Out of all of the diverse and quite literally colorful creations that Geoff Johns’ recreation of the Green Lantern mythos brought to the DC Universe, the Star Sapphires are one of the most intriguing. Neither straight heroes nor villains, the Violet Lantern Corps operate aggressively with their own mysterious interests at heart.
Like all the other power ring corps, the Violet Lanterns harness their energy from a particular emotion, in this case, love. However, this doesn’t mean that their intentions are always benign, and members of the corps have come into conflict with the Green Lanterns on several occasions. So, who are these enigmatic and morally perplexing defenders of love?
The Star Sapphires began as an all-woman splinter group of Oans who left the planet because they did not agree with the Guardians’ oath of shirking emotions. Instead, the Sapphires traveled to the planet Zamaron and uncovered a pair of skeletons, lovers who had died while embracing each other, huddled around a glowing violet stone. The Zamarons, as the race now called themselves, sought to find a suitable host for their crystal and decided to make Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan’s on-and-off girlfriend, their queen.
Ferris’ Star Sapphire persona had been a primary Green Lantern villain since the Silver Age, but Johns and artist Ethan Van Sciver expanded on the mythology of the character to create an entirely new lantern corps of power ring wielders. Although they initially seem power-hungry, the Zamarons realize that they cannot harness the power of the Star Sapphire when the gem takes control of one of their own. Admitting that they have shunned all emotions except one in the same manner as their enemies the Guardians have, they redirect the concentrated energy into a power battery to charge violet-colored rings, thus forming the Violet Lantern Corps.
The Star Sapphire power ring grants its user many of the same types of abilities that other rings do, such as flight, light constructs and protective shielding. However, the violet ring’s unique ability is to encase members of other power corps in crystals in order to convert them to the Star Sapphire cause of reigniting dying love across the universe. The Green Lanterns see this as a cruel and immoral method of sapping the will from their prisoners, but the Sapphires argue that this is merely resurfacing the love that the rings’ hosts have buried deep inside them.
The strange ruthlessness and moral dubiousness of the Star Sapphires’ agenda are because the violet light lies on the edge of the color spectrum. The power ring wields more power over its user the closer it gets to either end, meaning that the violet rings can strongly influence the will of whoever wields its energy. In comparison, the light on the other side of the spectrum is the Red Lantern Corps, whose rage overtakes all other feelings to turn its members into manically vengeful monsters.
The most significant bearer of the violet power ring is Carol Ferris, who came into possession of the weapon due to her heartache over Hal Jordan. Over time, her personality developed beyond a scorned lover as she rose in the Sapphire ranks to eventually become the most powerful one of them all, eventually taking on the role of their queen. She plays a vital role in the Blackest Night event and converts to more of an anti-hero rather than a traditional villain.
Other notable wearers of the ring include Miri Riam, the first member of the corps after the Zamarons repurposed the Star Sapphire stone for their power battery. The ring chooses her when Mongul kills her husband in order to fill the hole in her heart, demonstrating that the Sapphires seek to heal those who experienced tragedy. Fatality, a Green Lantern villain and member of the Sinestro Corps, gets converted to a Star Sapphire through the corps’ “rehabilitation” process and develops feelings for John Stewart, who also briefly becomes one of the only male members of the Sapphires. Wonder Woman temporarily becomes a deputy member during Blackest Night and then again when the Sapphires need a leader to help them fight a war on Zamaron.
While a newer addition to the canon, the Violet Lantern Corps has an interesting history in the DC Universe and proves that love can be every bit as powerful as rage or will.
In Green Lantern comics, the Star Sapphires play an important and morally intriguing role within the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum.