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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So is Hal Jordan Really Without Fear or What?

by  in Comic News Comment

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, based on a suggestion by Stephane S, we look at the complicated history of whether Hal Jordan is actually “without fear” or not.

When John Broome introduced Hal Jordan in Showcase #22, the dying Abin Sur told his ring to find someone who is “entirely without fear”…




For nearly thirty years, that was Hal Jordan’s bit. He was without fear. No one really gave it a ton of thought. After all, Daredevil is also “The Man Without Fear.” It is sort of just a cool-sounding thing, ya know?

However, after he took over as the writer of the Green Lantern feature in Action Comics Weekly, Peter David decided to explore the concept of someone being “without fear.” He had people react oddly to Hal’s suggestion that he was without fear.

Later, in Action #612, Hal fights a bad guy who can mess with your emotions…




When he got to FEAR, though, nada…


Hal, as you might imagine, was confused by this. How could he literally be without fear?

So he asks the ring…


The next issue, the ring explains what happened…




Hal has the ring remove the change it made to his psyche and suddenly he was scared of lots of stuff as all of that residual fear came pouring in. He eventually learned to deal with it and by the time Peter David left the title, it was no longer a major plot point.

Writer James Owsley (who launched the Green Lantern feature in Action Comics) returned and the whole “fear lobotomy” plot was never referred to again. However, after the Action Comics Weekly experiment came to an end and Green Lantern got his own title, Owsley wrote a Hal Jordan origin story in Secret Origins #36 that made a point to abandon and forsake the Peter David change to Hal’s origin (it also served as a sort of after the fact introduction to the supporting characters Owsley used during his Green Lantern run in Action – that’s one of them flying with Hal as Hal explains his origin)…




(Mark Waid, editor of Secret Origins at the time, confirmed to me that the above sequence was meant to overwrite the “fear lobotomy” change to the origin).

Interestingly enough, less than a year after writing that Secret Origins story, Owsley wrote a NEW origin for Hal Jordan in Emerald Dawn #1. Here, “without fear” is removed and in its place is the ability to overcome fear…



That’s the way it has been ever since.

At the action-packed conclusion to the Sinestro Corps War in Green Lantern #25, Geoff Johns reiterates this…



And in his popular Secret Origin storyline (specifically issue #30), Johns has that as Hal’s origin, as well (and naturally, that was what made it into the film adaptation of Green Lantern, as well)…


So there ya go!

Thanks again to Stephane for the suggestion!