Volthoom was born one millennia into the future of mankind, on Earth 15 of the Multiverse. He and his mother were scientists who discovered the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum, a multiversal force which was powered by the life of every being in the Multiverse. By harnessing this spectrum, Volthoom and his mother were able to create the Travel Lantern, an experimental device which would allow its user to travel across time and space. Eventually an evil race of alien invaders came to Volthoom's home planet and obliterated the civilization. In the final moments of his planet, Volthoom was told by his mother to take the Travel Lantern and find a way to save their people. Volthoom left as his mother was subsequently crushed by a building.
Volthoom spent weeks trying to master the complicated device, as he was constantly thrown into dangerous environments by the sporadic nature of the Travel Lantern. Volthoom became the acolyte of the spectrum as he travelled through time and space looking for a solution to the death of his world. On Earth 17 scientists used the spectrum to resurrect plant life, but since he didn't need this he moved on. On Earth 47 they used the spectrum to create beautiful music, once again Volthoom didn't need this so moved on. On Earth 3 Volthoom made a pact with a sorcerer named Mordru to create a power ring out of a piece of his soul, however after a dispute Volthoom left Mordru and Earth 3 behind. This ring became known as the Ring of Volthoom, and was used of the evil Earth 3 version of Green Lantern known as Power Ring.
Eventually Volthoom found what he was looking for on Earth 0, the main universe in the Multiverse. Ten Billion years before the birth of Christ, Volthoom discovered the Maltusian species on the planet Maltus. These Maltusians were an incredibly intelligent species who sought to learn the secrets of the spectrum. The Maltusians planned to pour all of their emotions into a new battery they called the Great Heart, as they believed losing their emotions would lead to greater discoveries. Upon successfully completing the ritual a power ring emerged from the center of the Great Heart. Volthoom slipped this ring on and became the First Lantern in the Multiverse.
Volthoom became a figure of law and order in the universe of Earth 0, exacting judgment on criminals everywhere. Volthoom knew the ring was the device that could help save his world, but it needed to be perfected. The Maltusians implanted the Great Heart into Volthoom's chest which gave him direct access to the spectrum. Volthoom made a deal with the scientists which would allow him to take the ring home and save his planet, but only if he helped them perfect the technology of the spectrum. Eventually the spectrum began to effect the mental health of Volthoom, as he the power he contained for too strong for his mind. After a short amount of time Volthoom went insane and tried to kill the Maltusians.
In order to secure their inventions, the Maltusians destroyed his Travel Lantern, thus trapping Volthoom in the Prime Earth universe. After killing thousands of Maltusians as a form of revenge, Volthoom was defeated by the seven "Proto-Green Lanterns", the Great Heart ripped from his chest and the first Power Ring taken away. Soon after, the Guardians imprisoned Volthoom in an unbreakable chamber (known as the Chamber of Shadows) and wrote him out of their history. A number of Maltusians (now named 'Guardians') remained behind to ensure that the First Lantern was kept imprisoned and became known as The Hidden Ones.
Wrath of The First Lantern
After the War of Light, the Guardians put Volthoom in lesser constraints as part of a plan to replace the Green Lantern Corps, whom they believed to have failed as an interstellar police force due to their emotions and free will. They used Volthoom's DNA to create a horde of infectious warriors. This horde, called the Third Army, almost assimilated all intelligent life in the galaxy, but was stopped by rogue members of the Green Lantern Corps.
During a fierce battle on Oa the Guardians depended on more power from Volthoom but this proved to be their undoing when they inadvertently freed the First Lantern. Volthoom vengefully captured the Guardians and then began siphoning energy from multiple bearers of power rings, in the hopes of gaining enough energy to rewrite the entire universe. However, he faced the combined might of all the Lantern Corps of the Emotional Spectrum. Volthoom was weakened by the embodiment of death, Nekron, and was separated from his connection to the Emotional Spectrum by Hal Jordan, leaving him completely powerless before being killed by Nekron.
A couple of years later, due to his direct connection to the Emotional Spectrum Volthoom could never permanently die, he found himself back in the realm of the living.  He then manipulates Frank Laminski, a former pilot with dreams of becoming a Green Lantern but was rejected by a Green Power Ring, into finding and taking the Phantom Ring from Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Volthoom incapacitates the Guardian, Rami, and soon leaves with Frank who had acquired the Phantom Ring.
Volthoom wakes Rami up, addressing him as an old friend. Volthoom blames Rami for making him the being he is today, revealing that he wanted to return from where he came from but was instead used by the Guardians for their experiments in harnessing the Emotional Spectrum. The two begin to fight one another, with Volthoom claiming that Rami and the Guardians of the Universe lacked knowledge, and that without him, the Guardians wouldn't have been able to tap into the Emotional Spectrum and/or create the Green Lanterns. When the Green Lanterns are able to remove Phantom Ring from Frank Laminski, Rami arrives and reveals he was able to imprison Volthoom's spirit/essence within an orb. However, the truth is that Volthoom trapped Rami's spirit within the orb then proceeded to inhabit the latter's body. In Rami's body, Volthoom explains that he will train Simon and Jessica and that the Earth is in goods hands.
According to Rami's journals, Rami discovered it was Volthoom himself who would destroy his homeworld in Earth 15. When Rami told Volthoom this, Volthoom came to the conclusion that Rami wanted his ring. While Volthoom went on a killing spree, Rami destroyed the Travel Lantern to prevent Volthoom from returning to his reality and destroying his homeworld. Rami then used the remains of the Travel Lantern to forge the first green lantern rings.
- Emotional Spectrum Manipulation: Volthoom has complete control of the Emotional Spectrum, being able to tap into all of the colors simultaneously. This power was deemed too powerful hence his imprisonment. After his release he caused cracks in the fabric of reality.
- Empathy: Volthoom is able to read the feelings of a person as well as learn what is causing those feelings. He can also sense which of the eight basic emotions is strongest in a person.
- Energy Construct Creation
- Energy Projection
- Fear Projection
- Immortality: Volthoom has lived for ten billion years due to his connection to the Electromagnetic Emotional Spectrum. He cannot die permanently because of this connection, he was once sent to the Dead Zone but he was dragged back to the realm of the living after a short time.
- Reality Alteration
- Regeneration: The First Lantern instantly heals from almost any wound. When his neck was snapped by Atrocitus it simply healed back into its normal position. When his heart was ripped out by Sinestro Volthoom quickly grew it back and the whole in his chest was also healed.
- Size Alteration: Volthoom is able to alter his physical size at will. While he normally takes the height of a tall human man, he has been known to grow much bigger. During his fight with the Parallax-infected Sinestro, Volthoom grew taller then a mountain.
- Travel Lantern (Formerly): Volthoom once possessed the Travel Lantern, an invention of his that would allow him to travel through time and space. However after he tried to kill the Guardians they destroyed the Lantern and Volthoom's means to travel between realities.
- During an interview, Geoff Johns commented that The First Lantern will feature in a crossover event called "Wrath of The First Lantern" and commented on the character's role in the story:
- "I don't want to say he's a villain or a hero," Johns says of the First Lantern, who was introduced in DC Comics' recent Green Lantern Annual. "He's just a being who's targeting our main lanterns, our guys, to see if there's a way that maybe the universe could improve if they made different choices in their lives.
- "You'll see why he's called the First Lantern within the story," the writer adds, "but he's someone who's going to take a look at every one of our heroes and main characters and really tear their life apart and rip them open in a way we've never seen before on a very cosmic scale."
- "He's a very different ancient powerful character who has a very odd and disturbing point of view on the universe and on humanity and life, and where life can go wrong or go very good," Johns explains. "He's really not a guy who's motivated by revenge not completely or by power. He has it all he's a being who's just very, very inquisitive about life and the choices we make."
- It is unclear if the discrepancies in Volthoom's history are due to him being an unreliable narrator or the changes that happened to Prime Earth's history.
- The character´s name could be a reference to Vulthoom, an inhuman god of Old Mars, appearing and referenced in several stories by Clark Ashton Smith. Later, Lin Carter incorporated Vulthoom into H.P.Lovecraft´s Cthulhu Mythos.
- The name was also used in 1964 as the entity who granted Power Ring, an evil counterpart of Hal Jordan from another universe, his powers.
- When Volthoom was visiting Earth-3, a piece of his soul was stored in a green power ring, the same Power Ring Jessica Cruz had.
- 35 Appearances of Volthoom (Earth 15)
- 14 Images featuring Volthoom (Earth 15)
- 5 Quotations by or about Volthoom (Earth 15)
- Character Gallery: Volthoom (Earth 15)
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