The hate that founded the Red Lantern Corps came out of the infamous Massacre of Sector 666, during which the Manhunters exterminated life in an entire sector. The five survivors of this unthinkable genocide swore vengeance upon the Guardians of the Universe and became the Five Inversions terrorist cell. These five beings were eventually brought down and crucified on the hellish prison planet Ysmault, where one's rage continued unyielding. This one, Atrocitus, delved deeper into his dark magic in search of a power to strong enough to exact his vengeance.
The Red Lantern Corps was created by Geoff Johns with Shane Davis, who designed many of the Red Lanterns. It was one of the first new corps to be introduced after the Sinestro Corps, debuting around the same time as the Star Sapphire Corps and along with the Blue Lantern Corps. Geoff Johns has said that the Red Lantern Corps are the most violent of the Corps.
Atrocitus found his power in the Emotional Spectrum's red light of rage and the means to access it via blood magic. Crafting a red lantern, he bludgeoned one of his fellow Inversions, Qull, to death and anointed it in blood. He then bled out all his fellow Inversions to fuel the new Central Power Battery of the Red Lantern Corps. Atrocitus has felt a need to exact revenge against Sinestro, which leads to later actions by the Red Lantern Corps against the Sinestro Corps, and specifically Sinestro.
Major Story Arcs
Rage of the Red Lanterns
For further details: Rage of the Red LanternsRed power rings soared throughout the universe from Ysmault, locating those overcome by rage and turning them into Red Lanterns without consent. Many of those first chosen to be Red Lanterns were beings who had been made to suffer in the rise of the Sinestro Corps. These were beings such as Bleez, a beauty who had been taken and brutalized by a Sinestro Corps soldier, or Vice, whose mate was eaten by Arkillo. A former Green Lantern was even chosen. Laira, once a respected member of the Green Lantern Corps, was taken by a red power ring shortly after being dishonorably discharged from the Corps. It was the horrors perpetrated by the Sinestro Corps that unintentionally helped to make the rise of the Red Lantern Corps possible.
The new Red Lantern Corps made its presence known by attacking a group of Green Lanterns transporting Sinestro home to Korugar for his execution. The Red Lanterns desired the death of Sinestro for themselves and fought their way through Green Lanterns and Sinestro Corps soldiers alike to get him. Bringing him back to Ysmault, Atrocitus had him crucified with the intent of adding his blood to the pools of blood that surround the Red Lanterns' Central Battery.
Hal Jordan arrived on Ysmault to retrieve Sinestro, only to become a prisoner of the Red Lantern Corps himself. It took the combined intervention fo two members of the fledgling Blue Lantern Corps, Saint Walker and Warth, and a Sinestro Corps team to successfully free Sinestro and Hal. As the battle raged, Sinestro killed Laira and so angered Hal Jordan that Hal was taken by a red power ring. The Red Lantern Corps nearly had a powerful new member, but Saint Walker gave hie blue ring over to Hal before Sinestro became the first victim of Hal Jordan's rage. The power of the blue ring destroyed the red, freeing Hal of its influence, and all parties fled from Ysmault with their lives.
Enraged to be robbed of both victims, Atrocitus plotted revenge against the new Blue Lantern Corps as well.
Riot on Oa
The Green Lantern Corps succeeded in apprehending and incarcerating on Oa a member of the Red Lantern Corps. This Red Lantern, Vice, was unknowingly used as a pawn by Scar to further tensons between the various Corps of Light. The restraints in his sciencell were tampered with just enough to ensure he could free himself, and when he did, he went on a rampage against Green Lantern and prisoner alike. The situation quickly escalated into a full blown riot as prisoners tried to use them opportunity for revenge and escape.
The Green Lanterns were eventually able to bring the situation under control, and Vice was returned to his sciencell. However, the violence he caused was used as an excuse for the Guardians to implement a harsher and more lethal solution to many of those involved in the riot.
For further details: Blackest Night
Another harsh penalty the Guardians employed due to the danger the Red Lanterns represented was to authorize a strike on Ysmault itself to wipe the Red Lantern Corps out. The Alpha Lanterns and Lost Lanterns were dispatched for the job, but the priority of the Lost Lanterns was only the recovery of Laira's body for a respectful burial. The Alpha Lanterns struck with ruthless efficiency, executing every Red Lantern they could on sight, while the Lost Lanterns fought their way to Laira. Neither side of the conflict realize what was happening in the rest of the universe and what was about to reach them.
Black power rings rained down on Ysmault, reanimating all the victims of the Red Lantern Corps and deceased Red Lanterns such as Laira. Atrocitus was left facing his fellow Inversions, who he slaughtered to create his corps. However, it was discovered that Red Lanterns had advantaged against this Black Lantern Corps that others did not. A Red Lantern could survive the heart-harvesting attacks of a Black Lantern, because their power rings had replaced the need for their hearts already. Red Lanterns were immune to the Black Lanterns attempts to feed on their rage.
While Atrocitus joined forces with representatives of the other Corps of Light to fight the source of the Black Lanterns, the Red Lantern Corps entered into a truce with the other living corps to fight the Blackest Night. When matters reached their worst, Mera was deputized into the Red Lantern Corps to assist Atrocitus directly in the fight against Nekron. The extent of her rage surprised many but was found particularly appealing by the Red Lanterns' leader, Atrocitus.
On Oa, Vice was released again and used to help fight back the army of Black Lanterns attempting to destroy the Green Lantern Corps' Central Power Battery. Despite his rampage proving very effective, he was killed by Alpha Lantern Chaselon, who could not see past his programming and executed Vice as an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps. However, Vice's red power ring found its way onto Guy Gardner's hand. For a brief time, he became a member of the Red Lantern Corps until his friends succeeded in freeing him of the ring.
During the crisis back on Earth, Atrocitus confronted the Spectre and mistakenly tried to claim him as the Red Lantern Corps avatar of rage. The attempt failed with the Spectre claiming not to be the rage entity the Red Lanterns seek and warning Atrocitus that truly finding the entity would be disastrous for all involved.
The full Red Lantern Corps along with all the other Corps of Light soon caught up to Atrocitus on Earth when all the Black Lanterns converged on the planet. They fought together to hold the line against the Black Lantern horde until the power of the White Lantern could be used to finally end the Blackest Night. Mera was relieved of her red power ring and her rage at the sight of her resurrected husband, Aquaman. Her heart went into cardiac arrest the ring stating her rage compromised.
Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Corps chose to leave Earth in the immediate aftermath.
For further details: Brightest Day
The truce among the Red Lantern Corps and the other Corps of Light was temporary, especially in regards to the Green Lantern Corps. It remained Atrocitus' ultimate goal to lead his corps in a war of revenge on the Guardians of the Universe. However, new business arose. A prophecy foretold of another coming crisis that the Red Lanterns could not ignore, prompting Atrocitus to make a secret pact with Ganthet and Guy Gardner to attempt to defuse the situation before it occurred. As part of this, Atrocitus agreed to return to Earth to join the representatives of the other corps to chase down the Emotional Entities and Bleez was dispatched to assist Guy Gardner. Dex-Starr also arrived on Earth but was allowed to see to his own personal business.
The awakening of the Entity on Earth lured all of the Emotional Entities to Earth, including the rage entity known as the Butcher. Atrocitus began seeking it out as part of his working arrangement with the other ring wielders and did so despite the warnings of the Spectre. However, it would be with the Spectre's help that Atrocitus confronted the Butcher and bound it inside his power battery.
Atrocitus ultimately lost the Butcher to Krona, the secret enemy he had allied the Red Lantern Corps with Ganthet and Guy Gardner against. The alliance failed. Atrocitus was soon trapped in the Book of the Black, and Bleez was abducted by Krona's ally Zardor.
Powers and Abilities
Red Power Ring
Red Lanterns power ring use their blood as their primary weapon. Their blood, supercharged by the harnessed red light of hate, functions much like napalm but on a far more powerful level. It has proven more than capable of burning through the constructs of even the strongest Green Lanterns.
Like Green Lanterns, Red Power Ring are capable of creating energy constructs. Many either choose not to or do not realize they can, though. The enraged mental states of Red Lanterns tend to leave them focusing on blood-related or physical attacks rather than the use of energy constructs. Red Lanterns are also capable of surviving in exposed space and interstellar flight.
The biggest weakness of Red Lanterns is their dependence on their power rings for survival. Upon becoming a Red Lantern, the power rings effectively become their life support systems, and they will die if they somehow lose their rings. Death can be avoided via immediate medical attention or the intervention of a Blue Lantern, but the risk of death is very real.
In order to charge their rings, the Red Lanterns must recite their oath just like the Green Lanterns:
With blood and rage of crimson red,
Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,
Together with our hellish hate,
We'll burn you all--That is your fate!
The oath was changed for Green Lantern: The Animated Series to be more television and child friendly:
With blood and rage of crimson red,
We fill men's souls with darkest dread,
And twist your minds to pain and hate,
We'll burn you all--That is your fate!
Entity: The Butcher
The Red Lantern Corps have had many members over the years.
Bleez (The Angel of the Red Lantern Corps)
Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814)
Spectre (Thought to be the Red Lantern Entity)
The Space Sectors
Green Lantern Animated Series
Red Lantern Corps has appeared in Green Lantern Animated Series.