Super-Blog Team-Up #3 of 6
The act of
reading a comic book more often than not is a solitary experience. And for many enthusiasts, myself included,
there is not a whole lot opportunity to share our favourite pastime as we go
about our daily lives. Apart from a few
brief conversations on the weekly trip to my LCS or a fairly one-sided exchange
with my loving and very patient better half I don’t really have anyone in my day
to day that I can geek out with. So it
pleases me no end to be part of a thriving online comic book community instead.
We fanboys and fangirls love to hang out on the interwebs. Check out the sidebar on this page for links
to some of my favourite blog sites and podcasts!
And so it
is that the Super-Blog Team-Up came about.
@Charlton_Hero, the Professor X to this motley crew, gathered together a
bunch of bloggers with a shared passion for the Silver Age and comics of
yesteryear to suggest we combine our mighty powers in a project that would span
across all of our blogsites. The goal
was to find a theme that united our various interests and to write about it in
a globe spanning crossover event (if you’ll excuse the aptly borrowed comic
book parlance). For each of us a
different hero or team, or indeed time-period, lies at the centre of our
passion so it wasn’t easy to come up with a suitable topic. Luckily @LBoxGraveyard (who is probably Cyclops in our X-Men analogy but I see him more as the ever wise Beast) hit on
the magic formula.
the one thing that any long-running hero worth his or her salt has done at some
time or other?” The answer is,
“Quit”. Throw in the towel. Hang up the cape. Dump the
spandex costume in a back alley trashcan and declare, “No more!”
why, without further ado, I want to tell you all about the time that Green
Lantern turned his back on the hero life and told the Guardians they could
“Take this ring and shove it…”
Gibbons infamous cover to Green Lantern
#181 (vol. 2) depicts a furious Hal Jordan hurling his power ring to the
floor and roaring at his immortal masters, “I’m tired of being your whipping
boy!! I quit!!” As is so often the case, the cover of #181 does not quite ring true to the
narrative that takes place in the issue itself where a calmer but still
impassioned GL struggles between the devotion he’s feels towards his duty as
the protector of Sector 2814 and his devotion to the woman he loves. It may surprise you to learn, however, that this issue published in 1984 with Len Wein in
the writer’s chair was not the start of the Hal Jordan “I quit” saga - not by a
speaking the story begins all the way back in Green
Lantern #148 (vol. 2), dated January 1982, under the watchful eye of
legendary scribe Marv Wolfman. And it
does not reach its conclusion until Steve Englehart’s Green Lantern #200 (vol. 2), cover date May 1986. Joe Staton is the artist for both issues but
he was off the Green Lantern books
completely for some four years in between times! The final arc of the piece is directly linked
to the outcome of DC Comics’ historic crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths, itself a yearlong running story also
penned by Marv Wolfman and published in 1985/86.
As an ace
test pilot, a man of action and a handsome fellow to boot, it comes as no
surprise that Hal Jordan has had more than a few ladies in his life over the
years but fans will attest to the fact that none of them could hold a candle to
Carol Ferris. Carol is Hal’s ‘meant to
be’. His Lois Lane, if you will. But, to quote Gene Pitney, true love never
runs smooth. From her earliest
depictions Carol has been shown as a strong willed business woman who made Hal
jump through more than a few hoops as he tried to make a romantic impression
upon her. In GL #148 an alien race called the Ungarans beseech Green Lantern to
rescue their home planet from certain destruction. The Ungarans are particularly notable as this
was the race that Hal Jordan’s predecessor, Abin Sur, came from. Unfortunately Hal was already preoccupied
with the comparatively minor threat of espionage that threatened to destroy
Ferris Aircraft leaving Carol and her father penniless. In conflict with his sacred oath he turns his
back on the helpless space travellers in order to deal with his girlfriend’s
problems instead. The Guardians of the
Universe have been monitoring all that has transpired and are not best pleased
at their Corpsman’s wanton dereliction of his duty and so they summon him to Oa
to confront him.
dialogue in this sequence is very telling.
Hal is unusually callous in his outlook, presumably as a result of his
infatuation for Carol and his desire to protect her, even if it is only her
business interests that are in jeopardy.
The Guardians call him out on it, “Your problems are all meaningless,
Earthman, they deal with troubles in commerce.
Personal gains mean nothing to us!
Our Corps was created to save worlds!
The needs of the Ungara affect millions, yet you, Green Lantern of
Sector 2814 - you refused their pleas to merely appease the outward needs of a
few? You are neglect in your duties,
Green Lantern of Earth! You are arrogant
in the selective use of your powers!”
All the while, Carol begs the Guardians to release the GL from his duties
so he can help her troubled company.
When put so plainly even Hal cannot ignore the obviousness of the
situation but he does not show regret for the decision he made: “N… No, he’s right. I swore my duty to the Corps… I have to go
when I am called. But I won’t split my
loyalties in the future. I love you
Carol – too much to ever risk losing you again.
So I’ll go to Oa, I’ll help solve whatever problem there is on Ungara –
and then I’m going to hang up my power ring… forever. Let someone else be Green Lantern! I’ve had it!”
was the end of issue #148. But, as I have already mentioned, Jordan did
not quit the Corps until issue #181. So just what happened in the meantime? The Guardians sent Hal to Ungara and during
the course of saving an entire planet from destruction he mellowed a little. He realised how important his calling as a
Green Lantern was and he accepted the he was wrong to have ignored plight of
the Ungarans. Faced with a serious
breach of their directives but also well aware of the Earthman’s outstanding
record, the Guardian ruled that he should serve a penance which would require
that he could not set foot on his home planet again for a full year. Carol was devastated when her hero declared
his love for her before taking off to make his new home in the stars.
At 20 issues Hal’s yearlong exile actually took up the best part of two years in real time. The stories told over this period were both fantastic cosmic adventures and vivid lessons in morality. I like to think of them as the ‘Star Trek years’ because of how reminiscent they are of Captain James T. Kirk’s adventures in the original 60s series. His Oan masters sent him on missions that would challenge his perceptions of the world. Under their carefully orchestrated tutelage he learnt about diversity and the value of life in whatever form he might find it. Also during this time, Hal being Hal, he rescued a beautiful redhead called Dorine from a band of evil tyrants dubbed the Headmen. Dorine fell for him instantly and it wasn’t long before he’d swept her off to the space ship that he was domiciled on during his exile. Although nothing is said explicitly I think it is safe to assume that she wasn’t only there in the capacity of his travelling companion! But when his year was up Hal sped back to Earth and as fast as he ring could carry him. He was back in Carol’s arms by nightfall while poor Dorine didn’t even rate an editor’s footnote in a filler panel.
was away doing his space thing, the lives of the people he had left behind
continued to unfold within the pages of Green
Lantern. The man behind all of
Ferris Aircraft’s troubles, Congressman Bloch, continued his plotting. Not long after GL arrived back to take up his
post as the company’s star pilot (and it’s boss’s leading man) the congressman
pulled his most dastardly stroke yet. He
hired the villains known as the Demolition Team to turn the aircraft company’s
office and research buildings into so much rubble. The timing of the attack could not have been
worse for the Hal as the Guardians chose this moment to summon him across the
galaxy to Omnicron Ceti IV, a normally beautiful world that was suddenly
wracked with planet-wide earthquakes.
Bound by his oath and hard-learned lessons the protector of Sector 2814
took to the stars at warp speed and so was forced to abandon his friends to
Oddly, even without their resident Green Lantern on call, Ferris Aircraft found they still had a super-powered being who could come to their defence - a violent individual who introduced himself as The Predator. He dispatched with Demolition Team in no time and even managed to steal a kiss from Carol Ferris before making his exit. Although slightly confused, Carol certainly couldn’t be described as looking offended at having her personal space invaded in this manner! By the time Hal made it back home the battle was over and the only assistance he could offer was in the form of a giant green fire extinguisher construct to quash the last remnants of fire flickering amongst the rubble.
reaction to her boyfriend’s return marks the tipping point in the wider story
of Hal resigning from the Green Lantern Corps.
She is furious that the hero had left her in her hour of need. Holding the ring-slinger responsible for all
of the destruction her father’s company had suffered, she confronts him with an
ultimatum (and a stinging slap across the cheek), “No more buts, Hal! Either have the courtesy to be here for me
when I need you –or set me free to live a normal life again! It’s that lousy ring or me Hal! The choice is yours!” Somehow, despite all that he’d been through Hal
found himself back where he’d started, forced to choose between the love of his
life and his duty as a Green Lantern.
the superhero community for advice doesn’t make things any clearer. A typically cavalier Green Arrow commends his
friend to risk it all for love. He
reminds Hal there are 3599 other Lanterns in the universe but only one Carol
Ferris. The Flash is up to his neck in
woes of his own and sits on the fence while Superman, ever the idealist, holds
that those with power must endure personal sacrifices for the greater
good. In the end though Hal Jordan the
man wins out over the Hal Jordan the hero and so it is with a heavy but
determined heart that he sets off for Oa to deliver his decision to the
Guardians of the Universe. His closest
friends in the Corps head him off on route and try talk around with little
success. Len Wein deserves credit for
knowing his Green Lantern history with Katma Tui unleashing her anger on Hal for
turning his back on the Corps “for the love a of woman”. Way back in Green Lantern #30 published in 1964 the shoe was on the other foot
and Jordan convinced Katma to leave her own fiancé in order to pursue her future
with the GLC. The apology that follows
seems a little weak and understandably fails to redress the balance.
opposition from his friends dispels any lingering doubts as Dave Gibbons’ image
of Hal throwing open the doors of the Citadel on Oa makes it clear to the
reader that this is really going to happen.
Within three emotion charged pages the work of a quarter of a century is
undone and, for now at least, the superheroes of Earth can no longer count a
Green Lantern among their number. The
issue ends on an uncertain note as Carol and her man are reunited. She begs him not to hate her and he comforts
her at once, “I could never hate you!
The choice was mine to make, and I know I’ve made the right one…” But when the scene pulls back to reveal a wondrous
vision of the starry night broken only by a small thought bubble rising above
the young lovers, “Haven’t I?”, I can imagine Lantern fans across the ages screaming as one,
“Noooo! Of course you haven’t...!!”
long John Stewart is recruited to take over as the Guardians’ representative in
Sector 2814 but this does not mean that Hal is forgotten about. Green
Lantern continues to follow the trials and tribulations of the folks at
Ferris Aircraft where John has conveniently been taken on as an architect to
rebuild after the Demolition Team attack.
With The Predator continually leaping to Carol’s defence unbidden and being
more than a little forward in his advances towards her, the pilot turns
detective to track down his violent rival.
Here the story takes a startling turn.
It transpires that The Predator and Carol are two parts of the same being
and that being is, of course, Star Sapphire.
For those who joined Green Lantern with Geoff Johns it should be pointed
out that Star Sapphire has been a villain in the GL mythos for years. When the Zamarons wanted to take a new queen
they brainwashed Carol Ferris with a gem that emits purple energy
beams. Star Sapphire wanted to take Hal
for her consort and for some reason decided the best way to do this would be to
repeatedly attempt to kill him. This
surely is the definition of ‘tough love’ in its purest form!
Predator and Carol are combined and once again the personality of Star Sapphire
takes over. A rather odd thing happens
after that in my opinion. Maybe it is a
result of having lost the ring and being resigned to his status as an
Earthbound human but when Star Sapphire returns to Zamora Hal just lets her
go. He doesn’t react as if this is a
brainwashed Carol acting against her will and in need of rescue. It seems instead he is reconciled to the fact
that his love has gone for good and he isn’t going to try to do a thing about
it. This stance does not sit right with
me at all. Even without a ring, the guy
still knows Superman. If it was the girl
I’d just sacrificed my whole world for I’d be straight on the phone to the
Justice League looking for a little back-up.
What we do
get, however, is Hal’s thoughts returning to the Corps and the life he has
given up. “I gave up everything for
Carol… and now I have nothing! Somewhere
Katma Tui must be laughing, and deservedly so!
I’ve finally taken my own medicine.”
(Hello Hal… are you a little confused between getting dumped and having
your girlfriend kidnapped by aliens again?
An easy mistake to make, I guess).
“But maybe… maybe I could rejoin the Corps. Maybe I could start all over.”
John Stewart is proving himself to be a very competent wielder of the Green
Light, so much so that when a certain Harbinger shows up to recruit a handful
of heroes from across several dimensions to save the multiverse as we know it,
John is front and centre with the best of them.
Crisis on Infinite Earths is a story for another blog but if you love DC
Comics and you haven’t read it I suggest you rectify this immediately after
you’ve finished reading these 6 fine issues of Super-Blog Team-Up! For now it is suffice to say that the world
of the DCU was changed forever after an epic battle between good and evil on a
cosmic level scale.
Lantern tied in 5 issues with COIE including a 'Giant-Sized Spectacular'. They are of paramount importance to
Hal’s return so I will try to do justice to them here in a very brief
summary. The big bad of Crisis, the
Anti-Monitor, erected a barricade around Oa to cut off the Corps’ link to the
Central Power Battery. Half the
Guardians were placed in stasis and eventually killed. The rest split into opposing factions disagreeing
on the correct action to take in the face of the Anti-Monitor’s scheming. One group woke Guy Gardner from a coma he had
laid in for years and when he came to his
personality had changed. He had become
cocky and self-conceited, itching to take his misfortunes out on the world at
large. The Guardians tasked him with
raising a team of super-criminals to go after the Anti-Monitor and destroy his
power at the source on the moon of Qward.
John Stewart and his fellow Corpsmen are sent to stop Guy on the basis
that success in his mission will actually hurry the ultimate destruction of the
multiverse. Hal has been brought to Oa
and convinced by a Guardian that Guy’s mission must succeed. He is finally given a power ring but notably
not a GL uniform to go with it. At some
point Sinestro gets involved and confuses matters even further! Are you still with me?
Hal set off for the anti-matter universe with the villains in tow but the two
fall out when Guy uses lethal force to kill the Qwardians who stand against
them. Hal feels that they can be taken
down humanely but he almost pays the ultimate price when a jealous Guy tries to kill
him too. The Green Lantern Corps show up
to save the day while a depowered Hal is side-lined after giving his all in one
last attempt to stop Gardner. John
eventually wins out in a battle of will against the newest power-hungry Lantern
but the strain on both men is immense.
Meanwhile Goldface, an infamous GL villain and a member of Guy’s band of
marauders, attacks fan favourite Tomar-Re.
The impurity in his ring meant the GL was defenceless to Goldface’s
assaults as the villain’s costume is covered in yellow gold from top to
toe. Suffering fatal wounds at his
enemies hand and sensing the end is close Tomar-Re bequeaths his power ring to “one
who is fearless and honest”. Oddly the
ring selects John Stewart to be its wielder even though he is already a Green
Lantern. The ring itself explains that
John is wearing Hal Jordan’s ring. With
that John’s ring leaves his finger and plants itself on Hal’s instead while Tomar’s
ring moves to take its place. Hal
crouches over his dead friend as a Green Lantern uniform forms around
him. It is John who makes his fellow
Earthman’s induction official in the name of the Guardians as he declares,
“Once a Green Lantern, always a Green Lantern.
it ends, more or less. What Hal learned
from the whole experience is very much up for debate. Love is blind? Or never trust a woman who has a habit of
turning into an alien warrior queen?
Some people are born to be heroes?
Or, like Superman tried to tell him, those who are blessed with power
beyond that of mortal men must face personal sacrifice in the name of the
greater good? Maybe it’s a simple tale
of comradeship? When you have trained
and fought side by side with a group like the Green Lantern Corps it is
impossible to turn your back on them even if you try to tell yourself
otherwise. If Hal had come to me for
advice instead of The Flash he wouldn’t have found me sitting on the
fence. I’d have given it to him
straight: “Dude, you’re Green Lantern!
That isn’t something you walk away from”.
storytelling over the years that this saga takes place is some of the most
emotionally charged I have read in comics anywhere. There are many creators who came together to
produce this long-running drama, more than I have named here, and every one of
them deserves credit for the tremendous part they have played.
footnote, I’d like to add that in the very next issue Hal comes to his senses
and returns to Zamora to rescue Carol from her Star Sapphire persona only to
find that the two are in explicably linked and bringing back the woman he loves
is impossible. A sad moment for the
Emerald Crusader to be sure but, with hindsight at twenty-twenty, it proves to
be a great lead in for thrilling adventures yet to come).
you’ve read issue #3 of the spectacular SUPER-BLOG TEAM-UP crossover event which it has been my pleasure to contribute to, go
check out these other amazing blogs to learn why some of your other
favourite super-heroes decided to call it “Quittin’ Time…”
#4 The SuperHero Satellite: Superman
#6 Fantastiverse: Hank Pym - COMING SOON!!