WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Green Lanterns #55 by Dan Jurgens, Mike Perkins, Hi-Fi and Dave Sharpe, on sale now.
When it comes to the working relationship between the Guardians of the Universe and Hal Jordan, it’s never been truly smooth running. Hal has always been a leader, but one who does things his way, even if it goes against the Guardians. Most importantly, he doesn’t take shortcuts or compromise when it comes to justice, which has seen him run afoul of his superiors who have bent rules time and time again, often and conveniently for their own benefit.
With the Central Power Battery now infected and under the control of the technopath Cyborg Superman, the Guardians as well as (nearly) all members of the Green Lantern Corps have found themselves helpless. However, thanks to Hal’s past insubordination, one key event in his career — an incident he still regards as a big mistake — may end up being the Corps’ saving grace.
In the previous issue, Cyborg Superman (aka Hank Henshaw) revealed his ruse after he tricked Simon Baz into freeing him from Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. There, he was able to use the technology available to him in order to spread his consciousness into the Power Battery on Mogo (the sentient planet Green Lantern), and unveil his plans to torture the Corps. He’s nullifying power to Lantern rings, crippling them in battle, and cutting off their communication with each other, all while his lackeys, the cosmic villain Eon and the Ravagers, run roughshod over Hal’s compatriots.
Everyone, from Guy Gardner to John Stewart to Kyle Rayner, are sitting ducks. Shockingly, Jessica Cruz, whose ring is sentient and should have been impervious, or at least offered warning, is also tainted by Henshaw’s corruption. The highlight of his scheme unfolds when he teleports through the Power Battery and then incapacitates the Guardians. As he gloats and celebrates this crowning achievement, one Lantern still stands tall, his ring unaffected: Hal.
Henshaw doesn’t have a connection to Hal’s ring, and it’s most likely due to its special nature. DC’s Rebirth changed his status quo with the Corps because prior to that event, Hal defected, stealing Krona’s Gauntlet so he could do the Corps’ dirty work and save its reputation. But after taking one for the team, Hal was vilified by his former teammates, many of whom saw his move as a power play rather than him doing something for the greater good. As unworthy as they labeled it, Hal believed it was the right thing he was doing, but in the process, the Gauntlet changed him into a being of pure willpower.
Come DC’s 2016’s Rebirth initiative, he recognized he needed to rejoin his unit and so he fashioned a ring from pure willpower, as he was now connected directly to this green segment of the emotional spectrum. He didn’t need the Power Battery thereafter as his ring was linked to the source itself. Abandoning ship and leaving his friends vulnerable was something he still felt sorry for, but while he sees it as a mistake, as fate would have it, it’s currently the one thing keeping him independent of Henshaw’s machinations.
His ring is the only free ring remaining and is undoubtedly the Corps’ lone hope. It also sets the stage for an enticing vendetta match against Henshaw at Coast City, Hal’s hometown. This is as personal as it gets because Henshaw destroyed the city and killed millions when he went mad in the ’90s after Superman’s death.
This genocide is what drove Hal to turn away from the Corps and become Parallax, which would result in a very long journey of redemption for the hero. Well, seeing as Hal doesn’t have a handicap here in terms of a flawed ring, we can only pray his emotions don’t get the best of him and that his unique asset gives him something extra for the fight to come, because there’s a lot riding on him winning.
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