A Deadly Undead Green Lantern Villain Makes His Return

Black Hand is helping Amanda Waller in The War for Earth-3 and the reconciling of his old powers and new proves he should face Green Lantern again.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The War for Earth-3 #1, on sale now from DC Comics.

DC’s latest big crossover has begun, with Amanda Waller leading her own villainous answer to the Justice League in a take over of Earth-3, where evil reigns supreme. She’s brought an entire army of villas with her, making it hard to keep track of everyone in the conflict. However, one Green Lantern villain shone through in the opening issue of this major event, proving that they deserve to be back in the spotlight.

The Crime Syndicate of America, Earth-3’s own evil Justice League, wasn’t happy to see Waller and her crew in The War for Earth-3 #1 (by Robbie Thompson, Dennis Hopeless, Steve Pugh, Dexter Soy, Brent Peeples, Matt Herms, Josh Reed, Travis Lanham and Simon Bowland). Ultraman sent Power Ring, their analog to Green Lantern, to deal with the invaders. Although he managed to take out a lot of them and make it to Waller, she wasn’t phased at all. That’s because she had Black Hand on her side.

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Black Hand, still in possession of a Black Lantern ring, drained Power Ring, rendering him completely useless. As all his destructive constructs faded away, the threat was neutralized and all that remained was the rest of the Crime Syndicate. Although Black Hand is best known for his role in the Blackest Night event, he was a different sort of villain before that. What he did in this issue plays into the kind of Green Lantern foe he was before – and should be again.

Before becoming the embodiment of death, Nekron’s puppet, William Hand was one of a number of human Green Lantern villains. Created by John Broome and Gil Kane and first appearing in Green Lantern #29 in 1964, he started out as an inventor obsessed with death. His villain name was a play on words of his surname, rather than anything to do with his powers. Before the Black Lantern Corps, he built a device that could absorb the energy of a Green Lantern ring, as he did to Power Ring here. Another feature of this device was that he could then use the energy that he captured and redirect it back at his foes.

His origin was revamped for Blackest Night and turned him from an Earth-based inventor to a cosmic pawn as part of another Lantern Corps. Nekron preyed on him all throughout his life and forced him to kill himself to become closer to death. Although he’s been resurrected a few times to take him away from Nekron’s influence and the Black Lantern ring, Hand’s obsession with mortality keeps making him take his own life and regain his unnatural power, rather than go back to his old ways.

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Now he isn’t serving Nekron, who’s currently a part of the Dark Army in Dark Crisis, but Amanda Waller. Instead of just trying to bring death to those around him, he’s draining them of life and their powers instead. This story has found a way to combine the original powers of the character with his revamped role in the DC Universe. It keeps what’s been added to the character but returns him to being an Earth-based threat. It’s something that should happen with more Green Lantern villas.

Although the character’s origins will always be that of an intergalactic law enforcer, in recent years Earth-based Green Lantern adventures seemed to have disappeared. A lot of the focus has been on the other different Corps that have emerged and the injustices on other worlds. Earthly villains either get left behind or turned into a cosmic threat, just as Black Hand was in Blackest Night. What The War for Earth-3 has done here could be the perfect opportunity to bring some of those Lantern villas back and show more adventures on our own world instead of just space.

Villains like the psychic Hector Hammond, the acoustic Sonar and the, quite frankly, bizarre Tattooed Man have been left out of the Lantern fun recently. There are more human Green Lanterns than there used to be, such as Jessica Cruz and Jo Mullein, and it seems like the Lanterns’ Earth activities have been confined to the Justice League as of late. Whilst the others handle the crime going on in the rest of the universe, why can’t at least one of these members of the Corps hang back and handle villains like Black Hand at home? At this point, it could be a fresh new take on the character.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo