WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Injustice 2 #55, by Tom Taylor, Daniel Sampere and Juan Albarran, on sale now.
The Injustice comics have provided a lot of context for Injustice: Gods Among Us, the 2013 video game from Warner Bros. and NetherRealm studios. The game, as well as the first comic series, focused on Batman and Superman’s civil war in the wake of the Man of Steel establishing his deadly regime after Joker tricked him into killing Lois Lane and his unborn baby. This first chapter ended with Superman’s side losing and the Kryptonian imprisoned, but clearly awaiting his chance at escape.
With the Injustice 2 video game released last year, it’s only fitting that DC Comics has a sequel comic series accompanying it. In this case, the new books bridge the gap between games and inform the audience just where all the characters are at the start of the second video game. Injustice 2 #55 (from writer Tom Taylor, and the art team of Daniel Sampere and Juan Albarran) finds itself going deep into the incarceration of Hal Jordan, who initially sided with Superman. At the end of this issue, things go from bad to worse for a repentant Hal, no longer a Green Lantern, as he gives into his self-hatred and becomes a Red Lantern.
Now, fans of the first video game would recall that Hal left the regime after the Man of Steel murdered Shazam for questioning his dictatorship, the last straw after witnessing the emotional toll it took on his best friend, the Flash (Barry Allen), who also wanted out. At this point, Hal was actually a Yellow Lantern, working with the Sinestro Corps and even fighting his former emerald allies, all because he had come to believe that the universe could only truly be policed by fear.
But after seeing his friends suffer under Superman, he renounced his yellow ring and turned Sinestro over to the Guardians on Oa, all in the hopes of gaining redemption. The Injustice 2 comics highlight the Guardians’ lack of sympathy for their former charge, and rather than forgive, they place him on the prison colony of Harring, under the watch of warden Soranik Natu, Sinestro’s daughter. Hal tries to show he’s capable of redeeming himself, but she isn’t forgiving, specifically pointing to the fact that he killed Guy Gardner when he was a Yellow Lantern. Ironically, Sinestro is there as well, leading to a very antagonistic relationship amongst all three — amplified by Sinestro killing Soranik’s lover, Kyle Rayner, and fellow Corpsman John Stewart, in the name of the regime.
Things come to a boil in this issue, as Atrocitus and his Red Lanterns kill Soranik’s sentry Tomar-Re, and come to claim Sinestro as their own prisoner. The Green Lanterns, no longer willing to be lenient and repeat past mistakes against a rival Corps, go into kill-mode against their counterparts, turning a prison squabble into all-out war. In the fracas, Sinestro spots a red ring from one of Atrocitus’ fallen soldiers and rushes to try to slip it on. Hal sees this and tries to subdue his old foe, but an unrelenting Soranik blasts both men away from the ring.
However, when the dust clears we see Hal, with the ring on, transformed into a Red Lantern (which, perhaps not so ironically, is one of his skins in the mobile version of Injustice 2). Though we see blood foaming from his mouth, it’s clear that he’s holding back his anger, warning Soranik to take Sinestro back to Oa before he loses control. With Hal distracted, the Red Lanterns restrain him, Atrocitus sparing his life, recognizing the enormous power Hal holds within.
Asked about the source of this hatred which is giving him such lethal potential, Hal’s response is one of brutal honesty. This, of course, comes thanks to the goading of Guy Garder’s ghost, which has been manifesting for some time in Hal’s mind as part of his PTSD. As Atrocitus inquires what is is that could make him so angry at the world, the fallen hero spits venomously, “Myself.”
This affirms how badly he’s been wracked with guilt since rebuking his villainous ways. We all know he’ll become a Green Lantern once more, but for now, it’s intriguing seeing Hal wrestle with yet another trip to the dark side, which in this case is crimson-hued.
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