Monday, April 04, 2011


Back before they brought back Hal Jordan I didn't want him back. I had no real connection to the character. In some sense I still don't. In fact, I was pretty pissed off in the beginning. Now, I'll admit that a lot of that was the snide smugness of a great many Hal Jordan fans.

Time passed and I mostly got over it. The Green Lanterns I liked didn't go away even with Hal headlining the Green Lantern solo book. And admittedly Geoff Johns was doing some interesting -- if weird -- stuff with the character and the book.

Then they talked about bringing Barry Allen back and I wondered again if it was really necessary. After all, Wally West had a great run as the Flash. I haven't counted, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out he's gotten more page time the the "Patron Saint of the DC Universe" ever did.

But they brought Barry back and I learned what a lot of people had said was true: Barry is incredibly boring. But setting that aside I've also grown comfortable with having him as the Flash again.

I may have gotten used to it, but I sometimes wonder if was really necessary. And I've come to realize that it was absolutely necessary.

How many of you have seen this footage for the Green Lantern movie? There's some pretty impressive stuff in there and I'm quite hopeful that it will make an entertaining film. But it could never have happened if they hadn't brought back Hal Jordan.

Could a film have been created featuring Kyle Rayner? How about Wally West? As much as I love those two characters they are defined by the heroes that came before them. Whether you like it or not, Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are iconic as Green Lantern and the Flash. They even have the dubious honor of having replaced their Golden Age counterparts as the quintessential versions of those characters.

It isn't just limited to the movies either. The characters and concepts in comics and other media need to be at their most pure. It's hard to explain who the Flash is by telling people that he's the nephew of the first Flash. But it's easy to say that a scientist was granted amazing super-speed by a bolt of lightning. Or that a pilot was chosen by a dying alien to wield the most powerful weapon in the universe.

In the same way that Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman can never really be replaced it was folly to think that the same thing could be done with Green Lantern and the Flash. Or Aquaman, for that matter. These are characters too powerful -- for good or ill -- to be overwritten. And when I go see the Green Lantern movie in June, I'll know that it was necessary -- and inevitable -- that Hal Jordan have the starring role.

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At 5:16 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Iconic, is the best way to describe them. They may or may not be your favorites, but they ARE the names most associated with the least by people who are NOT comic book fans. And I have to admit that as much as he may annoy me sometimes, I'm rather fond of Hal. I like Barry too.

Most of my favorites are amongst the second or even third tier of heroes and heroines, but it's true...without the Big Boys (and Wonder Woman) there probably wouldn't even BE those secondary characters.

At 5:09 AM, Blogger Scipio said...

A very wise set of observations. Most fans aren't objective enough to make many of the distinctions you make in this post.

At 7:34 AM, Blogger snell said...

Permit me to disagree slightly. I'm hugely skeptical of the claim that the comic books must somehow align with the movie, or somehow the public's befuddlement will cause the multiverse to collapse or some such.

Warner, for example was putting out Batman movies starring Bruce Wayne when Azrael was filling the role. And of course, The Dark Knight came out when DC was loudly screaming to the world, "Look, we're going to kill Bruce Wayne!! Look!!"

So, to that extent, whether or not Kyle was "the" GL at the time really should have no bearing at all on whether the movie stars Hal. 99% of the movie ticket buyers are NOT readers of the comic, and they honestly don't give a rip about whether or not the continuity of the movie matches what's going on in the comic book right now.

So even if a film couldn't be made with Wally West or Kyle Rayner (and I don't necessarily agree with that, but for the sake of argument let's grant it), that really should have no bearing on what you do in the comic book. The GL movie most certainly could have been made had they never brought Hal back in the comics, and no one would thought twice about it.


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