Hal Jordan is coming back - five simple words that have turned up the H.E.A.T. on comics message boards over the last few weeks. Resident expert Hector Reeder is on hand to lead the uninitiated through the minefield that is GREEN LANTERN.
24 May 2004

"In brightest day, in blackest night..."
Ah, the Green Lantern oath. Surely, few things excite the opposite sex more than being able to recite it by heart.

Erm, that's all I know. Honest! I read it on a message board.
Of course you did, and probably in a thread titled "Fans Triumph Over DC!!!!!!" or something equally sophisticated. Because, you see, Green Lantern is coming back. And not just any old Green Lantern. DC has decided to finally resurrect one Hal Jordan, esquire, hero of acronym-obsessed fanboys everywhere.

Isn't he the '60s version? I thought he was dead for good.
What a kidder. A superhero, dead for good? Oh, you scallywag.

So what's the story?
That, we don't know yet. We do know JSA and FLASH writer Geoff Johns is teaming up with artist Ethan Van Sciver to produce GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH, a miniseries starring Jordan, due out in October.

Well, that sounds - hang on, October? Why are we talking about this now?
Ask the Internet, as they say. DC made the announcement at the end of April, but comics message boards are already alight with flame wars stoked by a thousand fanboy pokers.

What a horrid metaphor.
Why, thank you.

But why are the fans so excited about it? Green Lantern's been going for years, surely?
Yes, but not this Green Lantern. You see, at the start of the 90s, DC underwent a process of revamping their major icons. You may recall Superman being killed, and Batman having his back broken.

They got better, though.
Of course they did, and this is the point. Green Lantern was also due a revamp, and DC editorial charged writer Ron Marz to turn the status quo on its head, in a story titled 'Emerald Twilight'.

Which meant what? Jordan quitting the Green Lantern corps?
Jordan had a tendency to quit in every other story arc anyway, so that would have been somewhat of an anticlimax. No, Marz gave Jordan a much grander send-off. First, his home town of Coast City was destroyed. Then, mad with grief, Jordan went rogue and decimated the rest of the Green Lantern corps. Finally, he went after their masters, the Guardians of the Universe.

I see. Sounds quite intense.
And as if that wasn't enough, Jordan then renamed himself Parallax and set out to recreate the universe in his own image, as seen in the ZERO HOUR crossover. Much to no-one's surprise, he failed, and Jordan left the DC Universe feet first.

Still, what a way to go. It's a long way from stopping bank robbers with a big green boxing glove, eh?
Indeed. The whole thing was very popular. Meanwhile, Jordan's replacement, Kyle Rayner, became "The Last Green Lantern" and proceeded to do things like, um, stop bank robbers with a big green boxing glove. Sales of GREEN LANTERN went up 300%.

Impressive. So everyone was happy?
Not quite. There was the small matter of H.E.A.T.

I'm sorry? How is heat a bad thing?
Not "heat", H.E.A.T. - an internet-based group of GREEN LANTERN fans who took Hal Jordan's demise rather badly. This tortuous acronym stood for Hal's Emerald Attack Team, members of which demanded not only Jordan's return, but also an apology from DC, and Marz's head on a plate.

Wow. Get out, much?
Only to mail death threats to Ron Marz and DC editor Kevin Dooley, it seems. The group subsequently changed the 'A' in H.E.A.T. to mean 'Advancement' when news of these rather dubious, not to mention downright stupid, tactics surfaced and their already-shaky reputation was in danger of being tarnished with a big, green, holographic brush.

I assume someone at DC called the police?
No, they published THE FINAL NIGHT instead, giving Jordan a hero's death to placate the angry fans.

Did it work?
What do you think?

OK, so Hal Jordan's been dead all this time?
Technically, yes, but he's still appeared in a few comics.

The Decomposing Adventures Of Corpse-Man?
If only. No, Jordan became the new Spectre, as seen in the crossover DAY OF JUDGEMENT a few years ago, coincidentally written by one Mr G Johns.

Let me guess...
No, H.E.A.T. weren't satisfied.

But there were still other Green Lanterns running around, right? Why was Jordan so important?
Essentially because he was the one most readers had grown up with. The other earth-based Green Lanterns had their fans, to be sure, but none of them caught on like Jordan. One of them was Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern from the 40s (who is, amusingly, still alive). There was John Stewart, the somewhat tokenistic African-American 'reserve' Green Lantern, who's now better known to most kids than Jordan, due to being the version used in the JUSTICE LEAGUE cartoon. And then there was Guy Gardner.

The hard case with the bowl haircut? But no-one likes him.
That was kind of the point of his character, but truer words and all that...

Was that the lot?
No, there were also alien and inhuman Green Lanterns - a purple-skinned woman, a girl with pointy ears, a dog called G'nort (don't ask), a chipmunk-like creature... Unsurprisingly, none of them lasted very long.

But the human ones did, didn't they? So why bring Jordan back at all?
Because Jordan is Green Lantern to many people, in the same way that Clark Kent is Superman. That goes not just for comic fans, but also the general public, as even DC's Editorial VP Dan DiDio admitted recently. And for once, DC appears to actually care what the masses (both washed and otherwise) think, because DiDio is the main force behind this restoration of Jordan to his "rightful position" in the DC Universe.

Sounds like DiDio's going to be a well-loved man - hey, where are you going?
Sorry, I must dash. I'm due at the formative board meeting of Kyle's Restoration Advocates Party.

This article is Ideological Freeware. The author grants permission for its reproduction and redistribution by private individuals on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.

All contents