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Things That Turned Out Bad – The Relationship Between Hal Jordan and Arisia

by  in Comic News Comment

In this column, I will spotlight plotlines by writers that probably weren’t a good idea at the time and have only become more problematic in retrospect. I’ll try to stick with stuff that’s more ill-conceived than flat-out offensive (like racist stereotypes of characters during the 1940s).

Today we look at the odd relationship between Hal Jordan and his fellow Green Lantern, Arisia.

Arisia debuted in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #1 (by Mike Barr, Len Wein, Joe Staton and Frank McLaughlin), created by Mike Barr (who gave her his own last name, only reversed – Rrab). Arisia is clearly set up as the plucky teen heroine for the Green Lantern Corps (similar to a then-recent creation, Kitty Pryde)…


Check out Hal’s reference to her as “Little Sister”…


Then, at the end of the issue, when Hal turns down a chance to leave the Corps, check out their interaction…



Literally a big brother/little sister relationship, right?

During his run on the title, Len Wein had Arisia as a supporting cast member and he played up Arisia as having a schoolgirl crush on Hal, like in 1984’s Green Lantern #181 (by Wein, Dave Gibbons and Mark Farmer) when Hal quits the Corps…


Well, soon after, Steve Englehart took over the book and eventually turned it into a book officially spotlighting a group of lanterns as a set team, including changing the name of the book to the Green Lantern Corps.

Englehart decided to further develop the Arisia/Hal relationship, only I think he likely made a mistake in doing so.

First off, he furthered her flirtations, like in Green Lantern #201 (by Englehart, Joe Staton and Mark Farmer, just like all the rest of the Green Lantern Corps issues in this piece)…


Then, in Green Lantern #204, we have Hal explain why he and Arisia cannot be together…


However, Arisia’s body was going through some changes and in Green Lantern Corps #206, she and Hal are trapped in a cave by Black Hand. Hal notices something different about her…


Later, we learn what the deal is…


He even reiterates his position later…


While Hal SAYS that is his position, he obviously does not feel as strongly about it as he says, since by the end of the issue…


The following issue Englehart makes his big push for why it is okay…


And by Green Lantern Corps #211, it is just an accepted part of the book (Guy has spiked everyone’s drinks, so they’re all a bit drunk)…




The relationship even continued PAST Englehart’s involvement on the book. When Jim Owsley took over writing Hal’s adventures as Green Lantern became the lead feature in Action Comics, the relationship remained intact, as shown here in Action Comics #607 (by Owsley and Tod Smith)…



When Hal and Arisia DO break up (when Peter David took over the writing duties on Hal’s adventures), it’s not even explicitly BECAUSE of the age thing, although it played a role.

In Action Comics #616 (by David, Richard Howell and Arne Starr), Hal is trapped while Arisia is outside, freaking out because she doesn’t know how to help without her ring. When Hal escapes, he reacts poorly to her slow reaction time…



And in Action Comics #620 (also by David, Howell and Starr), she just decides that it is time for them to break up…


And we readers were free to pretty much ignore the relationship from that point on.