So how can I out-geek both myself and Geoff Johns here? I can do something I’m sure nobody on any forum or blog has ever done ever before: say which Marvel characters I think would be best suited to wear the various rings! I am a genius!
But yeah, seriously, this is how I would let it roll if somebody walked into my office tomorrow and said, “Ben, it's time to do our version of Blackest Night and you’re the only person on the payroll qualified to pull it off with finesse and dignity” (this will never happen because, y’know, Werewolf By Eve; also, my lack of qualifications and legitimacy). I did actually try and give it some, so lets see how it goes…
RED: The Hulk
Ok, pretty obvious, but at least I got it out of the way first. For the record, I’m going with the green Bruce Banner version of The Hulk and not the Red Hulk (though it’s pretty ironic we currently have a Red Hulk as I’m making this pick). It’s not hard to rationalize this one: the inner anger Banner kept repressed from childhood on was what caused him to first transform into The Hulk (that and the massive amounts of gamma radiation), and it’s always been Banner’s anger at himself, his father, the world, etc. that fuels the engine of rage that is his emerald alter ego. Since The Hulk alone is pretty badass, a ring-powered Hulk that spews fiery blood vomit would be sick (and quite 90’s); it’s almost a shame the visual of a crimson Hulk is already out there, but a savvy designer could still have fun with this one.
ORANGE: Norman Osborn
Thought I was gonna say Kingpin, didn’t you? Well I thought I was going to at first, at least, but then I really thought about it: who is so ambitious that getting to be perhaps the most powerful man in the Marvel Universe still wasn’t enough for him so he had to keep reaching, providing the foundation for the current Siege? Norman Osborn is so greedy when it comes to power he literally can’t stop himself and be comofortable achieving stuff other people would only dream of—he has to keep going. The simple desire your average super villain or crimelord has for wealth or even world domination isn’t on par with a guy who doesn’t even know what he wants, just that he wants more. Also: sociopath with a power ring equals fun.
Had trouble with this one at first, as it’s easy to think of characters who instill fear, but I wanted somebody who really gets off on it—somebody who for them just freaking people out is enough motivation to do stuff. I mean, look at somebody like Mister Fear: his whole gig is finding out what terrifies people and then inducing it, but end of the day he’s after money, women, etc. Ditto pretty much every freaky bad guy I could think of—until I came to Sabretooth. Yeah, Victor Creed has taken jobs for cash before, but you always get the sense he wouldn’t sign up for any gig unless it provided him with an opportunity to terrorize somebody. And yeah, his primary thing is his intense bloodfeud with Wolverine, which goes beyond motivations that are really quantifiable at this point, but his usual method of getting to Logan is to methodically stalk the people close to him and torture them before killing them. This is a guy who lives to hear his victims scream and I can’t think of many better Yellow Lantern candidates.
GREEN: Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
If you’ve ever shot a bow and arrow, you know how mind-numbingly patient and determined you have to be to even get the damn thing to fire, let alone be good at it (I lack the patience and/or determination and/or skill to be even remotely skilled in this regard). To possess archery skills the likes of which Clint Barton needs in order to be a valuable asset to the freaking Avengers? Forget about it. Barton has willpower in spades, otherwise he would never have been able to be able to train himself in the use of his chosen weapon in the first place, nor would he be able to hold his own for years and years alongside guys with awesome suits of armor, mystic hammers, super soldier serums, and so on and so on. Since nearly their formation, Hawkeye—or Ronin if you wanna get technical and current—has been one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on his guts, toughness and refusal to quit regardless of the circumstances. He’s also shown no fear up against the baddest dudes in the Marvel Universe all the way up to cosmic heavies like Kang and The Collector, so you better believe he could handle a Green Lantern ring, even if it would inevitable make him look like Green Arrow.
BLUE: Captain America (Steve Rogers)
It’s not hard to find the Marvel Universe’s beacon of hope if you’re even kinda familiar with the landscape: it’s always been Steve Rogers. In America’s darkest times during World War II, Captain America was created in large part to provide hope to a nation and the people who were fighting a seemingly impossible battle for what was right. Since enterting the modern era, Cap has always been the guy who everybody else, be they Avenger or otherwise, turns to when it seems like all is lost. If Captain America can still throw his shield, you know there’s still hope for the good guys to win; Frank Miller captured it beautifully during “Born Again” and even during the 90’s creators didn’t forget as there was a great moment during “Maximum Carnage” of all stories where Spider-Man is about to quit and then Cap shows up. Heck, the last couple years of Marvel stories have in large part shown how much the world goes to crap when Steve Rogers isn’t around and people lose hope. Beyond inspiring hope though, Steve also embodies hope for a better nation, a better world and a better tomorrow—and he believes it.
INDIGO: The Silver Surfer
Compassion seems to be perhaps the hardest component of the emotional spectrum to nail down on these little armchair QB lists, because it can be tough to suss out what defines it and separates it from love, but luckily there’s one dude in the Marvel Universe who has demonstrated pretty clearly he has compassion in spades: The Silver Surfer. In the story where we first met The Surfer, the classic Galactus Trilogy, his whole arc consisted of getting to know humanity just a little bit and then going against his godlike master, risking his power and existence, and then being imprisoned on a planet where he didn’t fit in all because he felt compassion for the people of Earth. The Surfer’s motivation and characterization may have waffled here and there in the intervening years, but anybody willing to put that much on the line for a race of people he just met because he sees even a spark of potential for good is obviously one heckuva compassionate fellow. Also: that visual would look pretty rad.
STAR SAPPHIRE: Storm
Is there a rule that a Star Sapphire has to be a lady? Yeah, the uniform would look odd on a guy, but has this ever been established firmly? Regardless, I’ll assume it can’t be a fella and pick Storm, who’s a pretty solid selection even if men are in play. Just recently, Storm’s love for her husband was enough to carry her into the Wakandan equivalent of hell and bring them both back, breaking all sorts of metaphysical rules in the process. Going back, ever since her introduction, Ororo has always been portrayed as a person deeply committed to the people she cares about—Kitty Pryde, Forge, Yukio, the list goes on—and also to nature itself. She doesn’t hide her emotion and would no doubt proudly wield a weapon that allows her to spread love across the universe.