It’s time for the biggest of the Green Lantern guides for ALL Patrons of CK – and I’m certain there isn’t another one on the internet anything like it!
Working on comic guides is a curious chicken vs. egg situation. Do I start the guide because I’m fascinated with a character’s history, or do I become fascinated with a character’s history because I started the guide?
In this case, I’m firmly in the latter camp.
Part of what was causing me to drag my feet on this guide was that Hal Jordan didn’t seem at all fascinating to me. He was a space cop, went mad with power, and then got redeemed because people love their Silver Age dudes. Plus, that last bit has been obsessively covered by many other websites who actually like this character.
What more was there to know? What could I possibly add?
I found that both of those questions were answered by the same two facts.
First, because Hal Jordan wasn’t altered much (if at all) by Crisis on Infinite Earths, the internet is not obsessed with dealing with his Post-Crisis retcon chronology. Yet, there’s actually an interesting sequence of almost a dozen series published after Crisis that fit prior to his 1990 ongoing return.
I didn’t think it would be too big a deal to list these in story order with some context attached, but I just skimmed five of the top Green Lantern guides on the web and none of them have these details in full.
Second, Hal’s transformation from Lantern to Parallax to The Spectre back to Hal. I only saw a single guide get close to really nailing this story order – and it didn’t give any context!
I’ve never understood this sequence of events before and it’s never been collected succinctly in one place. I assumed that DC wanted to rehabilitate him and just rammed him into their spot as The Spectre so he could atone for his many sins.
That’s not quite how it happened.
Not long after Zero Hour, Hal (as Parallax) is already skulking around on Earth trying to wrest back control of his old ring and his old life. At one point he handily defeats the Justice League, fighting Superman toe to toe! Despite his power, he’s not successful. This story beat is repeated again in an Annual almost verbatim.
Then, Hal disappears… only to turn up unexpectedly in DC’s event The Final Night. When Earth is on the brink of destruction and in its final hour (literally, it’s the last issue of the book), Hal may be the only hero with the sheer determination to save it. Before he does, he has to begin to seek reconciliation for all of his wrongs with each of the other Lanterns. He does, and the series ends with his seeming martyrdom.
That happens in a one-shot called Parallax: Emerald Night. It’s such a major issue of Hal Jordan wrestling against his own stubbornness and self-confidence, and it stand completely apart from the event itself. It feels critically essential to any kind of history of Hal. Yet, it has never been reprinted apart from Final Night. It’s not in any of those special anniversary trades. There’s only one way to read it.
Then, after another three years with hardly a mention, another DC event (“Day of Judgment”) uses Hal as an unexpected deus ex machina again, this time making him the new Spectre – doomed to have his former Justice League teammates forget him after every encounter.
Even with this new status quo, it took another year and a half for Hal to get his own title as The Spectre, which ran for 27 issues and a two-issue prestige mini-series before he was shelved again before his eventual Rebirth at the end of 2004 under the pen of Geoff Johns.
Now that I understand those stories better, Hal’s return as a sort of man-out-of-time who is at once an authority figure and someone who chafes at authority made more sense to me. He had already been to two extremes of his need to control things – a terrible one as Parallax where he lost himself, and an equally awful one as Spectre where he lost everyone else.
Finally, John’s run makes a bit more sense to me.
This guide covers a lot more than those two brief periods of downtime in Hal Jordan’s ongoing publishing history as The Green Lantern. Yet, to me it’s those two periods that exemplify why Crushing Comics guides exist in the first place. I don’t create them to be almost right. They are meant to be completely definitive – almost unreasonably complete.
Then, it’s up to you to decide if you want to read it all – which you can decide because my guides include context.
Current Exclusives For Pledgeonauts ($1.99+/month): 48 Guides!
DC Guides: Animal Man, Aquaman, Books of Magic, Catwoman, Batman – Index of Ongoing Titles, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Flash, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: Hal Jordan, Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner, Harley Quinn, Houses & Horrors, Justice League, Lucifer, Mister Miracle, Nightwing, Omega Men , Outsiders, Sandman Universe, Suicide Squad, Swamp Thing
Marvel Guides: Alpha Flight, Ant-Man & Giant-Man, Captain Britain, Champions, Darkhawk, Blade, Dazzler, Domino, Dracula, Elsa Bloodstone, Falcon, Gwenpool, Legion, Marvel Era: Marvel Legacy, Moon Boy / Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan, Power Pack, Sabretooth, Scarlet Witch, Sentry, Silk, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Venom, Vision, Weapon X, X-Man – Nate Grey
Indie & Licensed Comics: None right now