The Controllers are a powerful alien species that feature in DC Comics.
A Controller would appear before Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes warning them of the dangers of the Miracle Machine and the potential of it creating a universal level cataclysm. He would not take the device as he left it in the Legion's care whereupon they along with Superboy decided to encase it within a block of Inertron until mankind was more capable of using it. The Legion decided that only the greatest of cosmic emergencies would make them activate the machine again. (Adventure Comics v1 #367)
Shortly after the creation of the Green Lantern Corps, a rift emerged among the Oans with a faction believing that evil should not be contained but destroyed. This schism saw half the population departing Oa for another dimension in order to build weapons of great destructive power. In time, they would change and evolve where they eventually took the name of Controllers. (Crisis of the Infinite Earths v1 #7) For millennia, these Controllers had sought to develop anti-war weapons. (Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare v1 #3)
One Controller was charged with creating the ultimate anti-war weapon for his sector as it was determined a great threat would arise in the future. For reasons unknown, his starship ended up crashing on primitive era Earth when mankind were barely above monkeys and was dying from the impact. Before he died, he sought out one to continue his mission and sought out the primitive humans in the area. One was deemed too savage but the other was selected to continue the Controller's mission. Empowering him, the individual who would in time become known as the Know Man was given the gift of immortality and intellectual curiosity with the latter being used to study the Controller's ship. In time, the Know Man would learn of his benefactors mission and seek to protect the world by creating defenders to save it from destruction. (Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare v1 #3)
The Controllers would embark on a similar approach as the Guardians by creating their own peacekeeping organization which would become the Darkstars. At first, this body was created in order to protect Controller territory and rather then be involved in its management, they made use of aliens that worked in such roles that worked for NEMO. This would be a highly successful venture as the Controllers expanded the role of the Darkstars, however, their distant relationship with the organization meant that it was corrupted by its director as well as mismanaged. An act that ultimately meant that it was dissolved eventually.
Thus, the Darkstars were created to be their version of the Green Lantern Corps. (Green Lantern v3 #123)
Ultimately, the Darkstars were considered failures in the eyes of the Controllers. (Green Lantern v3 #123) Their conclusion for this failure was because their involvement was simply observation from a distance when they should had acted more directly. (Green Lantern v3 #124) As such, their next course of action was the abduction of a human by the name of Martin Van Wyck where they experimented on him to serve as an agent for their mission. However, the experiment was deemed a failure as the human did not manifest any abilities and was returned to Earth. However, unknown to them, his abilities were actually dormant and manifested when he was taken back to his homeworld where he became the supervillain Effigy who battled the last Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. After learning of his powers, the Controllers returned to claim Effigy once more and when Rayner attempted to stop them he was incapacitated where they vowed that they would return. (Green Lantern v3 #114) Rayner would later seek to stop the Controllers schemes where he encountered Effigy once more who had now been transformed into one of their servants completely devoted to their commands. After defeating Effigy, the Controllers came to believe that the last Green Lantern would be a threat to their plans for the future. (Green Lantern v3 #123) They managed to capture Kyle at a point when they had built a factory to convert organic beings into an army of Effigy-type entities. However, Rayner managed to summon his power ring and devastated the factory where he exposed the single minded nature of the Effigies as they had no will of their own and thus did not act on their own initiative to protect the gestation chambers. Though defeated, the Controllers departed the scene but vowed that they would not underestimate Kyle Rayner the next time they met. (Green Lantern v3 #124) The Justice League registered the Controllers as one of the many threats to them but by the Oblivion crisis they had been dormant for several months since their last encounter with Kyle Rayner. (Green Lantern/Atom v1 #1)
After the Sinestro Corps War, the Controllers were one of many that sought to build their own Lantern Corps by finding the orange light of avarice. As part of their quest to find the light of the emotional spectrum needed to make their own corps, they travelled to the Vega system. Arriving on the world, they found nothing but decaying bodies and found a lantern. But before they could take it with them, however, they take the light with them, it exploded with energy and the Controllers were all killed by Larfleeze and the members of his Orange Lantern Corps. (GL #39: Agent Orange)
Though devastated, a few band of Controllers survived under Kellic where they decided to restore their race. To accomplish this, they decided to kidnap the remaining Guardians of the Universe and harvest their genetic material to create more their own kind due to their shared Maltusian genetic material. Such a fate befell Gurion, Natos and Yekop who were transformed into new members of the Controllers race. (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps v1 #35) The remaining six nearly suffered the same fate until the four Earth Green Lanterns came and forced the Controllers to retreat. They decided to continue their conflict with their Guardian brethren and decided to create their own army to match the Green Lantern Corps leading to the re-establishment of the Darkstars. (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps v1 #36) The Darkstars upon activation betrayed the Controllers and imprisoned them where their powers were used to serve as the central communication system of the Exo-Mantles linking them all together. This gave the Darkstars a remarkable level of communication among one another as they were linked via a hive mind allowing them to stage their universal campaign of exterminating all criminals. Hal Jordan freed Hector Hammond and took him to the Darkstar world where the God Brain used his powers to sever the captured Controllers from the system thus shutting down the communication system for the Exo-Mantles. (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps v1 #49)
This race of cosmic beings were a genetic offshoot of the Guardians of Oa. (Green Lantern v3 #114) Their abilities were similar to that of the Oans with them holding vast powers though they never became personally involved in combat. (Green Lantern v3 #123) Among their noted powers was to induce a mental corruption in the minds of sentient beings where their mind would turn against itself to form its own reality. Thus, the mind of the subject became their own prison but people with suitable willpower were able to break through this technique. (Green Lantern v3 #124)
One of the reasons for the schism in their parent race was because they felt that the Oan's methods were too moderate. Instead, the Controllers believed in universal order and would go through any means to achieve that mission. (Green Lantern v3 #114) They believed a more pro-active approach needed to be adopted in policing the universe and thus sought their own methods in achieving that goal. (Green Lantern v3 #123) In their mind, they saw the cosmos as being filled with random occurrences that promoted chaos and confusion which was why they desired to bring order to it. (Green Lantern v3 #124) When the subject asked them why they performed the experiments, one of the Controllers response was because they could do so. (Green Lantern v3 #114) In their mind, such agents were considered little more than tools to serve their goals. (Green Lantern v3 #124)
Unlike their cousins the Oans, the Controllers evolved somewhat different with their skin taking a more pinkish tone and were all completely hairless. Despite this, they were still quite capable of manipulating matter and energy as well as being long lived. They were said to be immortal beings with powerful cosmic powers that were claimed to have been a match for the Guardians. (GL #39: Agent Orange)
The Controllers did not believe in the containment of evil but rather the extermination of it which meant they created a great deal of weaponry for such tasks. They furthermore did not believe in the individuality of their servants like the Guardians did, preferring entities that were controllable and obeyed.
- Clonus :
- Kellic : leader of a small band of surviving Controllers who sought to restore his people by harvesting from the Guardians and remaking them into more members of his kind. (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps v1 #34)
- Quaddo : a follower of Kellic's band of Controllers. (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps v1 #34)
- Mu : a male Controller. (The Green Lantern v1 #1)
- The Controllers were created by Jim Shooter, Mort Weisinger, and Curt Swan where they made their first appearance in Adventure Comics v1 #357 (June 1967).
In other media
- In Legion of Super-Heroes the animated series, a Controller resembling the pre-Crisis version appears in the season one finale "Sundown" where he was voiced by David Lodge. They were described as being as an inter dimensional that sought to end war during the Great Crisis by unleashing the Sun Eater but the devastating nature of the weapon after two uses caused them to lock it away. Within this continuity, the lone Controller was a renegade member of his race who believed that ultimate perfection came from chaos instead of order. As a result, he breaks open a vault in order to release the last Sun-Eater in order to observe the chaos the machine brings to the cosmos. The Controller's presence was discovered nearby the rampaging celestial weapon where Superman was sent to battle the alien being whilst the Legion fought the Sun-Eater. Though seemingly ill-equipped to fight Superman, the Controller becomes engulfed in a power suit that magnifies his strength and powers allowing him to battle the young Kryptonian. Ultimately, Clark Kent manages to defeat the alien being with the Sun-Eater destroyed but at the cost of Ferro Lad's life. The beaten Controller manages to escape though Superman warns him to never return.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, they make a small cameo appearance in the episode "When OMAC Attacks" where they appear in the initial story arc. Batman along with Hawk and Dove travel into space where they witness an ongoing war between the Controllers and the Warlords of Okaara. Ultimately, Batman managed to stop hostilities and bring the two alien races to the negotiating table in order to agree to a peace treaty.
- In Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, the Wii version has the appearance of a Controller present in the campaign.
- Adventure Comics:
- Legion of Super-Heroes:
- Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare v1 #3:
- Power Company:
- Green Lantern:
- Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps:
- The Green Lantern: