The DC universe houses a venerated pantheon of heroes with exciting backgrounds. From Superman, the last son of Krypton, to Wonder Woman, the Princess of Themyscira, these towering characters have been a source of inspiration for many decades. Among these heroes is an exemplary pilot with an unbreakable will: Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. As a member of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan protects the entire universe alongside the other Green Lanterns, with the obvious exception of Gotham City. While the Green Lantern Corps are powered by sheer willpower, one of the seven segments of the emotional spectrum, the other notable lanterns are powered by rage (Red Lanterns), fear (Yellow Lanterns), greed (Orange Lanterns), hope (Blue Lanterns), love (Violet Lanterns/Star Sapphires), and compassion (Indigo Lanterns).
While the Green Lantern Corps are perpetually at war with the Yellow Lanterns, in recent years, Red and Orange Lanterns have also become quite popular. However, the Indigo Lanterns, or better known as the Indigo Tribe have mostly stayed in the shadows, eluding even the universe’s greatest protectors. Unlike the other Lanterns, the members of the Indigo Tribe don’t just wield a Power Ring, rather, carrying a Power Staff that acts both as a ring as well as a battery.
Created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, the Indigo Lanterns made their first appearance in Green Lantern #25. Founded by the Green Lantern Abin Sur on the planet Nok, the Indigo Tribe was created with the help of Natromo, who discovered a wellspring to the power of compassion. As the planet Nok was attacked by foreign invaders, Natromo and his people coated their weapons with the Indigo Light and fought the attackers. To their surprise, when exposed to the Indigo Light, the invaders suddenly felt intense remorse and guilt for their actions, and voluntarily left the planet. Upon realizing the power of the light, Abin Sur and Natromo harnessed their compassion to create an Indigo Power Ring. To further test its powers, Abin Sur forcibly made Iroque, a sadistic criminal, wear the ring. As a result, Iroque was overwhelmed by compassion, thus joining the side of the light.
Despite the ring’s allegiance to the good fight, the Indigo Power Ring is parasitic in nature. When worn, its powers block every other emotion apart from compassion. But nonetheless, the Indigo Tribe played a crucial role in preventing the prophecy of the Blackest Night, when Nekron and his army of Black Lanterns threatened to wipe out every living creature from the universe.
Having chosen to stay in the shadows, this elusive tribe is majorly made of sadistic and irredeemable criminals by forcing them to feel remorse and guilt for the crimes they have committed. While they are equipped with the power to overpower anyone with overwhelming compassion, their other abilities include flight, teleportation, energy projection, and regeneration. They are also extremely difficult to trace and speak in a language that the Green Lantern Power Ring cannot translate.
While the Green Lantern Corps is the most popular among all the Lanterns, the Indigo Tribe is yet to reveal its vast secrets and mysterious ways. But despite choosing to live in the shadows, their inherent compassion has always made them a valuable ally, even when the power of love (Star Sapphires) and hope (Blue Lanterns) have failed. And sometimes, compassion is the greatest superpower that the universe sorely needs.