The Final Night

I’m really glad I don’t live in the DC universe.

Sure, superpowers would be great, but there’s no guarantee I’d ever have any, and end-of-the-world crisis events seem to be a pretty standard occurrence there.

We may not be able to fly but at least our world isn’t being threatened by an alien army or sun-eating black hole every other week.

The Final Night features yet another crisis for our superheroes to overcome, this time in the form of a black mass of unknown origin that travels through space and consumes suns, causing the destruction of countless planets and civilizations.

It sets its sights on our own solar system’s sun, blanketing Earth in darkness.  What’s more, the now-blocked sun is doing what it can to survive, and within a few days will erupt in a supernova, destroying all life.

Just your run-of-the-mill, happy little “last day on Earth” story.

While numerous superheroes are featured in this trade, most of their time is spent trying to keep some semblance of order around the world, keeping people safe while putting a stop to the riots that have developed.

A large portion of the story shifts its focus away from the end of the world towards Hal Jordan, the former Green Lantern now known as Parallax.  Jordan finally tracks down and kills Cyborg, the Superman imposter who’s responsible for the destruction of Coast City.  As he reflects on his now-completed mission, Jordan begins to question his actions, knowing that what he’s done is wrong.  He feels remorse for those he has killed, and wishes to change his role in the universe.

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Just as Jordan is reflecting on who he really is, the current Green Lantern, Kyle Raynor, pops up and asks for Jordan’s help in saving the world.

After a little self-reflection, Jordan agrees.  He visits various friends and loved ones, saying a sort of final goodbye, leaving the reader with a fair guess as to the pretty inevitable conclusion of his story.

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Jordan destroys the sun-eater and stabilizes the sun so that all is returned to normal, but he does so at the expense of his own life.  The world order is restored, and as the story closes we see Batman and Superman commenting on the man Hal Jordan was.  Batman still holds a grudge for all that Jordan put them through, but Superman chooses to grant Hal his redemption, viewing him as a hero.

Overall the objective of this story seems to have been to kill off Hal Jordan, and nothing more.  While I’ve grown leery of such deaths, as there’s never any guarantee that they’ll last, this one feels pretty permanent. Jordan’s heartfelt farewells with those he was close with, along with the surprising amount of this comic that focuses on him and nothing else, leads me to believe that his death is pretty final.

For all I know, I could be wrong.  It feels like a pretty fitting ending for Jordan though.  He’s suffered so much and seems completely done with The Corps and even life in general.  It would be a bit pointless to bring him back after what was, after all, a pretty elaborate and heartfelt curtain call for the character.

As an “end of the world crisis” event I wasn’t overly drawn into this story.  There’s no explanation given as to what exactly the sun-eater is, and there’s not much focus on any of the other individual characters.  As a final send-off for Hal Jordan though, it wasn’t half bad.  For once I think the story could have been a bit longer, with more emphasis on Jordan himself as well as the effects of the sun-eater on Earth.  I’m sorry to see Hal gone, but I’m also not overly surprised.  He’s been on a downward spiral for a while now, and there didn’t seem to be any way to come back from what he did.  At least he went out a hero, regardless of what he had done. He made the right choice, in the end.

-Jess

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