Hal Jordan, also known as the intergalactic peacekeeper Green Lantern, has his hands full patrolling the spaceways and keeping ne’er-do-wells from threatening the cosmos. As his patrol extends to the big screen this weekend, we decided to look at some of the biggest threats he’s been called on to combat in the line of duty.
What follows is a rundown of the greatest Green Lantern villains of all time from the character's comics history. Should you encounter any of these dangerous rogues, do not attempt to make contact; report the sighting to your local Green Lantern Corps representative immediately.
Sinestro is, without question, Hal Jordan’s archenemy, not just because of the threat he poses, but because of how close he once was to our hero. Sinestro was himself one of the greatest Green Lanterns, and even took it upon himself to train a rookie Hal Jordan. But Sinestro had a sadistic side, and enjoyed dominating others by instilling sheer terror in them.
When his ruthless tactics were revealed, he was banished from the Green Lantern Corps, but soon returned with a new source of power; his yellow power ring. He used this powerful new weapon to become Jordan’s greatest enemy, and to eventually found a group dedicated to his principles of fear; the Sinestro Corps.
Sinestro is played by actor Mark Strong in the new film.
What’s the old saying about how some people’s greatest enemy is themselves? Well, for Hal Jordan, that was literally true for a time, when he took on the identity of Parallax. His hometown of Coast City had just been destroyed, and Hal snapped. Because the Green Lantern Corps sought to oppose his radical plans for restoring Coast City and preventing another such tragedy, Jordan — who had until that point been an irreproachable hero — virtually wiped out the Corps and anyone else who stood in his way, taking multiple power rings and dubbing himself Parallax.
It was eventually revealed, however, that Parallax was in fact an evil cosmic entity that possessed individuals by exploiting their fears. Hal eventually went on to redeem himself, defeat Parallax, and restore the Corps to its former glory.
Hector Hammond was once a nobody, but he was a nobody with big dreams. After discovering a meteorite from outer space that landed on Earth, its strange radiation mutated him, grotesquely enlarging his head, and giving him vast telepathic powers. Yet even this was not enough for the greedy Hammond, and he grew envious of Green Lantern, consistently seeking to steal his power ring, and dominate his will with his powers of the mind.
He hasn’t succeeded to date, but it’s certain this avaricious fiend will never cease scheming to obtain what his swelled head leads him to believe he’s due.
Hector Hammond is played by actor Peter Sarsgaard in the new film.
The Anti-Monitor posed a big enough threat in the landmark "Crisis On Infinite Earths" storyline that all the heroes of the DC Universe saw it as their duty to stop him, but his origins place him squarely in Green Lantern’s arena. Both he and the anti-matter universe he hails from were created when a Maltusian (the species of the Guardians of the Universe, who founded the Green Lantern Corps) named Krona engaged in forbidden experiments, and he’s been seeking to destroy our positive matter universe ever since, having come dangerously close to doing so on a number of occasions.
More recently, he’s joined forces with the Sinestro Corps, finding his nihilistic vision inherently compatible with their mission of spreading fear throughout the universe.
THE WEAPONERS OF QWARD
Also hailing from the anti-matter universe, the Weaponers of Qward are the elite of their home planet of Qward, and never let the rest of the population forget it, tyrannically dominating them and devoting all their resources towards creating weapons of war, and plotting invasions of the positive matter universe. They were originally servants of the Anti-Monitor, and now serve Sinestro by creating yellow power rings for his corps, but are more than capable of launching deadly attacks of their own initiative, as Hal Jordan has learned time and again.
You might say Hal Jordan has a love/hate relationship with Star Sapphire, particularly since the first woman to adopt that name is his longtime flame Carol Ferris. Ferris was possessed by an extraterrestrial gem sent by the alien Zamarons, a female warrior offshoot species of the Guardians of the Universe. Jordan freed her from their influence, and since then, other females from around the galaxy have been chosen as Star Sapphires, going on to alternately bedevil and bewitch Jordan.
The Star Sapphires have now formed their own corps, and while the Green Lantern Corps’s power is fueled by their will, the Star Sapphires draw their abilities from the power of love.
Carol Ferris is played by actress Blake Lively in the new film.
“No man escapes The Manhunters!” — or so this army of robotic assassins claims. Initially created by the Guardians of the Universe in their ongoing efforts to combat evil, the Manhunters soon became as bad as the threats they were created to deal with, killing anyone who didn’t meet their fanatical definition of good. Among their most fearsome plots involved disguising themselves as human and replacing key people in the lives of the heroes of Earth, in an effort to disrupt the plans of their former masters, the Guardians.
Although that scheme was thwarted, their continually evolving capabilities and relentless dedication to their programming mean the Manhunters continue to pose a serious threat across the universe.
THE RED LANTERN CORPS
It seems like having your own corps is all the rage these days, and that’s especially true for the Red Lanterns, whose power is literally fueled by rage. The Red Lanterns are led by Atrocitus, a demonic alien who was once a member of The Five Inversions, a group of alien terrorists bent on revenge against the Guardians of the Universe (and who are responsible for the death of Hal Jordan’s predecessor, Abin Sur).
Atrocitus carries on their mission of vengeance along with his corps to this day; the rage of a Red Lantern is so fierce that when one dons the ring, the blood of the host body is wholly replaced by the burning energy which grants them their power.
Just as the true Superman is one of Green Lantern’s greatest allies, the Cyborg Superman is one of his greatest enemies. Responsible for the destruction of Coast City, which nearly drove Hal Jordan irretrievably into the arms of darkness, the Cyborg is a remorseless killer, with a twisted mission that combines his hatred of those he blames for his condition, with a desire to dominate the world. He reconstructed the dreaded Manhunters after they were thought destroyed, and was recently recruited by the Sinestro Corps, augmenting his already formidable powers by donning not one, but ten of their fear-powered yellow rings.
The mastermind behind the events of the Blackest Night, Nekron is the very embodiment of death, representing the absolute darkness that existed before life came into the universe. Nekron sought a return to that darkness, and naturally decided that the way to accomplish this was to extinguish all life. His methods quickly became very personal for Hal Jordan and his allies, resurrecting their fallen friends and transforming them into grotesque mockeries of their former selves, in order to goad the heroes into emotional vulnerability.
Although Nekron was defeated in the end, one has to wonder if the embodiment of death can ever be counted as permanently vanquished.
Who is your favorite Green Lantern villain? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!