Aug 27, 2008

[Comics] Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight

Green Latern: Emerald TwilightSome of the best stories in comic book history normally involve a willingness to risk everything in order to take the book into new places. Let's face it - there's a certain utopian bubble that protects comic book heroes from the worst of circumstances since you know that they have to survive in order for the comic book to continue and for the owners to continue to make money. Thus when the writers decide to take significant enough risks that could revitalize an otherwise mediocre book, it can go either way.

One of the longest-running heroes in the DC Universe would have to be Hal Jordon as Green Lantern. Despite so many fearsome villains and two possible back-up Green Lanterns ready to take his place should the worst happen, he's always come through the worst of things with the same cocky attitude that made him such a successful test pilot.

All that changed in 1994 when DC decided it was about time to really shake things up during issues #48-50.

Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight is a story arc of the Green Lantern comic book series that took place shortly after the events of Reign of the Supermen, when Mongul completely destroyed Hal Jordan's hometown of Coast City and all those who lived there. An enraged Green Lantern attempted to recreate the entire city, albeit virtually, using his power ring and this caused the Guardians to order that he be punish for his selfish use of his power. All this was too much for Hal Jordan and this is what ultimately triggered his fall from grace. Emerald Twilight documents how Hal eventually falls and becomes the villain Parallax.

Hal JordanImage via Wikipedia Now given his many years as a hero in the minds and hearts of fans around the world, the decision to turn Hal into a villain certainly couldn't have been a light one. To be fair to the writers, I can imagine how long it must have taken them to try and flesh out this story in a way that ensured his "turning" was logical and something that could be accepted by the fans of the series at the time while still opening the doors sufficiently for his replacement, Kyle Rayner, to still be welcomed by the readers in the same way.

Many argue that it was a cheap trick of sorts and Hal certain didn't deserve this kind of treatment. While as much as I hate to see a good hero be subjected to something like this, the manner in which it was executed was certainly praise-worthy and it really makes sense if you start reading at issue #46 since that really captures the events right after Coast City is destroyed and follows how Hal slows spirals down into the state of desperation and near-madness that the Guardians fail to understand and thus end up pushing things too far.

At the time, I felt the story did make sense and it was a logical reason for a hero as stalwart as Hal Jordan could fall as far as he did. In addition, he makes for one amazingly powerful supervillain given how he was able to pretty much take on the entire Green Lantern Corps in his mad dash across the galaxy to face the Guardians themselves. No other Green Lantern apart from Hal Jordan could has possibly done something like that.

Still, it was definitely one of those stories that is bound to drive fans away no matter how much you try. I felt the same way about Spider-man after The Clone Saga and there's nothing quite like a fan's sense of outrage and betrayal to make you stop buying a comic book. For what it's worth, Emerald Twilight remains a very good piece of writing and certainly the "right" way to turn your superhero into a bad guy.

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1 comment:

  1. Still looking for this compilation locally. Hope I get lucky. But if not, there's always Amazon. ;)