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CSBG Archive

Gimmick or Good? – Green Lantern #50

In this column, Mark Ginocchio (from Chasing Amazing) takes a look at the gimmick covers from the 1990s and gives his take on whether the comic in question was just a gimmick or whether the comic within the gimmick cover was good. Hence “Gimmick or Good?” Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far. We continue with 1993’s glow-in-the-dark cover for Green Lantern #50.

Green Lantern #50 (published March 1994) – story by Ron Marz, art by Darryl Banks and Romeo Tanghal

gl50

The early-to-mid 90s marked an era of significant change for a lot of DC’s flagship superheroes. There was 1992’s “Death of Superman” storyline which saw the “Man of Steel” (temporarily) die, followed by the “Knightfall” arc that resulted in Bruce Wayne having his back broken and a new Batman taking his place. By the time the calendar turned to 1994, DC’s set its status quo changing sights to Hal Jordan, the man who had wielded the Green Lantern power ring since 1959. But rather than kill or cripple Jordan, DC destroyed his home city (in the “Reign of Superman” storyline), causing Hal to go bonkers, murder his fellow Lantern Corps. and the Guardians of the Universe, and become the supervillain Parallax, while Kyle Rayner emerged as a new Green Lantern. To “celebrate” this dark turn in comic book history, DC published a glow-in-the-dark green and yellow cover for Green Lantern #50, the third and final part of the “Emerald Twilight” storyline.

But what about inside the comic?

Based on some feedback I received on Twitter, I get the sense that Green Lantern #50 is a polarizing book for ardent fans of Jordan and the Lantern Corps. One person told me “Emerald Twilight” is the Green Lantern equivalent to Spider-Man’s “Clone Saga” – a story where everything that is likeable and comforting about a character gets flushed down the toiled in an attempt to make a super big splash. Others told me they really enjoyed “Emerald Twilight” and were fans of the Rayner-centric storylines that followed.

Personally, while I recognize that this storyline and this specific issue have a number of gimmicky attributes – the death of a number of long-term characters like Sinestro and Kilowog; the shocking heel-turn by a hero; the debut of a brand new hero without much background or build – as someone who is admittedly not a hardcore fan of the Green Lantern series and all its iterations, I thought this was a gimmick comic done well. I was engaged by the conflict, thought Jordan’s descent into madness was well told by Marz, and that all of the visual emotional beats were well captured by Banks and Tanghal.

Overall, despite its high body count, I thought the “Emerald Twilight” arc is a good example of (if I may borrow a phrase from the Spider-Man universe) the conflicts that come with “power and responsibility.” The destruction of Jordan’s hometown Coast City via the hands of a supervillain leave him irreparably broken and the moment where the character finally “snaps” – when one of the guardians scolds Jordan for using his ring for “personal gain” by recreating his hometown and his family and friends – is crafted by Marz in a way that makes me sympathize with Hal. There is something inherently unfair about how Jordan can’t do anything to save Coast City and how in a moment of mourning-induced weakness, he is scolded like a child for abusing his powers as a Lantern.

Granted, it’s hard to sympathize with Jordan after he beats down the Lantern Corps. and steals their rings, leaving them for dead in the void of space. And once he finally arrives at the Guardian’s planet of Oa in Green Lantern #50, it’s plainly apparent that the character crosses a dark line he from which he won’t be able to return. Marz then raises the stakes some more by pitting Jordan’s insanity against an even greater insanity, the villainous Sinestro, who is freed from imprisonment by the Guardians in a last-ditch effort to prevent Hal from laying everything on Oa to waste.

The Sinestro/Lantern battle is an epic one, with the newly-turned Jordan taunting both his adversary and the Guardian’s for being “crazy” enough to pin their dwindling hopes on an established villain. Sinestro meanwhile completely underestimates just how far gone Jordan is. Banks and Tanghal use the confrontation to craft some truly stunning splash pages and visuals that simultaneously move the action forward while still being pretty to look at.

Lantern_vs_SInestro

And then after the grandiosity of dueling power rings for a few pages, the death blow Jordan delivers to Sinestro is so shockingly brutal in its simplicity – Hal casually snaps Sinestro’s neck – the hero’s transformation into pure evil seems complete. The overall sorrow of this event is captured in a chilling sequence of panels depicting Sinestro’s prone dead body in the foreground and Jordan disappearing into the background where the reader knows the Guardians and the Central Power Battery are waiting for him.

Death_of_Sinestro

But that’s not before one more emotional confrontation. Kilowog arrives at the scene confront Jordan and Marz finds a way to give the reader a glimmer of hope – that maybe something can stop these spiraling order of awful events that otherwise feels ominously inevitable. Instead, Jordan disposes of Kilowog too, leaving behind his ashen remains.

For those who think poorly of “Emerald Twilight,” I could certainly identify this sequence as a bit of overkill. For me, Jordan crosses to the dark side the second he brutally murders another being by snapping their neck. At that point, Jordan is well past redemption and using Kilowog as additional fodder seems like a cheap ending for a character that had been kicking around in Green Lantern continuity since 1986. The art team tries to add depth to the moment by showing a very despondent Jordan kneeling next to Kilowog’s remains, but the moment would have landed a bigger emotional punch if it happened before the Sinestro scene to really bring home the premise that Jordan was crazy enough he’d murder a friend or in place of the Sinestro battle as Hal’s ultimate “turning point.”

Death_of_Kilowog

Some of the final images of the issue are some more great looking splash pages that set up the next generation of Green Lantern stories. The first is Jordan emerging from the Central Battery as Parallax.

Parallax

The other is a newly-minted Green Lantern-ized Rayner – a character who is introduced two issues earlier but otherwise we know nothing about. Why is he chosen by Ganthet, the one surviving Guardian, to be the new Green Lantern? The whole thing feels incredibly rushed, but as the goal is to get people to want to read the following month’s issue to find out, it totally works as a set-up for the next big Green Lantern arc.

Kyle_Rayner

Hal Jordan would continue on as Parallax for the next 10 years until the Green Lantern: Rebirth storyline brought him back to the forces of good. From a commitment to the premise standpoint, this certainly beats out how quickly DC caved on bringing back Superman (less than a year) and Bruce Wayne as Batman (again, about a year). Though, as popular as Green Lantern was, he was nowhere near the cash cow for DC that Superman and Batman/Bruce Wayne were (and continue to be) in the 1990s.

And while I certainly can appreciate the criticism “Emerald Twilight” and Green Lantern #50 received in its hey-day, and continues to receive to this day, I found it to be an enjoyable read with artwork that was also up to the challenge of creating a momentous and memorable moment that didn’t feel as cheap and gimmicky as a host of others that transpired in the DC and Marvel universes during the Chromium Age.

Verdict: Good

44 Comments

Charles J. Baserap

June 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I would like to know what made Hal Jordan go all Amanda Bynes during Emerald Twilight now.

We know it happened, that much is true, especially since most of GL’s mythos inexplicably remained the same after an event in which it was touted that “EVERYTHING changes in a flash,” but what happened?

Because it wasn’t Cyborg Superman and Mongul in the wake of Death of Superman destroying Coast City it seems. It just seems like a really key piece to the first months of the new GL books where we pick up immediately after War of the GLs with no real explanation as to why Hal isn’t a GL anymore and we get the Kyle backstory where even though his father is suddenly not Hispanic he was still given the ring out of Ganthet’s desperation in a back alley, so that’s really what I like to see.

Wait – they retconned away Kyle’s mixed-race ethnicity?? Weird…

While I hated the thinking that went into creating “ET” and there are HUGE breaks in character for Hal, despite Marz et al’s efforts to show Hals slide to the dark side, parts of it are effective for the reasons mentioned above. As a huge Hal fan, I can think of two tweaks to the basic story that would have made it *somewhat* more palatable for me:
1) Hal was *actually* able to briefly bring back Coast City through force of will.(and if Tom and/or Carol were killed too) That would have made the Guardians’ sanction more meaningful and Hal’s quest more tangible.
2) If all the killing was Hal deciding ahead of time that he was going to take the power of the CPB and reverse it all once he had the power to do so. It would have been an audacious all or nothing gamble – one that certainly crosses many lines – but not the same “Hal’s going power mad and grinning as he dismembers Green Lanterns” story.

“Caved?” The Superman and Batman storylines were never intended to be permanent changes. They were just story arcs, and I’m surprised that they each ran for a whole year. The Green Lantern changes, on the other hand, were meant to be permanent, though I, and other fans like me, wish they had only been part of a one-year story arc.

Finn Sievwright

June 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Just one clarification. Hal Jordan was not Parallax up until Rebirth, he became the Spectre during the Day of Judgment storyline, and had a 26 issue run, which led up to Rebirth. Hal Jordon was Parallax for about 6 years. I apologise for being picky. Other than that, the article is correct. Cheers

Emerald Twilight was a reasonably well-done, if lackluster, gimmicky comic.

But the last few pages were cheap, cheap, cheap. Kyle Rayner was such a poorly-conceived character that he immediately suplanted Guy Gardner in my dislikes in the GL Mythos.

@Charles:

but what happened?

Kevin Dooley happened.

Hal killing Sinestro as his turn to the dark side wouldn’t really work, given that the entire Corps executed Sinestro at the end of the previous Green Lantern series – 223 and 224 (scares me a bit that I remembered the issue number off the top of my head).

http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Green_Lantern_Corps_Vol_1_223

I can’t help but wonder if “fanboy rage” ever existed like it did before “Emerald Twilight.” You had comic fans on the verge of sending Kevin Dooley death threats over a comic book character taking a wrong turn. (There may have been death threats–honestly, I don’t remember. The mid- to late-90s were weird, probably because the internet was so new.)

I can’t say that what happened to Hal was necessarily “good,” but it and Kyle’s introduction gave the GL franchise the shot in the arm it needed. People who didn’t give a crap about GL before were suddenly reading the book, and Kyle came into his own as a successful GL and charter member of the JLA. He worked well with Connor and Wally as the “young adults” of the new incarnation of the team.

Meanwhile, I always thought it was neat that Hal had greying temples by this point. It’s not like Hal was old and aged out of the job–it was just a nice sign that there was SOME passage of time in the DCU.

The thing that undercuts Emerald Twilight was the insanely inconsistent characterization of Parallax afterwards. Sometimes he was Eeeevil, sometimes he was misunderstood, sometimes he was Good Old Hal after all. He wanted to wipe out reality and recreate the Multiverse in Zero Hour, but he saved the sun in Final Night and then died a hero’s death. Readers got whiplash from trying to peg the character one way or another. The fact that they waffled so badly indicates that no serious thought had gone into the change, and they just did it to Shake Things Up. Ie…a GIMMICK.

Captain Librarian

June 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Yeah, Superman and Batman’s death’s were pretty clearly never intended to be permanent. The animated Doomsday DVD extras actually go into the death of Superman storyline pretty deeply.

Other than that, nice write up. It’s good to judge a story on its own merits, vs what you might wish it to be, i.e. you can say turning Hal was a bad editorial choice while saying the story that was made was good.

Vanos_Of_Manos

June 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm

While I wasn’t a fan of turning Hal bad at the time, it’s a decision that has since been responsible for some really excellent work by Johns and so I can forgive it’s faults now. Looking at it from here, though, doesn’t dismiss the fact that I really hated them for turning Hal Jordan, one of my favorite characters, in to a villain, and I greatly disliked Kyle Rayner at the time. It’s a testament to the skills of guys of many writers that he would end up becoming one of my favorite Green Lanterns. Plus, I’ve got to say I love Hal’s costume design as Parallax: it keeps the colors so you know it’s obviously him, and adds flourishes like the shoulder plates, and armored look so you instantly know he’s also not the same heroic person he once was.

It’s a comic that’s aged well with me, and I keep my copy of the trade that collects it alongside GL: Rebirth and my SInestro Corps trades, neither of which would exist without it.

I hate every person involved with this comic. They are horrible human beings and they deserve to be homeless.

Kyle Rayner was and remains MY GL. The Marz/Banks era (whatever happened to Banks?!) remains an overlooked classic IMHO.

Still one of my favorite GL comics. Hal’s descent into madness and antiheroism was great (with a few flaws, nobody’s perfect), and it’s sad that the inconsistent retcon crapfest that was Rebirth had to ruin all of his character development.

What I liked most about this comic is its the first time I really felt, as a reader, the real tragedy of Sinestro’s fall from grace. You are always told Sinestro was one of the best and brightest and how big a deal his fall was. But Sinestro was so firmly rooted into place as a villian I don’t think we ever really felt it.

Hal though really was the best of the best. We’d seen him rise up from challenges that would leave lesser men in shambles. He’d made errors and had flaws but he always seemed to come through in the clutch. He was respected and loved. His heel turn made me realize just how the Corps must have felt when Sinestro fell and that was a powerful feeling.

I can’t tell if Anonymous is being serious or not. There were seriously people back in the 90s who thought like that.

Unfortunately, GL had been mediocre at best for a number of years leading up to this (From the wandering Hal at the start of that series to just stories that never went anywhere). Debate what you want, but I applaud them at least nailing it in the letters page that no one gave a rip about the book until this happened. Then we had HEAT and all that nonsense afterwards just bringing more publicity to the event. DC must have loved that as a company.

The book wasn’t selling. They made a change and created a new character that continues to do well for them today. If it was a gimmick, it was arguably one of the more successful ones that either company has done.

Good.

Hal Jordan was an incredibly bland character in an incredibly bland comic up to this point. His ring constructs were boring too. The book wasn’t selling. I, like many comic readers of the time, had zero interest in Green Lantern.

Kyle Rayner brought me in to the franchise (not to mention that great Daryl Banks art!) and kept me there for a further 130 issues, as well as getting me to hang on through the Johns run as well. Marz crafted some excellent stories and by bringing Hal back as Parralax, as well as Hal from the past, made him an interesting character that we missed. But Kyle was IMO always a more interesting and relatable character than Hal Jordan, he used the ring a lot better, and was under a lot more adverse conditions than anything Hal had encountered.

This book for me was a keystone issue that brought me into the whole GL Universe. Of course now that the New 52 has dramatically retconned Kyle Rayner I’ve just dropped it. But it was a good ride while it lasted.

I was a GL fan long before this and I liked the story. I liked Kyle well enough too. I hated Rebirth and pretty much everything Johns did with the series.

I think Emerald Twilight was a great story. It got me interested in Green Lantern again. Everyone has their favorite Green Lantern and mine is Kyle. I don’t think that he was a poorly conceived character at all. He’s still around and relevant nearly 20 yrs after he was created. Kyle exploring his place in the universe and the importance of the being the last Lantern were some great stories. The ramifications from Emerald Twilight were also still important years later also. The whole Lost Lanterns group has been relevant several times over the last few years. The same can’t be said for any of the characters that were introduced in the Batman and Superman story lines of the same type. Jean Paul Valley was mentioned in Booster Gold once and the cyborg Superman made a brief appearance in Green Lantern Corps pre-52.

After this issue, GL was good.

Come to think of it, Emerald Twilight looks suspiciously like its whole purpose was to stir up controversy and create (or at least jumpstart) the figure of the rabid fanboy.

It takes reading those early stories to realize how incredibly disrespectful they were. Kyle Rayner couldn’t be more inept a GL if it was the goal (which it probably was). They actually had to retcon a lot of the early revelations to make the character viable later on.

Not that it will satisfy me, of course. DC lost me for good thanks to Kevin Dooley and Kyle Rayner.

When I reread those brilliant Kyle Rayner stories it reminds me how much the Green Lantern franchise was in dire straits and how this new character revitalised it. Not only did it fully respect the Green Lantern mythos, every issue showed how hard it was to be a Green Lantern in a realistic manner without a Corps around to train you, and how he systematically rebuilt it. If you actually read the stories (most critics oddly haven’t) you’ll see the whole Kyle Rayner arc (149 issues) was not only a celebration of the Green Lantern Corps, but also gave us a Hal Jordan worth caring about. Hal Jordan certainly wouldn’t be around now if Kyle Rayner hadn’t kept the light burning for 10 years.

@Jimmy: I would take issue with your comment, “[Kyle] used the ring a lot better, and was under a lot more adverse conditions than anything Hal had encountered.” At the very least it’s debatable since Kyle never had to think his way around the yellow weakness. For all the talk of Kyle being creative, it mainly showed itself through his constructs, whereas Hal had to creatively problem-solve his way out of countless yellow death-threats.

I had only been really reading and buying comics for about a year before this happened. And at the time, I didn’t read GL monthly (though I did have the tie in they did with the ending for Return of Superman arc). This really felt organic to me. GL was returning from space and sees Coast City is GONE. Not damaged, not on fire, not under attack – but TOTALLY GONE. Making it worse, while he would love to to obliterate Mongul – he can’t. Why? Because Mongul’s yellow, so the ring won’t directly impact him. This means that Hal can’t even really get that cathartic revenge he needs in that moment.

And later at the start of Emerald Twilight, that picture of him in the crater that used to be Coast City, you can see he’s broken. All of his friends, his family, everyone is gone without even a stone to mark their passing. So when he recreates Coast City, which at this point is really him delving into denial, and the the Guardians slap him down for it – Hal’s psyche cracks like an egg, sending him over the edge and to Oa. Kilowog’s death I think was the only thing that really felt like an unneeded “shocking” moment. Especially after the way Hal’s battle with Sinestro ends. It just seemed like it was tacked on so that Kilowog would be out of the way when Kyle gets the ring.

Loved Kyle as a character too, FWTW. With the exception of the Major Force two parter (origin of the “Women in Refrigerators” issue), they really did some great stories with him.

this is where i got my start with GL…. Love how Kyle was introduced, went back and read all the other issues of Hal being GL and it made sense mostly where they took him. It wasn’t perfect but certainly better than Blackest Night and crap since…. Plus they made Kyle a lame, confused newbie again. And that stupid looking mask he’s wearing!

I will admit I never actually read this story, but I *did* read what came afterward, and I took to Kyle immediately. No offense to Hal fans; I get why he’s popular, but I could never get into him as a character. But I understood Kyle right away, emotionally connected with him and enjoyed watching him grow and develop as a person and a hero.

Saying he starts out out “inept” hardly feels like a legitimate criticism, as he was new to the role without as much training or guidance as many/most GLs. Figuring out what he was doing (and who he was becoming) was a major point of his character in the early days – the beginning of a new hero’s journey. Considering the heights he reached over the following years, it’s pretty hard to call him “inept” past a certain point.

It helped a lot that he was by nature a creative visual thinker, so IMO, his personality better suited the powers of the ring than most other Green Lanterns.

I like Kyle Rayner, but mainly after Grant Morrison got a hold of him in JLA.

This issue and the story that led into it were terribly abrupt and poorly written. Hal’s “madness” came out of nowhere – there had been several issues of GL in between Coast City destroyed and this one and basically none of them did anything to set this up. Now, that’s obviously because nobody had this in mind when Coast City was destroyed, but still that explanation did not make the experience of reading it any less jarring and abrupt.

The worst aspect was the absurd portrayal of the Guardians. Since when are they these helpless beings who just sit around and let themselves be killed? Why didn’t they just turn off Hal’s ring, or limit it’s abilities? They’d done things like that before, without any difficulty. It just felt like Marz had never read a Green Lantern comic before.

Hal’s not even wearing a ring at the end, how does he even survive going into the battery?

It would have been possible to tell this story well, even if the outcome would still not have pleased the Hal Jordan fan. Someone above suggested that it would have made a difference if Hal had actually been able to save Coast City, or even some part of it (like one life) for real – and then the Guardians stepped in and stopped him. Then I would have genuinely understood his anger, and been truly on his side as the story began. But instead we got this half-baked story that felt like it was written over a weekend because all the prior plans had been thrown out the window.

That said, it succeeded in what it set out to do which was to shake things up and bring in a lot of new readers, so good on ‘em I guess.

@XBen

Actually, when it comes to your theory that this was written over a weekend, it isn’t far off. DC actually solicited a much different set off issues for this arc, and then at the last minute decided to go this much more dramatic route since it was much darker and darker did equal better sales in those days (although anyone who tries to say the 90s was the grim and gritty decade is an ignorant tool since they either haven’t read a 90s comic or they haven’t read a 2000s comic – there’s no freaking difference except stuff actually used to happen in the average issue of a 90s comic while now you only get any kind of conclusion, and that’s using the term VERY lightly, after five crossover events).

All this said, for something that was clearly rushed, I can forgive the writer his faults. It does read dramatically, it gave us Kyle Rayner (who I’ll take any day over the bland-as-cardboard Hal Jordan), and the Daryl Banks artwork is absolutely gorgeous. The Guardians not shutting his ring off sounds a little like the Dark Knight Rises “How did Batman get back to Gotham” argument in that it’s a bit of a nitpick over something that could probably be explained but explaining it doesn’t really add anything to the story.

The main problem was that the build up was way to short.

The concept of Hal’s descent into despair would have worked better after a year build up, or so.

Instead, they wanted a new GL by the end #47, so Hal has to make a monumental change in attitude in the span of a couple of panels (at least, that’s how I remember it).

Everything was too quick due to the 3 issue mandate. The Guardians turning to their greatest enemy. Hal deciding it’s okay to incinerate Killowog.

DC only compounded the problem with their quick construction of Kyle. His character was Roger Stern’s Starman was a better haircut. They could have done so much more than that.

Obviously the character was made deeper of overtime, but the slapped-together concept hurt right from the start.

rocketscientist

June 26, 2013 at 8:21 am

I’d been reading GL vol. 3 since Emerald Dawn. The first 8 issue arc, “The Road Back,” was great and up there with any Geoff Johns arc imo. Gerard Jones, imo, was a great writer and had a real knack for dialogue and character and a love for GL. I thought the first 25 issues of GL volume 3 were really good. Alternate arcs focused on Hal, Guy, and John with different artists illustrating them, specifically Pat Broderick, Joe Staton, and M. D. Bright.

Gerard Jones was directed to go with the alternating GL arcs by editor Kevin Dooley. The intent was always to spin off the characters into different books to create a GL franchise, like the Batman and Superman franchises. This eventually did happen, with John Stewart put in charge of the Mosaic group of cities on Oa, in GL: Mosaic, Guy getting kicked out of the Corps and getting Sinestro’s ring in his own book, Guy Gardner, and Hal continuing as GL of earth in GL.

Jones was itching to take full control of Hal after issue 25, but Kevin Dooley pretty much called the shots from then on, having Jones dredge up old characters and history from GL vol. 2, like the New Guardians, the Predator and Star Sapphire, etc. I didn’t think the book was that good after 25, and, apparently, I wasn’t alone. The sales were dropping. Honestly, I thought Mosaic, which only ran 18 issues, Guy Gardner, and the GLC Quarterly book were all better than GL, which should never have been the case. Jones has admitted that he just go burned out and depressed about the book due to Dooley, and that his scripts just weren’t good.

So, with sales sagging, Mike Carlin and the other head editors (Archie Goodwin and Denny O’Neil) directed Kevin Dooley and Jones to write a story to get rid of Hal and introduce a new GL. It would be a shocking change, like the Death of Superman and the Breaking of Batman, but, unlike those, as others have noted above, it was supposed to be permanent.

Jones story wasn’t deemed good enough, so he was taken off the book and Ron Marz was hired to write a new story, Emerald Twilight. The major beats were all given to Marz, that Hal was going to go mad, destroy the Corps, and become a villain/anti-hero. GL skipped one month so that Marz and Banks could catch up. They had three issues to tell their story.

Given those constraints on the story requirements and the 3 issues to tell it, and the almost total lack of foreshadowing for Hal’s breakdown (really, the only indication DC could fit in was the Coast City funeral issue of Superman), I thought Ron Marz did a great job with Emerald Twilight. It was a pretty incredible change in Hal’s character and it was hard to believe he snapped like that, even under the conditions, but given those limitations, Marz’s story still resonated with me.

I was a Hal fan so I was pretty luke-warm to Kyle Rayner, but I gave him a chance and the character grew on me. I have just about every single issues of GL vol. 3. It was a great run by Marz and Judd Winick (Ben Raab though, at the end was not good).

In short, GL vol. 3 did need a shot in the arm, thanks largely to Kevin Dooley’s interference. I don’t know if it was so necessary to completely ditch Hal and the entire Corps to do that, but, given its constraints, ET did draw attention back to GL and Marz and Banks’ skill at developing Kyle Rayner, an everyman character in the vein of Spiderman, did keep the book selling well. I’m very glad that Kyle, unlike his contemporaries Wally West (RIP) and Connor Hawke, survived Flashpoint. He kind of was the GL of my generation too.

Clearly, I meant “end of #50″, not “end of #47″

rocketscientist

June 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

As far as Parallax went, Ron Marz told me on Geoff Johns board that he had plans for Hal after his confrontation later in GL with Kyle. He pitched a Parallax series to the editors but they didn’t go for it. It’s such a shame, because I think after Final Night, if they’d had Hal survive, it would’ve been a perfect time to launch an ongoing Parallax series written by Marz. Hal would’ve been something of an anti-hero with tremendous power, sane again, and somewhat conflicted on how it would be used. Marz’s Final Night issue was a great basis for that character

Marz was against killing Hal off in Final Night. He was also against making Hal the Spectre. In hinsight, I think he was right about that too (you can kind of tell that Marz’s heart wasn’t in this concept based on his mediocre story of Hal meeting Hal Spectre in GL). Although making Hal the Spectre kept him in the DCU, it wasn’t as good a role for him as Parallax was. It was pretty forced, since the Spectre’s mission and function were changed dramatically as well. The Spectre series was pretty dissapointing. It seemed to be less about Hal and, instead became a platform for Dematteis to preach his ideas on spirituality and the like. I was so dissapointed, as both a GL and Spectre fan (thanks to the excellent Ostrander/Mandrake series, a real classic), in the Hal Spectre series. The only thing great about it was the art, by Ryan Sook and Norm Breyfogle.

DC really squandered the potential of Parallax, and, to a lesser extent, Hal as the Spectre. I really do wish that Ron Marz Parallax series had gotten the green light.

I do have to admit that as bad as I thought Emerald Twilight was (and even with all the mitigating circumstances surrounding the background of the story, I still think it was really bad), I did like Marz’ Zero Hour confrontation between Kyle and Hal. It was probably the best Parallax characterization that I ever saw. But it wasn’t long after that that reading a Kyle solo series became boring as paste for me, and I dropped it (I think it was during an arc where Kyle flew around from city to city hanging out with more established heroes trying to figure out how to be a superhero). It wasn’t until Morrison’s JLA that Kyle began to really resonate with me.

I have always thought that Gerard Jones’ run on GL was vastly underrated. The first 25 issues were very strong, I thought, and I think a bit beyond that as well. I just re-read GL: Mosaic and I still like that book a lot, even if I don’t fully get all that’s happening all the time.

I’d heard about Jones’ version of Emerald Twilight and though I don’t remember the details, I thought it was a lot different – involving a second set of Guardians, revelations about their role in the death of Hal’s father, and several more issues to complete the story. So something a lot more involved than the simplistic story we got.

The Guardians not interfering with Hal’s rampage was such a massively obvious plot hole that it demanded explanation for me. It smelled of “We just need stuff to happen and we don’t have time to figure it out, so from now on, this is how the Guardians have always been.”

@ XBen
Hal was supposed to be the greatest Lantern, so I’ve always just used the vague, blanket explanation that his rage and willpower overrode what the Guardians could do to shut him down. Just sheer anger and brute force of will. It’s not much, but it works for me. Although, didn’t Johns retcon that Parallax took him over the moment he felt fear for the first time again (after feeling it as a kid watching his dad die) in the wreckage of Coast City? Parallax’s interference could explain away your problem too, but that wouldn’t have helped you back in 1994 lol

This was one of my first comics, (I pretty much got started with Superman’s death and return as well as the Archie TMNT series) and I gotta say I loved it at the time. It was like a big action movie. Mind you, I had no idea of Hal Jordan’s history. Just the fact that that Kyle was new, and I was new to the medium.

I had dropped Green Lantern about a year before ET. It was frankly kind of boring and I wasn’t too interested in Hal. I picked it up agian with #51 through the end. I loved the character of Kyle and how the book was actually fun and exciting again.

It’s been a long time since I had read the first few years of this GL run but I thought they had already show Hal having issues with the Guardians. When I heard about what happend to him in ET I don’t remember being surprised.

@ Al Sedano

I was thinking the same thing – Hal never really got along with the Guardians, and while the whole story feels rushed (as is the nature of bringing in a new writer and telling him to completely change the status quo from top to bottom in three issues), I can see where a lot of it makes sense what happened. He’s always had problems with the blue dudes (not as much as Guy, but still), and what happened in Coast City was the last straw. If Marz had had more time to flesh the story out, go over some of the major plotholes, and actually give the reader time to appreciate how the tragedy had affected Hal and why it would make him fall, this story might be more fondly remembered.

Is this story available in trade form?

Like a few others my problem is mainly with the execution. Hal was a strong-willed guy; any change to villainy needed to be more gradual. Also, Hal simply wasn’t as attached to Coast City as Clark to Metropolis, Bruce to Gotham, Barry to Central, etc. Certainly destroying Coast City would make Mongul an enemy of Hal’s for life but all the above heroes would be more likely to snap at their home city’s destruction. Yes, I realize that after the fact there were flashbacks showing Hal’s love for Coast City, but that’s kind of like making Superman a serial rapist and then afterwards creating flashbacks of him improperly using x-ray vision.over the years. As depicted up until then, Coast City was a place he lived in from time to time but was happy to leave as circumstances dictated.

A better approach would have been that he was a space cop torn by his duties to space and to his friends on Earth, whom he *did* love. And as his interaction with Green Arrow showed, he struggled with grey areas, and was by then no longer as cocky as when he first appeared. If something was to drive Hal mad, it should have come out of those elements. Maybe his divided loyalties and uncertainty cause him to make a critical mistake, one that he can’t easily come back from, and then from there he digs himself in further.

I never had a problem with Kyle. I thought he made a great Green Lantern because he didn’t have the silly yellow weakness or the Omni-potent Guardians always interfering with him. He had to learn how to do things on his own and to grow into the superhero role.

However, the Hal angle was rushed too soon. He went from hero to murderer in an unbelievably quick fashion. I just didn’t buy that Coast City’s destruction would push him over the edge like that or at least as quickly as it did.

And don’t even get me started with the evil yellow being that corrupted Hal…….

@equesatrum
There was also a trade released in 2003 (but also out-of-print) that included the “New Dawn” story arc that followed.
http://www.comicbookdb.com/issue.php?ID=19442

As far as people’s gripes that Hal’s insanity wasn’t “set up” properly, then they don’t know much about the subject. I’ve seen it recently happen to a good friend of mine, now institutionalized: sometimes all it takes is one extreme moment of stress to make you snap, even when it seems that you’ve handled worse situations in stride. It should not read (and I don’t think Marz wrote it as such) as Hal “turning evil”, but as Hal having a complete mental break.

I didn’t like how they did Jordan but I liked Kyle quite a bit. I can say that this is probably the only instance where completely annihilating a character and replacing them with a whole new character actually worked. And for my money it worked well. Oddly enough though, I’d say Kyle did a lot more growing in the pages of Morrison’s JLA run than he did in his own book (I read both). By the last issue of Morrison’s run you saw a very different Kyle than the space cadet you saw in the beginning. The best part of all this was how Johns came in and made it all work in the end.

I feel for those who were attached to Hal at the time, but since I’ve always preferred Kyle, I like this story, though I did know about Rebirth before reading it.

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