
- Ultraviolet (invisible emotional spectrum)
Explaining why colors and emotions are intertwined and the pivotal role the Green Lanterns play, Johns said,
They’re the fulcrum. So if you look at ROY G BIV [a mnemonic for the colors of the spectrum] on a line and it’s balancing on the tip of a pin, swaying a little bit-green is the center that doesn’t move. When the first sentient being actually willed itself to move and had a voluntary action-the will to survive, the will to live-it created this invisible aura. It gave off an energy. I do believe there’s something to being sentient and aware of your surroundings. We’re not just rocks. We’re moving around of our own will. So when those first sentient beings existed, they gave off an aura, and that aura was collected and coalesced into green light. When we got more sophisticated and our emotions started to change, we felt fear and survival through fear, and that gave off another invisible aura that could be condensed and collected into a yellow light. And it goes on into rage and avarice and hope and compassion and love.Geoff Johns, Gizmodo
The Red Lantern Corps represent rage on the emotional spectrum and are led by Atrocitus. Red Power Rings are powered by rage: they seek our beings with great rage and feed on the rage of their users as well as others. Red Power Rings are also constantly driving their wearers to rage by constantly urging them on with words like “kill,” “rage,” “pain,” and “hatred.” The blood of Red Lanterns are tainted by this red rage energy and is forcefully vomited out as a projectile weapon.
With Blood and Rage of crimson Red,Red Lantern oath
We fill men’s souls with darkest dread.
Together with our hellish hate,
We’ll burn you all…that is your fate!
Given the all-consuming greed that powers Orange Power Rings , there is only one wielder: Larfleeze (think Gollum and the One Ring, from Lord of the Rings). He jealously guards his precious treasure, living in complete isolation on the assumption that anyone he encounters is out to steal the orange light from him. That said, there is an Orange Lantern Corps, of sorts: when Larfleeze kills an enemy, he turns them into orange light constructs. Since he is always in constant, close contact with his main power battery, Larfleeze has enough power to maintain an army of the Orange Lanterns.
What’s mine is mine and mine and mine,Orange Lantern, well Larfleeze’s, oath
And mine, and mine, and mine!
The first yellow Power Ring was acquired by former Green Lantern Thaal Sinestro from the weaponeers of Qward. It is this Sinestro that the Corps is named after; with Power Rings fueled by fear and Sinestro Corps members being chosen for their ability to instill great fear in others. Fear, represented by the color yellow, has been part of the Green Lantern lore since the beginning (at least, since the beginning of the Silver Age); when Abin Sur warned Hal Jordan that his Power Ring was ineffective against yellow. This “yellow impurity” was subsequently retconned into the creature Parallax, the embodiment of fear (long, long story).
In blackest day, in brightest night,Sinestro Corps oath
Beware your fears made into light.
Let those who try to stop what’s right,
Burn like my power… Sinestro’s might!
Green is the color of willpower and, according to Geoff Johns, represents the fulcrum of the spectrum of emotional colors and is wielded by the Green Lantern Corps, which function as the DC Comics’ universe’s space police. There are 7,204 Green Lanterns, two for each of the 3,600 sectors in the universe; with the exception of sector 2814 (where Earth is situated) which as six. Each Green Lantern wears a Green Power Ring, which has been hailed at various times as the most powerful weapon in the universe. The Green Power Rings channel the wearer’s willpower into any green light construct that can be imagined (which could be seen especially in the light constructs of Kyle Rayner, who was a graphic artist before becoming a Green Lantern).
In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night;Green Lantern oath (The main one, at least. There are alternatives.)
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s LIGHT!
The Blue Lantern Corps emerged in the aftermath of the Sinestro Corps War when former Guardian of the Ganthet create the first Blue Power Ring. Blue Lanterns are powered by hope, but must be near an active Green Power Ring to tap into their full potential – because hope requires willpower to fully enact it. At full potential, Blue Lanterns can heal wounds, neutralize the corrupting effects of a red power ring, block the energy-stealing properties of orange rings, drain the power from yellow power rings, and recharge a green power ring to twice its maximum power level. Interestingly Blue Power Rings can also scan their targets and create illusions based on their hopes.
In a Fearful Day, in Raging Night,Blue Lantern oath
With strong hearts full, our souls ignite.
When all seems lost in the War of Light,
Look to the stars–For hope burns bright!
Led by Indigo-1, the Indigo Tribe wields the power of compassion and wield staffs which have lanterns at the end of them to charge their Power Rings. Their Indigo Power Rings can replicate the abilities of the Power Rings of other Corps, but must be within close vicinity of one of that Corps’ members. Indigo Tribe members can perceive compassion in others and heal individuals with great empathy. Conversely, they can also force those who do not feel any compassion to feel it, and expose targets to the pain these targets have inflicted on others.
Tor Lorek San, Bor Nakka Mur,Indigo Tribe oath
Natromo Faan Tornek Wot Ur.
Ter Lantern Ker Lo Abin Sur,
Taan Lek Lek Nok–Formorrow Sur!
The violet power of love is wielded by the Star Sapphires, who were a tribe of women from the planet Oa who left for another planet, Zamaron. Apart from the usual Power Ring abilities, Violet Power Rings can also detect when a love is in jeopardy, locate it, and then create a connection to the embattled heart that can be used as a tether. Star Sapphires are also shown as being able to show others their greatest love.
For Hearts long lost and full of fright,Star Sapphire oath
For those alone in Blackest Night,
Accept our ring and join our fight,
Love conquers all with Violet’s light!
The Black Lantern Corps is fueled by death and wielded by those who are already dead, but reanimated. Black Lanterns, besides retaining any superpowers they might have had when alive, can use their Power Rings to read the emotions of those alive as colored auras correlating to the emotional spectrum. The Black Lanterns’ light power comes from the Black Lantern Power Battery, which is formed when the body of the Anti-Monitor crashes on the planet Ryut. The Black Lantern Corps is led by Black Hand. He becomes the first Black Lantern after killing his family and committing suicide, after which, former Guardian Scar comes to him with the first Black Power Ring.
The Blackest Night, falls from the skies. The Darkness grows as all light dies. We crave your hearts and your demise. By my Black Hand…the Dead Shall RISE!
The Blackest Night falls from the skies,Black Lantern Corps oath
The darkness grows as all light dies,
We crave your hearts and your demise,
By my black hand, the dead shall rise!
Introduced during the events of the Blackest Night, the White Lantern Corps was formed by The Entity to oppose Nekron’s Black Lantern Corps. A White Lantern combines and channels all of the colors of the emotional spectrum (except for Black, which is actually the absence of any color) and has the unique ability to resurrect the dead. Beyond that, the full limitation and capabilities of a White Power Rings have yet to be revealed. It has not been revealed whether the White Lanterns have an oath or not.
The most recently introduced Ultraviolet Lantern Corps is powered by negative emotional energy, like bloodlust and self-hatred, from the “Invisible Emotional Spectrum.” UV Lantern Corps members do not use physical rings, but is branded with Power Ring tattoos and emit a purple/violet light power. Their Power Rings are able to infect others with the most hateful, self-destructive, and primeval feelings deep within their targets. UV Lanterns are enthralled by Umbrax, a sentient sun from the “Living Phantom Galaxy,” although some members – like Sinestro – have found ways to remain independent while wielding its power.
“By shield of day, and shield of night,Ultraviolet Lantern Corps oath
We feed and grow, beyond all sight,
Your darkest self shall be our knight,
Wield the sword of unseen light!”
Where do you think you’re inclined to land on the emotional spectrum? Which of the Corps would recruit you?