Speaking of Green Lantern: Untangling Hal from Parallax

At the comic store this week I actually flipped through the current issue of Green Lantern: Rebirth. And I was shocked to find that it made sense.

I’ve been avoiding the miniseries because, in general, I’m of the opinion that it’s better to move on than to go back. Yeah, it took me years to warm up to Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, but I’m not of the opinion that Hal Jordan is the one, true GL. That said, what they (DC Editorial) did to Hal was basically insane and spitting on their own character.

A decade later, DC is “correcting the mistake.” And who does DC go to when they need to revamp or repair a hopelessly tangled character? Geoff Johns. He did it with the Flash’s Rogues. He did it with Hawkman. Heck, he even tried to bring back Hal as the Spectre. And now he’s straightening out the GL mess.

(Cover)OK, here’s the background you need to know: The Green Lanterns were a galactic police force, formed by aliens who became known as the Guardians of the Universe. Each GL had a power ring which, controlled by their will, would create anything they imagined (though generally green and temporary). The rings were charged from lantern-shaped batteries which themselves drew power from the Guardians’ main battery on their home planet, Oa. Because the main battery had a “necessary” yellow impurity, the rings had no effect on anything yellow. The key requirements for a Green Lantern: a strong will and a complete lack of fear.

In the early 1990s, DC decided they needed to revamp the character and get rid of Hal. Really get rid of him, so it was clear it wasn’t just a publicity stunt (like killing Superman, or breaking Batman’s back). They gave writer Ron Marz something like 3 issues to make Hal go insane, wipe out as much of the GL mythos as possible, and hand the ring to a new character. They’d just destroyed Hal’s hometown, so he tried to recreate it with the ring, killed off the rest of the Green Lanterns and most of the Guardians (somehow he missed the other two human GLs), and the last surviving Guardian handed the last remaining ring to a guy he saw in an alley. (No, really.) Incidentally, that ring had no weakness against yellow.

Hal spent the next few years as a villain called Parallax (because he had two rings), actually destroyed the universe at one point, and finally sacrificed himself to save the world in the crossover-of-the-year. Kyle, meanwhile, spent a lot of time learning the ropes, though at one point he was told he would one day surpass Hal because he knew something Hal did not: fear.

Somewhere along the line Kyle found another GL ring—one that could replicate itself—and started rebuilding the corps. (This included handing a new ring to John Stewart, now working with the Justice League). And Hal’s soul has become bound to the Spectre, the spirit of God’s Wrath.

So how are they untangling this?

In the distant past, a creature of pure fear came into being. It wiped out entire civilizations, creating more fear and feeding itself, until the future Guardians gathered together enough will and imprisoned it. Emotional energy has a spectrum: will appears green, and fear appears yellow. That creature became the “yellow impurity” in the main power battery for the Green Lanterns. To prevent anyone from trying to break it out, the Guardians simply allowed the rest of the universe to forget it over millions of years.

Eventually, it escaped, and corrupted—or perhaps took over—Hal Jordan. By the time Kyle got his ring, it was free—which was why his ring had no weakness against yellow. Now Parallax is completely free, able to control all the Green Lanterns through their rings, except for one: Kyle. One character said something like, “It’s hard for fear to sneak up on you if you already know it.” And thus the Sandman’s prediction comes true.

Now, ordinarily, I’d look at “oh, he was possessed when he committed genocide” as a cop-out. From the little I’ve read, though, it’s tied so thoroughly into the mythos that it makes more sense than the original story.

And that’s not something I was expecting.

34 thoughts on “Speaking of Green Lantern: Untangling Hal from Parallax

  1. Michael

    Wait, wait, wait…Posessed by a bleeding Demon (or whatever this manifestation is)? Now I have to go buy GL: Rebirth. Damn you DC, damn you to hell…

    Reply
  2. Rob

    Hal Jordan possessed!?…that sounds like a load of bs…i was expecting something better…i miss kyle rayner!!!FUCK U DC, FUCK U!

    Reply
  3. Kyle

    You’re right, Rebirth is a great tie-in into the GL mythos AND the yellow anger demon or whatever is just tops! Why, the only thing BETTER would be for the newly formed GL Corps. to power-up together and manifest a great big, giant green-construct antiboitic pill that they could give to Hal to rid him of this evil fear-fever possession!

    Reply
  4. Kelson Post author

    Well, if someone had described the story to me, I would’ve said the same thing. It sounds stupid. But when I flipped through the book, it worked.

    There are a lot of story ideas that, when you think about the bare bones of them, really do sound stupid—but if they’re handled well, they can become extremely good stories. Sometimes it really is all in the execution (so to speak).

    That said, I’d rather they had just left Hal in peace after The Final Night. Grafting him onto the Spectre was a bizarre compromise, and bringing him back as Green Lantern is just another case of turning back the clock to the supposed good old days. Never mind the Revolving Door of Death(tm).

    Reply
  5. nathan

    I think it sucks they brought back as GL.Kyle is more cool and has a better imagination.Boxing gloves are so out.Its bad enough that they replaced the GL in the JLA cartoon series with John Stewart( no offence to the Stewart Fans out there), now this.Making Jordan the spectre is bad enough.
    Can’t they let him rest in peace.Kyle is a much better GL.He beaten Nero,saved the JLA from death etc.He has earn the right and respect of many GL fans out there.

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  6. Sylvia

    I have only three words to say.

    BRING BACK KYLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They’re the strongest argument I have.

    Reply
  7. philip lovings

    I would like to see dollar comics create another anti-oan power character besides Sinestro in Green Lantern comics. And i also hope they bring back Black Hand.

    Reply
  8. Dan

    You’re all a bunch of cry babies! It’s clear to anyone that Jordan is the ultimate GL and Kyle was someone the chose because there wasn’t anyone else available to replace him at the time. Long live to Jordan! I think they should kill off Rayner now!

    Reply
  9. trisha

    Kyle should become a backup GL like Guy or John. I don’t think he should be more important than those guys now that Hal is back… I hope he’s here to stay!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Jeremy

    I’m a big Kyle Rayner Fan, mostly because he was the green lantern at the time I really got into comics. But I have a lot of respect for Hal. Which is why I think GL:Rebirth is a good Idea. I looked into Dc comics.com and they said they were not getting rid of Kyle and also keeping Hal. I guess they think every one will be happy the Hal’s back and Kyle’s staying, and I looked even further and their even remakiong the GL corps. The only problem I can see is that since they are also going to restart the Green Lantern comic book(first issues staring Hal) and every former green Lantern taking back that name,it might just turn the book into a showcase of different green lantern adventures for every green lantern. But I think that most of the adventures will star Hal or Kyle.

    Reply
  11. RedDavePirate!

    Nice site, Kelson. On the ‘Return of Hal’, I quit reading mainstream DC right after Zero Hour. That proved to me what a bloated, whorish beast comics in general were. Not in the remotest bit interested in writing good stories or building on good characters. They were no closer to Broome; Fox; Infantino; Kirby; Lee; Thomas; Buscema et al than those cheap plastic giveaways you get in cereal boxes or with a kid’s Mac Meal. Gerard Jones’ Comic Book Heroes is excellent reading if you’re at all into that stuff.
    I tend to think that the real reason that the golden and silver age heroes have stood the test of time is not misplaced nostalgia. It’s that they represent archetypes of good storytelling that reach out. Reading a Broome story is a little lame for today’s audience for example, but look what Robinson and Johns have been able to write by combining those archetypes with good storytelling.
    So what am I saying? I’m saying bringing Hal back might work if they plan to let him go gracefully in say five years. Kyle? No-hoper. Got no talent. Just another painful gimmicky attempt to appeal to the ‘kidz’. Want some real relevance with those fries? Make the next Flash a black female quantum physicist and have her torn between the wondrous adventure of Speed and her social responsibilities (ala ONeal and Adams).

    BTW, that ‘K’ logo looks resonantly familiar? Is it meant to look like the Barry Allen Flash cover logo (with one foot extending)? Good idea!

    Reply
  12. Kraven

    Heck! Why not make a character of me! Kraven the new Green Lantern of Earth! Then i’ll destroy the Ganthet and the rest! mwhahahahah!!!!!!

    Reply
  13. Sunray

    This whole colour co-ordinated emotional power spectrum irritates the heck out of me. Lets have the Corps learn how to use the rest of the colours in the spectrum and re-name themselves the Rainbow Lantern Corps! And we could even have an arch-nemesis Corps.. like may be the Rainbow Raiders… wait.. hasnt that name been taken? .. Ok perhaps Rainbow Lantern Corps would’nt work.. how about Power Rangers.. hmmm.. no that’s not going to do it either.. wait .. how about..

    Reply
  14. dibuco

    You see, altough I’ve got to admit that the Rebirth storyline is well written, I’m not really sure I care much for Green Lantern anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see the corps reformed and everything, but everything’s just too military form my taste. I mean, I coulda identify with Kyle, but Hal? And what’s that bull about him joining the air force? i thought it was bad enough 80’s nostalgia was bringing back freakin’ Gi Joe.

    Reply
  15. Richard Ranke

    So everything is being redone,Hal is returning and basicly the past ten years are being negated,eh?Hall is now revealed to have been posessed when he killed the others?How much will be brought back to life?BAH!I liked Kyle as Green Lantern and for a while I had high hopes for his relationship with Donna Troy.Now Kyle will be gone and Hal will return?(Sigh)

    DC isn’t willing to make drastic changes.Green Arrow came back and now Green Lantern will.I’m surprised they haven’t brought back…I better not mention anyone.Someone at DC might read this and get ideas.(Chuckle!)

    I was willing to go along with the change and the new Green Lantern-but I am not willing to go along with brining back Hal(and I hear even Sinestro)after all this time.Maybe DC thinks this will bring older readers back,but I am one older reader is

    Reply
  16. John

    I heard that kyle dies in rebirth I just want to know if that’s ture or pure Bull ’cause he can’t just die you know he’s the GL salvation and he’s very profitable hehehehe

    Reply
  17. Kelson Post author

    No, Kyle’s a major character in The Rann-Thanagar War, and all the Infinite Crisis miniseries take place after Green Lantern: Rebirth.

    Reply
  18. quantumcat

    I ‘ve missed a lot of the dcu mythos in the last few years but i thought they might
    go into how the Qwardian universe had the good blue power (the Darkstars,i think?)
    and Sinestro and his ilk used the nasty jaundiced power but somewhere in
    time and space the two were joined to make the ultimate creative force:
    entrophy and order,reason and id,yin and yang-the same force that begat
    the earth elemental Swamp Thing:
    GREEN……..

    Reply
  19. Amy

    I Love KYLE RAYNER!!!! Hal is cool too, but if DC made a mistake in killing him off they cannot just change that by inventing a long lost demon-possession!! Kyle earned the JLA’s trust and the love of hundreds of faithful readers…it’s just low to get rid of him to try to relive past glory.

    Reply
  20. mrbrklyn

    The problem stems from DC messing up the original Hal Jordan in the first place. They just never seemed to understand the power of the Kane/Broome Green Lantern. And they kept screwing up the core “Man Without Fear” persona.

    This is largely an attempt to fix 20 years worth of character assasination and to put the scifi back into GL.

    I hope they succeed. It looks like they did.

    Ruben

    Reply
  21. tobi

    i know this was aaaaages ago, but i just found it and have a question. (just to say first, love the website, especially the speedsters bit, it has more information on people that done even ride the lightning that most websites). so do some rings still have a yellow impurity, cos didnt they trap parallax back into the core lantern on oa?

    Reply
  22. mike

    On the whole possession and corruption issue, the alternative theory behind Hal going crackers in the first place was that he was wearing Malvolio’s power ring when the whole Coast City thing went down (for those of you who don’t know him, Big M was a nutbar renegade GL that Hal had a major run-in with back in the Action Comics Weekly days. He destroyed Hal’s ring during the battle, but Hal wound up beating him and getting away with the villain’s power ring. Supposedly this was by design, but the storyline was never followed through on).
    Now that being the case, after Hal became Parallax, Ganthet reconstituted his ring and gave it to Kyle at the end of GL#50. That means Kyle is wearing the allegedly corrupted ring Hal got from Malvolio and has throughout his entire career. How’s that for making things more convoluted and messy? Maybe poor Kyle is up next for the laughing academy?

    Reply
  23. David

    um… arnt you all going too far into this? Hal’s rage and all made him great as the spectre because 1, he became like a god as Parallax, so correcting the world and stuff would be natural and 2, because DC Comics did it right. And you cant say they are crap cause you all seem to either love Kyle or Hal. And DC made them both. So instead of whining, why not shut up and see what happens?

    Reply
  24. GLHawk

    Parallax didn’t have two rings. He had 0. Hal had 10 rings in that arc though during the going insane aspect, and during the Death of superman it actually made more sense than people realize.

    Hal did take the yellow impurity into himself though when he basicly took all the oa power battery into himself.

    He dropped the ten rings as he fought sinestro. Parallax had no rings.

    As much as they made it work, Hal is a chump, and they pulled a cop out.
    Especially after final night, and GL issue 81 with the memorial.

    Kyle may have gotten the ring by accident, but it was nice to finally have an artist who could use the ring right. Instead of boxing gloves and clippers all the time. Kyle gave the ring that creative edge that kept drawing me back for more. I’ve dropped GL completely now since Hal’s back. I’ve read enough of his run prior emerald twilight to get the jist of it. No need to relive the same stories again.

    Ion on the other hand, looks to be interesting and growing moreso by the day, as they realize just how much Oan power Rayner has absorbed over time, and how much he dumped back into the battery. He may not be the god like Ion (thank god, as that made me drop the book briefly as well.) But he’s still ranked pretty far up there now. Even more powerful than Hal.

    And the self replicating ring was a gift from Hal in issue 100 to kyle, when kyle traveled back in time ‘accidentally’ and met hal pre insanity, fighting sinestro.

    Reply
  25. Al Jordan

    Personally,DC won me over from marvel in part due to their crossover stories of the 90’s.I loved the “new” Batman of Jean Paul Valley & Artemis taking the title of the new Wonder Woman from Diana.I only wish they would have gotten more issues(say 6 months to a years worth of storyline)especially with Mike Deodatos studios doing the art work.It was cutting edge to shake up some of their longstanding established heroes with a more aggressive breed but people typically frown on change of any kind so DC hurried to right the “wrongs” of their consumers opinions.GL being the exception as they turned that title completely upside down.I wish though they would not have created a newer Parallax story to explain Hals madness.Its like they have to come out years later with some attempt to unruffle feathers from the early 90’s.I could accept a hero going mad given the demise of Coast City,i think it was likely any hero could topple over the edge if the event was traumatic enough.That is also why i liked Marvels initial story line of the Spiderman clone being the comicbook Spiderman from issue 149 till its Scarlet Spider conclusion.Hopefully we’ll continue to see these types of storylines from time to time if nothing more than to either appreciate the old hero that much more or embrace a new champion to carry on the change of time.

    Reply
  26. Kelson Post author

    I don’t think it was really “righting wrongs” to switch back to Bruce and Diana. I’m not convinced that Artemis and Azrael were ever intended to be permanent replacements the way Connor Hawke and Kyle Rayner were. I think they were much more similar in structure to the Death of Superman, or John Fox temporarily replacing Wally West as the Flash. Artemis, especially: Just going by the covers, Diana never even left the book, even if she had to change her costume.

    I am still annoyed that they managed to heal Bruce’s paralysis, but not Barbara’s. As cool as she is as Oracle, it’s still a double-standard: Batman gets paralyzed, and he gets healed. Batgirl gets paralyzed, and she’s stuck with a desk job.

    Reply
  27. Al Jordan

    I guess what i was trying to say Kelson was that there was alot of backlash at the time especially in the Batman titles (cancelling of subscriptions etc. when Jean Paul took over) & yes Wonder Woman was different & could have possibly worked long term if she had her own book perhaps just titled Diana(just a thought,i personally would have got both titles).For the most part it seems as if only certain heroes are replaceable i.e. Robin,Flash,Gl but I think change is inevitable for even the more popular ones in the near future.As a side note though i am interested to see how the Captain America story will ultimately playout.Thanks for a reply!

    Reply

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