A Minor Retcon Changes the Tone of Green Lanterns 41

by Mark Mitchell

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

Mark: Comic book fans and, of course, readers of this site will be familiar with the idea of a “retcon” in comics — basically, a piece of new information that updates (often by contradicting) previous information. Usually retcons happen with shifts in creative teams, character relaunches, or when reaching back deep into a line’s history to incorporate some historical element that doesn’t quite fit in the modern landscape. Much more rare is the retcon-ing of information from a mere six issues in the past — an issue written by the same author, no less — but that’s the case in Tim Seeley, Barnaby Bagenda, and Tom Derenick’s Green Lanterns 41. The issue opens with a depiction of Simon Baz and Night Pilot’s date, the aftermath of which seeded the “Superhuman Trafficking” arc back in Green Lanterns 35.

In Green Lanterns 35, we’re led to believe that while both Simon and Night Pilot enjoyed their superhero smash well enough, it wasn’t going to become a regular thing. But Green Lanterns 41 shows their date in quite a different light; less bumping uglies and more romantic vistas and deep emotional connection.

Retcons in general have a negative reputation, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with the practice. The real sticking point is that retcons tend to sacrifice the emotional impact of what came before in hopeful service of what’s planned for the future. In the case of Green Lanterns 41, the retconning is minor in the grand scheme of Green Lantern lore, but it does spoil most of the fun of Simon and Night Pilot’s first awkward hook up. Simon pining after Night Pilot like she’s the one who got away is a boring and not dynamic choice. Green Lanterns is most exciting when it’s unconventional, and Simon working to save a woman he met once thanks to a hook up app is, on its face, a more funny and more interesting choice than searching for the one that got away.

Now, like with all retcons, we wait and see if this one is ultimately worth it.

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


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