Wednesday, June 1, 2011
In Defense of Hal Jordan
The character of Hal Jordan has been coming under fire for quite a while now. (For those uninitiated in the vagaries of the DC Comics universe, Hal Jordan is to Green Lantern what Bruce Wayne is to Batman or Clark Kent is to Superman -- the secret identity.) A while back, DC decided to reboot its second tier heroes -- Green Lantern, the Flash, etc. -- into new secret identities in the hopes of making the characters more relevant to a new generation of readers. They did so by killing off the old heroes and having new ones pick up the mantle, or, in Hal's case, having him go insane after his home town was destroyed by an alien despot. Hal went insane, killed off the other Green Lanterns, and became the villain Parallax. It caused quite a hue and cry at the time, being among the first times a dyed-in-the-wool hero became a killer and a villain. Ultimately, DC "rewarded" readers' who kept their faith in the character by having Hal come to his senses and save the Earth by reigniting the sun. This cost him his life, but he became the Spectre, a dead soul bonded to God's Spirit of Vengeance, in hopes of rebooting that character as well. It was a complicated mess that wasn't straightened out until writer Geoff Johns came up with the idea that Parallax is actually the living embodiment of Fear. The Guardians of the Universe had imprisoned Parallax in their giant power battery, and it broke out through possessing Hal Jordan. Hal was off the hook for murder, and free to become Green Lantern once again.