In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.
Today, we look at the short-lived plot point when Hal Jordan decided to use his fists more than his power ring.
It is hard to explain just how weird Marvel Comics was to DC during the mid-1960s, but the best approximation that I can think of is the New Coke fiasco. Coca-Cola was the #1 soft drink on the market, but Pepsi-Cola was coming up on them in the early 1980s (diet sodas had eaten into both products' margins, but the belief at the time was that of the people who liked the sugary sodas, that Pespi-Cola was favored because it was sweeter). So Coke decided to change their formula to a sweeter taste, just like Pepsi and blind taste tests suggested that people loved the new drink. However, when they debuted the new Coke, after a brief sales increase over the novelty of the product, Pepsi sales quickly soared and in less than three months, the original formula was back in use as Coca-Cola Classic and sales went up a lot. Like Coke, DC didn't know what to do with their usurper, Marvel Comics, but they felt that they had to do SOMEthing, so the late 1960s tended to be a period of great upheaval for DC among their various titles.
Green Lantern actually became one of the first titles to try to change things up. The status quo of the book since it launched in 1960 was that Hal Jordan was a test pilot for Ferris Air, which was owned by the father of Carol Ferris, Hal's love interest who was also nominally his boss (I say nominally because Julius Schwartz actually made it be a whole thing that Carol wasn't REALLY Hal's boss because, you know, people are sexist). Longtime writer John Broome, though, had Carol get engaged to another man and Hal then quit working for Ferris Air and just traveling around the country doing different jobs.
That part of the change-up stayed the same, but in the first issue with Hal having a new job, Green Lantern #50, from late 1966 (art by Gil Kane), Broome also tried to introduce a different new take on Hal Jordan that did not last very long. By "not very long," I mean pretty much just until the end of this issue.
You see, Broome's new take was that Hal would choose to use his fists instead of his power ring as much as he could.
He uses this tactic when he fights some "tourists" that he was flying around in a new gig he had as a tourist plane pilot (check out this bit about Hal's other odd jobs over the years)....
And this new tactic ALMOST KILLS HIM!!!
When he is revived, we see his reasoning again, as he feels that his fists are HIS and not GREEN LANTERN'S, and so he wants to use only his own stuff...
Again, though, he would have been DEAD if it hadn't been for his ring!
So he tracks them down and uses his "fist power" again...and it fails AGAIN!
Hal notes, though, that just because it didn't work, doesn't mean that you have to abandon it. True, but come on, Hal, it's a pretty darn good sign!
And ultimately he DOES punch them into submission, but damn, Jordan!