A number of factors came together allowing Nekron to birth the Black Lantern Corps into existence. The dying essence of the Anti-Monitor, flung into open space by Superboy-Prime during the Sinestro Corps War, was drawn to the long dead world of Ryut. There, it was encased within a black Central Power Battery by Nekron. Scar, a dying Guardian, secretly conspired against the universe and authored the Book of the Black. On Earth, a villain called Black Hand became increasingly aware of a black power within him.
Realizing what was required of him, Black Hand killed himself and rose from the dead as the herald of Nekron's power. With his rise came a horde of black power rings that scattered through the universe and recruited the dead into the Black Lantern Corps, beginning the Blackest Night.
The Black Lantern Corps was created by Geoff Johns as part of his ongoing Green Lantern saga. A preview of it appeared at the end of the Sinestro Corps War event, but the group itself did not debut until Blackest Night began. The designs for many of the major Black Lanterns were done by Ethan Van Sciver, while Ivan Reis illustrated the Blackest Night limited series itself using those designs and some of his own.
The original Black Lantern Corps that appeared during Blackest Night consisted of nearly every deceased character DC had to offer at the time. Their primary goal was to harvest the hearts of the living as those hearts experienced one of the pure lights of the Emotional Spectrum. Every harvested heart raised the power level of their Central Power Battery, and at full power, Nekron could enter the universe again.
In Brightest Day, a small number of Black Lanterns reemerged starting with Deathstorm. This Black Lantern Corps, now only twelve members strong, matched the twelve characters who were resurrected at the end of Blackest Night and took possession of the White Lantern Power Battery.
Major Story Arcs
For further details: Blackest Night
Following the events of the Green Lantern Corps' confrontation with Agent Orange, the Black Hand became the herald of the Black Lantern Corps. At the same moment, a countless number of Black Rings began to emerge from the black power battery and search the universe for bearers. The Green Lanterns could not stop them as they simply broke through their shields like tissue paper. The Guardians of the Universe, knowing that the Blackest Night was upon them and could not be prevented, attempted to call a code black and summon all Green Lanterns back to Oa. However, Scar intervened and savagely attacked her fellow guardians one by one.
Black power rings descended upon the dead all over the universe, but especially in Earth's solar system. One breaches J'onn J'onzz's tomb on Mars, reanimating the Martian Manhunter. He flew to Gotham City and attacked Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. Reanimated corpses of Elongated Man and Sue Dibny ambushed and killed Hawkman and Hawkgirl, killing them both and revealing what the Black Lanterns were after. They were after the hearts of the living at the peaks of their emotions to power their black battery. Black power rings immediately reanimated Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The first Firestorm also became a Black Lantern. Aquaman rose from his grave, attacking Mera and Tempest along with the deceased Dolphin and Tula. Garth's hopeful heart was torn from him, and he became another Black Lantern while Mera escaped. More dead rose all over Earth. Kal-L rose from his grave, attacking Smallville. Deadman saw his own corpse rise. The Spectre's host, Crispus Allen, was even taken by the Corps. Don Hall proved to be the only dead the Black Lantern Corps could not take, because he was at such peace. Hank Hall was not such a problem to reanimate. The Doom Patrol was soon confronted by Black Lanterns Joshua Clay, Negative Woman and Celsius. Booster Gold was attacked by Ted Kord. Vril Dox met up with Black Lanterns Harbinger and Vril's wife Stealth. Justice League Detroit members Vibe and Commander Steel became a Black Lantern,as well as Outsiders member Katana's deceased family.
Elsewhere, black power rings breached the Green Lantern tomb on Oa and reanimated all of their honored dead. Not only that, but Jade appeared before Kyle Rayner as a Black Lantern. Amon Sur rose from the dead, leading an army of deceased Sinestro Corps soldiers to Zamaron to confront Sinestro. On Okaara, Agent Orange and his Orange Light were surrounded by Black Lanterns risen from the dead of the Orange Lantern Corps, and black power rings rained down on Ysmault, where the Red Lantern Corps called home. The Black Lantern Corps was assaulting all of the lights of the Emotional Spectrum it could find with Scar directing the war from Ryut. Quickly, the Star Sapphire Corps on Zamaran fell. Then the Indigo Tribe appear, finally making the Indigo Light of Compassion known. Scar commanded that every Black Lantern that could be spared to go after the Indigo Light.
With the death of Damage on Earth, the Black Lanterns' Central Battery reached 100% capacity. It then transported itself from Ryut to Coast City on Earth, where Nekron rose. Earth's heroes assembled to fight him, and soon they were joined by Lanterns representing every color in the Emotional Spectrum. None of them could stop Nekron and his Black Lantern Corps. The attempts to destroy the Central Battery appeared only to make it even stronger. Nekron claimed that none of the resurrected heroes had truly escaped death. He allowed them all to return and kept them connected to him. The rise of an apparent Black Lantern Batman succeeded in creating emotional tethers between Nekron and these resurrected heroes, unleashing more black power rings. Superman, Wonder Woman, Ice, Donna Troy, Kid Flash, Superboy, Animal Man and Green Arrow were all taken by rings and transformed into Black Lanterns. Rings also went after Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. Barry was able to flash himself and Hal two seconds into the future to avoid the rings. Wonder Woman, however, was set free from the Black Lantern Ring when a Star Sapphire Ring went upon her finger.
Even when some select heroes and villains of Earth were empowered by power rings, Nekron proved unbeatable. The combined light of the Emotional Spectrum had no effect upon him, and he called the entire Black Lantern Corps from all over the universe to Earth, including the dead planet Xanshi. All of the living Lantern Corps united to try to hold the line against the Black Lanterns, but the risen dead far outnumbered the living. Nekron sacrificed the life of a Guardian and revealed why he had targeted Earth of all places. Earth was where life first appeared in the universe and where the Entity hid. Nekron intended to destroy it and all life by extension.
Sinestro intervened by bonding with the Entity and becoming the first White Lantern. Wielding the power of the white light, he fought Nekron on an equal footing and seemingly destroyed him. However, Nekron could not die because he did not live. Nekron tore Sinestro and the Entity apart from each other as the Black Lantern Corps swarmed for the final assault on life itself. It was Deadman who exposed the key to defeating them, pointing to the Black Hand as Nekron connection to the world of the living. Hal Jordan made contact with the Entity next, and it bonded not only to him but to all of the resurrected heroes, freeing them from the Black Lantern Corps. These new White Lanterns turned their focus on the Black Hand and returned him to life, severing the Black Lantern Corps' connection to the living world.
Nekron was destroyed in an explosion of white light, and his Black Lantern Corps fell. The only exceptions were those sought out by twelve white power rings and brought back to life rather than be returned to death. Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Jade, Maxwell Lord, Professor Zoom, Hawk, Ronnie Raymond, Captain Boomerang, Osiris, Deadman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl stood no longer as dead Black Lanterns but living beings once again.
For further details: Brightest Day
Somehow, a remnant of the Black Lantern Corps endured within the Firestorm matrix with Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch. This remnant eventually took the physical form of the Black Lantern Firestorm, referred to as Deathstorm, and stole the White Lantern Power Battery following the commands of an unknown source and began to corrupt it.. To aid in this mysterious agenda, Deathstorm recreated several of his fellow Black Lanterns.
All were subsequently destroyed when Firestorm came to retrieve the White Lantern from them and the Anti-Monitor.
The White Lantern reveals Swamp Things original history. It reveals that Alec Holland was a researcher in the amazon when he was killed when his lab exploded. Contrary to what everyone believes, Alec was not reborn as Swamp Thing. When he died his hope, ambition and hatred of pollution was imprinted on nature, thus Swamp Thing was born, believing it was Allec Holland and began defeating polluting tyrants. The White Lantern explains that after the Blackest Night, Nekron's desires and hatred was imprinted on the earth instead of Alec Holland. Swamp Thing then rises, powered by death and believing he is Nekron. He begins destroying life on earth, until the white lantern transforms Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter into the avatars of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth to combat the new Avatar of Death. It then resurrects the true Alec Holland and transforms him into the Swamp Thing and has it combat the Black Lantern Swamp Thing.
In the Flashpoint universe, the successful murder of William Hand at the hands of the Red Lantern called Atrocitus freed Nekron from imprisonment long before several of the different colored Lantern Corps and the long-prophesied "War of Light" they would participate in ever erupted across the Universe. Shortly after being released, Nekron used his dark powers to create The Black Lantern Corps using the corpses of the Green Lanterns and countless other lifeforms that have fallen before him.
Like in the original DCU, Nekron is leading his Black Lanterns on a quest to eradicate all life. As of now, over 200 of the Sectors under the jurisdiction of The Guardians of The Universe, save for those that have already been rend asunder by a roving army of soulless, renegade Manhunter drones, have been systematically wiped out by Nekron and his forces. Of the 2,793 remaining sectors left, at least half of them have come under attack from The Black Lantern Corps.
Most recently, Sector 674 was consumed by Nekron and his forces, taking the life of Kilowog in the process.
Powers and Abilities
The Black Lantern Power Battery contains the body of the Anti-Monitor. It is not known whether the Anti-Monitor is still alive within the battery, however his power is the source of power for the Black Lantern Corps. The Black Lantern Power Rings that were sent out have the ability to re-animate the dead. These re-animated corpses make up the Black Lantern Corps.
Black Lanterns retain powers and abilities that they had prior to their deaths. Their rings provide some level of functionality even when charge levels are at 0.0%. They possess the ability to "see" the emotional state of others as an aura colored by the emotional spectrum. Their rings are charged by removing the hearts of their victims and turning the organs into energy that can be absorbed by the rings. The hearts filled with splintered light may be charging more than just the individual rings. While Scar is stating her actions with an entrapped Guardian, a black dialogue box keeps a running count of a rising power level. As Scar does not wield a ring or is ripping out hearts as she offers her reasoning, it may be assumed that Scar is keeping track of the total energy collected and that total energy is to be used for an as-yet-unknown reason.
"The Blackest Night falls from the skies.
The darkness grows as all light dies.
We crave your hearts and your demise.
By my black hand... The dead shall rise!"
Black Lanterns seem to only have one definite weakness. If two different Lanterns from two separate Corps blast a Black Lantern at the same time, then that Black Lantern is destroyed for good. Black Lanterns are also slowed down when they are set on fire, but aren't destroyed by the flames. There were also some other undefined way to stop a Black Lantern. One of those was the Medusa Mask, which was shown in Blackest Night: Superman #3 to remove the Rings from the fingers of the Black Lanterns. That method was ended after the mask was destroyed in Blackest Night Superman #3. Another method, which was only used by Wonder Woman, was her using her lasso to create a magical fire that turned the army of Black Lanterns around her into a bunch of ash piles. This theory was shown in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1 and was immediately proven only to slow them down greatly when the ash pile of Maxwell Lord regenerated his body in the same issue. The easiest way to destroy a Black Lantern forever is to for a Green Lantern and another Lantern from another corp to combine their beams. A few other ways they were destroyed were only done once. Dove seemed to have the ability to destroy Black Lanterns with a touch since she had some sort of connection to the white light of life. Jericho was able to destroy Black Lanterns by taking control of their bodies and using made them steal their own hearts. Mr. Terrific built a machine that was capable of sending out a pulse over a certain distance that could destroy all Black Lanterns within range. As revealed in Blackest Night: Batman #3 a Black Lantern can't see something that doesn't feel any kind of emotion. It was also shown that Etrigan was immune to the heart ripping of the Black Lanterns. Halo was able to destroy 3 Black Lanterns by blasting them with the whole color spectrum of light. Doctor Light was also able to destroy a few Black Lanterns by using her powers to blast them with the correct spectrum of light. The plasma blood of a Red Lantern is strong enough to burn down a Black Lantern faster than they can rebuild themselves.
Black Lantern Corps Roster
Nekron: Leader of the Black Lantern Corps & creator of the Black Lanterns
Scar: Guardian of the Corps & keeper of The Book of the Black
Black Hand: Avatar of the Black
Members by issue
Katma Tui-Stewart; Blackest Night #1 (September 2009)
Martian Manhunter; Blackest Night #1 (September 2009)
Elongated Man; Blackest Night #1 (September 2009)
Sue Dibny; Blackest Night #1 (September 2009)
Aquaman (Orin); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Deadman; Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Hawk (Hank Hall); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Aquagirl (Tula); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Dolphin; Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Pariah; Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Crispus Allen; Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Tempest (Garth); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Firestorm (Ronald Raymond); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Hawkman (Carter Hall); Blackest Night #2 (October 2009)
Abattoir; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Blockbuster (Roland Desmond); Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Deacon Blackfire; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
KGBeast; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
King Snake; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Magpie; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Trigger Twins (Tom and Tad); Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker); Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Grayson, John; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Grayson, Mary; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Drake, Jack; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Drake, Janet; Blackest Night: Batman #1 (October 2009)
Jack T. Chance; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #39 (October 2009)
Tomar-Re; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #39 (October 2009)
Jade; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #39 (October 2009)
Superman (Earth-Two); Blackest Night: Superman #1 (October 2009)
Lois Lane (Earth-Two); Blackest Night: Superman #1 (October 2009)
Zor-El; Blackest Night: Superman #1 (October 2009)
Terra (Tara Markov); Blackest Night: Titans #1 (October 2009)
Omen; Blackest Night: Titans #1 (October 2009)
Amon Sur; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #45 (October 2009)
Blume; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #45 (October 2009)
Glomulus; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #45 (October 2009)
Solomon Grundy; Solomon Grundy #7 (November 2009)
Bzzd; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #40 (November 2009)
Alexander Luthor, Jr.; Blackest Night #3 (November 2009)
Copperhead ("John Doe"); Blackest Night #3 (November 2009)
Doctor Light (Arthur Light); Blackest Night #3 (November 2009)
Madame Rouge; Blackest Night #3 (November 2009)
Maxwell Lord; Blackest Night #3 (November 2009)
Psycho-Pirate (Roger Hayden); Blackest Night: Superman #2 (November 2009)
Khufu; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (November 2009)
Chay-Ara; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (November 2009)
Abin Sur; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (November 2009)
Arin Sur; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (November 2009)
Terry Long; Blackest Night: Titans #2 (November 2009)
Robert Long; Blackest Night: Titans #2 (November 2009)
Hawk (Holly Granger); Blackest Night: Titans #2 (November 2009)
Tony Zucco; Blackest Night: Batman #3 (December 2009)
Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness); Blackest Night: Batman #3 (December 2009)
Ermey; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #41 (December 2009)
Ke'Haan; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #41 (December 2009)
Rrab, Fentara; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #41 (December 2009)
Rrab, Martara; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #41 (December 2009)
Rrab, Santara; Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #41 (December 2009)
Azrael (Jean Paul Valley Jr.); Blackest Night #4 (December 2009)
Atom (Al Pratt); Blackest Night #4 (December 2009)
Jean Loring; Blackest Night #4 (December 2009)
Wildebeest; Blackest Night: Titans #3 (December 2009)
Laira; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #47 (December 2009)
Qull of the Five Inversions; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #47 (December 2009)
Roxeaume of the Five Inversions; Green Lantern (vol. 4) #47 (December 2009)
Celsius; Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #4 (January 2010)
Tempest (Joshua Clay); Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #4 (January 2010)
Negative Woman; Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #4 (January 2010)
Cliff Steele's original body; Doom Patrol (vol. 5) #4 (January 2010)
Blue Beetle (Ted Kord); Booster Gold (vol. 2) #26 (January 2010)
Stealth; R.E.B.E.L.S (vol. 2) #10 (January 2010)
Harbinger; R.E.B.E.L.S (vol. 2) #10 (January 2010)
Yamashiro, Maseo; Outsiders (vol. 4) #24 (January 2010)
Yamashiro, Yuki; Outsiders (vol. 4) #24 (January 2010)
Yamashiro, Reiko; Outsiders (vol. 4) #24 (January 2010)
Damage; Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Batman (Bruce Wayne); Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Animal Man; Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Ice (Tora Olafsdotter); Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Wonder Woman; Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Donna Troy; Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Superman; Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Superboy (Kon-El); Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Kid Flash (Bart Allen); Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Green Arrow (Oliver Queen); Blackest Night #5 (January 2010)
Vibe; Justice League of (vol. 2) #39 (January 2010)
Commander Steel; Justice League America (vol.2) #39 (January 2010)
Zatara; Justice League of (vol. 2) #39 (January 2010)
Ravager (Grant Wilson); Teen Titans (vol. 3) #77 (January 2010)
Ravager (Wade DeFarge); Teen Titans (vol. 3) #77 (January 2010)
William Wintergreen; Teen Titans (vol. 3) #77 (January 2010)
Adeline Wilson; Teen Titans (vol. 3) #77 (January 2010)
Phantom Lady (Dee Tyler); unknown
Human Bomb (Lincoln); unknown