Reading Green Lantern Corps #1 (Sept 2011) and the second panel of the comic has a GL talking to his ring saying:

GL: Ring, defuse all ammunition and log in weapons

RING: Ammunition defused. Weapons scanned

Why would a GL talk to his ring? I thought the ring acted soley on the willpower of its wearer doing what the GL wanted merely by thought alone.

If a GL has to talk to the ring to give it a command and then expect a confirming response, wouldn't that indicate their willpower to control the ring wasn't enough to bear the ring itself?

  • 7
    It is lonely work, being a Green Lantern... Sep 22, 2011 at 17:09
  • 22
    I wouldn't start worrying, until they start calling it my precious.
    – John C
    Sep 22, 2011 at 18:51

3 Answers 3


The ring is only used silently when someone is using something fairly simple - like a boxing glove construct, or when the user is heavily concentrating on a shape.

Using the ring is a difficult task - you have to imaging what you want it to create in fairly good detail. Most sentients in the DC Universe (pre-reboot, haven't seen the new stuff yet) seemed to use language to communicate (as opposed to telepathy). I believe that talking to the ring helps focus the Lantern's mind on their task, clearing their thoughts, and helps them make their intentions fully clear. The ring's AI (referenced by Jack) uses both to get its directives.

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    This would be my guess as well. It might be easier for the GL to focus on what he wants the ring to do if he's saying it out loud.
    – Mark S.
    Sep 22, 2011 at 19:56
  • To further back up this comment. The rings and their users tend to have unique interractions. There's a whole part dedicated to speaking about it in the coming where hal jordan returns after being the spectre. In short, No, a bearer doesn't NEED to speak to their ring, but they may do so as it's more comfortable and familiar to them. Jan 26, 2015 at 16:08

Vocal commands are not necessary for every use of the ring. Depending on the facility, knowledge, creativity, and willpower of the Green Lantern, some may use more vocal commands than others. Those who are from advanced cultures may utilize the ring more as a command-driven tool, others may simply choose to use their willpower and creativity to direct how they want the ring to work. The best users can do both.

  • Green Lanterns talk to their rings to give commands which may utilize information stored within the ring to perform complex or complicated functions better performed by a computer than the ring-wielder. The ring of a Green Lantern is an omni-tool with its own built-in computing system as well as access to the Guardian's Prime Battery/Database.
  • Simple analysis, information logging, management of resources are the kind of commands a Green Lantern might speak to their ring to perform. They might also use command language to utilize functions which may require a security access to use. They can also limit the capabilities of the ring in a similar fashion.
  • Yes, there is still an expenditure of willpower to cause the effects desired.

More details:

Green Lantern rings are very complex devices carved psionically from the material of the prime Power Battery on Oa. They function by creating psychoplasmic constructs comprised of an energy similar to that of the Source. These devices are capable of a number of features little known by non-ring wielders:

  • The constructs are based in light and do not generate heat nor sound unless unless the wielder wishes it. The emerald energy can be used in a variety of ways, usually it is shaped to form objects of varying degrees of complexity depending on the will power, creativity, and intelligence of the user.
  • There are virtually no limits to the energy constructs the power ring can create, whether giant green boxing gloves or high tech robotic equipment. Some wielders choose a diversity of forms to create while others go for the tried and true. While there is a psychological advantage of creating an imposing energy construct to unnerve a foe, creativity can only go so far. A strong will is needed to back up that power. Distractions can cause a ring wielder to break concentration and weaken the energy construct. Fear is the greatest enemy of a Green Lantern. Control is needed to wield the power ring effectively. -- Green Lantern Corp Webpage > Green Lantern Power Rings
  • The Voice of the Ring is also capable of utilizing the rings capabilities and this is why Green Lanterns verbalize their requests. In the case of the example: "Ring, defuse all ammunition and log in weapons."
  • Upon request, the wielder can access the ring's database. The "Voice" the ring wielder hears is in actuality his/her/its own unconscious mind, accessing the ring's database. The personality of the wielder dictates the voice of the power ring. The power ring by itself is flat, devoid of personality. It simply responds to interrogatives by accessing its vast database. - Green Lantern Vol. 2 #128, Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #2 -- Green Lantern Corp Webpage > Green Lantern Power Rings
  • This command is not utilizing willpower directly. It is instead utilizing the ring to disarm the alien technologies that are present in a fashion consistent with whatever safety protocols are known to the database. Willpower is still necessary.

  • This would be a more efficient command than to try and visualize how to disarm each and every weapon, unless every weapon was exactly the same, or if the GL was a weaponsmith and familiar with every weapon before them.

  • Think of this command as a form of simplified voice-controlled computing. Since the ring accesses the database of the Prime Oan Battery, it has access to any information that is gathered, analysed, collected, collated and disseminated as needed to Green Lantern Rings as requested.

  • The command to log in weapons, means to analyze and report to the Prime Battery any information that is found here. The GL may attempt to make an analysis on the spot or may collaborate with Lanterns from other sectors or even the Guardians if they deem the issue to be of sufficient import.


The ring appears to have some manner of AI or sentience. Abin Sur directed his ring to find someone to replace him when he crash landed on Earth.

From the Wikipedia page:

Power rings also appear to be highly advanced computers; they are able to talk to and advise the wearer as to various courses of action, as well as act as a universal translator. The ring can also scan for energy signatures or particular objects. For more intricate problems or problems that require a back logged history (Of a planet, person, group, ETC.), the ring connects with the main power battery on Oa which is the "main" computer, of sorts.

It could be that speaking to it is the only way to use its non-willpower based functions.

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