DC Comics publisher Julius Schwartz had revived the Golden Age Flash in the form of Barry Allen. Schwartz wanted to do the same for Green Lantern, and thus Hal Jordan was created by Gil Kane and John Broome in 1959. Since then, Hal has been the primary face of the Green Lantern Corps.
Hal has led the Corps, served as a member of the Justice League, and saved the universe many times. Later, he became the evil Parallax. Writer Geoff Johns would later retcon this character shift and flesh out Hal’s entire backstory, making him one DC’s most complex characters. Hal is at the center of nearly every major event for the Green Lanterns. Well, he’s usually the cause of it. He’s a cocky fighter pilot who will always overcome fear, and that’s just one of the many reasons fans love him.
10 Hal Jordan Debuts In Showcase #22
Hal Jordan first appeared in showcase #22 in 1959. Like many Golden Age heroes, the idea of the Green Lantern was completely altered to appeal to young readers who were interested in science fiction and fantasy. Green Lantern was now a space-exploring superhero. The books took readers to new worlds, meeting new aliens.
After appearing in just three showcase issues, Hal Jordan earned his own Green Lantern comic book. Since then, the character’s popularity grew thanks to the works of people like Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, and Geoff Johns. For any fan interested in where it all began, showcase #22 is worth a read.
9 Hal Attempts To Revive Coast City Following The Reign Of The Supermen
During the events of the “Reign of the Supermen” arc, Hal Jordan’s home, Coast City, was destroyed by Mongul and Cyborg Superman. What’s left in Green Lantern Vol.3 #48 is a huge crater. Hal walks through the crater, using his power ring to create hard-light constructs of memories of deceased loved ones.
Hal tries to push his ring to its limits. Instead of simply recreating memories, he attempts to resurrect the entire city. The loss of his home from him, and his inability to revive it, sends Hal on a rampage that leads him to confront the Guardians. The loss of Coast City would later have major impacts on Hal’s character from him and the entire Green Lantern Corps.
8 Parallax Takes Over In Green Lantern #50
In Green Lantern Vol.3 #50, Hal’s rampage for power continues, bringing him to Oa to face the Guardians. Hal has already murdered a team of Green Lanterns and taken their power rings. Out of desperation, the Guardians release Sinestro to battle Hal.
Hal ultimately brutally murders Sinestro and becomes the villain known as Parallax. The events of this issue were jarring, and Hal’s villainous turn was quite shocking. The moment he became Parallax is an important moment in Hal’s life, but it’s given even more weight when the intricacies of the moment are retconned in Green Lantern: Rebirth.
7 Hal Jordan Returns In Green Lantern: Rebirth
In many ways, Geoff Johns is the man who saved Green Lantern. Not only did he revive Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in the Green Lantern: Rebirth miniseries, he would later add so much to the Green Lantern mythos with the emotional spectrum, the Black Lanterns, and the true nature of Parallax.
Green Lantern: Rebirth it was not just about the return of Hal Jordan, but the return of the Corps. Green Lantern sales had plummeted by 2004 and DC wanted to revive the character. Instead of going in a completely new direction, Johns took the Green Lantern concept back to its Silver Age roots and subsequently created one of the most critically acclaimed runs in comic history.
6 Hal’s Secret Origins Are Revealed
Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis, Secret Origins collects Green Lantern Vol.4 #29-35. After the nature of Parallax was retconned in Green Lantern: RebirthJohns went back to Hal Jordan’s history and the history of the entire Green Lantern Corps.
Secret Origins expands the relationship between Sinestro and Hal, strengthening their present conflicts. Many Golden Age and Silver Age superhero origin stories were told in a single issue or even a single page. Secret Origins delves into who Hal Jordan was before the ring, why he was worthy of it, and the circumstances of how Abin Sur crashed on Earth.
5 The Black Lanterns Rise In Blackest Night
Blackest Night is one of the biggest comic events in DC’s history. As Lanterns of every emotion emerge, the Black Lanterns of Death rise under Black Hand and Nekron’s control. The entire DC universe, heroes and villains alike, must join forces against an army of deceased allies and friends, now warped and corrupted by black power rings.
As grand as the story is, spread across nearly every DC title and companion miniseries, the heart of Blackest Night lies with Hal Jordan and Barry Allen: two heroes recently resurrected in publication. Blackest Night is all about second chances and taking advantage of those second chances to do better.
4 Hal Jordan Is Exiled From The Corps In Renegade
Hal Jordan is branded a villain almost as much as he’s praised a hero. After the universe’s trust in the Green Lantern Corps plummets, Hal volunteers to take the fall for all the wrongs done by the Guardians and Corps. He abandons his ring and becomes a renegade of the Corps.
With nearly no allies, Hal dons Krona’s old power gauntlet, the first device to harness and weaponize willpower. The “Renegade” storyline calls back to Hal’s days under Parallax’s control. Hal often struggles with his genuine morality from him. Is he a hero, or is there some small part of him that enjoys being a villain?
3 A New Hal Jordan In Green Lantern: Earth One
DC’s Earth One line of books allows writers and artists to craft brand new stories in brand new worlds using classic, well-known characters. After the success of books like Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison, DC has released two volumes of Green Lantern: Earth One created by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko.
This graphic novel alters the concept of the Silver Age Green Lantern Corps. Hal is no longer a fighter jet test pilot, but an astronaut. The Green Lantern Corps is not thriving, but nearly extinct. For fans of Hal Jordan looking for something new, GL: Earth One delivers and surprises.
two Grant Morrison Writes Green Lantern
Grant Morrison, one of comics’ greatest writers, with works like Batman: Arkham Asylum and the JLA series, wrote a twelve-issue Green Lantern series alongside artist Liam Sharp. Morrison and Sharp’s Green Lantern is like an abstract pop-art painting, a strange science fiction movie serial, and a superhero epic all rolled into one. Sharp’s alien worlds are so unique and distinct from anything seen before in Lantern books.
Morrison’s writing is tremendous. They send Hal Jordan on these grand adventures through space and time, such that seem perfectly suited for the Silver Age Green Lantern, yet still manage to insert important character beats between Hal and Carol, or even Hal and his Lantern Battery from him.
1 A Perfect Hal Jordan Story In The Green Lantern 80th Anniversary Issue
In 2020, DC released a 100-page comic honoring Green Lantern’s 80 years of publication. The giant-sized book features ten new stories from artists and writers who’ve worked on Lantern books before, like Dennis O’Neil, Doug Mahnke, Ron Marz, and Darryl Banks.
The story titled LastWill, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis, sees Hal Jordan crash land on an alien world. With his ring’s charge depleting, Hal has enough time to send three messages to loved ones. Though only eight pages long, LastWill perfectly encapsulates everything a reader would need to know about Hal’s character: his respect for his fellow Lanterns, his admiration of heroes like Batman, and his love for Carol Ferris. For fans, new or old, this is a perfect Hal Jordan story.
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