DC Comics’ Green Lantern has to be one of the most versatile comic book heroes ever put to print. Using the green light of the Emotional Energy Spectrum, Hal Jordan can create constructs through his Green Lantern ring — limited only by his imagination. The Green Lantern’s light, wielded by willpower, is not the only one on the spectrum.
Its antithesis is the infamous Yellow Lantern ring, which is powered by fear. The most famous user of this ring is Hal Jordan’s arch-nemesis Sinestro, but there have been other villains (and even heroes) who have wielded the ring. Across the DC multiverse, there have been many villains who struck fear into the hearts of heroes and readers alike, and they are as worthy as any to wield their own Yellow Lantern rings.
10 Trigon (New Teen Titans)
Few villains in DC are as powerful as Trigon, and for good reason. Trigon is the demonic, all-powerful, planet-conquering nemesis of the Teen Titans and the Raven’s father. By his first physical appearance in New Teen Titans #4 by Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, Romeo Tanghal, Adrienne Roy, and Ben Oda, he had already conquered millions of worlds. This tremendous power strikes fear throughout the known universe, making him a perfect candidate for the Yellow Lantern ring. It would be unwise to recruit for the Sinestro Corps, however, because he’d likely easily conquer them as well.
It’s hard to imagine Trigon as being a subordinate to anyone, which is perhaps why he has never been formally inducted as a member of the Sinestro Corps. If he were to obtain the Yellow Lantern ring, he would likely take over the group with relative ease due to his substantial demonic power. The ring would substantially boost Trigon’s existing powers, spreading even more fear across the universe and making him unstoppable.
9 Scarecrow (Batman)
Jonathan Crane, better known as Scarecrow, is a popular member of Batman’s rogues gallery, but this twisted psychologist has no powers of his own. Instead, Scarecrow fights using a potent fear toxin that causes its victims to live out their innermost horrors. Scarecrow doesn’t just represent fear, he practically worships it, relishing in the anguish of his victims. While Scarecrow has wielded the Yellow Lantern ring in Green Lanterns #16 by Sam Humphries, Neil Edward, Jay Leisten, Keith Champagne, Blond, and Travis Lanham, he has seldom wielded it in other stories. The ring itself sought out Scarecrow in Green Lantern vol. 4 #26 by Geoff Johns, Mike McKone, Andy Lanning, Marlo Alquiza, Cam Smith, J.D. Smith, and Rob Leigh, but was destroyed before it could reach him.
Out of all of Batman’s villains, Scarecrow is one of the first names fans think of when they think of fear. His ability to utilize the fear of his opponents to his advantage would make him an excellent user of the Yellow Lantern ring. Hopefully, in the future, DC will pick up where Green Lantern vol. 4 #26 left off.
8 General Zod (Superman)
Apart from Lex Luthor, General Zod is perhaps Superman’s most personal villain. A former Kryptonian general, Zod made his first appearance in Adventure Comics #283 by Robert Bernstein and George Papp where he is depicted as a disgraced military leader and revolutionary. After attempting to take over Krypton by force, Superman’s father Jor-El banishes him and his subordinates to the Phantom Zone. After serving his sentence, Superman frees the former general only for him to attempt to conquer Earth with his newfound powers.
While on Earth, Zod is empowered by the yellow sun much like Superman. Zod’s powers are virtually identical to Superman’s, however, Zod is easily able to dominate Kal-El in their first encounter. Since his first appearance, Zod has clashed with Superman many times and has been sent back to the Phantom Zone. Superman is considered more powerful because he absorbed more of Earth’s sunlight than Zod. But with a Yellow Lantern ring, Zod would easily be able to turn the tables. His sheer power and ruthless militarism make him a perfect candidate for the ring as he rules through fear and domination.
7 The Penguin (Batman)
There are plenty of villains in DC Comics who do not have conventional superpowers. Many villains of this kind comprise Batman’s rogues gallery, with the Penguin being a notable and iconic member of this group. The Penguin is one of Gotham’s premier crime bosses, and his name commands fear rather than ridicule. While Wayne Enterprises represents altruism and kindness through philanthropy, Oswald Cobblepot’s criminal empire represents the opposite as it is maintained through coercion and corruption.
Despite his unassuming appearance, the Penguin is a source of fear for the citizens of Gotham City. As the head of this empire, he would be a worthy candidate for the Yellow Lantern ring. Normally, the Penguin does not engage in criminal activity directly and instead defers these responsibilities to his many subordinates. With a Yellow Lantern ring, he would be able to get directly involved. With his high intellect, the ring would be an effective weapon for him, as it is limited only by the user’s imagination.
6 The Reverse-Flash/Eobard Thawne (The Flash)
Barry Allen’s arch-nemesis Reverse-Flash is a complicated character. He first appeared in The Flash #139 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Joe Giella as a scientist from the future who comes across a time capsule containing a costume that gives him speedster powers. When he uses these powers for evil, Barry Allen thwarts Thawne’s schemes and destroys the costume. Since then, the Reverse-Flash has been characterized by his single-minded hatred of Barry. This hatred is so strong, in fact, that a Red Lantern ring (powered by the emotion of rage) would be suitable for him.
However, the Yellow Lantern ring is far more suitable for Thawne due to the fear he creates. His time-traveling powers cause chaos from anywhere and at any point in the timeline. Fans got a taste of what this might look like in the recent Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow #2 by Kenny Porter, Jahnoy Lindsay, and Lucas Gattoni when he fused with Parallax, an entity that represents fear. Even without this storyline, Thawne’s villainy casts a grim shadow over Barry Allen and the rest of the DC Universe. One that would make him a perfect (and incredibly dangerous) member of the Sinestro Corps.
5 Corinthian (The Sandman)
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series rarely connects to other DC works. However, Corinthian would certainly suit a Yellow Lantern ring. Created by Dream, Corinthian is a Nightmare representing the suppressed evil within humanity. In the series, Nightmares are created by Dream to help him populate the Dreaming. However, these Nightmares may abandon their purpose and go rogue.
Corinthian is one of the many Nightmares who have gone rogue. He is a violent and sadistic serial killer who takes grotesque pleasure in the suffering he causes. His reputation would cause a Yellow Lantern ring to seek him out, where his crimes would take on an even more twisted form with its powers.
4 Brainiac (Superman)
Another one of Superman’s villains who commands fear is none other than the planet-conquering Brainiac. Making his debut in Action Comics #242, Brainiac is a cybernetically enhanced alien who seizes planets as part of his ‘collection.’ Brainiac will shrink planets down and encase them within glass domes, imprisoning them indefinitely. Brainiac has had many origin stories, from being a supercomputer during the Silver Age to his reintroduction as the scientist Milton Fine after Crisis on Infinite Earths.
His candidacy for the Yellow Lantern ring comes from his obsession with collecting worlds and cities. His name, much like Trigon’s, is known throughout the universe and its many inhabitants. His reputation makes him a feared adversary, and he’s more than capable of putting resisting planets in their place. With a vast army of robots and a plethora of cybernetic enhancements of his own, Brainiac is a force that Superman often struggles with.
3 Eclipso (House of Secrets)
As the manifestation of the Christian God’s wrath, Eclipso would be suited to join the Red Lanterns, but he would also be a good match for the Yellow Lantern ring. One of DC’s deadliest villains, Eclipso was created by God to punish wickedness on Earth as the Angel of Vengeance. However, when he began to embody wrath through his indiscriminate punishment of sin he was shunned by God with the Spectre replacing him as the new Angel of Vengeance. Eclipso was soon imprisoned inside the Heart of Darkness, a huge, black diamond in Africa.
What makes Eclipso terrifying is his ability to possess anyone, as well as his vast magical powers which include creating energy beams and teleportation. In a vein similar to Brainiac, his actions are largely indiscriminate and random. Anyone can be possessed by, or become a victim, of the former Angel of Vengeance. Furthermore, he is almost impossible to truly dispatch. He can be banished back to the Heart of Darkness with great effort, but if anyone touches the object, Eclipso will take possession of their body once again.
2 Anton Arcane (Swamp Thing)
Much like the Corinthian, Anton Arcane’s presence represents the fear associated with the Yellow Lantern ring. Swamp Thing’s arch-enemy was once a scientist who became obsessed with finding the secret to immortality. In his quest, he creates several mutants known as the ‘Un-Men’ and develops an obsession with Alec Holland, better known as the Swamp Thing, who happens to be a terrifying hero in his own right. This obsession results in his death and eventual reincarnation as a demon.
What makes Anton Arcane so terrifying is his depravity. There is no line he will cross to achieve his goals. With the Yellow Lantern ring at his disposal and demonic powers at his side, Swamp Thing would be no match for his arch-nemesis. His candidacy for the ring comes from his terrifying mannerisms, relentless pursuit of Alec Holland, and a limitless, macabre imagination.
1 Darkseid (Superman)
DC has had its fair share of despots, but few are as iconic as Darkseid. Created by Jack Kirby as a part of his New Gods storyline, Darkseid is the ruler of Apokolips and an interplanetary conqueror like Trigon. He is not to be taken lightly, with powers ranging from his iconic Omega Beam to super strength. Even the likes of Superman and the entire Justice League have struggled to defeat Darkseid, with many of their battles ending in a stalemate.
Not only is Darkseid a perfect candidate for the Yellow Lantern ring, but he would also be able to use its powers with unparalleled efficacy. While having numerous powers, Darkseid is also an adept tactician with a genius-level intellect. He would not only be able to harness the fear he causes throughout the universe, but also the fear of his opponents.
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