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 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 Garnder 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 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.
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. At this moment how these changes will affect later events in Hand's life, including the details of his career as Black Hand.
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 Central Power Battery.
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.
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.
- Life-Force Depletion: As an after effect of the experimentation, when he has not consumed enough life-force, he assumes burnt or decaying appearance.
- 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.
- Black Hand Power 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.
- 62 Appearances of William Hand (New Earth)
- 72 Images featuring William Hand (New Earth)
- 14 Quotations by or about William Hand (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: William Hand (New Earth)
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This character is or was primarily an enemy of the Green Lantern of Earth, or the Green Lantern Corps as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Green Lantern Villains."