|Real name:||William Hand|
|First Appearance:||Green Lantern (Volume 2) #29|
|Created by:|| John Broome|
|Affiliations:|| Black Lantern Corps|
|Sector:||Space Sector 2814|
The man who would one day be known as Black Hand was born an inventive genius, with a penchant for speaking in extremely old cliches. 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".
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. William is saved by Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Sinestro. During the fight, William finds Atroctius' power rod, taking it. This event will affect later events in Hand's life, including the details of his career as Black Hand.
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 Power Ring. 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 theater. 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 Hal Jordan's resurrection, Black Hand's device located a spare Power Ring that Oliver Queen 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 wearing his Black Hand outfit. He quickly discovered that whatever he touched, would wither and die and the life force he took from the object, such as a tree or a person, grew his missing hand back. His hand began to fade away but when he entered the hospital, he murdered many ill patients, taking away their life force until his hand was completely grown back. He then attacked Green Lantern who was on board the gremlins' ship, stating repeatedly that death was the greatest power of the emotional spectrum. He made Hal relive memories of deaths he had seen including Hal's mother and brother. Their fight took them to a graveyard where Black Hand taunted Hal, saying that Hal feared death and that death was all around them. Hal denied this and removed Black Hand's regrown hand and knocked him into a grave he had made. As his hand was beginning to reform, Hal buried Black Hand in the dirt while Black Hand praised the color black and death and said that it was his color.
The Blackest Night
Somehow returning to Earth after the Final Crisis, Black Hand was lounging in an open grave with some skeletons when he began hearing the voice of the Guardian of Death, the being who formed the Black Lantern on Ryut. The voice began speaking the names of various heroes who had died and come back to life, including Hal Jordan, Superman, Wonder Woman, Kilowog, The Flash and Kid Flash. Returning to his family home, Hand murdered each member of his family one by one before finally turning his cosmic diving rod on himself. Scar, who also worshiped The Guardian of Death, made a Black Lantern Power Ring which reanimated Black Hand, dubbing the herald of their lord.
Heading to Gotham City, Hand recited the Black Lantern oath and dug up the skull of Batman. Following this, the Nekron released thousands of Black rings from the Black Lantern Central Battery, scattering across the galaxy. Among those added to the Black Lantern Corps were former Justice League members J'onn J'onzz, Ralph Dibny and Sue Dibny. J'onn was sent after Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, while the Dibnys were sent after Hawkman and Hawkgirl, who had been in a cycle of death and reincarnation for over three thousand years. The Dibnys murdered the Hawks, and Black Hand sent rings from Batman's skull to add them to the Black Lantern Corps. Black Hand was next seen at the grave of Boston Brand. A group of magic users were there, investigating the disappearance of Brand's corpse. Black Hand appeared, still holding Bruce Wayne's skull. He recruited Crispus Allen, who was the host of the Spectre, into his corps. The black ring trapped the Spectre in Allen's body and the Black Lantern now was able to drawn on the powers of the spirit of vengeance.
Black Hand, still carrying Bruce Wayne's skull, made his way to Coast City, where the power levels in the black rings were approaching 100%. He explained that there was a secret the Guardians kept from the universe, a dark secret that had been locked away. He ventured to his family's old business where he waited in front of the door. Shortly after, the power levels of the Black Lanterns reached 100% and the Black Lantern Power Battery on Ryut was transported by Scar to Earth. Flash arrived to find William at the Hand's old home when in a mighty explosion, the Black Lantern Central Power Battery along with Scar and the captive Guardians arrived directly in front of Black Hand, destroying his old home. Black Hand smiled stating "Nekron. Rise." With the renegade Guardian, Scar, at his side, Black Hand witnessed the rise of the Lord of the Unliving and the true mastermind behind the Black Lanterns. Barry Allen launched himself at the newly risen Nekron but just as he was about to attack, Black Hand leaps forward, intercepting him and tackling him to the ground. He told Flash how he was now dead and felt much better about it and that Flash should just die because he would feel just as good. Flash noticed Bruce's skull in the villain's hand and tried to pry it away but was suddenly struck by great pain as the skull announced that an emotional tether had been connected. Some of the Black Lanterns held Barry down while Black Hand prepared to kill him, assuring him that he would not do anything to his body because he wasn't his type. Seconds before murdering him, Wally West appeared, rescuing Barry and knocking Black Hand away for the time being. When Nekron revealed that he had been the one to bring all of the heroes who had died and come back before back to life, a black ring flew from his scythe and Black Hand held up Bruce's skull which formed into a complete Black Lantern Batman. Black Hand watched as the heroes all felt emotionally attached to this particular Black Lantern and all were open for Batman to spit out Black Power Rings at them, transforming them into Black Lanterns.
Black Hand then aided his lord, Nekron, with unleashing the entity of life. Black Hand tore open one of the Guardians of the Universe, using his organs, which were made up of all of the colors of the emotional spectrum. He used the organs to summon The Trespasser, the pure embodiment of life. After Sinestro took possession of the entity, Black Hand lead his Black Lantern soldiers in a battle with all of the colored corps. Deadman arrived to the battle, telling Hal Jordan that Hand was the tether that was keeping Nekron connected to the land of the living and that he would need to be "fixed" if they had any hope of defeating Nekron. By "fixing", Deadman said that they'd need to return Black Hand to life. Hal then came up with a plan to target Hand, fighting past him to get to the white entity. Hal then bonded with the entity in front of Black Hand and spread his power of life to the people who Black Hand had used the Black Lantern Batman to kill. He destroyed their black power rings and transformed them into White Lanterns. They then attacked Black Hand, unleashing the very power of life upon him. The entity entangled Black Hand and returned him to life. The moment he had returned, Hand coughed up a white power ring which flew through Nekron and into the Black Lantern Central Power Battery where it returned the Anti-Monitor to life. After the Anti-Monitor had unsuccessfully attempted to destroy Nekron, Hand spewed out a large group of white power rings which all flew straight through Nekron, destroying him in a brilliant flash of light. The rings Hand had spat out returned twelve of the Black Lanterns to life including Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. Hand was then mysteriously taken by the Indigo Tribe who recruited him into their ranks. He appeared dazed, with a blank expression only expressing one word, "nok".
The Brightest Day
William Hand returned in the aftermath of The Blackest Night where he remained within the ranks of the Indigo Tribe. He along with the rest of the Tribe arrived on the planet Earth where Hand witnessed the incident that mortally wounded Shane Thompson. When the Human asked them who they were, Hand simply replied that he was a friend whereupon he saw Indigo place the Proselyte Entity within its new host. Following the possession, he along with the Compassion Entity and the rest of the Indigo Tribe traveled to Michigan in order to join forces with the New Guardians. However, Hal Jordan was surprised to see Hand and highlighted his past deeds to which William replied that he was no longer Black Hand with the Indigo Lantern Power Ring giving him his own rebirth similar to how Jordan had been reborn after being possessed by Parallax. This led to Jordan and his allies being suspicious in the Indigo Tribe as now they believed that their Power Rings had actually brainwashed their wielders into compassionate beings leading to a skirmish between the two sides until the arrival of a mysterious being that commanded the fear elemental; Parallax who took possession of The Flash.
The Secret of The Indigo Tribe
After being teleported with Sinestro to the Indigo Tribe's homeworld, Hal Jordan was met by Black Hand, who was still under the control of the Indigo Power Ring. Because of the destruction of the Indigo Central Power Battery, Black Hand's Indigo Power Ring deactivated, and Black Hand ran away from the others. Before the Indigo Ring could find him on its' own, Black Hand fell off of a cliff, taking his own life again. After a few moments, he spit out a Black Lantern Power Ring, becoming a Black Lantern again.
The Revenge of Black Hand
Black Hand's first action was to return to Earth, reanimating the corpses of his family as well as killing and reanimating anyone else he came across. He went back to the Hand Funeral Home, his home, planning on killing and reanimating any one else he met on Earth. Black Hand was interrupted in his musings by the teleportation of Hal Jordan and Sinestro with the Book of the Black to his location. William Hand told Hal Jordan that as the Avatar of Death, the Book of the Black and himself were linked, but Black Hand was frustrated by what the Book of the Black told him about Hal Jordan; he would be the greatest Black Lantern. A short moment after, Black Hand buried Sinestro and Hal alive in their own graves, but Hal managed to escape. Black Hand volunteered to raise Hal's father, Martin Jordan from his grave. He added that there would be no Nekron to control him. He then placed his hand onto the grave and began to raise him. Before he could do so, Hal pushed him away, however, Black Hand lunged back and told that no one escapes death; just before Sinestro pushed a shovel into his head. After a short amount of fighting, the Guardians appeared and gave Black Hand more energy. He then used it to suck Hal and Sinestro into his ring, killing them in the process. The Guardians thank him, but Black Hand spoke back, stating that he wasn't their Lantern. The Guardians boomed back that without Nekron, he was vulnerable, and they immediately teleport him to The Chamber of Shadows, where Black Hand looks around in curiosity.
The Rise of The Third Army
While in the Chamber of Shadows, Black Hand raised a slain Templar Guardian with his ring. He asked the undead Guardian where he was. The Templar Guardian, who was Reegal, explained that he was in the Chamber of Shadows, and that when The Guardians of the Universe were formed, they were divided into two groups: one to guard the universe, and the other to guard the vault holding The First Lantern; it was too dangerous to leave him unguarded. But he told that now, The First Lantern was gone, and now they were here. After B'dg and the new Green Lantern Simon Baz opened Black Hand's book, they were sucked into it and ended up in the Chamber, where Black Hand welcomed them to their final resting place.
The Wrath of the First Lantern
Powers and Abilities
- Life Force Absorption: 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. This power was superseded by his change into the Avatar of Death.
- Avatar of Death: As the original Black Lantern, William Hand has the ability to generate Black Lantern Power Rings from his own body, including the ability to reanimate himself after death. After his escape from the Indigo Tribe and subsequently dying again, Black Hand showed the ability to kill people and reanimate dead bodies into zombies under his control, albeit without Black Lantern Power Rings this time.
- Genius-Level Intellect: Black Hand spent years compiling a book that contained the solution to any possible problem a criminal could run into, and his photographic memory enabled him to recall every piece of information in it.
- Coming Soon
- Life Force Depletion: As an after effect of the experimentation, when he has not consumed enough life-force, he assumes burnt or decaying appearance. After being resurrected, Black Hand does not show this weakness. After dying again, Black Hand does not show this weakness.
- Mental Instability: The physical and psychological trauma of losing his hand, coupled with years of defeat by various superheroes, has left William Hand mentally unstable.
- Divining Rod: 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. Though this device is a product of his creative genius, it is unclear if he can create any other such powerful technology, especially with his current mentally unstable condition.
- Indigo Lantern Power Staff
- Indigo Lantern Power Ring
- Black Hand, upon committing suicide and being resurrected by a Black Ring, became the physical embodiment of death, similar to how Ion is the Entity of willpower, Parallax is the Entity of fear, and how the Predator Entity is the Entity of love.
- In Flashpoint, Abin Sur survived but failed to stop Atrocitus from killing William Hand. This act led to Nekron being unleashed into the universe and leading to the premature start of the Blackest Night where the Black Lantern armies ravaged the universe.
- Coming Soon