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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So Did Hal Jordan Become a Bad Guy or What?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, we take a look at the fall and retcon-heavy redemption of Hal Jordan!

I’m of two minds when it comes to possession as a plot device. While it is obviously abandoning a story, does it really count as FORSAKING it, too? I think it turns on whether the possession was just something like temporary insanity, in which case I don’t think it is forsaking the previous story (for instance, I would call the revelation that Scarlet Witch was overpowered by Life-Force when she went nuts an instance where the original story was not forsaked, but rather just given some context that wasn’t available originally – that’s why I had that one as Abandoned Love and not Abandoned an’ Forsaked). However, when a retcon of a possession is used to say that the person’s actions were literally not their own (not a case of “too much power corrupting” but specifically “Another being controlling your thoughts”) I think that that is a big enough of a retcon to count as forsaking the original story.

Anyhow, when last we left Hal Jordan (in part one of this look at the fall of Hal Jordan), he had just seemingly snapped at the destruction of Coast City (and the Guardians giving him crap over trying to recreate Coast City with his ring) and had gone off to get more power from Oa.

So on the way, he kicked the ass of any Green Lantern that tried to stop him, and he got more brutal the closer he got to Oa…

Now on Oa, Hal discovered that the Guardians had revived Sinestro to stop him. They had a knockdown dragout fight in Green Lantern #50 that ended poorly for Sinestro…

Hal’s friend and fellow Lantern Kilowog tried one more time to stop Hal. It went poorly for Kilowog…

Hal then absorbed a bunch of power from the central battery and became a new being…

He next appeared during Zero Hour where he coldcocked Superman from behind…

The other heroes stop his plan and he ends up on Oa again with Kyle, where he bemoans what he has done so far, even if he still insists that he was right to have done it…

Hal showed up once more to fight Kyle and then, during the crossover Final Night, Hal sacrificed his life to restart Earth’s sun, thus dying as a hero. A few years later the now-dead Hal Jordan became the new Spectre.

That was the status quo until Green Lantern Rebirth. In the third issue, writer Geoff Johns (with artist Ethan Van Sciver and Prentis Rollins) explained that Hal had not actually gone insane to begin with…

(Yes, even his gray hair was retconned!)

And at the end of the fourth issue, Hal comes back to life and is now a hero again…

So yeah, Hal never killed Kilowog, he never did all that weird stuff in Zero Hour, that was all the evil yellow fear monster Parallax.

Green Lantern Rebirth has a lot of other things in it unrelated to Hal that are ALSO good fodder for Abandoned Love. I guess I will do a third part in the future!

If YOU have a suggestion for a story that was both abandoned AND forsaked, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com.

108 Comments

It’s a retcon, but the Emerald Twilight/Zero Hour/Final Night Parallax was such a mess. Johns actually made it all make sense AND redeemed Hal.

We have finally encountered a limb-chopped-off moment of which Johns does not approve!

Rebirth was really clumsily done, but it accomplished its goal of getting a usable Hal back in the DCU. Emerald Twilight was just awful all the way around.

This is why I hated Zero Hour. Hal was trying to do the right thing, trying to undo all the death and destruction from Coast City through his own acts. He would have restored all those he killed and made the universe a better place. And the other heroes fought to stop him? I was rooting for Hal the whole series.

I did love the ZH moment when Hal tries to convince Ollie he’s finally questioning the system and challenging authority the way his buddy always encouraged him to do.
Much as I enjoyed Rebirth, I think overall I’d have preferred keeping Kyle as GL and Hal as Spectre. Even though I wasn’t a fan of JM deMatteis’ Spectre series, it took the Ghostly Guardian to more interesting places than he’s been since.

The problem with the whole gray hair thing wasn’t Hal going grey early (that happens IRL), it was that Hal seemed to be aging quicker than John, Hal, etc.
The Parallax retcon was inevitable since in issue 47, Hal seemed to be dealing with his grief like a normal person, and in issue 48, he was a psycho. It was like the Cly Erwin mess in Iron Man in the ’80’s, but instead with a major character. I blame the editors in situations like this. If there’s a change in writers, it should be the editors’ job to make sure a character doesn’t do a 180 switch in characterization overnight.

I like to just pretend that all never happened. I remember when those comics first came out and people were PISSED about the whole ordeal. HUGE mistake on DC’s part; never should have happened. Johns’ retcon was the best thing they could have done to try to salvage the GL franchise after they ruined it in the 90s.

Emerald Twilight was SUCH a bad story, and Hal was SO out of character, that it was pretty much assured that eventually someone would come along and pull the “He was possessed” to get out of it. It’s a shame it took over a decade to do it, but DC in the 90’s was an odd company.

And I agree about Zero Hour, it was a story where I was hoping that Hal WOULD fix things, since they had made a hash out of continuity in just 8 years that they needed a major fix.

I actually liked Hal better as the Spectre. When he was GL, he had no personality whatsoever, much like Barry Allen. As the Spectre, he became a much more interesting character.

After Rebirth, I collected the new GL series, hoping that Hal would be interesting this time around. Boy, was I wrong. That’s why my favorite Lanterns are Guy and Kyle. They were never boring, IMO.

Emerald Twilight seemed like a logical thing once you read 47. Hal was acting “too happy” in a sense. That hey , my entire city with family and friends were killed. Like he was in major denial heading towards a breakdown. And as we saw in #48…he had a Hawkeye Pearce breakdown and lost it. That once he had time to sit down and not be off playing hero , he couldn’t handle what he was holding in.

In the end this retcon ranks as one of the most silliest , saddest ones in memory. Instead of Hal Jordan coming to grips that he needed to make up for all the wrong he did and his breakdown , it was blamed on a yellow fear bug. Also unlike Kyle Rayner , Hal got no real character development as GL. He was a wooden action star brought to comics who never had any actual character development .

I loved Green Lantern Rebirth, I did an excellent job of bringing back a use-able Hal and it did so with by working with the previous stories, not by dismissing previous stories like so many (lazy) DC retcons do.

I think criticism of big yellow fear monsters and possession (like some seen in the comments for part one) are a bit silly them selves when discussing a science fiction comic.

Hal did not get off scott free and scar free either. He still had to deal with not only being defeated by the bad guy but also being used as a puppet.

While I’m no supporter of the Comic Code or the ethos behind it, I have to say that the panel where Hal lops off Boodikka’s hand is better done there than it would be in modern times. At least by modern DC standards, where we’d see the hand flying away from the stump as blood spurts from the wound like she was just a humanoid water balloon.

I never even bothered to read Rebirth, because try as it did, it simply did not go far enough.

To be fair, it was never allowed to, and it never had any chance. DC wants us to both accept the early Kyle period as valid and to forgive and forget the indignities and damage to Hal and the GL Corps by way of this convoluted retcon.

Well, that is not nearly enough to make me interested in the GL books again.

Call me back when you decide to retcon Kyle Rayner and those odd people interacting with him as if he were a Green Lantern back in the mid 1990s out of existence.

It is not even a matter of me being a Hal fan, although I happen to be a moderate one. It is a matter of deciding whether the damage to the concepts is tolerable. It is not.

So when was it that Hal first started going grey? Was it the first issue of the series that started in the ’90s by Jones, Broderick, Patterson, Tollin and De Guzman?

IIRC, the rationale for the grey was that he was supposed to be slightly older than the other Justice Leaguers. And yes, it was the Jones series where it started.
Also IIRC, Dan Jurgens had originally wanted to bring back the multiverse in ZH, but that got shot down (much as Mark Waid’s use of hypertime never took root).

@Superecwfan- who did Hal know well that died in Coast City?. Yes, I know that Zero Hour retconned that Kari Limbo died in Coast City but GL 47 made it seem like most of people Hal knew really well got out before it was destroyed.

I’m with Joe — in ZH, Hal was the real hero. I know, I know, he destroyed The Universe. Except he didn’t. That was Extant who did that. Hal’s now-cosmic senses alerted him to the problem, but too late. That was when he realized that he didn’t have the power to stop the destruction of the universe, but he could remake it afterward. The heroes who battled him in the could have worked with him to design it instead thought it was better to kick him to the curb and just make a big boom and get what they get out of that. They got off to a good start, but ended on the lame note that Emerald Twilight made a concert out of.

Critics of the Parallax retcon also forget that it was not only successful in explaining Hal Jordan’s insanity in a single swoop, but also it served as a launchpad for a lot of new story ideas in Geoff Johns run. So, while people might think that it is silly, it was a great idea due to the fact that it spawned a billion new ideas. That is something that should not be taken lightly in an idea-starved comic world.

I really hated both of these stories. I certainly wasn’t sorry to see the whole Parallax mess undone, but it was done in a seriously clumsy way that made everything overly complicated. I also dislike that Johns felt the need to explain everything from the graying temples to Hal’s leather jacket (rewriting Hal’s father into a completely different character than anything we’d ever been told about him in the process).Trying to wedge all that extra stuff about the Parallax creature and the emotional spectrum into the Green Lantern movie was one of the main reasons it was such a debacle, even Johns’ newfound clout at DC had been the only reason there was a GL movie in the first place.

So yeah, I was initially happy to see Hal back, until I read the thing and realized, nah, this isn’t Hal.

Geoff Johns being a fanboy of Hal is the only reason “Rebirth” happened.

Man, how awesome Darryl Banks was/is

I was happy with Rebirth because it also brought back Guy Gardner as a full Green Lantern again. I really love that jerk.

@Eric Lee: Hal’s insanity never rang true. #48-#50 were simply too out of character and not particularly well-written.

The Parallax retcon explained it, I guess. But it should never have been presented as canonical in the first place. Nor is it a particularly good solution, either; to this day it is ambiguous at best how much it excuses what was supposed to have happened back in #48-50.

As for those ideas, well, I don’t think they work all that well either. They sort of create a creative deadlock. For quite some years now characterization has taken a back seat to all that thunder about different colors and such. There was no true resolution to the actual problems of Emerald Twilight and the early Kyle years – or maybe there was and I could not be bothered to read it. Probably not, though. The very existence of a concept such as the current “New Guardians” book is strong evidence against it. It all but implies that Kyle is still a boundless Gen-X guy which I would rather not see dealing with any kind of Ring Corps. I will pass.

In fact, and that is why I see this storyline as destructive, I must pass all GL-related titles if they are going to be that unconcerned with their own internal coherence. I just keep wondering how come Hal is acting so out of character, why the Guardians haven’t yet taken Kyle’s ring off as politely as possible, and what trust is anyone supposed to have in the Corps at this point.

The way I see it, DC pretty much realized that the zeitsgeist of the mid-1990s wasn’t really supportive of an authority-centered concept such as the GLC, which is probably fair and good (the Guardians had even been written off the series by Christopher Priest shortly before Gerard Jones’ run). The GLC could and probably should have been retired as a concept at that point. But DC entirely botched it when it attempted to instead subvert the concept and expect us to think of that as good thing.

Whatever merits Kyle Rayner as a character may have as a character (and frankly, as Kevin Dooley and Ron Marz presented him those were simply not very many), he is not, has never been and will never be very convincing as a GL. The guy simply feels much too entitled.

I always thought that the perfect way to retcon away “Emerald Twilight” would have been to use the fact that Hal was wearing the power ring he took from Lord Malvolio ever since the end of Action Comics Weekly. It was obvious that Malvolio had manipulated Hal into taking the ring due to some unrevealed plan of his. So why not just say that Malvolio was influencing Hal’s mind, driving him insane?

As silly as I think Parallax the bug is, Emerald Twilight was even sillier.
I was all for this particular retcon, as I think Hal was treated very badly in the 90s.

But, as Ben Herman said, I, too, think Lord Malvolio’s ring would have been the better way to go.
(Maybe then we could have avoided the Rainbow Brite Corps, too…)

I thought Marz did really strong work on the last few Parallax appearances and the Dematteis Spectre series was very solid. I was very invested in the idea of Hal’s fearlessness being a danger to the universe and the idea of a new GL series where he was afraid of his own fearlessness. That seemed like a brilliant concept to me.

I also had a lot of faith in Geoff Johns after his really well rounded portrayal of Black Adam and at least some of the Flash bad guys.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in a comic than in GL: Rebirth.

I really enjoy the emerald dawn story, and I really enjoy green lantern rebirth the two stories compliment each other so well. Rebirth made me fall in love with Geoff johns writing because it showed how well thought out he is as a writer. Most people would have just rebooted hal and tried to ignore emerald dawn, but johns used it and made it work and to me made the previous story work even better by doing so. I like flawed heroes its just more interesting for me as a reader. Rebirth made Hal interesting to me even with the possession gimimick it all fit and did not eliminate the past stories Geoff Johns showed how its done with this story..

I thought Lord Malvolio would have been a good out for Emerald Twilight, too, but as I said I did like Rebirth.

Like some of the rest of you I do not care for the rainbow of Corps and thought the movie was bad, but I do not hold that against Rebirth.

@Luis Dantas
I never saw the Corps as being authoritarian, and I do not imagine that fighting evil is a dated concept.

@SUPERECWFAN1 See, this is exactly why I roll my eyes whenever anyone says that Emerald Twilight was a bad story or was out of character. The only way I can see it being out of character is if you accept that Hal was a terrible character that was completely wooden and could not handle true human emotion. He finally gets the time to process what happened to him and everyone close to him and while he is doing so his bosses come in and witness it and instead of being compassionate they back him into a corner and try to take it all away. He should lash out with every single thing he possible could at that point.

And then Rebirth happens to try and wipe it all away and make him more youthful (really, removing the gray hair thing was one of the most stupid things I’ve read in years) and to try and put him back in charge. I’m sorry, but he needed years of stories to be redeemed as a character. To this day I am not satisfied that that job has been done adequately. Heck, I am still not convinced that ANY story that has been told since truly needed Hal back to fill the role he has been written in. Kyle or John or Guy could have been used in place of Hal in the various stories since and worked just as well, if not better.

How did Kilowog come back, anyway? I remember his death in Emerald Twilight. I remember his ghost showing up in the “Ghosts” Annual with Nekron. I think I quit reading “Rebirth” when Kilowog showed up randomly. For some reason, I could buy Hal’s return, but not his.

Christopher Franey

February 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Something that helps GL 47 to 48 read better is Superman v2 83, the Funeral for a Friend epilogue. It has Hal and Ollie so I’m pretty sure that be a good spacer between those mentioned GL issues. In the story you can see Hal as he starts to get angry and emotional about Coast City, so you can see him processing the grief more and then it puts him at the Coast City Memorial which then leads to the events of Emerald Twilight.

I do wish they would’ve spent more time with Hal’s fall like they did with Supes’s death and Bat’s breaking, but they were going for the special issue 50, which was crazy. The other characters came back and the status quo was shaken, but restored. GL was getting a new status quo with only 3 issues…it was too rushed, but hopefully someday if they do another collection they should have GL 46, 47, Superman 83, GL 48-50 and that makes for a better Emerald Twilight.

Fixing this mess was Johns best work apart from his JSA, and it led to a lot of other interesting and sometimes good stories. I have mixed feelings about Johns writing and his love of death and gore but he did pretty well with this.

Rebirth was so terrible. It just took an eraser to the last decade of comics. Giving Hal a get out of jail free card was a weak way out. It would have been much more interesting if he had to actually work for his redemption. Has the whole erasure of Guy’s alien powers even been mentioned? I was a GL fan from back in the 80s and it wasn’t Hal going crazy that pushed me from reading Green Lantern. It was Johns’ nonsensical, illogical writing.

This article got me searching for something I remember reading several years ago, which struck me at the time as maybe trying to placate those who were grumbling about the “Parallax retcon” by suggesting that maybe some of Hal’s more questionable actions came from the man himself, rather than purely from possession. And I think I’ve found it – in the “History of the DCU” segment at the end of 52 #7. It deals with Zero Hour, and I refer you to the following remark:

“More than simple possession by the entity Parallax, he gave in to his fears, embraced his new identity and sought to create a perfect universe.”

Now, ultimately it’s been the “Hal didn’t do any of it” angle that’s prevailed since Rebirth, but I just thought I’d mention what appears to have been a (fairly half-hearted, IMHO) attempt by DC to try and please both sides in the argument, little over a year after Rebirth came out. Thoughts?

Giving Hal a get out of jail free card was a weak way out. It would have been much more interesting if he had to actually work for his redemption.

Well, uh, how exactly could he redeem himself? He killed loads of heroic characters and wiped out an entire species — the Guardians — to a single member. He eliminated interstellar law and order across the universe for his own selfish ends. The he tried rewriting all of time and space to make himself feel better about it by whitewashing away his own horrible actions, and in the process he got a lot of other people killed or hurt.

What in the world could he do to get anyone to trust him with one spark of power? And if the heroes did let him back in, then what’s so bad about, say, Ra’s al Ghul — say what you will, but at least he only tries to kill 70% of the population of a planet, not 99.9999%.

Luis: “The way I see it, DC pretty much realized that the zeitsgeist of the mid-1990s wasn’t really supportive of an authority-centered concept such as the GLC, which is probably fair and good (the Guardians had even been written off the series by Christopher Priest shortly before Gerard Jones’ run).”

Actually Steve Englehart largely wrote the Guardians out with GL 200, when the Guardians officially made the Corps independent.
And I think retiring the GLC was a horrible idea. Being part of the Corps made Hal a lot more interesting than when he (or Kyle) were just some guy with special powers.

The first comic books that lured me to buy them, off the rack, at the corner drug store, were Silver Age Green Lantern comics drawn by Gil Kane. I loved Green Lantern when Neal Adams was drawing, too. That was this young boy’s favorite super-hero.

Editor Dooley and writer Marz, and anyone else responsible, should have had their asses kicked right out the door for the whole Hal Jordan-turns-evil thing. If you don’t love and respect a character, you have no business writing or editing that character.

i give rebirth and jones credit for undoing all the mess emerald twilight did to hal jordan as green lantern even having to use the old oh hal was not himself he was taken over by some one else controling him aka paralax plus also loved that paralax living in the central battery is the reason due to being made of fear energy that no green lantern ring can work on yellow .

To me, Rebirth is a brilliant retcon as Johns takes all these facets of mythology and links it together so well, you think that the original writers meant this all alone (that Kyle’s ring works on yellow because no Parallax and he’s safe from possession because he knows fear is just brilliant). It really works well so much to redeem much of Hal and I like how Batman does speak for readers with “you want me to believe that? You were possessed all along? That’s it?” and Hal just goes “I don’t give a damn what you think, Bruce.” And Johns has said he fixed the grey hair as he never liked it as a sign of Hal older than others, which I do agree with. I know some have issues but it ends with Hal back but Kyle still a GL and such and fixes it well.

And you left out the secondary retcons of Guy freed of that stupid “Warrior” alien thing and back as GL and how Sinestro faked his death to set this whole damn thing up. A masterful job of using the past to make a retcon WORK and one of Johns’ best works in comics.

The funny thing is, I had a listserv on DC Comics in the late 1990s/early 2000s and I (or maybe others) suggested stuff similar to Rebirth (possession) and people hated the idea. Goes to show how a different time, different crowd and also actually seeing how it played out could make a difference.

My big problems with Emerald Twilight were the abruptness and it hinging too much on a retcon in #48 that gave Jordan greater ties to Coast city than he had previously had. Unlike Superman, Batman, and Flash he wasn’t previously depicted as beibng all that tied to the city of his first appearance and did a lot of travelling. As I understood the character he might mourn Coast more than, say, Seattle, but he was hardly rooted down to Coast.

I could see Hal being corrupted in a year long arc but given his strong will, it needed to be more gradual than it was, not suddenly just snapping and forgetting that swiping extra power rings won’t increase his power because rings are willpower based. it needed to be a more subtle process, one where it might not have been too obvious the path he was on.

So I liked the Rebirth retcon even though it opened the doors to bringing back Barry, which I thought was a mistake.

However we feel about GL Rebirth, I think we can all agree it wasn’t as bad as the turgid mess that was Flash Rebirth.

I remember Darwyn Cooke saying once that Hal Jordan–Test Pilot meant an entirely different thing in the 1950s and 1960s than it did twenty years later. One reason for the way his character has been interpreted and reinterpreted.

I hated DC making Hal into a bad guy. I did think that DeMatteis’ Spectre series was a masterpiece, regardless of its backstory. I did like Johns having Hal turn out not to be responsible for his bad-guy period. Alas, the way Johns is doing Hal and the Green Lantern mythos in the New 52 has been horrible–he made Hal into a good guy again before, but then he made the Guardians into truly evil bad guys, and has shown Hal killing with impunity, without the excuse of a big yellow bug behind it all, so plus 100 points pre-New 52, and minus several million points post-New 52. :/

@Adam
Kilowog came back in Green Lantern vol 3 (the same volume he died in) sometime between issues 150 and 165 http://www.atomicavenue.com/atomic/IssueDetail.aspx?ID=153067 (he is the black and white one with the scythe). He was brought back as some sort of reanimated killing machine (Dark Lantern) by some angry ex Green Lanterns, but with some help was able to reassert his will and control.

These were all pretty good stories. I enjoyed them.

I can understand why fans of Hal hated Emerald Twilight, and it was a rather abrupt 180 to Hal’s original response to the destruction of Coast City. I can see fans of Hal wanting it erased entirely, even if I personally didn’t care that much about Hal myself.

But Parallax the yellow fear bug was terrible.

I admit that I didn’t hate Emerald Twilight. As others have explained above, Emerald Twilight wasn’t necessarily as extreme a 180 as one might originally think. Hal’s initial response to the destruction of Coast City was so minor that it does feel wrong. That Hal would later snap isn’t quite so strange. My biggest issue was the speed and way it escalated seemed off, not that it happened at all.

But then years later we get the cliched cosmic get out of jail free card. It wasn’t Hal, it was a yellow monster, who not only was the cause of the stuff Hal had done, it was the reason Green Lanterns had a weakness against yellow and the reason Hal had grey temples. Really? It’s like a Mary Sue monster, undoing everything the writer hated and explaining every secret.

YOU ALL ARE FORGETTING WHY EMERALD TWILIGHT EVEN HAPPENED!

http://glcorps.dcuguide.com/curtain/gl48-50.php has all of the info on what Emerald Twilight was suppose to be.

Apparently the sales were really low for GL thanks because IMHO Gerad Jones was just a horrible writer.

So to save the book they threw Ron Marz on it last minute and told him to come up with the story that was going to save the book.

I think all in all Ron did a great job with what he was given.

HELL WE ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT IT 20 YEARS LATER!

@ Billy:

But then years later we get the cliched cosmic get out of jail free card. It wasn’t Hal, it was a yellow monster, who not only was the cause of the stuff Hal had done, it was the reason Green Lanterns had a weakness against yellow and the reason Hal had grey temples. Really? It’s like a Mary Sue monster, undoing everything the writer hated and explaining every secret.

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH wasn’t a story. It was a manifesto. Geoff Johns was arguing at considerable length that the only way to make Green Lantern work as a property was the restoring Hal Jordan to its center. Narrative was (at best) a tertiary consideration behind making that case and selling enough comics to consider it accepted by the audience. Therefore, it is a little hard for me to be overly critical of Johns achieving what he set out to achieve.

Still, Parallax was a really terrible addition to the GL mythos.

I’m glad it happened if only to shut up the fanbois of the most willful and most unlikeable yet most popular lantern Hal Jordan.

Nothing I read in Emerald Twilight was out of character for a stubborn arrogant know-it-all like Jordan who had just lost everything. His ego couldn’t handle it. That’s reality. Thats good writing. It’s sad that people throw around words like bad writing to defend stories they just don’t like.

Now everyone has their sexist, headstrong Jordan back for Batman to loathe and they are happy. Good. Thank good. I couldnt stand the Kyle whining. Kyle who actually saved the franchise when the light was dimmest and the sales were lowest, and allowed you all to be enjoying the elevated status that Green Lantern appreciates now.

David,agree on Johns’ treatment of the Guardians. I liked it when Englehart had them screw up massively, but Johns’ run eventually felt like “Look, this issue the Guardians do something bad! Next issue, the Guardians do something else bad!”

how can you “redeem” a comic book hero, who after 50 years of being goody two shoes murders like thousands of people?

Only in comics, my friends, only in comics….Nope its not literature, yet.
Hang in there…

Also, I’m going to put this out there.

Rebirth was a massive disappointment, but what it really did was herald Infinite Crisis which was just brutal as a reader. Four mini series and years of storytelling leading up to a last page bait and switch where we saw that all the really sharp comics we’d been reading were just decoration for rehashing a twenty year old story.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been more excited as a reader coming into a comic and by the end of that mini series, I just couldn’t fathom the level of build and energy that had been squandered in the name of a writer’s nostalgia.

how can you “redeem” a comic book hero, who after 50 years of being goody two shoes murders like thousands of people?

Only in comics, my friends, only in comics….Nope its not literature, yet.
Hang in there…

This goes under the mistaken premise that writing has to reach literature status in order to have worth. I disagree. Superhero comics shouldn’t aspire to be literature. I’d rather a top notch fun superhero comic than reading a superhero comic that has pretentious aspirations to literature.

To be fair to superhero comics, most literature doesn’t release on a monthly basis for 50 years. With that high frequency and volume of output, it’s hard to maintain consistently high quality, especially given the amount of chefs involved in the kitchen. That’s why soap operas will always be somewhat inferior to well-crafted two hour movies or cable television series.

The more serialized and long-running literature becomes, and the more the quantity of writing that accumulates, the more it falls into such traps. Especially if the property is profitable. Even Arthur Conan Doyle fell into this trap and resurrected Sherlock Holmes after supposedly killing him years earlier.

So, why is a giant yellow bug that eats fear called “Parallax” again?

The minute that they brought Hal back as the Spectre, was the day I quit reading DC. So glad I was not around for the rest of this garbage.

Rebirth was a massive disappointment, but what it really did was herald Infinite Crisis which was just brutal as a reader. Four mini series and years of storytelling leading up to a last page bait and switch where we saw that all the really sharp comics we’d been reading were just decoration for rehashing a twenty year old story.

What really sharp stories? Those stories leading up to Infinite Crisis and those four tie-in minis were such total garbage. I guarantee you, now that you have read Infinite Crisis and know how uninspired and bad it was, try to reread those “really sharp comics” leading up to Infinite Crisis. I bet they won’t read as well to you.

Infinite Crisis was so incoherent. None of those disparate storylines tied in together very well, at least not in any coherent way. The attack on Amazon Island, the OMACs, the Jean Loring Eclipso story, Rann vs. Thanagar, Villains United, Day of Vengeance mini, all these wildly disparate tie-ins that ultimately were totally peripheral to the story at best, or poorly shoehorned subplots that only served to clutter the narrative at worst.

“The book was on the verge of cancellation” BS is a lie that DC told to justify all their other BS. That volume of GL wouldn’t have franchised out series for Guy and John as well as the Quarterly if no one was buying it. They wanted a sales spike similar to what Death of Superman and Knightfall had provided, so they did something flashy designed to create controversy in the short run and attract the crowd that had made Image Comics the big new thing at the time in the long term.

@Dean Hacker

Green Lantern works as a property without Hal Jordan being at the center. It works as a property without Hal Jordan at all.

If Rebirth was Johns’ manifesto, then he started with a flawed premise, and thus didn’t prove anything except that there is a fan base that won’t accept anything other than Hal Jordan being the center. It is the same attitude that brings back Barry Allen as Flash.

Those stories leading up to Infinite Crisis and those four tie-in minis were such total garbage.

I will fight to the derp on behalf of Vilains United, which was excellent in no small part because it had so little to do with Infinite Crisis in the end.

Were the sales for Jones’s Green Lantern really that low? The book had been successful to launch three spin-off titles at the time.

Dan Larkin, as I was saying above, Kevin Dooley is a less than honest man.

I’m waiting for the counter ret-con where we learn that Hal succeeded in recreating the universe and everything since then (Spectre, Rebirth, New 52) has been his child-like ego remaking the world to his liking.

Notice how Hal seems to get better and better with each reboot?

Emerald Twilight, as written, was crap…but I always thought the basic idea behind it was a good one. I think it actually could have been a great, epic story if it had been a year or so long beginning immediately following the destruction of Coast City and if they’d actually had someone important to Hal like Carol or Pieface die there. We could have seen his slow descent into madness and it could have been really cool and something we hadn’t really seen before up to that time. That said, I have always found Hal Jordan exceedingly boring and only found him mildly interesting once he became Parallax and, especially, when he later became Spectre (which was handled poorly in his Spectre series but very well in various guest appearances across the DC Universe).

I really liked Kyle starting out as a screw up with no knowledge of the Corps or what had happened and slowly growing into the role of GL and finding out about the history. If they wanted Hal back, they should have just done an All Star GL book outside normal continuity.

The resurrection of Hal was ridiculously heavy handed and a lot of the retcons don’t even make sense with previous stories. The possession angle alone was enough to vindicate Hal (even if it was cliche) but they had to go even further and pretty much systematically undo every bad thing he had done as Parallax (most of which was done before he even came back). Pieface had restored Oa with the Parallax power (which doesn’t track with the retcon but was totally ignored anyway). Kyle, as Ion (which didn’t make sense with the retcon since he became Ion by absorbing Hal’s Parallax power which, per retcon, should have made him Parallax) had restored the Guardians and later brought back Kilowog (who, according to Johns’ writing both in Rebirth and beyond, is now officially the only person Hal ACTUALLY killed as Parallax which is just pathetic). So lame…either have him possessed or undo all the bad…no need for both.

It also would have made far more sense after the resurrection for Hal to be the one off in space rebuilding the Corps (since he destroyed it and didn’t really have a supporting cast on earth by that point) and Kyle to stay on earth but Hal had to be the center of everything so we got that retarded final arc in Kyle’s GL series that should have been titled “Shit on Kyle Rayner” that systematically took away any reason for Kyle to stay on earth just so they would be able to ship him off to space.

All that said, the number one reason I absolutely HATE Rebirth is that it shamlessly propped up Hal at the expense of nearly every other DC character. Hal comes back and pretty much everyone just immediately falls in line and trusts him without any justification…except for Batman who is made to look like a total douche for being the only character who actually has the sense to question Hal (something everyone should have been doing) and then we get that totally ridiculous moment where Hal decks Batman (if he wasn’t using the ring, Batman should have absolutely annihilated him).

It was a terrible story and, while I generally like a lot of what Geoff Johns did with the GL mythos afterwards, most of it could have been done without Hal…and probably would have been better that way.

I always really wanted to see Grant Morrison on a Kyle Rayner GL series. He handled the character very well during his JLA run (even though he’s usually crap with characterization on established characters) and is probably one of the few writers in comics truly immaginative enough to do the Kyle/artist GL premise justice, (a premise that has been mostly abandoned since Hal’s return essentially making Kyle just another GL).

The way the yellow Parallax origin reads, it really is insidious and well handled, considering what needed to be worked with and what it explained:

1 – Hal’s sudden, inexplicable grey temples
2 – Kyle’s unexplained lack of yellow impurity
3 – Hal just completely giving up and going 100% overboard
4 – Hal choosing the name “Parallax” which makes no sense (unless he was going to master the implied parallel worlds that Jurgens intended to have Zero Hour create)
5 – A definitive origin of the actual yellow impurity and how it came to be

You know T.,

I haven’t touched those books (including Villains United) for years. A lot of why I thought they were so good at the time might have been because of the anticipation that they were all building to something. You had things like the Mxy stuff in Rucka’s Adventures of Superman and the Titans Tomorrow arc in Johns’ Teen Titans. There was a lot of momentum and energy in 2004. Identity Crisis was hugely flawed but I think it did help to start a ball rolling.

There were a lot of mysteries floating around and there was the sense that they were all going to come together into some satisfying whole.

instead they just became background for the noise that was Infinite Crisis. I knew a lot of people who were really into things in 2003-2004, though, more so than probably any time I can remember being a comics fan. DC had a lot of new eyes on it at that point and they went with a backwards reactionary story at the worst time and in the worst way.

I learned a few things after decades of reading superhero comics:

1) 90% of “event” stories are horrible.

2) 99% of “event” stories written in the 1990s are horrible.

3) 99.9% of “event” stories that kill, maim, or replace a major hero are horrible.

4) 99.99% of “event” stories that aim solely to rewrite another “event” story are horrible.

“Parallax” makes sense for Hal’s choice of new name, because it’s a scientific measure of how things look different when viewed from different perspectives (a la Hal’s speech up there).

It makes no sense for a big yellow bug that eats fear.

Kyle’s lack of yellow impurity was explained, I thought. And Hal’s grey temples didn’t NEED to be explained.

As someone who as noted above liked the basic idea of Rebirth I agree certain aspects don’t quite work especially if you include stuff from after. You have to believe that a monster would allow itself to be killed reigniting the sun and then remain undetected still attached to Hal in the afterlife and Spectre period. And then afterwards that a monster who was that subtle about remaining undetected would choose an over-the-top exaggerated form for its subsequent appearances.

I will fight to the derp on behalf of Vilains United, which was excellent in no small part because it had so little to do with Infinite Crisis in the end.

I know I’m in the extreme minority but I’m in no way a fan of Gail Simone’s writing, so I admit I’m a bit biased there. That said, I will say it was the most coherent of all the miniseries, even if I wasn’t necessarily a fan. Having so little to ultimately do with Infinite Crisis may be why.

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH wasn’t a story. It was a manifesto. Geoff Johns was arguing at considerable length that the only way to make Green Lantern work as a property was the restoring Hal Jordan to its center. Narrative was (at best) a tertiary consideration behind making that case and selling enough comics to consider it accepted by the audience. Therefore, it is a little hard for me to be overly critical of Johns achieving what he set out to achieve.

Still, Parallax was a really terrible addition to the GL mythos.

I’m torn on this. I don’t criticize Rebirth on plot elements for the reasons you said. You’re right, it’s meant to be a manifesto. HOWEVER, what I do judge it on is how bad the fanservice in it is. It’s so transparent and ham-fisted. Also the stupid attempts to be clever that backfire. Like when all the Green Lanterns are working together and Johns and Van Sciver try to show how the Lanterns are different. So because Kyle is an artist we see his constructs are all art related. He’s holding his chin to show he’s in deep thought and he was using art-related constructs. Meanwhile I think John Stewart was using architecture tools in his constructs because he’s an architect.

I actually do like the retcons it introduced like Parallax though. Not because it was particularly great in any way, but because the alternative, which was letting Emerald Twilight stand, was so much worse.

And Hal’s grey temples didn’t NEED to be explained.

This was written by Geoff Johns, the man who felt the need to give Barry Allen’s BOW TIE an origin even.

@kdy2814: I said authority-based, not authoritarian.

And that is one of its strengths as a storytelling device. Many of the best Hal stories revolved around his duties to the GLC and the conflicts they brought.

As for Gerard Jones’ GL being in need of a shake up, definitely. It truly needed one. That however was no excuse to making it a satire of itself and expecting fans to take it at face value. And it was certainly no excuse to have Firestorm-light take a GL ring and having everyone treat him as if he somehow deserved it.

Frankly, I think Kyle was exactly what the DCU needed in 1993. It was during the boom and there were a lot of kids reading for the first time and he was a great POV character for the DCU. Test Pilot punchy Hal is the second most unrelatable character imaginable for kids, the first being grey hair Hal.

Maybe because it was when I grew up, but I always liked Kyle better. Because it cleared the slate for Kyle I don’t mind Emerald Twilight. But I can see why fans of Hal would hate it.

You know, it’s possible for both Ron Marz’ Emerald Twilight and Geoff Johns’ Rebirth to have sucked.

They both did suck. Emerald Twilight, as written, was a rushed mess and I completely understand why fans of Hal would be upset about it (even if I don’t understand how anyone would be a fan of Hal) but, to be fair, it wasn’t the story Marz originally meant to tell. Rebirth, though, was completely unnecessary by the time they actually did it. Thanks to Morrison’s JLA and the work other writers had done, people had finally started to warm up to Kyle and, while the book definitely needed a relaunch and a better creative team, it didn’t need Hal. Hal as Spectre had a lot of potential that had barely been mined at all but it had shown in various guest appearances in Geoff Johns’ books, Winick’s GL, and even the tail end of PAD’s Supergirl series. There was a lot more that could have been done with that and the Spectre has been totally lame ever since.

I think diehard Hal Jordan fans would have praised anything that reversed Emerald Twilight, no matter how bad it was.

As Rebirth shows. Rebirth is about as bad as Emerald Twilight. A little better in some ways, much worse in others. But Hal fans hated Emerald Twilight so much that it didn’t matter. Rebirth did what Hal fans wanted, so it didn’t matter that Rebirth trashed years of history, kicked Kyle to the curb, and elevated Hal back to the center around which the entire Green Lantern concept revolves. (Those are all things that diehard Hal fans wanted, anyway.)

I dunno who those Hal fans are that y’all are talking about. I was a huge Hal fan when I was a kid–he was pretty much my favorite hero–and yes, I thought Emerald Twilight was an awful story. But so was Rebirth, and so was Johns’s Secret Origin. Since Hal has been back, the only glimmers of the character I liked were in occasional comics by other writers, like in Mark Waid’s Brave & the Bold.

And I never had any problem with Kyle. I certainly didn’t hold the awful way that Hal went out against him. I didn’t like his series much because I don’t care for Marz’s writing, but I liked Kyle just fine when he popped up elsewhere.

The point is, Hal didn’t come back because the fans demanded it. Hal came back because that’s what Johns wanted to do, and he’s DC’s golden boy of the moment. DC doesn’t give a crap about what the fans want. In fact, the opposite: the company wants to replace them entirely with newer, better fans. That’s what the New 52 was explicitly about.

I don’t know if there’s ever been a company so good at splitting its fanbase and making it absolutely impossible to make even a majority of them happy.

What Buttler said.

Though people who pause to read and comment on a GL article with THAT title are bound to be either a Hal fanboy or a Kyle fanboy.

I am not a huge fan of either character, mostly enjoying their appearances in other series, Kyle in JLA, Hal in The New Frontier.

The point is, Hal didn’t come back because the fans demanded it. Hal came back because that’s what Johns wanted to do, and he’s DC’s golden boy of the moment. DC doesn’t give a crap about what the fans want. In fact, the opposite: the company wants to replace them entirely with newer, better fans. That’s what the New 52 was explicitly about.

No, I’m not really sure that’s what DC wants. I think DC just wants press and attention and doesn’t really know what it wants beyond that. If it really wanted new fans, there are so many things it would have done differently in its reboot. And the books are still so loaded with easter eggs and callbacks from prior continuity that I don’t really see how it can truly be about getting new fans.

As someone who is neutral about both Hal and Kyle (like both under certain writers, hate both under others), I think from the aspect of pure craft Rebirth is worse. Just so much fanservice, so corny in many ways, etc. The actual writing craft on Emerald Twilight, although terribly misguided and horrible for the franchise in my opinion, is pretty good. The dialogue, the emotions, all decently done.

But as far as a piece of franchise-maintenance, Rebirth was much better. Not only did it make Hal a viable Green Lantern again as well as reverse past mistakes, but it put every Green Lantern in a good place for whoever wanted to use them in the future. I think a lot of people underestimate or dismiss the importance of franchise maintenance. For example, my favorite example is Daredevil Born Again. Craftwise it’s brilliant, but it’s terrible as a piece of franchise maintenance and really hamstrung the next few years of writers with a very difficult, bleak, unappealing status quo.

Grant Morrison is a really interesting writer when it comes to franchise maintenance.

T. –

That is interesting (and I still remember our fights over change x illusion of change in superhero comics).

Franchise maintenance (loved the term) is tricky business. In the 1970s, franchises like the Fantastic Four and Thor were sort of locked into status quo very, very, very conservatively. While the characters didn’t suffer any damage in the form of boneheaded storylines that had to be retconned later, they sort of languished. In the 1960s they were vibrant, in the 1970s… It’s hard to point to any single 1970s FF or Thor story and call it memorable. I’m not sure about finances either, but I doubt that they were among the top 10 best-selling comics.

The Celestial Saga in late-70s Thor was really, really memorable. Not only was it the first use of the Eternals and Celestials in the Marvel Universe (where they later became overused) and the Celestials were a threat on a level unlike anything Thor had experience before, but there was also a long, crazy tangent in which Thor and Valkyrie essentially acted out the entire Wagner Ring Cycle. Crazy stuff. Wolfman’s “In Search of Galactus” FF arc was also pretty memorable.

And that’s the thing: It was always possible to tell good stories with the characters and put them back in the box again without breaking them and without playing this “NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!!” game. The stories weren’t always good, lord knows, but it didn’t have to be static either. Heck, look at Simonson’s Thor run. It was huge and epic and wonderful, and right after that it was perfectly possible for Tom DeFalco to turn Thor back into a normal 1980s superhero comic again, because Simonson did all that without breaking the toys.

Rene – I don’t think franchise management necessarily means maintaining the status quo or avoiding change. I believe it just means keeping an eye on the longevity and long-term viability of the franchise when making decisions. Sometimes I think franchise management requires keeping the status quo to a certain degree, but sometimes I think franchise management means shaking things up when things are getting stale, although the shakeup has to be one where the short term benefit isn’t outweighed by a long term detriment.

So for franchise management, sometimes the right choice can be the status quo and sometimes the right choice can be a shake up. All that matters is long term viability of the storytelling engine is preserved. Even a change like Born Again could have worked if Miller either stayed on to make the new premise work and establish a storytelling engine for it, or if he tweaked it in a way that Matt’s situation was left changed but still viable.

To give an example of how locking into a status quo can be an example of the opposite of good franchise management, look at Weisinger’s Superman. Any formula or gimmick that worked to generate short term sales, Weisinger did, and while Superman reached astronomic short term success on his watch, he was also a big force in making Superman stale to the point people believe modern readers can’t relate to him. If you look at everything that people consider timeless about Superman and keeps him popular, it’s usually stuff established before Weisinger by the original creators or the radio show. The aspects of Superman people find embarassing or stale or dated were usually established during Weisinger’s era. The sheer length of Weisinger’s status quo really cemented those aspects into the Superman mythos and became hard to shake.

Another example is Julius Schwartz’s Silver Age revamp of Golden Age properties like Flash, Green Lantern and the Atom. It was total reinvention and change of status quo, but it was brilliant franchise management.

I’ll have to stick up for Weisinger. Phantom Zone, Legion of Super-Heroes, Supergirl (who admittedly nobody can figure out what to do with now) were three additions to the canon. And “short-term sales” is misleading given how long he ran the Superman family (if anyone has sales figures that proves otherwise, feel free to school me).
Buttler I really hated that run of Thor. First off, Thomas shoehorning in the Nibelung stuff (not what I read Thor for) and then the Celestials. The trouble was that a)despite all the rationalizing and retcons they never really fit in the MU and b)their treatment at the climax cemented the idea that they’re some superior kind of cosmic entity when in reality they’re a bunch of mass-murdering cosmic genocides wiping out any world that doesn’t meet their standards (this was an even bigger problem during the Kirby run as he specifically stated no world had ever survived judgment, which wasn’t the case when they were retconned into the MU).

I have to ask, what the hell was the origin of Barry’s bow tie? I stopped reading Flash when Johns brought him back so I’ve no idea–is it tied to his murdered mom or whatever?

I’ll have to stick up for Weisinger. Phantom Zone, Legion of Super-Heroes, Supergirl (who admittedly nobody can figure out what to do with now) were three additions to the canon. And “short-term sales” is misleading given how long he ran the Superman family (if anyone has sales figures that proves otherwise, feel free to school me).

Superman would be fine without any of those things. Phantom Zone is something hardly integral to the concept, Legion of Superheroes could (and should) have easily been created independently of Superman, and arguably work better without him, and Supergirl just dilutes the property and is kept around largely for nostalgia, as shown by the fact no one has any idea what to do with her since the 80s. And short term sales means that he was always worried about boosting the short term effect, regardless of how long he ran the books. I know people who spend decades living their lives thinking of the short term benefits. Spending 1 year or 20 years focusing on the short term, either way it doesn’t change the fact you’re a short term thinker.

It wasn’t anything that silly. He was just called as a witness for a case and he didn’t have a tie on so one of his fellow cops lent him a bow tie left over from a recent policeman’s ball. That was the extent of it (although that trial was also where he met Iris West, who liked the tie, so maybe that also played a role in him continuing to wear them).

It wasn’t as silly as it could have been, but it was silly in the fact that they could have just ignored it due to the fact it was just the fashion of the times, kind of like they ignore the fact Superman used to wear fedoras as Clark Kent and Peter Parker wore sweater vests and blazers. Instead Johns has to explain and “redeem” the bow tie by dedicating a page and a half to it explaining its origins. At least the grey hair was far more recent so i can see the need to explain that a way, but a 60s fashion choice?

Johns did the same thing with Hal’s jacket, turning it from just something he wore into this big icon of his love from his sainted father (retconned from the abusive father established in previous runs).

Yeah, the jacket retcon was sillier. While I agree that there didn’t need to be a reason for why Barry wore a bow tie, at least it wasn’t something maudlin like a memento from his falsely accused father.

I thought the grey hair was an attempt at reaffirming his tie with the early 1970s stories. Apparently that was either retconned or never well established in the first place.

Buttler –

Yes, those stories were the most memorable Thor and FF stories from the 1970s, but that is damning with faint praise, IMO

The FF went from the “World’s Greatest Comic” in the 1960s to having the high point of the 1970s appearing rather late in that decade and maybe only appearing good because it had been mediocre for so long. Ditto with Thor (and I also never liked the Celestials being grafted into the MU). My theory is that both Thor and FF were deeply affected by Kirby staying so much and leaving such a deep mark, that later writers were too afraid to “mess” with the formula. When you compare them to the invention and energy that existed in other comics of the 1970s like the Avengers…

Of course, the school of NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!! has turned into a sort of cliche also.

T. –

But it’s interesting that immediately after Daredevil: Born Again, we had a few years of a very enjoyable run with Ann Nocenti. So I’m not sure if Born Again was so damaging to the franchise. It did remove Matt Murdock as a wealthy lawyer and make him more of a “champion of the people” kind of guy. But that could be easily recovered if they wanted (and they eventually did).

If Miller had any deleterious effect on the franchise was that his take was so popular and legendary that many later writers tried to copy it or update it. But that is the sort of thing I think we should never blame an artist for. “You suck because you did your job too well” is sort of self-contradictory, and it’s also true that Daredevil could very well have just disappeared into comic limbo if Frank Miller never existed.

I’d argue Born Again was damaging to just about EVERY franchise because, as much as I liked the orignal story, the endless retreads applying the same formula to nearly all the superheroes in comics got old real fast…now it’s a cliche.

And it definitely didn’t do any favors for Daredevil in the long run either because it seems like almost every writer since (Waid being an exception) has written DD with a hair trigger where he could completely lose it at any moment…prior to Waid, we had over a solid decade of that from several different writers, each building on the one before.

Blame the followers. If Frank Miller hadn’t done Born Again, the followers would have copied other stuff. There are always mediocre writers that sort of do what everyone is doing. It wasn’t Frank Miller that caused the damage.

I always thought that the “Hal didn’t do those bad things, it was really a cosmic baddie and no one noticed the difference” was just a rip on Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix. Both became murderous uber-powered baddies. Both sacrificed themselves and in both cases, it wasn’t really them, but someone else.

I agree with you, Bruce.

But my view of the Dark Phoenix Saga is more or less the opposite of Emerald Twilight. In Dark Phoenix, the authors took more than a year to develop the situation, they did it to a character that they themselves had made popular, and they presented Jean as fundamentaly altered by both her new powers and Mastermind’s manipulation. None of this was the case with Emerald Twilight.

Similarly, I think the retcon of Phoenix being another entity altogether damaged a classic story (and the other alterations brought diminishing returns), so that Grant Morrison killing Jean again almost felt like a correction. GL: Rebirth was bad too, but since that was more a case of a thief stealing from another thief…

But it’s interesting that immediately after Daredevil: Born Again, we had a few years of a very enjoyable run with Ann Nocenti. So I’m not sure if Born Again was so damaging to the franchise. It did remove Matt Murdock as a wealthy lawyer and make him more of a “champion of the people” kind of guy. But that could be easily recovered if they wanted (and they eventually did).

Even to this day, Ann Nocenti’s run is VERY divisive. It’s a very polarizing run. I remember it being even more polarizing back then. I am a fan of it, but I remember encountering many people back then and now who didn’t like it. I don’t think the status quo could be easily recovered as you say. You just follow up a monumentally powerful, paradigm-shifting storyline like Born Again, where people are marvelling art how daring it was and what a change from the status quo it was….if you are the writer following that, do you think it’s easy to just be the person to handwave everything back to the way it was with a reset button? I’d say going back to the pre-Born Again status quo is actually the most difficult option immediately after Born Again, especially in that environment back then.

If Miller had any deleterious effect on the franchise was that his take was so popular and legendary that many later writers tried to copy it or update it. But that is the sort of thing I think we should never blame an artist for. “You suck because you did your job too well” is sort of self-contradictory, and it’s also true that Daredevil could very well have just disappeared into comic limbo if Frank Miller never existed.

Daredevil I highly doubt would have drifted into comic limbo if Frank Miller never existed. NONE of the classic Marvel characters as old as Daredevil who have had their own titles continuously for decades have disappeared into comic limbo. Miller wasn’t the first good run DD ever had and he wouldn’t have been the last.

Also, I’m not saying Frank Miller sucked because he did his job too well. I’m saying he didn’t do one of the most important parts of his job well at all, which is franchise management. Brian Bendis had an idea for Daredevil, to make him appoint himself the new Kingpin of Crime. I was an avid reader at the time, and I loved that whole run up until that point. In an interview, Quesada said that Bendis approached him with this bold, daring idea, and he said, it’s ballsy, but I’ll let you do it on one condition: you have to be the one to write the afterrmath of the new status quo. You do NOT get to just pass the buck to someone else. If you agree, you can do it.” So Bendis agreed, and sure enough, the second half of his run had a precipitous drop in quality. Anyone can rock the boat, but not everyone can steady it again. But nothing is worse than rocking the boat and then leaving it to someone else to steady again.

I’m not saying Miller is to blame for doing too good a job. I’m saying he did a particular job badly, and his imitators are guilty of repeating the exact same BAD thing he did. It became very fashionable to break the toys in hopes of getting the acclaim for being groundbreaking and progressive, then move on and leave the mess to others to fix. Miller told a story that was a great sh

hit reply too soon. As I was saying, Miller told a story that was great for the short term in that it displayed great craft and bad for the longer term of the franchise. Miller’s imitators were worse in that they often told stories that were both awful in the short term in terms of craft AND bad for the longer term of the franchise. However, it’s the bad franchise management that’s the far worse crime. Franchises recover from bad short term stories all the time, almost immediately. Not so for bad franchise management, that creates a much harder negative effect to bounce back from. And in terms of franchise management, Miller is just as much to blame for being bad in that department as his imitators are.

Sticking up for Weisinger again: I didn’t say those creations were essential to the definition of the series, but they added a lot for writers to work with. And Supergirl had a respectably long run as a backup, so I don’t see her as hurting. And of course, Weisinger was writing in an age when comics were assumed to be a kid activity they’d soon grow out of. Why make long-term plans when you can do the same thing over and over for the long-term (Weisinger, according to Shooter, tracked sales carefully so he knew which story ideas were worth reusing)? He obviously didn’t see the sea change coming, but that’s not the same as not caring.
Rene, totally agree that detaching Phoenix was a mistake. Part of that was wanting to bring back the original team for X-Factor.

T. –

I would give Miller a pass for many reasons, but the biggest one is that he is the one who saved the franchise in the first place. That is the utmost in franchise management.

But also, the amount of change in Born Again (Murdock loses his law practice) isn’t that much bigger than other changes in former storylines (say, Murdock leaves for San Francisco and changes his entire supporting cast). The next writer could have Murdock rebuilding his office.

Change wasn’t the problem here. The appeal for the Miller copycats isn’t so much in changing some aspect of Murdock, it is in putting the character through absolute hell trying to “top” Frank Miller somehow. So the “damage” to the franchise isn’t that Frank Miller didn’t put the toys back in the box when he left, but that he played with the toy in a certain way that proved to be irresistible for copycats. And I find it hard to put the blame on Miller for that. “Sorry sir, try to be less popular next time ?!?”

Matt D
February 11, 2014 at 8:27 am
I don’t know if there’s ever been a company so good at splitting its fanbase and making it absolutely impossible to make even a majority of them happy.

I’d say Marvel gives DC a good run for its money in that regard – even betters DC in some cases

Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like tto follow you if that would be ok.
I’m absolutely enjoying your blokg and look forward to new
posts.

MB Tankersley

May 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Doesn’t much matter what happens to Hal in my opinion. Everyone knows G’nort is the best GL around, anyhow.

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