If you save the universe, but only after murdering every single one of your comrades and then some, how will you be remembered?
Green Lantern: Legacy, approaches that subject with the reverence, respect, and fist-fighting one would expect from comics. We open on Hal Jordan’s lifetime friend, Tom Kalmaku, as he is giving a eulogy at Jordan’s funeral. He erupts into a tirade against his former friend just as we return to the present, focusing on Tom’s life in a run-down apartment, dwelling on the past.
He’s drunk, he’s angry, he’s left his family: there is seemingly nothing holding Tom together anymore, and he seems content to live out his life in this self-imposed solitude.
All of that changes though when a man shows up claiming he needs to discuss Hal Jordan’s secret will with Tom.
The lawyer deposits a young boy named Martin Jordan on Tom’s doorstep, announces he is Hal Jordan’s son, and leaves.
Not surprisingly, Tom is dumbfounded. He hasn’t forgiven Hal for everything he’s done, yet here he is face to face with his former best friend’s child, who arrives with a simple note from Hal that says, “Fix it.”
Now, Tom has no idea what exactly he’s supposed to fix, nor is he given much time to figure it out. He and Martin are soon followed by a dark, demonic being who seems determined to destroy them both. Tom goes to everyone he can imagine in search of help: Carol Ferris, the JLA, the remaining Green Lanterns on Earth; nobody can offer any real help.
Couple that with the fact that the kid somehow has (and can wield) a power ring, and Tom is in way over his head. Out of ideas, Tom and Martin reach out to the remaining Green Lanterns in the galaxy, who are none too pleased to meet the offspring of their destroyer. We learn that they are responsible for the horrible monster that’s been following Tom and Martin everywhere, and that the monster is a rather familiar character.
Killowog, Hal Jordan’s mentor whom he later killed in his quest for justice, has been resurrected to seek vengeance on behalf of his fallen comrades. He seems to have succeeded too, overcoming the boy and knocking him to the ground.
Of course, not all is as it seems with this child, who is not really a child at all.
A human manifestation of Hal’s Green Lantern ring, Martin was sent to Tom by some part of Hal in order to make things right. Even at his darkest, it seems Hal knew that Tom would be needed to right his wrongs.
Tom somehow realizes what is needed of him, and as he and Marty travel through time they encounter Hal in his Parallax form. Hal ensures Tom that there is nothing he can do to change the past, to which Tom agrees. However, he knows that he can change the future. Putting on the Green Lantern ring, he recites the oath and creates a brand new Oa.
This new Oa is powered by the same Green Light that Hal had collected as he killed his brethren, so in a way Tom has returned the power to the universe. It is believed that this will usher in a new age of Green Lanterns, without the cold, unyielding rule of the Guardians.
As the comic closes, we see Hal thanking Tom for what he’s done, before disappearing in his Spectre form. Tom returns to his family, presumably with a new lease on life.
This was a touching comic to say the least. I admit I had forgotten about Tom during the entire Parallax storyline, but it’s nice to see that he wasn’t completely disregarded. This comic presents a truly realistic explanation of what would happen to the “best friend” after the hero goes off the deep end. Not only was it a sweet comic which allowed Tom to get some closure, but it also has the potential to have profound implications on the universe. With a new Oa, there could conceivably be a brand new Green Lantern Corps to protect the galaxy. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this happens, and the idea of such a change is pretty staggering. Will former members be invited to join? Will Kyle Rayner officially become a member of the Corps? This, coupled with the implications of a new Green Lantern regime, seem like they could provide a pretty big shakeup to the Green Lantern world.
Hal Jordan may have made some terrible mistakes, but it’s nice to see that all of the good deeds in his life haven’t been forgotten. Although his actions were terrible, at least now a new era of Green Lanterns can emerge, while still remaining grounded in the history of the original Corps.