Power Ring is the name of several DC Comics supervillains: 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.
Fictional character biography
Crime Syndicate of America
Little is known of Power Ring's history. From what little he has said on the matter, he had been given his magical power ring and power battery by a monk named Volthoom. With these weapons, he equaled the power of a Green Lantern.
When they first arrived on Earth-One, they attempted to destroy first the Justice League and later the Justice Society of America of Earth-Two. Though beaten on the native Earths, they were able to transport both teams to Earth-Three, where they defeated them. The JLA and CSA battled on Earth-Two after the JSA were imprisoned. The Syndicate was defeated and imprisoned in an inter-dimensional limbo by Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
They remained there for years until an experimental dimensional transponder used by the Secret Society of Super-Villains disrupted the stability of the Crime Syndicate's prison. Power Ring, Johnny Quick, and Superwoman used the opportunity to escape. The Syndicate assumed the Secret Society villains were heroes and battled them. In a second confrontation, the Society took Superwoman's magic lasso, the ring of Power Ring, and Johnny Quick's helmet. These objects of power were to be used by the Wizard to cast a spell.
The Crime Syndicate fought Captain Comet, believing he was part of the Secret Society. Focusing his will through his power battery, Power Ring was able to use it as a weapon, just as he had used his ring. Unknown to the villains, Power Ring's battery of power had been leaking energy, a result of its long confinement and disuse in limbo.
Victims left in its wake were stricken with nausea, severe pain and eventual loss of consciousness. Their inert forms would then glow an unearthly green before mutating into horrible rampaging creatures. Captain Comet discovered the source of the transformation, and after capturing the Syndicate, used the power battery to cure the victims and return the Crime Syndicate to their interdimensional prison. Comet destroyed the battery afterwards.
Years later, Ultraman did manage to escape on his own before being sent back by Superman. A few weeks after that, the Syndicate would get another taste of freedom. Travelling through time, Per Degaton stumbled upon the interdimensional prison. He offered the Crime Syndicate an escape if they would help him in 1962 to take Cuba's Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. After they accomplished this task, Degaton had little use for them. When the Syndicate betray him they are sent to 1982, as he had made sure this would happen when they touched him.
The Syndicators rematerialized on the JLA satellite by the League's teleporter. They quickly overcame the surprised heroes who were waiting for the JSA's annual meeting with the two groups. The JSA had been sent to the Crime Syndicate's interdimensional prison and were able to escape with the combined powers of Starman and Doctor Fate.
Power Ring returned with the Syndicate to assist Per Degaton's plan to rule the world. Though they had been double crossed by Degaton, they would help him until the moment came to strike. The villains once again fought the JLA, the JSA, and even members of the All-Star Squadron from 1942. When the villains were again defeated, the failure of Degaton's plan wiped the events from existence.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The members of the Crime Syndicate were believed killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Power Ring and the Crime Syndicate were destroyed by waves of anti-matter, unleashed by the Anti-Monitor in his attempt to control all of existence.
Years afterwards, a strange disruption in reality (featured in Animal Man by Grant Morrison) brought back Syndicators Ultraman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick, and Owlman, as well as other variations of the Justice League. Power Ring and Ultraman thought they had come back from the dead, but later learned forces beyond their imaginations were responsible for their brief return. Power Ring wished to return to the way his life used to be, and with that thought, he vanished. The others went into the Medusa Mask of the Psycho Pirate, and they have not been seen since.
Crime Syndicate of Amerika
Eventually, the Crime Syndicate were re-imagined as being from the antimatter universe. This Power Ring, weak-willed and cowardly, had been 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.
On the antimatter Earth, not much is known of the first Power Ring except his last name, 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
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.
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. 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
The antimatter Crime Syndicate has recently 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 upperhand, Jade ultimately defeats him after she absorbs the energy in his ring, rendering him powerless. When the Crime Syndicate members agree to work with the JLA to stop a new villain named Omega Man, Power Ring begs Jade to return his powers to him, but is ultimately killed when Omega Man ambushes the group and impales him through the back.
The New 52
In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), there are three different characters that use the name.
During the "Rise of the Third Army" storyline, the First Lantern is introduced as a mysterious entity trapped by the Guardians of the Universe in the place known as the Chamber of Shadows millennia ago. However, in the present, the Guardians, seeking to destroy all the universal emotions, reopen the Chamber to combine his powers with their own flesh, thus creating the Third Army. However, the combined efforts of all the other corps against the Guardians end up weakening the First Lantern's prison, thus setting him free.
In "Wrath of The First Lantern", the First Lantern's origins are revealed as of being a mysterious explorer named Volthoom from a parallel world, brought to Oa by Krona's first attempt to uncover the origins of the universe. When the Guardians later imprisoned their own emotions and created the original Lantern and Ring, Volthoom took its powers, becoming the First Lantern. The Guardians considered sharing the power of the lights with the rest of the universe, but Volthoom disagreed and wreaked havoc across the universe, killing millions. The Manhunters are then created to stop the rampage, but he could not be destroyed. Instead, the Guardians imprisoned the First Lantern.
Freed, Volthoom began siphoning energy from multiple bearers of power rings, in the hopes of gaining enough power to rewrite the entire universe. However, using the Black Ring, Hal Jordan summoned Nekron and drained the villain from the Emotional Spectrum, rendering the Lantern powerless against The Dark Guardian, who kills him . It is implied that his Earth-Three counterpart met with a similar fate as the Ring of Volthoom has the Earth-Three Volthoom cursed and imprisoned within.
Power Ring is one of the members of the Crime Syndicate to arrive from Earth-3 at the conclusion of the "Trinity War" event. Power Ring is a counterpart to Hal Jordan's Green Lantern, known as Harold Jordan on Earth-3. Harold works as a janitor at Ferris Air, where he spies 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.
During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Power Ring accompanies Deathstorm in his raid on Belle Reve and destroys the roof to free its inmates. 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. 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. Power Ring battles Sinestro, but Sinestro cuts off his right arm, releasing him from the ring's control. Power Ring 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.
Jessica Cruz was made to become the new Power Ring against her will. The ring chose Jessica Cruz to destroy the Earth after Power Ring's death. Jessica was attacked by a group of unknown criminals. She escaped them and spent her life in a storage room after that. The ring found her due to her fear, which it feeds off of. Jessica in the midst of tears tried to make it go away, but the ring did not. She pulled out a gun and shot it. This only angered the ring and telling her, "This could have been far less painful and that you are now my puppet." Jessica unlike her predecessors did not willing accept the ring, it forced itself on her finger and took over her body. Jessica was then deemed the new power ring and went to destroy her town, while under the ring's control. Jessica was not in control of the ring and it began attacking some rescue workers with monstrous constructs. The Justice League went after her, looking for the ring, but Doom Patrol got to her first she informs them that she attempted to remove the ring to no avail. Being the new owner of the weapon the Ring of Volthoom tortures Jessica with immense physical and psychological pain. It shown that like Harold Jordan that she has visible harmful vein formations of her ring hand and she also begins to stutter fearfully like Harold Jordan did despite the fact that she previously exhibited no such behavior unlike Harold she opposes the ring often and tries to stop it. Her costume is also different that Harold Jordan she bears a single eye patch shaped like the ring's insignia rather than a full eye mask. It also reveals to Jessica that it wants to annihilate the planet by attracting the being who destroyed earth-3 to the Prime earth because Volthoom inside the ring is dying for unknown reasons. Jessica Cruz is the only Power Ring who is heroic rather than evil as she does not want to harm anyone and even begs the Doom Patrol to get away for their own safety and save the civilians trapped in the building that the ring of Volthoom set on fire. Unlike other power rings Jessica is neither associated with nor a member of the Crime Syndicate. Batman was able to remove the ring from her hand after convincing her to be brave freeing her from the ring's curse and releasing her from her torment.
Powers and abilities
All Power Rings wield a magical ring that can generate a variety of effects and energy constructs, originally sustained purely by the ring wearer's strength of will. The greater the user's willpower, the more effective the ring. The power ring has been referred to on several occasions as the "most powerful weapon in the universe" and it is important to note that the limits of its power are not clearly defined. With sufficient willpower, a Power Ring could conceivably wield nearly omnipotent power. In later stories like the New 52 series this is inverted to have Power Ring be controlled by the ring which is no longer sustained on willpower. In the New 52 a magic lamp is no longer used to charge the ring the ring only requires the users fear when it was first seen being charged it opened a pocket dimension where a creature attacked Harold Jordan making him experience enough fear to fully charge the ring. Unlike the Sinestro Corps ring which rely on the fear of others the Ring of Volthoom is sustained on the user's fear. New 52 also shows that the Ring of Volthoom now causes the wielder pain both physically and mentally as opposed to the original Power Ring simply being semi-possessed by Volthoom.
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. 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. The New 52 showed that the ring is rendered powerless if it's user is not afraid as Batman removed the ring from Jessica's hand after he convinced her not be fearful. The ring of volthoom of the New 52 is powered by the terror the user feels so if the user is knocked unconscious the ring will stop working until the user retains consciousness as shown when Jessica Cruz was knocked out cold. Captain Cold was also able to "quiet" the ring for a few moments with a blast from his cold gun.
The ring appears to have a fully sentient entity named Volthoom, able to talk to and advise the user as to various courses of action. 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 bestows its power on Alan Scott and Jade on New Earth.
In addition, the effectiveness of a wielder's power ring can be adversely affected by a weakening of resolve and will. The ring 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.
In The New 52 by absorbing the first Lantern energy Volthoom can siphon energy from all the Emotional Spectrum reaching the level of reality warping powers and immortality, although they disappear with the energy is taken from his body. This Volthoom was later cursed and imprisoned within his own ring.
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. This effect was 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 were later explained as the ring mainlining into the users brain and directly using their fear to power itself. These extending veins are due to the ring mainlining with the wielder's basolateral nucleus in their amygdala in order to channel their fear. In New 52 according to Owlman's files the Ring of Volthoom causes the wielder great physical and psychological pain. Volthoom later on reveals that he is still trapped inside the ring a millennia later and that he takes amusement in watching the ring bearer's suffer, he also reveals that he is now dying and wants to attract the creature that destroyed Earth-3 because he intends for all life on prime earth to die along with him.
In other media
A version of Power Ring corresponding with Hal Jordan appears in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths voiced by Nolan North. In the final battle he is bested by Jordan and is arrested by the U.S. Marines along with Ultraman and Superwoman, the only surviving heads of the Crime Syndicate.