When Batman tries to argue that he should lead the Justice League, he says that Green Lantern can't lead because:

Your weakness is the color yellow. [...] If you're going to stop a mugging and the guy's wearing all yellow, what're you going to do?

Out of universe, I assume yellow was chosen as the weakness of Green Lanterns because:

  • Green Lanterns are powered by imagination as much as they are by will, and a weakness was necessary to prevent them from being unstoppable.

  • Yellow is among the colors most associated with fear, so it's a logical connection

What is the in-universe reason why Green Lanterns have that weakness? Did the Guardians of the Universe install it as a fail-safe in the event of a rogue lantern? Is there a physical and/or chemical component of the color yellow that directly prevents Green Lantern rings from acting upon it?

  • 5
    There was a yellow 'fear bug' that was hidden in the green lantern power battery that was the cause of the weakness. It caused an impurity in the rings. At least that was justification in later years.
    – CBredlow
    Feb 26 at 21:03
  • 2
    Where's Thaddeus when you need a really long and detailed answer about this malarkey
    – Valorum
    Feb 26 at 21:24
  • 2
    It used to be the colour yellow and wood
    – Valorum
    Feb 26 at 21:26
  • 2
    Wood was actually a separate thing for Alan Scott, and was later retconned as that he got jumped by a thug with a baseball bat before he had a shield up, and subconsciously made wood his weakness since it had "gotten through his defenses".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 26 at 21:46
  • 1
    Agreed. But I think they were trying to unify the origins so that Hal Jordan would actually be a successor to Alan Scott.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 26 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


According to the DC Wiki

The Guardians of the Universe imprisoned Parallax within the Central Power Battery on Oa using fear's opposite energy, willpower. Parallax had lain dormant for billions of years, its true nature hidden by the Guardians to prevent anyone from trying to free it. Being yellow in color, Parallax eventually came to be referred to as simply "the yellow impurity."

This was the reason why the rings were useless against the color yellow: Parallax weakened its power over the corresponding spectrum; hence only someone with the willpower to overcome great fear could master the power ring. Thus, when recruiting new Green Lanterns the Guardians were careful to look for recruits that were largely fearless. When the renegade Sinestro was later imprisoned in the Power Battery himself, his Qwardian yellow power ring tapped into Parallax's power and awakened it.

To summarize: Because Fear Bug in their battery

  • 6
    This is, of course, a retcon. In the original Golden Age comics the answer was 'just because every superhero needs a weakness'
    – Valorum
    Feb 27 at 7:37
  • 2
    @Valorum Silver age version. Golden age was Alan Scott, who's weakness was wood!
    – CBredlow
    Feb 27 at 18:01

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