Hal and the Rest
So yesturday, I was sharing with you the bizarre and yet compelling goodness of the Mosaic series by Gerard Jones, with John Stewart as the main protagonist. And yet John...like ALL the other Earth-based Lanterns just can't get away from the incredible ego of Hal Jordan.
I really enjoyed Mosaic #5. Hal has showed up on the Mosaic world and offered to intercede with the Guardians and get the inhabitants back to their respective planets. He is absolutely STUNNED when Rose Harding tells him "no thank you". She wants to stay and help John work things out. Hal immediately leaps to the conclusion that she MUST be under John's MIND CONTROL! Being a woman, obviously Rose has no mind of her own. Plus he had the hots for her once, although nothing much came of it, and her picking John over his own studliness is just...wrong!
And therein follows some truely interesting dialogue and John's own internal musings:
Hal says: I love John...
John thinks Our protestations of love are almost a ritual between us. But they smother a hissing tension, and I hear it now as he tells of my tragedies and lunacies.
John says I'm the problem, aren't I Hal? You just can't stand to lose her to ME.
John thinks I've been his project. The wounded one to nurture. The confused one to reconstruct in his own image. He feels good when he can help me in spite of myself. I am his Child-Man.
Hal lets lose with his ring, saying, "I'm sorry, John."
John stops him with his own ring. "No, I'm sorry Hal. My mind isn't yours to probe anymore.
Hal says "Stop fighting it John. I have to do this. Damn it...John...stop fighting it!"
John thinks You have to be careful who you invite over for coffee. When we met up at the Book of Oa this morning we agreed we needed to "clear the air". Over coffee. But then, maybe this is what we really meant, after all.
They then proceed to kick the crap out of each other for quite a while. Hal is doing pretty good, and has John on the ropes, but John comes back with different aspects of his personality, and Hal just has no answer for all the different Johns...because Hal doesn't have the conflicts that John does, and therefore none of the versatility either.
John tells Hal, that Hal fights to prove that he's right, that he scores his total victories and strides out as he entered. But John never scores a total victory...because every victory opens another challenge.
John says "Why do you want Rose, Hal?"
Hal replies "I...I just want her to be free to make up her own mind...because you haven't been acting sane, John!"
John says "Don't judge MY madness by YOUR sanity, Brother. You know jets. You know control. you know the straight path that stretches ahead of you through open air. You sail so smoothly through the world that you don't need to understand it. But I know structures. I know corners. I know what supports the world that you stride over so easily..."
Guess who wins?
To me, this was a brilliant piece of writing. Mr. Jones really picked up on the way that Hal regards John, and by extension Guy and even Kyle. They ARE a reflection of him...his creations and constructs and he gets so cranky when they don't perform the way that he expects them to. John's thoughts about being Hal's project and Child-Man apply so perfectly to Hal's attitude towards Guy. Even with all that Kyle's done, Hal stills sees him as something of a rookie, a project.
Of course this story took place pre-Parallax, and so a lot of things have changed. But I STILL get that vibe from Hal towards his fellow comrades, that HE is the one responsible for them. I think that is why he is always so surprised by their actions, he hasn't quite figured out yet, that they've grown beyond his control...if he ever really had itin the first place.
And that's one of the reasons why I love Green Lanterns.