Black Hand (comics)

Black Hand (comics)


caption= Art By Ethan Van Sciver
character_name=Black Hand
real_name=William Hand
publisher=DC Comics
debut="Green Lantern" (2nd series) #29 (June 1964)
creators=John Broome,
Gil Kane
aliases=Dr. Wilbur Palm
alliances=Underground Society The Society
powers=Absorbs lifeforce energy from living creatures to recreate his destroyed hand.
Created and wields a device which siphons energy from power rings and mimicks their abilities.|

Black Hand (real name William Hand) is a DC Comics supervillain and a recurring foe to Green Lantern. He first appeared in "Green Lantern" vol. 2 #29 (June 1964) and was created by John Broome and Gil Kane.

Fictional character biography

Pre-Crisis biography

The man who would one day be known as Black Hand was born an inventive genius, with a penchant for speaking in extremely old clichés. William's family, the Hands, were renowned in Coastville, a suburb of Coast City, California. He, however, grew to dislike them early in life. He felt the best way to distance himself from them, especially his three brothers (David, Peter and Joe), was by starting a life of crime. After extensive study, he became an expert criminal and evaded police at every turn. Eventually, he progressed into a costumed supervillain, dubbed himself "Black Hand". (This was actually an inside joke, in reference to his status as the "black sheep" of the Hand family.)

In preparation for an inevitable battle with the Coast City-based Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Hand made his most noteworthy invention. The device was able to absorb the residue of a Green Lantern power ring's energy from any object that it has touched. Once fueled by this energy, his device can then be used much the same way as a Green Lantern Ring.Citation | last = Wallace | first = Dan | author-link = | contribution = Crazy Creations | editor-last = Dougall | editor-first = Alastair | title = The DC Comics Encyclopedia | pages = 92 | publisher = Dorling Kindersley | place = New York | year = 2008 | ISBN = 0-7566-4119-5 | oclc = 213309017] In addition to Hal Jordan, Black Hand has battled Kilowog and the second Flash (Barry Allen) over the course of his career.

For a while he retired from a life of crime and attempted to run an adult theatre. This new lease on life came to an abrupt end when it was interrupted by Guy Gardner and his girlfriend Ice. Though the incident was minor in their eyes, it spurred Hand to become a criminal once more. Further encounters with a ring-less Gardner left Hand both psychologically and emotionally scarred.

Shortly before , Black Hand's device located a spare Power Ring that Green Arrow held in case of emergency. Hand tried to claim the ring for himself, but was stopped by Green Arrow and Hal Jordan, who at that point was the current Spectre. As Hand attempted to wield the power ring, the emerald archer pinned the villain's hand to the wall with an arrow and the Spectre burnt his hand to ash, stating "(now) he can live up to his name".

Now missing his right hand and driven insane from trauma, Hand fled. However, after hearing of Hal Jordan's resurrection, he decided to live in the rebuilt Coast City to stay close to his foe. While on board an airplane, he is targeted and abducted by the Kroloteans, a race of mysterious German-speaking aliens, who are akin to the gremlins of myth. They perform experiments that enhanced his inherent power, and abandon him in a public park.

He has since resurfaced in a panel scene from the Infinite Crisis, one of the several heroes and villains observed by Kal-L and Superboy-Prime.

Post-Crisis biography

Black Hand's origin is currently being rewritten in the "Secret Origin" storyline of Green Lantern, as written by Geoff Johns.

William Hand's parents run a coroner's/funeral home, the logo of which is the same symbol William will adopt at the beginning of his criminal career. At the time a young boy, Hand was shown as having a severe preoccupation with death and the dead, including implied necrophilia. His energy-absorbing weapon is now portrayed as being built by Atrocitus, a fervent enemy of the Guardians of the Universe. He comes to Earth to seek out the being who will bring on the events to be known as The Blackest Night. This being is revealed to be William Hand. Atrocitus locates and attacks Hand, believing the black power lies within his insides. Atrocitus is stopped by the Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Sinestro, while Hand pockets the weapon and flees the scene.

Final Crisis

While being transported to prison, Black Hand experiences a sudden power surge, killing his guards in the detonation and teleporting him to what appears to be the Black Lantern Power Battery. ["DC Universe" #0]

Powers and equipment

Black Hand possesses a device which can manipulate the energy of Green Lantern power rings. It can obtain this energy by directly draining it from a ring, or via the residue a power ring gives off. Like power rings, however, it needs to replenish this energy on a regular basis in order to operate. Hand usually does this during battles with one or more Green Lanterns, and has also used it to help him locate nearby power rings. This technically makes the device somewhat similar to Qwardian power rings, especially those wielded by Sinestro. The device was recently stated to be the creation of Atrocitus of the Five Inversions, after it was believed for long it was actually his. He was at one point considered at the very least an extremely creative and inventive genius, but with his mental condition deterioration, it is unknown whether he can repeat these feats of mental activity.

Following the actions of extraterrestrials who subjected him to experimentation, he now has a means to recreate his hand. The experiments granted Black Hand the ability to consume the life-force of the living to create a new hand for himself. The amount of life-force he consumes relates to the amount of time he can control the limb. As an after effect of the experimentation, when he has not consumed enough life-force, he assumes a burnt or decaying appearance.

Personality and mental health

After suffering various psychological traumas, Black Hand has developed from an average, gimmicky villain to a fearsome and insane force. Beginning as a criminal mastermind, his goals, including becoming rich quickly, were not unlike many villains of the time. However, his repeated defeats had a horrible effect on his psyche. A therapist he was seeing at one point stated that he possessed an innate fear of superheroes. One late night, while suffering from depression, he had a chance meeting with several superheroes (G'nort, Martian Manhunter and Kilowog). Witnessing the assembled heroes meeting at an exclusive skyscraper restaurant, this further caused his deteriorating psyche to break and he had a screaming panic attack. The proverbial last straw may have been his abduction by aliens. After this, and his discovery of the powers they gave him, a clear change occurred. The character now speaks less often in humorous hoary idioms, but instead references his deepening belief in the power of death.


External links

* [ Character information from]
* [ Green Lantern: The Dawn of Blackest Night]
* [ Black Hand costume gallery]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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