41 years ago - Hal Jordan is born.
23 years ago - 18-year-old Hal joins the Air Force.
19 years ago - 22-year-old Hal leaves the Air Force to become a test pilot at Ferris Air.
18 years ago - 23-year-old Hal is chosen as the new Green Lantern of Earth, while Guy Gardner is chosen as his backup.
12 years ago - 29-year-old Hal fights OMAC, and manages to stop and incarcerate his handlers, the Global Police Agency. He is unable to find or deactivate the Brother Eye Satelite, and so he hands Buddy Blank over to the DEO for observation. He catches mob enforcer Paul Booker & sends him to prison.
11 years ago - When 30-year-old Hal Jordan is injured, Guy Gardner is activated as Green Lantern, but he breaks his leg, and is sidelined and replaced by Jon Stewart.
10 years ago - 31-year-old Hal goes to Themyscera with Wonder Woman, Etta Candy & Barry Allen, becoming one of the only men to ever set foot on the island. He starts traveling cross country with Oliver Queen. Paul Booker becomes Major Disaster & tries to kill him.
8 years ago - 33-year-old Hal Jordan's partner Arisia Rrab is permitted to move into his home sector. They start a relationship. he is stalked by Paul Booker who tries to kill him with his new chaos powers, but Hal defeats him & sends him back to prison.
7 years ago - 34-year-old Hal Jordan, Killowog & Ch'p travel to the forbidden sector to investigate a murdered lantern where the meet Bro'Dee and battle Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Corp. Ganthet gives Bro'Dee a unique Blue Battery to become Saint Walker, the Blue Lantern. Hal helps Superman bring Bizarro to an uninhabited planet to protect, which they dub Bizarro World.
5 years ago - 36-year-old Hal's relationship with Arisia Rrab ends. Later, when coast city is destroyed and the Guardians forbid him from rewriting time to save it, Hal defeats the Guardians & destroys the Oan Power Battery, becoming Parallax.
Hal Jordan's debut as Green Lantern, along with Barry Allen's Flash, marked the true beginning of DC's Silver Age. Heavily based on E E Smith's Lensman series, this new take on the Green Lantern legacy cemented the tone of the entire DC universe, it's super-imaginative science fiction setting a benchmark of storytelling that permeated the entire genre.
Hal was a hero of the times, a test pilot and fearless adventurer, a representative of the boundless heroic spirit of postwar America. Darwin Cooke's New Frontier did it best, but he's always been a particular type of hero, a call back to characters from old adventure serials and radio drama. You wouldn't be wrong to call him a classic American archetype.
It's likely this very archetypal status that made it so difficult to see his transition into villainy, but the fact is that the cracks were always there. He always exhibited a very specific breed of arrogance and an inability to follow the rules, often leading him to do something that might be dangerous in order to get the job done. These are all qualities that we often look for in our heroes, but the fact is that they are also qualities of a narcissist. It was a very challenging idea, to suggest that the qualities that made Hal such a great hero would also make him a great villain, but that's exactly what they did. He attacked the Guardians when they refused to allow him to take the power of Oa to save his destroyed city, and turned himself into Parallax, opening the door for Kyle Rayner, a far different character, to become the new Green Lantern.
We absolutely love the fall of Hal Jordan. It's one of the ballsiest things DC has ever done, and the retcon of these stories by suggesting that it was all done while under the influence of an alien entity robs us of one of the best, most gutsy stories they've ever told. We understand, they wanted their hero back. That archetype is hard to let go of, but bringing him back was LOOKING back, and good storytelling never looks back.
And so, Hal Jordan falls. He continues to plague Kyle Rayner and the other heroes of DC until he is finally, in the last possible moment, killed by his best friend in the world. Oliver Queen then drops his bow and walks away, never playing the hero again. This is legendary, mythic storytelling at it's best.