Looking Forward by Looking Back in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 30

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Green Lantern is a mythological big bang, constantly expanding outward into space at an alarming rate. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps writer Robert Venditti usually participates in these kind of elliptical expansions that loop back around on information or concepts that readers are already familiar with and then venturing out further into the undefined depths of space. That’s how Hal’s relationship to the New Gods of New Genesis was fleshed out, that’s how Soranik Natu temporarily re-joined the corps before betraying them and defecting with her father’s evil army. But those are whirling galaxies of mythology, and in issue 30, Venditti and artist Patrick Zircher bring that same cyclonic energy planetside. 

The first pages of the issue tease that Hal is heading back to Earth, but the creative team knocks us back into the past to make sure we understand just how coveted that gig really is. Both Kyle and Guy would love to be heading back home, if only to eat familiar food. It’s a cute extension of the “pancakes” refrain we saw over in Green Lanterns 32, but at some point you start to wonder about these Lanterns’ priorities. Plus Kyle wants to get back to LA to have a hotdog? Girl, get a taco.

But I suppose even having an opinion of Guy’s crab cakes or Kyle’s “LA street dogs” puts the reader in the right mindset to explore the familiar. Right on cue, the most familiar thing you could imagine in a comic book:

The sun’s rays burst heroically around Superman’s chiseled abs, as he floats — arms akimbo — above the immediately recognizable Metropolis he calls home. Zircher is a natural for this, and the lighting provided by Jason Wright’s coloring gives the whole thing a comforting warm glow. We’re in nostalgia country!

Which makes it all the most upsetting when Hal starts being attacked by… something. A Parallax-possessed Super Man? His own mind overcome with Parallax energy? No, we’re still thinking too space-y, too “modern Green Lantern.” The twist — if you can really call it a twist when it’s telegraphed on the cover — is that psychotic telepath Hector Hammond is behind these visions. That’s a conclusion that Hal himself doesn’t come to until he and Parallax Superman are done duking it out in the skies above Metropolis. It takes asphalt under his feet, and a tree-lined suburban street around him for Hal to realize just how far into his own past he needs to go to identify the culprit here.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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