Nekron is the ruler of a dimension known as the Land of the Unliving. How he became the ruler, and if he was ever alive, is not known. Though Nekron was not death herself, Nekron's realm contained the souls of all who had died, passing through his domain on the way to their final destination. For years it had been enough. In the late twentieth century, an immortal as powerful as the Guardians of the Universe crossed into Nekron's realm, changing the dark lord's existence forever. The immortal's name was Krona.
Reduced to pure energy by the Guardians, Krona burst through the dimensions, bringing the immortal instant death. The paradox of an immortal in the realm of death ruptured the fabric of space, allowing Nekron to view the land of the living.
Nekron saw the many worlds beyond and felt imprisoned in his realm. He wished to change this. Nekron restored Krona to his original form and increased the renegade Maltusian's powers. The Lord of the Unliving gave Krona an army of the dead to command. At Nekron's bidding, Krona would kill other immortals, namely the Guardians of the Universe, and increase the size of the interdimensional rip, allowing Nekron freedom.
[Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2]
The Green Lantern Corps was assembled on Oa. Despite the destruction of the Central Power Battery, the emerald warriors stood against Krona's schemes. While the Corps battled Krona and his army, the Guardians were elsewhere.
[Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #1]
The Guardians spread across the cosmos, protecting the universe from the deadly repercussions of Nekron's threat, as the universe was collapsing upon itself. A group of Guardians tried to close the rupture in space but were met by Nekron's power.
The Lord of the Unliving's touch meant instant death. Bolts of dark lightning were thrown at the Guardians, forcing them to retreat. One Guardian was chosen to warn the Green Lantern Corps of the threat of Nekron.
The lone Guardian reached the Green Lanterns after their battle with an army of the undead. He warned the Corps of Krona's arrival on Oa. The Guardian died of exhaustion as the interdimensional rift grew wider.
[Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2]
Krona easily defeated Tomar-Re's division of the Green Lantern Corps. Hal Jordan was the last to fall, but the Green Lantern of Earth later rallied the Corps to take action against the overwhelming odds.
[Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2-3]
Nekron called Krona to his side. The renegade Maltusian killed any Guardians he could get his hands on, causing the rift to widen even more. The arrival of the Corps was a surprise, but the Green Lanterns once again met the army of the undead in combat.
The unliving army of Krona sought the destruction of the Green Lanterns, though one of their numbers had his doubts. Tylot was thrown into battle against the emerald warriors. He realized the evil of Krona and saved Arisia of Graxos IV from death, winning the admiration of Jordan. Tylot was granted a power ring to serve the side of life.
Hal Jordan entered Nekron's realm seeking allies. The souls of hundreds of deceased Green Lanterns were in the dimension of death and turned on their master. Krona lost much of his power, forcing him and his army to retreat. Jordan escaped Nekron's realm as the dimensional warp was sealed. Krona swore to return to destroy the Guardians.
[Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #3]
Ever watching the outside world, Nekron soon saw another chance to bring the land of the living to him. He sent the spirit of Angela Adam to haunt the dreams of her husband Nathaniel Adam. Nekron arranged for Adam to be brought into the land of death to see his late wife on the astral plane.
Nathaniel Adam, better known as the super-hero Captain Atom, was linked to the Quantum Field. Nekron desired to use Captain Atom's soul to pull the Quantum Field into his realm and with it every living creature in the universe.
Naturally, Captain Atom opposed the idea and drew upon energy to make himself stronger. This worked to Nekron's advantage, as the hero had pulled life energy into Nekron's realm.
Mortals, such as Major Force, who were connected to the Quantum Field felt the agonizing pain of Nekron's touch. Soon the old, the infirm, and finally the young would be subject to Nekron's power.
Captain Atom changed his strategy. Instead of drawing from the Quantum Field, the hero entered Nekron's body and absorbed the power of the Lord of the Unliving. Captain Atom was then able to defeat Nekron and return to Earth.
[Captain Atom #42-43]
Months later, when the Amulet of Anubis exploded, destroying the Tower of Fate in Salem, Massachusetts a spatial rift was created which allowed tangential continuums a mystic bridge to the Earthplane. Nekron battled the demon god Neibros for control but both failed to achieve their objectives.
Recently, the actions of Felix Faust to gain immortality unleashed supernatural forces and allowed the dead to rise once more. A number of Justice Leaguers found themselves face-to-face with friends and enemies who had left the mortal plane.
[JLA Annual #2]
Nekron's power had grown after his latest defeat, making his grip on the spirits of the dead absolute. The appearance of the unliving in the universe had caused a new anomoly allowing Nekron to peer into the land of the living once more. Nekron seized upon the opportunity by unleashing a number of dead Green Lanterns aginst the last Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner.
The planetform Green Lantern Mogo appeared before Rayner and from beneath Mogo's soil arose other dead members of the Green Lantern Corps. Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Tomar-Tu, Adara, Chaselon, and other Green Lanterns attacked Rayner for their master, blaming him for their deaths and the fall of the Corps.
Nekron himself tried to kill Rayner but the Green Lantern resisted. Rayner plunged into Nekron's realm just as Hal Jordan had years before. Nekron relished the chance to kill the last Green Lantern and with Rayner's death enlarge the gateway to the land of the living.
Rayner escaped Nekron's clutches only to be surrounded by the corpses of the Green Lanterns awaiting him. Though it was difficult for him, Rayner was forced to kill the Green Lanterns once more, causing the rift to close in upon itself.
Nekron remained imprisoned within his realm, once more his only avenue of escape and conquest had been closed off. Only time will tell if Nekron makes yet another attempt.
[Green Lantern Annual Vol. 3 #7]
Script: Len Wein
|CREATIVE TEAM (First Appearance)|
Plot: Mike W. Barr
Featuring concepts created by Marv Wolfman & Jack C. Harris
Illustrators: Joe Staton & Frank McLaughlin
Colors: Anthony Tollin
Letters: John Costanza
Edits: Dick Giordano
I've yet to find Captain Atom #42 but from what I've heard of it, Captain Atom meets various incarnations of death in the DC Universe. Death of the Endless, the Black Racer and Nekron were on hand, each claiming to be part of a triumerverate of the afterlife. In that story, this version of Death was described as the incarnation of "death as compassionate release" Rumor has it the story didn't sit well with Sandman writer Neil Gaiman. As the creator of the Death character, Gaiman insisted Death of the Endless was the only incarnation of death, the others were nowhere near her power.
Green Lantern Annual Vol. 3 #7 was part of the "Ghosts" theme running through DC's 1998 JLA related annuals, culminating in JLA Annual #2.
According to WHO'S WHO '85 # 16, Nekron is pronounced NEHK-ron.