The Indigo Ring—The Ultimate Criminal Rehabilitation Tool?
Hello. My name is Field, Lyle Field.
Green Lantern #9 (The New DC 52 Edition) finally revealed (at least most of) the truth about the Indigo Tribe and the compassionate tools they wield.
If you have not yet read Green Lantern #9, I suggest you stop reading this article until you do. Fair Warning!
The origin of the Indigo Tribe lies in the invasion of the planet Nok (which means “Compassion Be With You”) a number of centuries ago and transformed the world into a slave center. Virtually all of the inhabitants of Nok were imprisoned and then transported across the galaxy to fates unknown. It wasn’t until Green Lantern Abin Sur (the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 before Hal Jordan) helped free Nok.
During fight for the liberation of Nok, Abin Sur and the Nokian known as Natromo discovered the power of the Indigo light from a spring within a cavern from an unknown source deep within the planet. Using its power to forge weapons, Abin and the Nokians learned that when they cut their enemies with this Indigo weaponry, they momentarily overcome with remorse.
Following the emancipation of Nok, Natromo taught Abin the ways of the Indigo light and together they forged the first Indigo power ring. Abin Sur left Nok only to return later on with his arch foe, Iroque, who happened to be responsible for the murder of his daughter [Take note—Abin Sur also had a son named Amon who was a criminal and later a member of the Sinestro Corps before dying at the hands of ex-Green Lantern Laria, now a Red Lantern]. Iroque was the very first person to try the Indigo ring and it immediately changed her filling her heart with compassion where she showed “genuine” remorse over killing Abin’s daughter. Abin then set out to retrieve some of the sickest criminals in the universe in order to transform them to compassionate people while Natromo created more Indigo rings and staffs.
However, the Indigo devices were never made as a way to redeem the worst killers and sadists in the galaxy but to destroy an evil hidden from sight—an evil madness from within—The Guardians of the Universe.
I suspect there is more to the Indigo Tribe than what was already revealed in Green Lantern #9 but I guess we will have to wait until the next issue for more revelations and how it ties into the Third Army.
While the Indigo ring and staff does allow the ability of any Indigo Tribesmen to simulate an inferior version of one the corps light powers, it is the ability to alter the wearer’s emotional and cognitive state that intrigued me.
Just imagine if such a device was actually real, think of how it would help reduce the recidivism (the repetition or recurrence of delinquent, criminal behaviour or behaviour disorder, especially following punishment or rehabilitation) rates among sociopaths. Sociopaths are a reference to patterns of attitudes and behaviours that are considered antisocial and criminal by society, but are seen as normal by the subculture in which they developed. Sociopaths may have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for empathy, guilt and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based on expectations of their subculture. However, if such devices were created and used on sadistic criminals, they would be indoctrinated into compassionate and law biding citizens that steal the moral right to make that decision on their own and whatever decisions they make from then on has been taken away by this mind-altering device… in this case the Indigo ring.
The whole Indigo spectrum of power reminds me of the Behaviour Modification Device that the Squadron Supreme (as part of their Utopia Project) used on criminals to reform them by removing a piece of their mind and personality—in essence it tampered with their free will. As noble as a decriminalization program like this is, it violates the civil rights of the individual who may not have the freedom to choose to be “good”.
What happens when the Indigo ring is used on an individual with no sociopathic tendencies? What happens when the Indigo ring modifies the brain cells of a “normal” individual to replace any negative inclinations with positive ones, such curing the nervous habit of biting your fingernails. For that we will have to look at Ray Palmer—the Silver Age Atom!
During the Blackest Night event in 2009, Ray Palmer temporarily possessed the power of the Indigo ring and staff. Now whether or not in the New 52 reality Palmer was the Atom, nevertheless I consider him to be an active participate in the Blackest Night as member of the Indigo Tribe at the time.
Palmer does not have sociopathic predisposition, he does have the negative propensity of running away from the world when things get too big for him all because of his ex-wife Jean Loring. Did the Indigo ring and staff “wipe out” Palmer’s negative emotions when it comes to Jean? It certainly did especially when Palmer stated that he will never be haunted by Jean anymore and decided to move on with his life. When Palmer was no longer a member of the Indigo Tribe after the Blackest Night, there was no indication that he reverted back to his escapist mode when things got tough. Although, I wonder if Palmer quitting his role as a UN liaison to SHADE prompted him to start running away when the going got tough in the recent issues of Frankenstein: Agent of Shade series. And did Ray truly make a free choice to accepting the Indigo ring or was it subliminally thrust on him?
The Indigo ring sounds like the ultimate ring to promote safety and security but the danger lies in the alteration or loss of one’s free will. A very dangerous trade-off.
For more on Ray Palmer/the Atom and his role in the Blackest Night, pick up the Blackest Night and the Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns graphic novels (and I also recommend picking up the New DC 52 Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE Volume One graphic novel which will be available later this month). As for Marvel Comics Squadron Supreme and the Utopia Project, that is also available in HC and SC formats. As for the Secret of the Indigo Tribe story arc, continue to read the New DC 52 Green Lantern series as it leads into the Third Army Saga starting in Green Lantern Annual #1 available August 29th.
I’ll smell you later.http://pokupo.com/2012/06/15/the-indigo-ring-the-ultimate-criminal-rehabilitation-tool/ComicsFeatureBlackest Night,comics,DC,Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE,Green Lantern,Hal Jordan,Indigo Tribe,Ray Palmer,Sinestro Corps,The Atom,The Guardians of the Universe,The New 52