41 years ago - Hal Jordan is born.
33 years ago - 8-year-old Hal witnesses the death of his father in an a plane crash.
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. Carol Ferris also begins working in their testing division. She attempts to remain professional but they soon find themselves in a doomed on-again-off-again relationship.
18 years ago - 23-year-old Hal is chosen by Abin Sur as the new Green Lantern of Earth, while Guy Gardner is chosen as his backup. He is brought to Oa where he begins his training with the Green Lantern Corp, assigned as a trainee to Thaal Sinestro. He clashes with the Guardians of Oa, but earns his place when he saves Oa from the assault of Legion. Soon he discovers Sinestro's tactic of ruling his home planet of Korugar through fear. He undermines Sinestro's regime and exposing him to the Guardians. Carol Ferris has to deal with the repercussions of having a pilot disappear while he is having his first mission out in space. Back on earth, He battles Neil Emerson when he steals the Magnetron from Abin Sur's ship and becomes Doctor Polaris.
17 years ago - 24-year-old Hal's sometimes-girlfriend Carol Ferris becomes his direct boss when she takes over all aeronautic testing at Ferris Air.
16 years ago - 25-year-old Hal is a founding member of the Justice League. He battles Neil Emerson when he escapes from prison and recovers the magnetron, holding the entire world hostage. Kanjar Ro attacks Earth, and Hal stops his invasion in a battle over Eastern Europe.
15 years ago - 26-year-old Hal is attacked by Star Sapphire, an alternate identity of Carol Ferris created by a crystalline alien symbiote trying to feed on his Oan energy by exploiting emotions that overpower willpower like his feelings for Carol. He manages to separate it from her, returning her to normal and removing her memories, and takes the symbiote to Oa.
13 years ago - 28-year-old Hal is assigned Arisia Rrab as an apprentice. Thaal Sinestro returns to Guardian space, having taken command of the Weaponers of Qward, who have outfitted him with a yellow Anti-Oan ring. He assaults several Green Lanterns inside their own sectors until he is stopped by Hal Jordan & Arisia Rrab.
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 Satellite, 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 - 30-year-old Hal is injured when Thaal Sinestro attacks Earth. His backup lantern Guy Gardner is activated but is likewise injured. A new Green Lantern of Earth, John Stewart, is chosen and defeats Sinestro. The Weaponers of Qward stage an assault to free him.
10 years ago - 31-year-old Hal goes to Themyscera with Diana Prince, Etta Candy & Barry Allen to stop Felix Faust from opening Doom's Doorway, becoming one of the only men to ever set foot on the island. He starts traveling cross country with Oliver Queen. He is stalked by Paul Booker who tries to kill him with his new chaos powers as Major Disaster, but Hal defeats him & sends him back to prison
9 years ago - 32-year-old Hal & Carol Ferris finally end their relationship. The Star Sapphire crystal breaks free from Oa and forcefully bonds with her, overwhelming her so severely that when the connection is severed, the neurological damage leaves her in a wheelchair. The Justice League collapses.
8 years ago - 33-year-old Hal Jordan's partner Arisia Rrab is permitted to move into his home sector. They start a relationship. Bito Wladon takes control of the Modoran army and begins invading neighboring countries before Hal & Arisia stop & imprison him. The divide between the Guardians of Oa allow Thaal Sinestro and the Weaponers of Qward stage a massive coordinated assault of Citadel Space. He is ultimately stopped by Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corp. Sinestro is trapped on earth with a vastly depowered ring & joins Dr. Sivanna's Secret Society to attack the Justice League, but has his ring stolen by Guy Gardner and is imprisoned in the Oan Power Battery.
7 years ago - 34-year-old Hal, Killowog & Ch'p are sent by Ganthet, one of the Guardians of Oa, into the forbidden Sector 666 to investigate a group of Lost Lanterns being held hostage by Atrocitus & the Red Lanterns. They are assisted by Bro'Dee, who is given a unique Blue Battery by Ganthet to become Saint Walker, the Blue Lantern. Hal helps Superman bring Bizarro to an uninhabited planet to protect, which they dub Bizarro World. Hal & Arisia Raab are attacked by Star Sapphire when Carol Ferris is unable to protect herself from the crystalline symbiote. Having the symbiote removed leaves Carol in a coma.
5 years ago - 36-year-old Hal's relationship with Arisia Rrab ends. Later, Coast City is destroyed by Mongul. the Guardians of Oa forbid Hal from rewriting time to save it, and in his grief and madness he attacks Oa with the intention of absorbing the power battery. Carol Ferris is awakened by the energy the symbiote is drawing from him and they try to stop him, Hal's attack finally destroying the symbiote. Thaal Sinestro is released from the Power Battery by the Green Lantern Corp in a last-ditch effort to stop him. Their battle destroys much of Oa. Hal absorbs the Power Battery & becomes Parallax. Green Lantern Rings across the galaxy are depowered, leading to the deaths of many Lanterns.
Hal Jordan's debut as Green Lantern, along with Barry Allen's Flash, marked the true beginning of DC's Silver Age. 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.
Which might be one of the reasons that it was so divisive when he was twisted into one of the most deadly villains in DC's history.
Which might be one of the reasons that it was so divisive when he was twisted into one of the most deadly villains in DC's history.
Hal Jordan's Comic History
Hal appeared for the first time in 1959 in the comic Showcase, created by John Broome and Gil Kane. There had previously been a character called Green Lantern, but like many wartime superheroes he was powered by magic. This new character was based heavily on on E E Smith's sci-fi series The Lensman, featuring an intergalactic police force whose members wielded reality-shaping weapons called Lenses. (Broome and Kane never acknowledged that this was deliberate but... I mean... come on.) He was a defining character for DC, one of the central characters of almost every generation of Justice Leagues, his own stories in constant publication for decades. The intergalactic scope of his story helped shape almost the entire DC Universe as we know it.
Then the Emerald Twilight happened. We'll get to that.
Jordan was one of the characters whose story, we believe, was actually finished, and didn't need to return to continuity. When he was brought back in 2004 many of the elements of Emerald Twilight were dismantled retroactively in an effort to make him a heroic character again. For most modern readers, he is still the main Green Lantern and the events of Emerald Twilight were just a weird relic of the 90's.
The Case for the Fall of Hal Jordan
There were so many classic superheroes being replaced by new younger 'edgier' replacements at the time when Emerald Twilight happened... Superman was 'killed', Diana lost her role as Wonder Woman to Artemis, Batman had his back broken... but to have Hal Jordan spiral out of control into a villain that threatened the very fabric of reality could easily be seen as going way, way to far.
Part of that might just be because it seemed so out of character for Hal. Longtime readers saw him as an archetypical hero. He was brash, fearless, and always did what he thought was best even if it meant defying what people told him was right. Here's our core argument, then; while those are all very traditional heroic qualities, they are also 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 may all be 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.
This new turn for Hal made sense in the context that he no longer believed that he lived in the 'correct' reality... that he intended to unmake it and return it to one where his home still existed. He was willing to do anything within this 'false' reality... but even that would be impossible if Hal hadn't always been a person that often did reckless, dangerous things that put the world around him in danger... or even things that were merely selfish, like start a sexual relationship with his very young protégé, Arisia. That seems unrelated, but it's just one more part of his character that casts him as someone for whom this turn is possible.
We absolutely love the fall of Hal Jordan. It's one of the ballsiest things DC has ever done. Of all the young new versions of classic characters Kyle was by far the most interesting because his transition had such brutally sharp narrative teeth. We understand why retconning all of this felt necessary; they wanted Hal and his unique heroism back. That archetype is hard to let go if. Hal's journey, though, is pretty soundly complete. By ending it in such a fabulous way we get one of the best, most gutsy stories they've ever told.
And so yes, we allow this story to stand. 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 its best.
Our Hal Jordan Story
There is so much to do with Hal. He's a core character for so much of what makes DC great, and we really just mined as much of that as possible and allowed him to be the bold, fearless adventuring space-hero that he's always been.
In fact, for the bulk of the existence of the Satellite Era Justice League, he's often our go-to guy when we just need a character from the League to flesh out a larger story. When we wanted to craft a story where Diana saves Themyscira but has to be banished because she brought members of the League with her, we went straight to Hal and Barry. He has tons of great stories to use, but he's also flexible in a way that lots of other characters might not be, because he's an such an archetype unto himself.
And yes, we used the Emerald Twilight story to depict his descent into villainy, which lots of people likely think is just not the way this character should go. Even DC had to invent a parasitic alien entity to explain his behavior in their continuity... But we believe that DC as a whole is stronger for having this amazing story as part of it's mythology. Sometimes amazing heroes have horrifyingly tragic ends. That is storytelling of mythic scope, and Hal is a character with deserves to be that legendary.
Hal Jordan's Costume
Because there have been such a preponderance of Green Lanterns, later stories would start to apply a lot of different aesthetics to them to both differentiate them while also unifying them. Hal is no exception to this, and has a lot of retroactive redesigns to his costume, but while other Lanterns might have needed the redesign his original Green Lantern look is one of the most iconic costumes in comics.
The single black and green jumpsuit with white accents is pretty much perfect. The idea of all Green Lanterns constantly having a construct of their symbol floating over their chest, or replacing his white gloves with green armbands... They were just changes for changes sake, and are unnecessary. Let the other characters struggle to have their particular looks stand out and identify them... Hal's costume needs absolutely nothing.
Allies, Teams & Enemies
~ "I'm a big fan of your website and I especially like how you handled Hal Jordan, though I am happy that his questionable romance with Arisia has nearly been forgotten.
I understand that you believe that character death should be final, however one of my favorite stories in the comics was when Hal Jordan was merged with the Spectre and tried to push him towards being a spirit of redemption, rather than vengeance.
I feel like this would still work as Hal Jordan would still technically be dead and being the Spectre would become his penance, not allowed to see his friends and loved ones, while trying to convert villains to heroes. I think it could work either way.
Regardless, you are doing great work."
Thanks for the feedback! I dont know if you can tell by the sheer number of times I say it on this website, but the evolution of the Green Lantern mythology is a huge part of why I started this project to being with. I'm an unabashed 90's kid, and I really do think that Hal's downfall serves the larger narrative in a way that his return simply doesn't.
I ALSO happen to agree that his time serving as the Spectre was a pretty cool redemptive arc. So to answer why we didn't use it... It's two reasons, really. First, it's the fact that I wasn't actually planning on redeeming Hal. Once you make that decision (which was a big decision, let me tell you...) Then redemtive arcs, even really cool ones, become kind of vestigial.
The second is that, while it did give Hal something cool to do after he died, the truth is that it doesnt actually serve to evolve the overall story of DC in a meaningful way. There's a thing that keeps happening the more you study superhero comics, and thats that some storys come up that give a particular character something cool to do but that don't serve the larger mythology. This is actually a great example. Hal gets to spend some time as the Spectre, but the Spectre was already a thing. While this story is cool for Hal it reduces the Spectre from an unknowable and terrifying force of the universe to a dude that everyone used to hang out with. It's minimizing the conceptual space of one character in order to give another character more screen time. Given that Hal's contribution to our larger narrative is already SO huge, and that our plans don't include his redemption actually going anywhere, It was clear that the better path was just to keep the characters seperate.
As usual, though, I'm always happy to entertain new perspectives on these stories that we might not have considered before. If a reason can be found (or invented) to make Hal's time as the Spectre useful (beyond just the fact that you and I would like to see it), then this can absolutely be revisited.
Also, I'm glad you approved of our take on the relationship with Arisia. Lord knows that was a tricky one.