Guardians of the Universe


Art by Jamal Igle.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Green Lantern vol. 2 #1 (July 1960)
Created by John Broome (writer)
Gil Kane (artist)
Place of origin Oa
Notable members Appa Ali Apsa
Inherent abilities Superhuman intelligence
Energy Manipulation

The Guardians of the Universe are a fictional race of extraterrestrials appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Green Lantern. They first appeared in Green Lantern vol. 2 #1 (July 1960), and were created by John Broome and Gil Kane.[1] The Guardians of the Universe have been adapted to a number of films, television programs, and video games.

The Guardians of the Universe are the founders and leaders of the interstellar law enforcement agency known as the Green Lantern Corps, which they administer from their homeworld Oa at the center of the Universe. They resemble short humans with blue skin and white hair. They are immortal and the oldest living beings in the Universe, but not the first.



The Guardians evolved on the planet Maltus, and were among the first intelligent life forms in the universe. At this time they were tall greyish blue humanoids with black hair, who roughly resembled humans except for their skin color. They became scientists and thinkers, experimenting on the worlds around them. One experiment led to the creation of a new species, the Psions. In a pivotal moment, billions of years ago, a Maltusian named Krona used time-bending technology to observe the beginning of the Universe. However, this experiment, and later attempts to stop it, unleashed disaster upon all existence. Originally, the experiment splintered the Universe into the Multiverse and created the evil Anti-Matter Universe of Qward.[1] Following the retroactive destruction of the Multiverse, it was revealed that Krona flooded the beginning of the Universe with entropy causing it "to be born old".

Feeling responsible for this, the evolved Maltusians relocated to the planet Oa (at "the center of the Universe") and became the Guardians. Their goal was simple: combat evil and create an orderly universe. They acted quickly on that goal. During this period they slowly evolved into their current appearance, losing about half of their height and having their skulls grow larger. They now act as the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force which patrols the universe.[1]


Desiring to bring order, peace and harmony to all the universe, they created a mechanized police force, composed of powerful, self-aware androids known as Manhunters. These Manhunters, resembling uniformed, blue-skinned humanoids, operated as cosmic police officers, much like the later Green Lanterns. They protected civilization and maintained peace in the Universe for millions of years, patrolling 3600 sectors into which the cosmos had been divided.

One day, the Manhunters collectively changed their directives and set out on a campaign to eradicate all organic life. Starting with Sector 666, they killed the people they had been created to protect, eradicating almost all life in the entire sector before the Guardians stopped them. Most Manhunters were decommissioned after the massacre of Sector 666, but the ones that escaped became the sworn enemies of their former masters and remained so until modern times.

The Manhunter rebellion caused the Guardians to split into groups with different goals. The Controllers believe the only way to protect the Universe is to control it. The Zamarons, consisting entirely of female Oans, felt no need to involve themselves in the Universe's problems at all. Over the years, both groups evolved to look dissimilar to the Guardians. Other groups have also left the Guardians; one such group settled on Earth, becoming the source of leprechaun legends. The Apokolips campaign ended in a truce, with the Guardians forced to abandon a soldier (Raker Qarrigat) to Darkseid. Fearing dissension, they ordered all records of the Campaign expunged.

Survivors of the massacre of Sector 666 - beings labelled demons - banded together to form a nation, the Empire of Tears, which opposed the Guardians efforts and philosophy. They used dark magics to create a galaxy-spanning realm of chaos and evil. The Guardians eventually defeated the Empire and imprisoned its leaders, the Five Inversions, on the bleak world of Ysmault. The Guardians decided that magic was chaotic and posed a threat to the balance they desired to achieve. They labored to destroy sources of magic and suppress or imprison its users throughout the Universe. They succeeded in compacting much of the chaotic magic energy of the Cosmos and imprisoning it inside a star; part of it eventually escaped to become the Starheart.

Modern history

Oa's defensive systems

The Guardians were almost wiped out in the events of Emerald Twilight, the only survivor being Ganthet. They sacrificed themselves to create one final power ring, a power ring perhaps more powerful than all others before it. Oa was itself destroyed in a battle between Parallax and Kyle Rayner, but rebuilt in the events of "Legacy" as the final wish of Hal Jordan's former power ring. The Guardians have since been restored when Kyle Rayner, as Ion, recharged the Central Power Battery. Rayner lost his power and role as Ion but this sacrifice released all the Guardian's life forces from the dormancy in his ring. The Immortals first appeared as children but aged quickly and many seem to have returned to the identities they had before they created Kyle Rayner's power ring. Unlike before however, the Guardians are male and female, rather than just male. While Kyle had made them children in order for them to grow up and become less cold than their predecessors, this has not worked. Instead the Guardians are as cold and manipulative as they were before the Emerald Twilight, with the exception of Ganthet and Sayd. Also one of them (Lianna) seems to have reverted to the original Maltusian appearance in the process. Many of the Guardians revived by Kyle Rayner seemed to have disappeared as only a handful now appear in the current Green Lantern issues, while dozens were revived by Kyle Rayner. Female Guardians appear in flashbacks to Hal Jordan's rookie days as a Green Lantern; whether this is an oversight or a result of the events of Infinite Crisis has not been explained. With their revival they have begun to rebuild the Green Lantern Corps using veterans to train the new ring-bearers. Alongside this experiment, the Guardians refortified Oa by creating a planetwide armour and defensive system to prevent successful attacks against them. The Sinestro Corps War forces them to rewrite the Book of Oa and to add ten new laws. To date, 4 of the 10 have been revealed.[2] They also expelled Ganthet and Sayd from their rank, because they have experienced emotions along with being discovered to have a romantic relationship with each other and quoting the forbidden chapter of the Book of Oa which has Abin Sur's discovery of the prophecy The Blackest Night, which they consider to be not permitted.

In the aftermath of the War, both Ganthet and Sayd have evolved into two new beings on a paradise-like planet Odym, where they are harnessing the blue energy spectrum of hope and creating blue power rings and batteries, planning to create another intergalactic police force in order to be able to aid the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps against The Blackest Night. The rank of the Guardians has weakened as well; while there were originally twelve of them as Head Guardians, there are now six of them, after Ganthet and Sayd left Oa, and one Guardian died after a battle with Superman-Prime -this Guardian willfully "detonated" himself in an unsuccessful, last-ditch effort to destroy the insane Kryptonian (who wished to destroy the Universe in his own right).[3] A female Guardian has been left scarred by the Anti-Monitor, and the exposure to his antimatter energy reveals to have had dire consequences. Her fellow Guardians were unaware of the changes within her, either physical or behavioral (she is far more militant than is normal for the Guardians).[4][5] In the Origins and Omens backup stories running through several DC releases in February 2009, she is given the official name of Scar.[6] Scar killed one of her fellow guardians in the beginning of the Blackest Night, and is later revealed that she has since died after the Anti-Monitor's attack, and functions as an undead instead of an immortal.[7] Another guardian was killed by Nekron as a sacrifice to summon the Entity on Earth.

The Guardians seem extremely displeased with the appearance of the other corps. While they "tolerate" the existence of the Star Sapphires, they have made it clear that they are going to exterminate the Red Lantern Corps. They also seem to have made a deal with Larfleeze of the Orange Lantern Corps some time ago, which resulted in the Vega System being out of Green Lantern jurisdiction. However, they seem to show particular displeasure with the Blue Lantern Corps, going so far as to attempt to forcibly remove the blue ring acquired by Hal Jordan, and when that didn't work attempting to hold him on Oa until such time as it could be removed. With the ultimatum delivered by Larfleeze, the current wielder of the orange power of avarice, Scar has proposed lifting the ban on the Vega System as well as having the Guardians leave Oa to get involved in the conflict personally.[8][9]

The Guardians have accepted Scar's proposal and have left Oa with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps to confront Larfleeze in the Vega System. The Guardians also decide to see how Jordan's blue ring would functions with his green one during battles.[10] After the Agent Orange's defeat, the Guardians negotiated with Larfleeze once more in order to continue to keep the orange light of avarice contained. The Agent Orange later launched an attack on Odym, seeking to possess the powers of the Blue Lantern Corps, presumably being swayed by Scar.[11][12]

During the Blackest Night, the Guardians finally realized that Ganthet and Sayd were correct in their interpretation of the prophecy discovered by Abin Sur. However, Scar killed a Guardian and bound the rest to prevent them from interfering. She later sent a number of black power rings to the Green Lantern Corps' memorial, reviving the deceased members of the Corps as undead Black Lanterns. She also weakened Oa's planetary defenses for an attack from the Black Lantern Corps.[13] When a group of Green Lanterns found their way into the Guardians' chamber, they found it empty, with no sign of Scar or her captives.[14] Scar had taken her captives to the dead planet of Ryut, home of the Black Lantern's Central Power Battery.[15] Scar teleports herself, the Guardians, and the Black Lantern Central Power Battery to Earth, directly on top of Black Hand's home, and Black Hand summons Nekron to Coast City.[16] In the midst of the battle, Nekron kills a Guardian and Black Hand uses his blood and organs to raise "The Trespasser" from the ground, holding a white figure. Ganthet reveals the entity to be the living embodiment of life in the universe. It seems Earth is where life first began, a fact the Guardians did their best to hide to keep the entity safe from harm and exploitation, redirecting that danger towards themselves by informing the majority of the universe that life began on their planet of Oa (despite the fact that the Oans were in fact born on the planet Maltus).[17]

During the War of the Green Lanterns storyline, the Guardians have been discussing the various events occurring ranging from Hal Jordan's allegiance with the New Guardians, the revolt of the Alpha Lanterns etc.[18] The group is then later confronted by Krona who reveals his plan to control emotions. As a result, he had the Butcher, Ophidian, Ion, Adara, Proselyte, and the Predator inhabit the six Guardians as hosts and places Parallax back within the Green Central Power Battery to subjugate the Green Lantern Corps under his control.[19] The Guardians are freed from Krona's control emotions by Hal Jordan, who kills Krona using his ultimate power. The rings from the other corps return to their former wielders. However, the Guardians expel them from Oa. The Guardians believe Hal to be the most dangerous of the Green Lantern Corps. Therefore, the Guardians discharge him from the Corps.[20] Afterward, the Guardians of the Universe allow Sinestro to become a Green Lantern once more. However, the Green Lantern Corps learn from empathy Lantern Meadlux that the Guardians are afraid of Hal Jordan, fearing that what happened to Krona would eventually happen to them if Jordan was allowed to continue as a Green Lantern.[21] Later, when the Green Lantern Corps are in disagreement and attempt to kill Sinestro, the Corps break into the sciencells, but the Corps discover that the Guardians have in captivity with Sinestro, who are trying to remove Sinestro's green ring, but the ring will not be removed. Later, the Green Lantern Corps were in a meeting by the Guardians that they choose between discipline continuing the fight and that any intrusion will incite a mutiny. The other Green Lantern Corps are in agreement.[22]

Rise of the Third Army

With Kyle Rayner having rebelled against the Guardians to join the 'New Guardians', a makeshift team consisting of representatives from all seven Corps,[23] Hal Jordan's recent expulsion, and the 'recommendations' of the now-emotionless Ganthet, the Guardians are preparing to create the 'Third Army' to replace the Green Lantern Corps. This would involve them recovering the mysterious 'First Lantern' for an undefined role,[24] prompting Sinestro, who learned about this prophecy after touching the Book of the Black, to enlist Hal's aid in stopping this scheme.[25]

The Guardians began searching for the Book of the Black by tracking Starstorm, who was one of the last people to have had contact with the Book. When he proves useless to them, the Guardians kill Starstorm without mercy. Furthermore, it was revealed that they were the masterminds behind the release of Abysmus, one of Atrocitus' early experiments at creating life by the use of necromancy and shamanic rituals, whom in turn had tried to destroy the Red Lantern Corps by poisoning their Central Power Battery. It is speculated that they were also the masterminds behind the release of Archangel Invictus from Larfleeze's prison and the fall of the Blue Lantern Corps during the Reach invasion in Odym. Secretly, they also were pleased with the outcome of the Alpha War which saw the death of all Alpha Lanterns as it kept their hands clean of any involvement as they intended to destroy their Green Lanterns whilst bringing about the rise of the Third Army.[26]

The Guardians of the Universe arrive to the Chamber of Shadows, where they have sealed the other Oans away for billion of years. The Guardians open the Chamber, where the imprisoned Oans believe that the Guardians are joining them, but the Guardians clarify that they are here for the First Lantern. The other Oans were stunned by the Guardians (who have become unemotional), telling them that the First Lantern would be destroyed was their objective. The Guardians attack the other Oans, and a Guardian kills the elder Oan as they take the First Lantern, Volthoom that is trapped inside, and seal the other Oans in the Chamber of Shadows. The Guardians intervene with the Black Lantern, Black Hand, charging him up with enough power to drain Green Lanterns Hal and Sinestro, which apparently kills them both. The Guardians then use the power of the First Lantern to create the Third Army from their own flesh and will, and so the "Rise of the Third Army" has begun.[27]

The Guardians begin an evil agenda, as they assign John to track down Mogo's dead remains, due to claims that they are moving by trying to reform it. The Guardians then promote Guy as the 'Sentinel Lantern' and entrust him with guarding a group of ambassadors travelling to a planet for a crucial conference, only to subsequently release Xar, Guy's old enemy, from the Science-Cells. They presume Xar will go after Guy's family on Earth, knowing that Guy will abandon his duty and return to Earth while Xar attacks the ambassadors.[28] The Guardians' plans have changed after Guy breaks off the attack from the Third Army and survives; the Guardians then frame Guy for failing his duty to protect the ambassadors, who were killed and expel him from the Green Lantern Corps.[29] Salaak's spying on the Guardians' and knowledge of their plans has spread across the universe, but the Guardians caught him before he can reveal this information, and imprison Salaak in the Citadel.[30] The Guardians watches the Third Army spread over the universe, destroying all life and free will. They have told the First Lantern that once the Third Army completes their control over the whole universe, there will be no need for him.[31] Later, the Guardians realize they cannot completely control the universe and need more members of the Third Army. They use more of the power of the First Lantern, without realizing that the First Lantern's prison is breaking.[32]

The Guardians fool the Green Lanterns into a meeting to paralyse them, so they can reveal the reason behind their plan to replace the Green Lantern Corps with the Third Army. However, they are thwarted by Guy's diversion after he survives his fate at the hands of the Third Army and discovers their involvement with the Third Army. Kilowog then used his oath to cause the Central Power Battery to depower so that he could send distress calls to all the Green Lanterns and warn that the Guardians had turned against their own Corps. The Green Lantern Corps join the New Guardians and Atrocitus' Manhunters that arrive to rebel against the treacherous Guardians. When they are able to destroy the Third Army, Volthoom breaks free by taking the wounded Guardians' energy power and igniting the light, apparently resulting in the destruction of the universe.[33]

The Guardians then wake up imprisoned on the planet Maltus by Volthoom, who restores Ganthet's emotions about his past. It is revealed that when Krona tried to observe the beginnings of the universe, his experiment allowed a vessel to emerge on Oa where inside was a figure in a spacesuit with a bright lantern battery. Calling himself Volthoom, this being had traveled across time and space and it was him who apparently tutored the Maltusians about the power of the Emotional Spectrum and at some point was given the name of The First Lantern. However, during one of Krona's experiments involving the Great Heart, he witnessed the creation of The First Ring, which he attempted to claim for himself, only to be infused with the combined emotional awareness of the Maltusians themselves. He was deemed dangerous and unstable by the nascent Guardians of the Universe who were threatened by his great power. Thus, it was ultimately decided to imprison him within The Chamber of Shadows located in a black hole, where he was trapped inside a lantern shaped construct for untold millenia. A number of Oans remained behind to ensure that The First Lantern was kept imprisoned and became known as The Hidden Ones, while those that remained embarked on their mission of policing the universe with the Manhunters. The First Lantern's custodians and wardens vowed that he would never be released, due to the dangers he posed. According to Krona, the Guardians were responsible for betraying the First Lantern. His only legacy on Oa was within The Foundry in the area that stored the Power Gauntlet, where an inscription mentions The First Lantern. Volthoom intends to feed off the other Lanterns' emotions in order to get his emotional powers to return.[34] When Volthoom is slain by Nekron, the Guardians are freed, but are then executed by Sinestro. Sinestro spares Ganthet and reunites him with Sayd, but exiles them from Oa. The Malthusians who guarded Volthoom become the new "Templar Guardians".[35] Because they are so out of touch with the current state of the universe, the Templar Guardians appoint Hal as a temporary leader of the Corps while they set out on a voyage of learning.[36]

Powers and abilities

Functionally immortal, Guardians resemble short (approximately 4 feet [120 cm] tall), large-headed, white-haired pale blue humans wearing red robes with their emblem, the Green Lantern symbol, on the chest. They possess vast knowledge, durability, awareness, flight, and psionic powers manifested through green plasma energy drawn from the most stable color of the emotional spectrum, green (willpower). Although, since it has been said that they chose the most stable color of the spectrum, it is possible that the Guardians may have limited access to all colors. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, Kyle Rayner is recorded saying that Ganthet could crack a planet in half with a thought and have been shown able to stagger Superman-Prime and the Anti-Monitor. The Guardians display the power of time travel as they send a time-lost Kyle Rayner back to his present timeline.[37]


The Guardians usually appear as short, blue-skinned humanoids wearing red robes and white tabards bearing their crest, the Green Lantern symbol. The appearance of the male Guardians is modeled after former Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion.[38][39]

After their rebirth, the females are typically bald and have female characteristics, such as breasts, more noticeable eyelashes and lips, and tend to be less wrinkled and aged looking. Their male counterparts tend to have short, unkempt, white hair, and to be more wrinkled and aged looking. One long going inconsistency between artists has been the relative size of the Guardians' heads to their short bodies, most artists designing them with larger heads to suggest their larger brains and alien anatomy, whereas others have been shown to draw near enough human-like proportional heads. Another difference has been their ears, which have been seen to be human-like, and on other occasions, to be elf-like. Their eye color also frequently changes between artists, usually between blue and green, though several artists choose to use the green eye color as an omen or a visual aid to the reader.

The Guardians' attire originally featured a long red robe with a stylized, Dracula-like collar, and their symbol emblazoned on the chest. Following their rebirth, this changed to them wearing a long red robe with a more scholarly collar, and a white tabard with their emblem on the chest area. They have also been shown by some artists to wear white undershirts, the sleeves of which can be seen sometimes under the robe's sleeves. Though their feet are not usually seen beneath their robes, they have been shown to wear red, pointed shoes.

Guardians known by name

It has been said that "Guardians do not take names", yet when Krona invaded Oa in the War of the Green Lanterns story-arc, he revealed that all Oans have names but have since forgotten them. Nonetheless, a few of their lot have been named in the stories.[19] It was eventually revealed that the reason for the Guardians having forgotten their names was because they had removed their own emotions and becoming unemotional for fear of emotions after the villain Volthoom nearly destroyed the universe.[34] Among them:

There were also others that became Guardians of the Universe but aren't actually Oans.


During the height of their species civilization on their homeworld of Maltus and after been tutored about the emotional spectrum energy, the Guardians of the Universe have created an unknown number of artifacts before finally creating the power rings which are given to the Green Lantern Corps. The known artifact are as follow:

Other versions

JLA: The Nail

In the alternate reality of JLA: The Nail (where Superman was discovered by a different family after the Kents had a nail in their car tire on the day they would have recovered him), the Guardians recalled the entire Green Lantern Corps minus Hal Jordan (who was trapped on Earth by a Kryptonian force field) to intervene when the cold war between Apokolips and New Genesis escalated.[42]

Superman & Batman: Generations

In the reality of Superman & Batman: Generations, the Guardians revealed that Alan Scott's power ring was actually a Green Lantern ring despite its apparent weakness to wood after Hal Jordan successfully harnessed it against Sinestro, realising that the ring actually had no weaknesses except what the user believed it possessed; the Green Lantern Corps were vulnerable to yellow only because they believed the Guardians when they were told about this weakness, and Alan's ring's weakness to wood was caused when he was taken by surprise and struck on the back of the head with a wooden block during his first time using the ring.[43]


In the Flashpoint reality, the Guardians of the Universe assigned Abin Sur to head to Earth and find the White Lantern Entity.[44] The Guardians contact him once again to retrieve the Entity which Abin Sur refuses stating that he will retrieve the Entity after he helps the Earth population against the Atlantis/Amazon war.[45] The Guardians grow impatient with Abin Sur, discharging from the Corps. However, the White Lantern Entity chose Abin Sur to be its champion.[46]

Injustice: Gods Among Us

In Year Two of the prequel comic to the game, the Ganthet convinces the Guardians that Superman's recent actions on Earth to force peace border on tyranny, and suggests they intervene before it goes too far. Ganthet and Guy Gardner go to Earth to confront Superman, who maintains his actions are for the Earth's best interests. It is made impossible to reason with the fallen Man of Steel as he has discovered a truth behind the Guardians: years before they chose not to do anything as the planet Krypton exploded, allowing most of a race to be wiped out. Though Ganthet argues this is because they do not use their power to solve every problem, Superman rejects him and the Guardians, leading to an all-out war between the Green Lantern Corps and Superman's Regime (which also includes Sinestro Corps). Ganthet is later killed alongside numerous Green Lanterns, forcing the Guardians to leave Earth alone.

In other media


The Guardians of the Universe as depicted in Superman: The Animated Series.


Live Action


Video games


  1. 1 2 3 Wallace, Dan (2008), "Guardians of the Universe", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 150, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
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  3. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #25 (December 2007)
  4. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #27 (January 2008)
  5. Final Crisis: Rise of the Red Lanterns #1 (October 2008)
  6. Adventure Comics (vol. 2) #0 (April 2009)
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  10. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #40 (April 2009)
  11. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #41 (May 2009)
  12. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #42 (June 2009)
  13. Blackest Night #1 (July 2009)
  14. Green Lantern Corps (vol. 2) #40 (September 2009)
  15. Green Lantern (vol. 4) #46 (September 2009)
  16. Blackest Night #4 (December 2009)
  17. Blackest Night #7 (February 2010)
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  22. War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath #2 (August 2011)
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  24. Green Lantern vol. 5, #3 (November 2011)
  25. Green Lantern vol. 5, #6 (February 2012)
  26. Green Lantern Corps vol. 3 #12 (August 2012)
  27. Green Lantern Annual #1 (August 2012)
  28. Green Lantern Corps vol. 3 #13 (October 2012)
  29. Green Lantern Corps vol. 3 #14 (November 2012)
  30. Green Lantern Corps vol. 3 #15 (December 2012)
  31. Green Lantern vol. 5 #14 (November 2012)
  32. Green Lantern vol. 5 #15 (December 2012)
  33. Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 (January 2013)
  34. 1 2 Green Lantern vol. 5 #17 (February 2013)
  35. Green Lantern vol. 5 #20 (May 2013)
  36. Green Lantern vol. 5 #21 (June 2013)
  37. Green Lantern (v.3) #100
  38. Finkelshteyn, Leah (June–July 2003), Thwak! To Our Enemies, 84 (10 ed.), Hadassah magazine, retrieved 2015-02-08
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  40. 1 2 DC Challenge #9 (July 1986)
  41. Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2 (October 2008)
  42. JLA: Another Nail #1
  43. Superman & Batman: Generations #3
  44. Flashpoint: Abin Sur – The Green Lantern #1 (June 2011)
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External links

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