Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: This is a Whole Can of Worms

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Friday, February 08, 2008

This is a Whole Can of Worms

I am probably committing blogger suicide here, but I have a theory. And that theory, is that perhaps, in the long run, Emerald Twilight...wasn't so bad.

What is that sound that you hear? Herds of GL fanboys screaming in the night? I guess my perspective may be different, but when they did the whole thing with Hal going nuts, the destruction of Coast City, and Hal as Parallax, I wasn't even reading Green Lantern. I knew vaguely what was going on, but didn't pay much attention. It wasn't until quite a bit later, that I started picking up Green Lantern again, and then, since I didn't have the slightest clue as to what was going on...who WAS this Kyle person anyway?...I began to go and pick up back issues so that I could fill in the holes.

And you know what? Although I do agree that the initial plotline was a bit rushed, and there were probably a lot of things that could have been done a little better, I still think that Emerald Twilight does hold up as an important story. Maybe THE important story, because when you think about it, a lot of what has happened to Hal in the meantime, certainly goes back to that whole story arc.

I love Hal, I really do. But...(and I ALWAYS have to insert that but)...there is no doubt that in the Silver Age at least, Hal was a monumental fuck-up. He was arrogant, selfish, domineering and quite requently, stupid on a galactic level. For all of that, he was still handsome, charming, brave and stubborn. Generous and understanding however, he was not. He treated Guy pretty shabbily for one thing, picking him to be his replacement without ANY training, and then running off with Guy's fiancee after the poor fellow was supposedly tortured and killed. Guy turned out to not be dead, but he was pretty much broken, so Hal put him on the shelf for a while, and decided to play with John Stewart instead.

He didn't treat John a whole lot better than Guy. Hal certainly had an elitist attitude around John for quite a while. John himself brings it up in "Mosaic" that Hal saw him as his creation,and how he got mad when that creation went and got uppity. Then Guy came back a changed and bitter man, and Hal didn't behave much better. I'm not even going to go into his whole treatment of Carol Ferris.

So Hal starts to get white temples, and begins to act even more arrogantly than before. He takes Guy's ring back for no good reason, he's hitting on Power Girl, pushing people around, and then of course Coast City is destroyed, and he completely loses it. I don't say that the Guardians handled things any better of course. In their own inimitable fashion, they screwed things up even worse than Hal did.

Geoff Johns' retcon of Parallax into the mind-possessing space bug, is genius to my mind. I can now go back and reread those issues, and NOT want to kick Hal in the gonads. Then we had Final Night, and Hal's redemption, and then we had Hal as the Spectre, and then finally, finally we had Hal in Rebirth. Then we had Recharge, and the reestablishment of the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians back, and so on and so forth.

Hal was redeemed in his own book, but still all of the stuff that he did in Emerald Twilight is still there, and he has to deal with it every day. He's not quite so guilt-ridden as he was, but it is such a more interesting take on his character. The concept of the Lost Lanterns is a wonderful one, the distrust of the Guardians, and the way that Hal has actually had to fight to earn his right to be among the other heroes and the Corps is much more interesting to me, than simply seeing Hal the way that he used to be.

Like Guy, like John, like Kyle, Hal has actually had to grow and change as a character. He's still on the arrogant side, and I think that he always will be, it is such an intrinsic part of his nature, he's still brave, he's still handsome and he's still charming. He's NOT quite as stupid as he used to be however, and he even has shown a tendancy to stop and think once in a while, and possibly even learn from his mistakes, which is a HUGE step for Hal Jordan.

I think that we can all agree that this is a wonderful time to be a Green Lantern fan, with two books, and a lot of attention on Hal, John, Guy and Kyle. Or, as Geoff Johns calls them, the Four Musketeers. And we wouldn't have been able to have Rebirth, Recharge OR the Sinestro Corps War without Emerald Twilight.

Oh, and can still make fun of him. He makes it so easy sometimes.

Hal Pictures


At 12:06 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Anybody busts on you for liking Emerald Twilight best be going through me too.

Marz's Twilight was epic for it's time and stands as an important event that effects Hal continually still.

Thank you for making me not feel like I am a nut bag for liking the storyline.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Patrick C said...

I went through a lot of hell, cause I even liked the story at the time. Of course, besides watching Super Friends as a kid, Green Lantern #46 (Hal versus Mongul in the remains of Coast City) was my first exposure to comic book-Hal Jordan, and my first ever Green Lantern purchase. I thought it was just so incredible, I loved it. I could see how long time fans of Hal could have felt betrayed, but without that background I thought it was just a truly epic story, and as you pointed out, one that set up the current awesome run of GL and GLC.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

i agree with you. having a not a haunted pat is one of the best thing that has happened to hal and gives him more depth and make him more human.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

Heck, Sally, I agree with you, too. :-) Admittedly, I'm a lifelong Hal Jordan fan, but I'm also a lifelong Green Lantern fan, and that means liking more than just Hal. It took me a while to warm up to Guy, but for me, writers trying to replace Hal was nothing new, and Hal always had a habit of coming back. The whole Parallax issue, capped off by Kyle "replacing" Hal, was certainly much more dramatic than when John "replaced" Hal, or when Guy "replaced" Hal, but for me the whole replacement issue was nothing new. I think the whole Hal-to-Parallax-to-Spectre-back-to-Green Lantern scenario served in the long run to give Hal much more depth than ever before. I think it gave ALL of the Green Lanterns much more depth. The Green Lantern concept is better now than it's ever been, and what came before merely helped to build up a rich history and back story for all of these characters. That's one thing I really love about Geoff Johns -- instead of crying "DO OVER" and trying to erase history or "redo" the Green Lantern concept, he embraced that rich history and built upon it. I know it's all too good to last, but man, I'm gonna enjoy the ride while it's still running!

At 7:47 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Apparently poor Marz was getting death threats from some of the fans, which just goes to show how huge a story it was.

But it WAS a fascinating story. And it set up so much that is important for Hal's character NOW. Heck, it impacted ALL of the Green Lanterns characters, and not even just the Earth Lanterns, but Kilowog, and the Lost Lanterns and so on.

Certainly the whole aspect of the Guardians dates back to that story too.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Frank said...

Sally, I have to disagree with you and say that Emerald Twilight was every bit as bad as we all thought. Sorry Nick.
That being said, Johns was able to take what was very bad and make something good out of it that we all thought was great. To his credit, Rebirth, Recharge and the Sinestro Corps War worked on the strength of Johns writing not on any strength of Emerald Twilight.
Those were blackest days back then and the comic book industry almost imploded because of what was going on in all major titles, DC and Marvel.
First time commenter here and I want you to know I absolutely love this blog. You are now visited daily and I think what you do here is a hoot!

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Neurello said...

When I read it, I thought it was horrible for two reasons.

First, Hal was finally being portrayed as a hero who was maturing (the grey hair being the external sign) and examining his life. And so DC had to replace him with a much younger version because, well, why should any reader over 30 have a character they can relate with?

Second, Hal's conversion to the dark side was done with less imagination than a "heel turn" in pro wrestling.

However, I've since read that Marz was only following orders and had to rush Hal's breakdown. Not that I was one of the people sending death threats, of course.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Frank, there is no doubt that it could have been handled a whole lot better than it was. I just spent the better part of last Sunday reading through all of my old JLI's, and it got a bit...painful when I got to the 90's.


You had Superman being something of a jerk and then dying, Batman getting his back broken, and all the grim and grittiness that was so completely over the top. You could pretty much guarantee that they were going to do something to Hal, and that it wasn't going to be pretty.

Fortunately, we are past all of that now. But I still feel that Hal wouldn't be as good a character as he is today, if he hadn't gone through such horrendous trauma.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Frank said...

Absolutly. Again, it is a credit to such good writing that we all cheer now. If the Green Lanterns weren't top tier before, they certainly are now. (I loved them before all the dreaded reboots)


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