John Cooper looks at characters with rings and responsibility
Having never worn jewellery of any description before this week, I’m trying on a wedding ring. It all feels a bit significant as it’s a ring I’ll probably be wearing for a long time, so it needs to be right. Mulling over the multitude of fashionable digit decorations, symbols of commitment or power or influence, my mind is wandering to those characters who possess rings and the ups and down’s of wearing them.
Hal Jordan and later Kyle Raynor. He wears a ring and took an oath (which is almost like marriage) to protect the galaxy as a Green Lantern. I got into the 90’s comics when Kyle Raynor took over and as the new bearer discovering his powers I recall thinking what questions you’d ask in the same position, like are you allowed to take it off? Would you not be terrified of losing it? Also the Lantern’s ring as is powered by imagination so what would happen if you slept with it on and had a nightmare? (Not to mention what happens during sex? Forget, “You cried out another woman’s name!”, it’s be more like, “Who was that green, glowing woman you created?”– ed)
“Slam Evil!” as the awkward slogan of the Billy Zane starring movie from 1996 went. The Phantom has dark pulp fiction origins and tells the story of Kit Walker, the 21st descendant of the original Phantom. He has no super powers, just finely honed senses and does a proper workout every now and then, a bit like Batman. Wonderfully violent, the Phantom has two rings, a good one for nice people and a skull ring which he uses to punch bad guys so hard the symbol appears in relief on their face or wherever else he's delivered the pummelling. Ouch.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but even Frodo Baggins must have questioned his own motives about offering to take a ring and throw it in a river of lava when big beardy warriors thought better of it. If only Middle earth had DHL and jiffy bags (other couriers are available). Then again they probably have regulations against transporting items which may send the lorry driver mad.
Not the tangy member of the orange family but the the bling-wearing evil nemesis of Iron Man. The Mandarin has rings on all ten fingers, each one with with its own unique power. It must all be a nightmare to maintain, with powers such as vortex beam and matter re-arranger at your fingers, you’d have to make sure you put each ring on the correct digit and not do something daft like put the white light and black light rings on the same finger. Crikey.
It’s unlikely I’ll have such cosmic worries later this year when I put my ring on and take my wedding vows, but it does all feel very epic. A friend suggested once I’m married I’ll have to start dealing with the possibility of babies and all manner of badly-labelled social conventions. I’ll have to grow up, apparently. At 37 I reckon I’m about as grown up as I’m ever going to get. Excuse me while I attend to my doctor who toy shelf, my Daleks are looking a bit dusty.