Guardians of the Universe

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The Guardians of the Universe are a extraterrestrial race in the DC Comics universe. They first appeared in Green Lantern Vol. 2 #1 (July 1960), and were created by John Broome and Gil Kane.



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. 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 unleashed disaster upon all existence. Originally, the experiment splintered the Universe into the Multiverse and created the evil Anti-Matter Universe of Qward. 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. And they acted quickly on that goal. During this period they slowly evolved into their current appearance. They now act as the leaders of the Green Lantern Corps, an interstellar police force which patrols the universe.


  • Before life existed on Earth, they learned how to manipulate what they called "the Glow", and eventually created a Central Power Battery to store this energy. This "energy" was actually the collective willpower of the inhabitants of the universe. Accessing and manipulating this willpower gave the Guardians an ultimate tool to pursue their goals.
  • Hunting down those who preyed on the weak, they captured a fear elemental, Parallax. They imprisoned the creature in the Central Power Battery, hoping to lock it away forever.
  • Millenia ago after a protracted war they achieved an accord with the Reach, an alien race who turned out to be the source of the Blue Beetle scarab bonded to Jaime Reyes.* Wizard Comics interview with John Rogers May 6th 2007*
  • The magic-wielding Empire of Tears was subjugated and imprisoned on the throneworld and tombworld of Ysmault.
  • Trying to remove magic from the Universe, they bound as much magical energy as possible into an orb called the Starheart. This would eventually become the ring and lantern of Alan Scott.
  • On Mars, the Guardians confronted the destructive race known as "The Burning" and split the race into two new species: the Green Martians and the White Martians. The Guardians changed their reproductive behavior, and gave them an inherent fear of fire in order to stop their species from destroying much of the universe.
  • The Guardians created the robotic Manhunters to patrol the Universe. The Manhunters rebelled under mysterious circumstances and were stripped of their weaponry and exiled.
  • The mad god that was the entire Sector 3600 was defeated by the Guardians and was constrained by a matrix of their making. By showing the sector that they were its superiors, the Guardians had imprisoned it for all time.
  • The insect race of Tchkk-Tchkki, later known as Legion, was enclosed in an emerald forcefield around their world to prevent the locust-like race from expanding further.
  • They reached an accord with the Spider Guild whereby they and their operatives would stay out of Vegan space. Due to this agreement the Omega Men have become the only peacekeepers in their sector.
  • After the failed experiment with the Manhunters, the Guardians invented other ways of opposing evil in the universe. The Green Glob was an intelligent teaching machine created from their emerald energy, programmed to educate mortals all over the universe and able to briefly alter reality to do so.
  • The Halla's, an intergalactic police corps wielding power guns chanelling the emerald energy, was a short-lived successor of the Manhunters and a precursor to the successful Green Lantern Corps.
  • Finally, the Green Lantern Corps was established to replace the Manhunters and the Halla's. These troops were given some of the power of the Central Power Battery, accessed through a ring.
  • Against Apokolips, they waged a war. They tried several times to infiltrate Darkseid's home, finally deciding on a war against his rule. Their troops were brutally defeated with two-thirds dead. The attack on Apokolips ended with a truce.
  • The Guardians guided Kal-El (Superman) on his journey to Earth.
  • The Guardians took a critical view of those heroes whom they thought interfered too much in the development of species. On one occasion they planted a seed of doubt in Superman's mind, making him believe that maybe Earth's people were becoming too dependent on him and being prevented from evolving and developing and becoming self-reliant. They appeared to achieve their goal, though Superman still intervened where earthquakes and typhoons were concerned *Superman #247, issued January 1972, Must There Be A Superman?, written by Elliot S Maggin, drawn by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson*.
  • During the Crisis on Infinite Earths the Guardians were again divided. A small group desired to take a more aggressive role in destroying evil and recruited Guy Gardner to act as their Green Lantern. The failure of the Guardians to act decisively in the Crisis led to their decision to temporarily withdraw from the universe.


The Manhunter rebellion led to schisms. One group (the Controllers) thought that the only way to protect the Universe was to control it. The female Oans (Zamarons) felt no need to involve themselves in the Universe's problems. Over the years, both groups evolved to look most unlike the Guardians. Other groups have also left the Guardians; one such group settled on Earth, becoming the origin for leprechaun legends. The Manhunters became avowed enemies of the Guardians. The Apokolips campaign ended with a truce with the Guardians forced to abandon a soldier (Raker Qarrigat) to Darkseid. Fearing dissension, they ordered all records of the Campaign expunged.

Modern history

Oa's defensive systems
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. 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 War forces them to rewrite the Book of Oa and to add ten new laws. (As of March 26th, 2008, only two have been revealed.) They also expelled Ganthet and Sayd from their rank, because they have experienced emotions along with being discovered to have romantic relationship with each other, which they consider to be not permitted.

In the aftermath of the War, both Ganthet and Sayd have evolved into two new beings on an unknown planet, 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, of originally there were twelve of them as Head Guardians, now there are nine of them, after Ganthet and Sayd left Oa, and one Guardian is dead after a battle with Superman-Prime. A female Guardian has been left scarred by the Anti-Monitor, and the exposure to his antimatter energy may have dire consequences. Currently, she's searching the Anti-Monitor's body on Sector 650, seeking the powers he possesses. She may be working as a double agent for an unknown cosmic force whose identity is hinted on the Guardian's eyes which carries an emblem of The Black Lantern Corps.*Green Lantern #27 vol. 4*

Powers and abilities

Functionally immortal, Guardians resemble short (approximately 4 feet [122 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 and psionic powers 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." Indeed, they have been shown able to stagger Superman-Prime and the Anti-Monitor.

Guardians known by name

It has been said that "Guardians don't take names", but a few of their lot have nonetheless been named in the stories. Among them:

Appearances in other media

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

In the DC Animated Universe, The Guardians of the Universe made appearances:

  • In the Justice League animated series episode "In Blackest Night" they attend John Stewart's trial, and latter tried to defend Oa from an attack by the Manhunters. In Justice League Unlimited they appear briefly in the beginning of "The Return" where they deny Stewart's request to leave Earth and take a tour of duty on Oa.

The Guardians made an appearance on the Warner Premiere animated feature Justice League: The New Frontier, guiding Hal Jordan on the use of his Green Lantern ring against Earth's ancient evil, The Centre. They are all voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.

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