Power Ring (DC Comics)

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Power Ring
Power ring character.jpg
Hal Jordan (Earth-Three) as Power Ring. Art by Ivan Reis.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceJustice League of America #29 (August 1964); Green Lantern Rebirth #1 (2016)
Created byGardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky
In-story information
Alter egoHarold Jordan
Jessica Cruz
Team affiliationsCrime Syndicate of America
Crime Society of America
Justice League
AbilitiesPower ring

Power Ring is the name of several supervillains and one superheroine appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The supervillains are alternate-reality counterparts of Green Lanterns Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and John Stewart, respectively. Originally residing on Earth-Three, which was subsequently destroyed during the 12-issue Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Power Ring, along with the other Syndicate members, end up being re-created in the Anti-Matter Universe's Earth.

The first Power Ring debuted in Justice League of America #29 (August 1964).[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Crime Syndicate of America (1964–1986)[edit]

Little is known of Power Ring's history. From what little he has said on the matter, he was given his magical power ring and power battery by a monk named Volthoom. With these weapons, he equals the power of a Green Lantern.

When Power Ring, Johnny Quick and Superwoman first arrive on Earth-One, they attempt to destroy first the Justice League and later the Justice Society of America of Earth-Two. Though beaten on the native Earths, they are able to transport both teams to Earth-Three, where they defeat them. The JLA and CSA battle on Earth-Two after the JSA are imprisoned. The Syndicate is defeated and imprisoned in an inter-dimensional limbo by Green Lantern Hal Jordan.

They remain there for years until an experimental dimensional transponder used by the Secret Society of Super-Villains disrupts the stability of the Crime Syndicate's prison. Power Ring, Johnny Quick, and Superwoman use the opportunity to escape. The Syndicate assumes the Secret Society villains were heroes and battled them. In a second confrontation, the Society takes Superwoman's magic lasso, the ring of Power Ring, and Johnny Quick's helmet. These objects of power would be used by the Wizard to cast a spell.

The Crime Syndicate fight Captain Comet, believing he is part of the Secret Society. Focusing his will through his power battery, Power Ring is able to use it as a weapon, just as he had used his ring. Unknown to the villains, Power Ring's battery of power has been leaking energy, a result of its long confinement and disuse in limbo.

Victims left in its wake are stricken with nausea, severe pain and eventual loss of consciousness. Their inert forms then glow an unearthly green before mutating into horrible rampaging creatures. Captain Comet discovers the source of the transformation, and after capturing the Syndicate, uses the power battery to cure the victims and return the Crime Syndicate to their interdimensional prison. Comet destroys the battery afterwards.

Years later, the Syndicate get another taste of freedom. Travelling through time, Per Degaton stumbles upon the interdimensional prison. He offers the Crime Syndicate an escape if they would help him in 1962 to take Cuba's intercontinental ballistic missiles. After they accomplish this task, Degaton has little use for them. When the Syndicate betrays him, they are sent to 1982, as he had made sure this would happen when they touched him.

The Syndicators rematerialize on the JLA satellite by the League's teleporter. They quickly overcome the surprised heroes who are waiting for the JSA's annual meeting with the two groups. The JSA had been sent to the Crime Syndicate's interdimensional prison and are able to escape with the combined powers of Starman and Doctor Fate.

Power Ring returns with the Syndicate to assist Per Degaton's plan to rule the world. Though they had been double-crossed by Degaton, they help him until the moment comes to strike. The villains once again fight the JLA, the JSA, and even members of the All-Star Squadron from 1942. When the villains are again defeated, the failure of Degaton's plan wipes the events from existence.

Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985–1987)[edit]

The members of the Crime Syndicate are believed to be killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Power Ring and the Crime Syndicate are destroyed by waves of anti-matter, unleashed by the Anti-Monitor in his attempt to control all of existence.

Crisis 2[edit]

Years afterwards, a strange disruption in reality (featured in Animal Man by Grant Morrison) brings back Syndicators Ultraman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick, and Owlman, as well as other variations of the Justice League. Power Ring and Ultraman think they have come back from the dead, but later learn forces beyond their imaginations are responsible for their brief return. Power Ring wishes to return to the way his life used to be, and with that thought, he vanishes. The others go into the Medusa Mask of the Psycho-Pirate, and they have not been seen since.

Convergence[edit]

During the Convergence storyline, Power Ring is with the Crime Syndicate when they plan to free Superwoman from death row.[2]

New Earth (1987–2011)[edit]

Crime Syndicate of Amerika[edit]

Eventually, the Crime Syndicate were re-imagined as being from the antimatter universe and Power Ring resembles a blonde Kyle Rayner. This Power Ring, weak-willed and cowardly, is tricked into accepting the ring from its previous owner. After invading the other universe, Power Ring is defeated by Aquaman, as the nature of the Earths gives native beings an advantage.[3]

Syndicate Rules[edit]

On the antimatter Earth, Power Ring is Joseph Harrolds (corresponding to Hal Jordan). On this Earth, the power ring is powered by an entity called Volthoom. A second Power Ring (corresponding to Kyle Rayner), a blond man whose name was not given, was given the ring by Harrolds and joined the Syndicate; however, when the antimatter universe was reconstructed after Krona had initially wiped out that plane of existence when trying to discover the origin of the Universe, certain elements of the antimatter universe's history had been changed, and now the second Power Ring was a black man whose name was also not given (corresponding to John Stewart). He confirmed that Harrolds tricked him into assuming responsibility of the ring, which was cursed as Volthoom was also inside the ring.

Crime Society of America[edit]

In 52 Week 52, an alternate version of Earth-Three was shown as a part of the new Multiverse. In the depiction were characters that are altered versions of the original Justice League of America, including Green Lantern. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the two panels in which they appear, but the altered Green Lantern is visually similar to Power Ring.[4]

Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the Pre-Crisis Earth-Three, making this a new character unrelated to previous versions.[5] In Countdown #31, he is confirmed as being called Power Ring, a member of the Crime Society, alongside Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman.

Justice League Omega[edit]

The antimatter Crime Syndicate reappeared in writer James Robinson's Justice League of America series as part of the Justice League Omega storyline. Directly mirroring Hal Jordan's resurrection in Green Lantern: Rebirth, Power Ring has once again changed his appearance and now resembles Jordan. Ultraman mentions that Power Ring's transformation into a Hal Jordan analogue (as well as the Kyle Rayner analogue's transformation into John Stewart in the Syndicate Rules storyline) had happened suddenly and with no explanation, but notes that Power Ring is now once again in his "original" form (mirroring the mainstream DC continuity, where Hal was the first modern Green Lantern).

The Crime Syndicate attacks the Hall of Justice in order to steal Alexander Luthor's corpse from the Justice League's mausoleum, and Power Ring enters into a confrontation with Jade. Though Power Ring initially gains the upper hand, Jade ultimately defeats him after she absorbs the energy in his ring, rendering him powerless.[6] When the Crime Syndicate members agree to work with the JLA to stop a new villain named the Omega Man, Power Ring begs Jade to return his powers to him, but is ultimately killed when the Omega Man ambushes the group and impales him through the back.[7]

The New 52 (2011–2016)[edit]

In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, four different characters have used the name.

First Lantern[edit]

The Power Ring Corps was created on Earth-3 when Volthoom was traveling from Earth-15 to various other Earths within the Multiverse to seek a way to save his home. On Earth-3 he encountered the wizard Mordru, who fused a piece of Volthoom's soul to create the power ring. Volthoom described that they had a dispute and left. It is revealed later that the ring was created out of all the cruelty and hatred within Volthoom as he claims that for thousands of years his only pleasure was to watch those who attempted to wield the ring fail and die. The ring would then seek out the fearful, lead them to death and swallow their souls. Being chosen to be a Power Ring is considered a curse. The ring remained in Earth-3 until the "Forever Evil" storyline.[8]

Abin Sur (Earth-3)[edit]

Abin Sur was the most recent unwilling bearer of the Ring of Volthoom. He is weak-willed and cowardly as opposed to his heroic counterpart Abin Sur of Earth-One, who was strong-willed and brave. He begs Harold to take the ring by promising it will make him powerful and is shown to be joyous once Harold does, claiming himself to be finally free. However, he dies shortly after this from the injuries sustained from his crash, finally being freed only to meet his bitter end. Abin Sur has shown to have suffered adverse physical effects from the ring far worse than any other user ever displayed. His entire body has been destroyed due to his bearing the ring for a long period of time.[9]

Crime Syndicate[edit]

Power Ring is one of the members of the Crime Syndicate to arrive from Earth-3 at the conclusion of the "Trinity War" event.[10] Power Ring is the villainous counterpart to Hal Jordan's Green Lantern and in an inverse relationship to Green Lantern, the character and syndicate member "Power Ring" is actually the Ring of Volthoom while Harold Jordan (Hal Jordan's Earth-3 counterpart) is merely his current vessel, though both are referred to as Power Ring throughout the comic. Harold worked as a janitor at Ferris Air, where he spied on Carol Ferris' operations to sell them out. When being confronted by Carl Ferris, Abin Sur's ring of Volthoom chooses Harold, bringing him to Abin's crashed ship. Abin begs Harold to take the ring, which he does, freeing Abin Sur. Harold quickly realizes his mistake, as the ring opens a pocket dimensional portal to charge itself, unleashing a creature that attacks Harold.[11] Power Ring then goes on to form the Crime Syndicate along with Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, and Johnny Quick.[12]

He is first seen at the end of "Trinity War" emerging with the rest of the Crime Syndicate from the portal from Earth-Three. He immediately attacks the Justice League upon arrival, knocking them all down with an energy blast while Harold nervously questions whether the area is safe.[13] During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Power Ring accompanies Deathstorm in his raid on Belle Reve and destroys the roof to free its inmates.[14] Later, again accompanying Deathstorm, Power Ring attacks the Rogues, who have refused to cause mass deaths in their own city, against the Crime Syndicate's orders.[15] When Deathstorm leaves to head back to the Syndicate's lab, Power Ring, with Secret Society members, attack Batman, Catwoman, and Lex Luthor's Injustice Society at Wayne Enterprises. Batman attempts to stop Power Ring with a Sinestro Corps ring, but Power Ring's constructs are able to remove the ring and destroy it. However, Batman's use of the ring summons Sinestro.[16] Power Ring battles Sinestro, but Sinestro cuts off his arm with the ring; after the ring deems Harold irreparably damaged, it flies off. Harold thanks Sinestro for freeing him from his curse. Sinestro welcomes his thanks and incinerates him. The ownerless ring then flies off to find a new host.[17]

While Harold is seemingly shown to wield the Ring of Volthoom quite proficiently, the Ring of Volthoom is actually the one in control, though Harold does have some independent control over the ring's power.[9] The ring of Volthoom is as powerful as a Green Lantern ring [18] and is even able to fight on par with a Sinestro Corps ring, remove it from the user's hand and impressively destroy the Sinestro Corps ring itself. The Outsider refers to Power Ring as his master and mentions to Pandora that Power Ring has killed many immortal beings during the Crime Syndicate's time on Earth-Three [19] After Harold's death his soul was sucked into the ring like other previous deceased power ring Corp members, the location inside the ring was known as the green realm. When Jessica's soul was pushed into the ring while Volthoom took possession of her body she encountered Harold and other the other Power Ring Corps members. Harold tells Jessica that he refuses to let her leave because Volthoom would return and that when inside the ring, Volthoom would periodically torture their souls by burning out their eyes and inflicting other horrors on them. He and the other Power Ring bearers chase Jessica through the Green Realm to stop her from reaching Cyborg but they are unsuccessful. When Volthoom dies the Green Realm lives on due to Jessica's soul filling the void. Harold continues to live in the Green Realm, having given into fear long ago he chooses to hide in the dirt with the other power ring bearers but finally free from the torments inflicted on them by Volthoom. When Jessica returns to the Green Realm, Simon Baz encounters Harold when he follows Jessica into it in order to save her from becoming as evil and cruel as Volthoom. Harold tries to prevent him from finding Jessica as he fears this would destroy the green realm, when he is unsuccessful he calls up Solomon Baz (Simon Baz Earth 3 counterpart) to stop Simon. When Simon finally finds Jessica and convinced her not to become like Volthoom, the Green Realm still remains intact much to Harold's relief and he returns to hiding in the dirt of the green realm.

Jessica Cruz[edit]

Jessica Cruz and her friends are on a hunting trip when they accidentally stumble across two men burying a body. The men brutally murder her friends. Jessica manages to escape but is left traumatized. The Ring of Volthoom, which feeds off fear and had abandoned Harold after his death during the Crime Syndicate's incursion to Prime Earth, is able to locate her due to her trauma. Unlike the previous ring bearers, she does not willingly accept the Ring but is forced to do so. The ring tortures Jessica with physical and psychological pain. Batman is able to de-power the Ring after convincing Jessica to face her fears. Hal Jordan returns to Earth to teach Jessica how to control the ring, but in a later adventure, the ring finds a chance to possess Jessica's mind and body. Jessica becomes trapped within the ring along with Cyborg while Power Ring is in full possession of her body. With Cyborg's, help Jessica is able to momentarily take control and saves the Flash from the Black Racer by allowing the incarnation of death to apparently kill her. Jessica survives, and it is revealed that the Black Racer killed Volthoom instead, causing the ring to crumble into dust. Immediately afterwards, a Green Lantern ring descends at the battlefield and transforms Jessica into a new Green Lantern.

Solomon Baz[edit]

Solomon Baz was the Earth-3 doppelgänger of Simon Baz. He was once a getaway driver with a fearsome reputation until he took a job delivering a bomb to a concert. Arriving at the venue, Solomon relented, unable to bring himself to blow up the young concertgoers. Questioning his identity and overcome with insecurity, Solomon was soon selected to become the new host and victim of the Ring of Volthoom. When his life was inevitably consumed by the ring, Solomon joined the other deceased ring bearers of the Power Ring Corps in the Green Realm. There he remained, buried in the dirt, until called upon to face his Earth-0 counterpart.[20]

Rebirth[edit]

During the "Year of the Villain" event, Earth 3 alongside the Crime Syndicate of America was revived. Power Ring returns and uses his ring to see how many alternate Earth’s are left after Perputua’s assault. Lex Luther of Earth 0 comes to escort them to Perpetua. After witnessing Johnny Quick get killed when he suspects that allying with her is a bad idea, Ultraman agrees to have his Crime Syndicate lead the people of Earth 3 in her army where the people of Earth 3 were turned into Apex Predators.

Emerald Knight[edit]

Following the reboot of the multiverse after Dark Nights: Death Metal, a new Earth 3 and Crime Syndicate are created. The counterpart to Green Lantern on the new Earth 3 is known as Emerald Knight.

Police office John Stewart was given a sentient power ring by the Overlords of Oa. He used its power to become a vigilante in Coast City, enforcing his own view of "justice" by murdering both criminals and the corrupt officials of the city. His ring constantly berates and insults him, urging him to further action.[21]

Powers and abilities[edit]

All Power Rings wield a magical ring that can generate a variety of effects and energy constructs which give them powers equivalent to those of a Green Lantern. In its first appearance, it is not unlike a lantern ring sustained purely by the ring wearer's strength of will. The power ring has been referred to on several occasions as the "most dangerous weapon in the universe" and the limits of its power are not clearly defined. With sufficient willpower, a Power Ring could conceivably wield nearly omnipotent power. However, all stories after 1964 no longer have the ring draw its strength from willpower. After Crisis 2, the various incarnations of Power Ring refer to wielding the ring as a "curse"; Volthoom, the entity within the ring, would frequently try to overtake the user's mind and the power ring is physically and mentally painful to wield. The New 52 series has the Ring of Volthoom rely on fear to function; however, unlike the Sinestro Corps ring, which relies on the fear of others, the Ring of Volthoom is sustained by the user's fear.

Power rings allow the user to fly and to cover themselves and others with a protective force field, suitable for traveling through outer space. They can also generate beams and solid structures of energy that can be moved simply by thinking about doing so, enabling the user to create cages, transportation platforms, walls, and battering rams. The ring can also be used to search for energy signatures or particular objects. It can serve as a universal translator. The ring can place people in a hypnotic trance, show other Earths and enable people to travel between them, even drawing them if the user is on another Earth; in 'Darkseid War', Grail, the daughter of Darkseid, states that the ring is a tether to Earth-Three and assaults its host to open a portal to Earth-Three, which allows the Anti-Monitor to cross over onto Earth-Zero. The ring can manipulate sub-atomic particles (effectively producing new elements) and split atoms, but those powers are rarely used by Power Ring. It is not known if any of the various Power Ring's ring incarnations have had a specific weakness, but in the original 1960's JLA/JSA/CSA encounter, both wooden and yellow weapons were ineffective against Power Ring. His amused response to these tactics indicated that he had not as yet encountered any ring-specific weaknesses or he would likely have been more cautious. Harold Jordan was shown using the Ring of Volthoom to connect directly to the JLA watchtower computer to talk to Grid. Further in The New 52, Harold Jordan was able to destroy a Sinestro Corps ring, crushing it in his hand. He also was able to destroy the constructs with his own and remove the ring from Batman, though the Sinestro Corps ring was very low on power, which may have contributed to Power Ring being able to destroy it (the Ring of Volthoom was also low on charge, albeit not as low as the Sinestro Corps ring). This mistake by Batman would later be made by Power Ring, as he had engaged Sinestro while his own ring was low on charge.[22]

The ring appears to have a part of soul of a fully sentient entity named Volthoom, able to talk to and advise the user as to various courses of action (though it is stated that Volthoom can be unreliable); most portrayals show Volthoom to have a personality and a mind of its own unlike the highly advanced programs which reside in the Green Lantern rings. In the 1964 comic book, Volthoom is purportedly the mad monk that offered the ring to the first Power Ring, at which point he kills Volthoom and takes the ring. Justice League of America #50 seems to imply that Volthoom is the antimatter equivalent of the Starheart, which bestowed its power on Alan Scott and Jade on New Earth. Volthoom's character has evolved along with Power Ring. Pre-Crisis, Volthoom simply was the entity of the ring and would act no different than a standard Green Lantern ring (albeit magical in nature as opposed to scientific), only responding to the bearer's will. Later, Volthoom was retconned as the cursed spirit of the ring which attempted to overtake the mind of Harold Jordan and later other bearers of the ring. Volthoom would seek out cowardly, weak-willed individuals to manipulate and control because they would rely on the power of the ring and slowly allow Volthoom to possess them. In The New 52, Volthoom is far less subtle and directly feeds off the fear of the ring bearer and forces them to do his bidding. Volthoom causes the host tremendous pain to the point where Harold Jordan was actually relieved when Sinestro sliced off his arm and the ring left. The ring is able to fully possess a host if need be. The New 52 states that the entity within the ring contains a small portion of the soul of the First Lantern from "Wrath of the First Lantern".

In addition, the effectiveness of a wielder's power ring can be adversely affected by a weakening of resolve and will or later fear. Prior to Post-Infinite Crisis, most if not all Power Rings did not have automatic shields provided by their rings and were forced to create constructs to defend themselves (this was a major difference between Power Ring and Green Lantern). In later stories like The New 52, the ring would typically reserves a small portion of their power for a passive force field that "protects the wielder from mortal harm". In dire emergency, that energy reserve can be tapped at the expense of said protection until it, too, is exhausted. Power Ring, in his original appearance, had a magical lamp which would act as a power battery for his ring. In The New 52, Power Ring's battery is located in a pocket dimension and has tentacles and a mouth with sharp teeth, Geoff Jones describes charging the ring as an horrific experience to the wielder.

The ring has a green pocket dimension located within it which houses its central battery and other members of the Power Ring Corps [23]

In the Forever Evil storyline in The New 52, Power Ring was shown with the ring of Volthoom; it was causing detrimental effects on his body. These effects were displayed through grotesque, greenish veins being visible on Power Ring's right hand and arm, extending to his neck. The same deformation was visible (to a much greater degree, resultant of a longer "bonding" period) on Power Ring's predecessor, Abin Sur. The deformation started to take effect on Jessica Cruz after the ring was placed on her hand. These veins are the ring mainlining with the wielder's basolateral nucleus in their amygdala in order to channel their fear. The ring is rendered powerless if its user is not afraid, Batman shut down the ring after he convinced Jessica not to be fearful; also, if the user is knocked unconscious, the ring will stop working until the user retains consciousness (as shown when Jessica Cruz was knocked out). Captain Cold was also able to "quiet" the ring for a few moments with a blast from his cold gun. The Flash also states that the Ring of Volthoom is unable to do anything that the user will not allow it to; to this end, Jessica Cruz was able to make Volthoom go into dormancy by enforcing her will over his. Cyborg explains that the ring is drawn to the weak willed and fearful, leading it's host to their death and then sucks in their soul.

The Outsider also mentions to Pandora that Harold Jordan, along with the rest of the Crime Syndicate, know how to kill immortal beings such as herself and have done so many times.[19] Being magical in nature, Power Ring's ring is more effective than a normal Green Lantern ring against Kryptonians like Superman. As shown in Power Ring's first appearance, he was able to defeat Superman by transporting him to Earth-Three while pointing out that Superman is vulnerable to his ring's magic.[24]

In other media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1987). The Encyclopedia of Supervillains. New York: Facts on File. p. 270. ISBN 0-8160-1356-X.
  2. ^ Convergence: Crime Syndicate #1
  3. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). "Crime Syndicate". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 89. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017.
  4. ^ 52 52: 11/3-4 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  5. ^ Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "THE 52 EXIT INTERVIEWS: GRANT MORRISON". Newsarama. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  6. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #50
  7. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #52
  8. ^ Green Lanterns #18
  9. ^ a b http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/02/13/geoff-johns-talks-justice-league-31s-new-power-ring
  10. ^ Justice League (vol. 2) #23
  11. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Reis, Ivan (p), Prado, Joe, Eber Ferreira, Rob Hunter, Andy Lanning (i), Reis, Rod, Tomeu Morey, Tony Avina (col), Napolitano, Nick J. (let). "Forever Numb" Justice League v2, #26 (February 2013), DC Comics
  12. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2014/05/22/forever-evil-five-unanswered-questions
  13. ^ Trinity War end
  14. ^ Forever Evil #1
  15. ^ Forever Evil #3
  16. ^ Forever Evil #4
  17. ^ Forever Evil #5
  18. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2013/09/04/the-crime-syndicate-is-coming-to-dc-collectibles#7
  19. ^ a b Trinity of Sin: Pandora #5
  20. ^ Green Lanterns #46
  21. ^ Crime Syndicate #1
  22. ^ In Forever Evil #4, Batman attempts to wield a Sinestro Corps Ring against Power Ring but is disarmed; Batman, however, used the ring to attract Sinestro, whom Power Ring then engages in battle.
  23. ^ In Justice League #49, Cyborg tells Jessica that the Power Ring's central battery is located within the ring; Jessica and Cyborg then notice the Power Ring Corps closing in on them.
  24. ^ Justice League of America #29 (August 1964)
  25. ^ [1]

External links[edit]