So with more than a year of DC’s new 52 already behind us, one thing has become glaringly obvious to me: DC hates Hal Jordan. They do. They really do. If not, they’re doing a horrible job showing their love for him. There are several things that have happened in the new 52 that I will share with you to prove my assertion that the home of the pealed band-aid hates the aforementioned Green Lantern, but first, let’s go back in time a bit; all the way back to the early 1990’s.
Back then, yours truly was just a lad who would spend his meager allowance on comic books. Unlike my young peers of the time who loved the foil covers and strange gun-toting-half-metal-mutants so prevalent back then over at Marvel, I liked the “less cool” but more iconic old characters over at DC. I’d buy all four Super-titles they sold back then (Action Comics, Superman, Adventures of Superman and Man of Steel), Batman, Detective Comics, Robin, and when I could afford to, Green Lantern. I have always loved the whole idea of the green power rings, how they are only limited by your imagination and strength of will (and yes, Jeff, the color yellow). I never thought of the whole idea of a Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force equipped with power rings that needed to be charged using a lantern and an oath (yes, Jeff, a poem) was silly or lame. I guess I just latched on to it at the right time in childhood, before any level of jadedness or cynicism had reached me.
My favorite Green Lantern was easily Hal Jordan. At the time Earth had other GLs: the golden age Alan Scott (then, not gay, but ironically his power ring was unable to effect wood… insert immature joke here), Guy Garner and John Stewart… no, not the host of the Daily Show; the other John Stewart. And although I liked all the GLs (Okay, not Guy Garner so much, but he’s grown on me a bit over the years), Hal was the coolest. He was a pilot. He was fearless and noble. He was a natural leader. He was also, unfortunately, not selling enough comics.
The early 90’s saw the death of Superman and the breaking on Batman’s back by Bane. It also would give us the epic and tragic fall of Hal Jordan. Needing to shake things up in order to boost weak sales, DC decided to do away with Hal and replace him with a fresh face. During the return of Superman from beyond the pale, the evil Cyborg Superman, Hank Henshaw, and his intergalactic henchman, Mongol, destroyed Hal’s hometown of Coast City. Hal was off adventuring in space at the time and returned just after the destroyed city had been rebuilt into a giant engine—the first in what the Cyborg Superman planned to build in his evil scheme to transform the Earth into a massive construct of death and destruction that would be known as War-World. Hal helped Superman and others defeat Mongol and Henshaw, but afterwards, he was left with the sinking guilt that he had failed to save the city he had called home most his life.
The destruction of Coast City drove Hal Jordan over the edge. In his desire to undo what had been done, he killed almost the entire Green Lantern Corps and drained the central battery on Oa, thus increasing his own power to god-like levels. The now unstoppable Hal named himself Parallax and set about to alter time and space in an effort to restore Coast City and retroactively prevent its demise. Meanwhile, on Earth, artist Kyle Rayner, was given a one of a kind power ring that was no longer effected by yellow. Rayner was forced to face off against Parallax and save the universe. Later, Hal would sacrifice his life to save the Earth and then become, for a time, the Specter.
After all that, it surely seemed that Hal Jordan had been relegated to the realm of forgotten characters. Then Geoff Johns came along and brought Hal back to prominence with Green Lantern: Rebirth, in 2005. This was an awesome reimagining of Hal’s origins that in part inspired the recent film version starring Ryan Reynolds. Geoff John’s comic book work on Hal was awesome, the film version was somewhat disappointing to put it mildly, but at least it brought Green Lantern more into the public consciousness and with Hal Jordan as the ring bearer. And then the New 52 happened, and Hal quickly disappeared yet again.
It began with Geoff Johns’ and Jim Lee’s re-launch of the Justice League, in which Hal was presented as pretty much just a jerk and a hot head. I know Hal is a flight jockey and he
should be a bit cocky and brash, but they wrote him more like Guy Gardner in my view. Over in the Green Lantern title, Hal had been replaced by Sinestro… seriously? I hate Sinestro. He’s the Namor of the DC universe. Then Hal made a brief return to his own book only to disappear again replaced by yet another new human Green Lantern, Simon Baz—the first Arab American super hero in DC history that I’m aware of. I applaud DC for this, but I want to read the adventures of Hal Jordan too. I recently decided to add Justice League to my hold box. Not having read the book since the wrap-up of the first storyline, I was unaware that Hal Jordan had vanished from that title as well. So here we are, more than a year into the new 52, with 4 lantern related titles but no Hal Jordan in sight. Why DC? Why?
What do you have against Hal? Haven’t you put him through enough already? It seems to me that you certainly have. Enough is enough. I beg you, DC Comics, bring back Hal Jordan and bring him back ASAP! My $2.99 will be right here waiting.
That’s all from me today. Until my next blog, be sure to listen to Hold 322, follow me on twitter @Robert_A_Easton, and read comics, read comics, read comics.