Please don’t confuse my indifferent thoughts on the Green Lantern movie with my love of the character. Hal Jordan has always been one of my favorite characters, and Emerald Twilight was one of his best stories.
It was the 1990s and comic book buying was in full swing. DC Comics was feeding this frenzy, with huge event comics where the beloved super heroes would die or be forced out of action, like when Superman died or Batman had his back broken. The trick, marketing wise, was that someone new would pick up their mantle. That’s how we got the four temporary Supermen and the crazy Jean Paul Valley Batman. It even happened for Wonder Woman, as the scarlet haired Artemis took the title from Diana. So it was bound to happen to Green Lantern.
Hal’s story was different. Everyone else was replaced, as they fell in battle to someone. What happened to poor old Hal was that he went insane. As part of the “Reign of the Supermen” story, Hal’s hometown of Coast City was destroyed as part of a diabolical plot by the Cyborg Superman and Mongul. There were no survivors, and Hal was saying he was disappointed in himself for not being able to help anyone is an extreme understatement.
So Hal visits the ruins of Coast City and uses his power ring to recreate the city as it once was. Very poignant is the moment when he talks to the energy recreation of his recently deceased father, and then the ring craps out. A Guardian comes down to yell at him for violating Rule #1,234 (where you can’t use your ring for personal gain). A pissed off Hal beats him up and recharges his ring and is hell-bent on getting to Oa. If he recharges himself with the main power battery, he might be able to recreate Coast City permanently.
If the Guardians were mad that he just wanted to make a hologram version of Coast City, think of how much they would want to stop him from bringing the real one back. So they send out every Green Lantern, and even Sinestro, out to stop him. Unfortunately for them, Hal is a complete bad ass, stopping (and killing) them all. Hal absorbs the power battery and runs off into space, and a Nine Inch Nails clad Kyle Rayner winds up with the one surviving Green Lantern ring.
I always enjoyed this story and completely sided with Hal. If you don’t feel sorry for him, then your just a plain old meanie. Hal as an all-powerful “screw you I’m doing what I want to do” was such a cool concept. And it gave Kyle the chance to be his own character with Hal pretty much out of the picture.
What I didn’t like is how they retconned the whole Hal as Parallax story in Green Lantern: Rebirth. Long story short, Parallax is the living embodiment of fear (and is a big yellow bug) who took over Hal as part of a plan with Sinestro to take out the Green Lantern Corps. God forbid they leave the coolest Hal Jordan story alone. Sigh.
I’ll end this on a happy note. I loved the cover to Green Lantern #50, where Hal emerged as Parallax. He looked so bad ass, and the cover glows in the dark. That might be one of my favorite gimmick covers ever. Hey, it was the 1990s.