Geoff Johns really knows how to craft a story. After Hal Jordan’s triumphant return, I was all too eager to see him return to his Green Lantern glory days. Unfortunately, there would undoubtedly be fallout from his return, as many people would still be angry over the death and destruction he left in his wake. Johns was far more astute of a writer than I was a reader; he recognized this fact, and decided to craft a whole storyline around that idea. We’ve already seen the story of Hal readjusting to life on Earth. Now it’s time to see him try to readjust to life in the Corps.
Hal is the same old GL he’s always been, breaking the rules and standing up to those he thinks are wrong. This time around though, he needs to be a bit more mindful of what he does.
There are plenty of GL members, new and old, who remember what Hal did when he was Parallax. The fact that he was being controlled by another entity doesn’t seem to matter to these people; they’re out for blood, and Hal has to watch his back at every turn. This quickly takes a back seat in Hal’s mind though as one of his earliest victims as Parallax reappears, very much alive. Hal, convinced others may also be alive, asks the Guardians to be allowed to travel to sector 3601, Manhunter territory, to investigate. They refuse, but that’s certainly not going to stop Jordan.
Hal and Guy Gardner make the journey on their own, and quickly run up against a force more powerful than they could have imagined.
Hank Henshaw, the criminal behind the destruction of Coast City, has joined forces with the Manhunters and is employing new technology to allow the Manhunters to destroy an entire world at once. Hal and Guy do their damnest to stop him, all while trying to save the countless Green Lanterns who have been trapped in sector 3601 for years, their energy being drained to power the Manhunters.
Not only are all of the GLs Hal supposedly killed in his quest to destroy Oa here, he’s also reunited with his long-lost love, Arisia:
I admit I haven’t read all that much about this pair, but I really like how Johns writes her here, and the couple’s back and forth banter is really entertaining.
In the end Hank is destroyed, although as Hal says, it’s certain that he would have transferred his consciousness into another host. Having saved the lives of those he had previously believed he killed, Hal and his past victims form a truce, and while they don’t seem to fully trust or forgive Hal, they respect him enough to leave him alone.
Although the entire Hal Jordan storyline is awesome, most exciting here is the brief glimpse of Superboy Prime at the end of the trade. The GLs are tasked with keeping the red sun that traps Superboy Prime lit. I can only assume that at some point this sun will extinguish, and SP will be free to wreck havoc once more. Can it not be another Crisis though? It’s so hard to re-learn all the continuity. Let’s just have SP reappear, Superman punch him in his stupid little face, and call it a day.
I’m continually impressed with Johns’s skill as a writer, and this Green Lantern trade is no exception. Hal’s story feels believable, which is really half the battle when you’re writing comics about interstellar space police. It’s nice to see that Batman isn’t the only person who distrusted Hal after his return (proving that at least here, Batman’s not just obnoxiously untrusting). The GL Corps is a team, and it was interesting to see how various members of said team chose sides after Hal’s return. It felt realistic, as people would inevitably be divided on the issue of trusting a one-time murderer. I’m glad Hal is able to move past it though, and while there may still be a few lingering resentments, in my eyes he’s atoned for his sins and deserves the opportunity to start fresh.