Who Are The White Lanterns? DC’s Most Powerful Rings Explained

Will, fear, rage, avarice, love, compassion, hope; these are the emotions that rule over the Emotional Spectrum in the DC Universe that the Green Lantern Corps call home. Each emotion is championed by a different Corps that uses their ability to wield their respective light for good or evil. But in the direst circumstances, two additional Corps jump into the fray from time to time who don’t fall on the spectrum at all: the Black Lantern Corps of death and the White Lantern Corps, champions of the white light of life.

But with all of the other Corps either helping or hindering the universe at large, who exactly are these White Lanterns? And where do they fit on the inexplicably long timeline of the space cops known as the Green Lanterns and their constant battle against evil? Well, the first thing to know is that the White Lanterns are the ultimate Lantern group in DC Comics, bar none.

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Related: Batman Has Commanded the Power of a Black, White, Yellow and Green Lantern

The Origins of The White Lanterns

The inception of the White Lanterns came about during one of the darkest times in the history of the DC Universe, when the cosmos-spanning zombie brawl that was the saga of the Blackest Night descended upon heroes and villains alike. With DC’s heroes under attack from the Lord of the Unliving and commander of the Black Lantern Corps, Nekron, as he sought to annihilate all life in the universe, the arrival of the White Lanterns could not have come at a more dire moment. Having suffered setback after brutal setback as the swarming army of the dead stifled the heroes’ attempts at taking Nekron down, the skeletal villain is eventually able to hone in on his true nefarious purpose of destroying all life by viciously murdering a Guardian of the Universe and using their insides to form a connection to the Life Entity, or the literal embodiment of the power of creation.

With the entity awakened, Green Lantern Hal Jordan realizes that like the similar entities that embody the other emotions on the spectrum, this one needed a host to unlock its full strength. Being the selfish yet ultimately reliable guy that he is, Sinestro Corps leader and usual villain, Sinestro, immediately plunges himself into the entity to bond with it and give the remaining forces of good a fighting chance. When he emerges, Sinestro is clad in a uniform of pure white and equipped with the very first power ring of life. Unfortunately, Nekron almost immediately rips the entity from Sinestro, depowering him and temporarily shattering the morale of the heroes still fighting across the Earth.

Related: Who Are The Sinestro Corps? DC’s Yellow Lanterns Explained

At the last moment, when all seems lost, Hal Jordan takes a dive into the entity just as Sinestro did, but this time when he emerges, he immediately inducts ten heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman, Animal Man, Green Arrow, Barry Allen aka The Flash, and more into the newly created and first of its kind White Lantern Corps. Nekron is defeated shortly afterwards and the members of the White Lanterns discharged from the Corps, but fortunately that was not the last time these Lanterns would be seen.

Kyle Rayner, The Definitive White Lantern

Post-Blackest Night, the DC Universe entered a new event called Brightest Day, and while the White Lanterns were central to this story – inducting heroes such as Deadman, Batman, and a slew of other recently revived characters into their ranks – it wasn’t until Green Lantern Torchbearer, Kyle Rayner, came into possession of a white ring of life that the White Lantern Corps became a singular, ultimate being. After realizing that the bosses of the Green Lanterns, the Guardians of the Universe, were back to their shady ways, Kyle took it upon himself to find a way to master all seven emotions on the spectrum, thus creating the white light as a means to combat a growing evil Kyle knew needed to be put down.

Recruiting prominent members from the Blue Lantern Corps of hope, the Star Sapphire Corps of love, the Red Lantern Corps of rage, the Sinestro Corps of fear, the Orange Lantern Corps of avarice and the Indigo Tribe of compassion, Kyle formed the New Guardians, a team made up of heroes and reluctant villains who would stop at nothing to help Kyle combine the forces of all lights on the Emotional Spectrum and become the avatar of life. Eventually, and not without his own set of hurdles and mishaps to overcome, Kyle manages to complete his goal in becoming the definitive White Lantern, complete with godlike abilities and the power to stop any kind of evil, no matter its form. Kyle continued to wield this immense power for quite some time before realizing that the omnipotence of harboring the Life Equation was far too much to bear, so, by using his ability to split his ring into seven separate ones, Kyle’s power as the ultimate White Lantern was spread across the cosmos once more, ready to be rejoined should the need arise for a full Corps of life to enter the fight.

Related: Who Are The Orange Lanterns? DC’s Green Lantern Villains Explained

The Power of The White Life of Creation

Unlike the other Corps powered by the different colored lights of the Emotional Spectrum, both the White Lanterns and the Black Lanterns have harnessed the primal forces integral to the balance of the universe – the powers of life and death respectively. As such, these factions aren’t tied to any specific emotion yet are able to brandish similar powers to the champions of the various colored lights. This includes having flight capabilities, the ability to create energy constructs, and the power to project a force-field around their bodies. Other than these usual skills, the White Lanterns are in essence gods to the untrained eye, with capabilities that range from altering space, time, gravity and even the ability to resurrect deceased beings depending on who is wielding the ring at the time.

Related: Who Are The Blue Lanterns? DC’s Green Lantern Allies Explained

Although the true limits of the White Lanterns haven’t even come close to being revealed or even considered, a huge factor in their power set that puts them above all other Lanterns is their built-in skill of commanding the emotional light of any of the other main Corps. This means that a White Lantern can not only use the power of life to help those in need, but since the white light is a combination of all lights along the Emotional Spectrum, they can also harness the unique abilities that each Corps possesses, like the teleportation power of the Indigo Tribe or the corrosive blood power of the Red Lanterns, for their own means. Tied to the idea of the wearer embracing life to the fullest, the white light can also easily vanquish any Black Lanterns in the area, reducing them to dust in the blink of an eye.

White Lanterns Are The Ultimate Lanterns of The DC Universe

The Rings of the Emotional Spectrum

With so many different Corps running around the cosmos, it’s the White Lanterns who are the ultimate brand of Lantern that help protect the universe and what lies beyond its edge at the Source Wall. Not only are these Lanterns a shoe-in for the top spot solely based on their power set alone, but the idea that they command and wield the literal light of creation make this an easy argument to make. Coupled with the fact that there are no true weaknesses inherent in the make-up of the White Lantern (save for them maybe being too powerful), the beings who have wielded its power have exclusively used it to fight on the side of good, a feat that not even the great Green Lantern Corps can claim.

Being the impetus for the creation of all things, the White Lantern’s light is an integral force in the universe not only in keeping the balance of the darkness of death in check, but to helping its users embrace life and appreciate the things that they might usually take for granted while also helping others in the process. This is seen in the Brightest Day event, wherein the recently resurrected members of the DC Universe are assigned with completing tasks to help further the agenda of the Life Entity, and in turn, help themselves. A few other Corps might push their users to witness these kind of revelations such as the members of the compassionate Indigo Tribe and the loving Star Sapphires, but the White Lanterns will always stand tall as the one Corps that rules them all, regardless of the bearer of the white light at the time.

In a comic landscape as volatile and unpredictable as DC Comics’, the Green Lantern Corps have their work cut out for them when the life-bringing Corps of the White Lanterns comes into play. Brandishing the power of life itself as well as a handful of powers that can’t be replicated, these Lanterns are the driving force behind everything in the cosmos and are a force that wields the very fabric of creation at their fingertips.

Next: Who Are The Green Lantern Corps? DC’s Cosmic Police Force Explained

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Updated: November 5, 2020 — 12:36 am

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