Green Lantern (vol.3) #50 (1994)

Green Lantern (vol.3) #50 (March, 1994)

“Emerald Twilight, Part Three: The Future”
Writer – Ron Marz
Pencils – Darryl Banks
Inks – Romeo Tanghal
Colors – Steve Mattsson
Letters – Albert De Guzman
Assistant Editor – Eddie Berganza
Editor – Kevin Dooley
Cover Price: $2.95

On this past week’s Cosmic Treadmill segment for the Weird Science DC Comics Podcast, Reggie and I spent the better part of 45 minutes discussing Emerald Twilight… with a special emphasis on this, the senses-shattering conclusion.  

We went page by page, and even discussed some of the “what might have beens” had previous Lantern writer Gerard Jones have been kept on.  From there we talk about some of the fallout including the turning up of the H.E.A.T. on DC editorial/creative.  It was a good time, as always… so if you’re interested give’r a listen!

Of course, you can check out my coverage of GL #48 and GL #49 here if you need/want to be caught up.

Hot off the heels of issue #49, Hal stands before his arch-rival Sinestro.  The two exchange pleasantries and emerald blasts, before Sinestro trash-talks Jordan into dumping all his appropriated lantern rings (save his own)… making it a fair fight.

The pair continues to fight… trading barbs both verbal and physical.  Hal cannot, for the life of him, figure out what the Guardians were thinking when they summoned the rogue Lantern, Sinestro.  Sinestro, being a complete (awesome) jerk smirks and offers that they may have seen him as a “lesser or two evils.”

Sinestro continues twisting the knife… he tells Hal that the Guardians once begged him to take Jordan under his wing… begged him to even make him even half the Lantern he is… just being a total slimeball here, and it’s amazing!

The battle goes from willpower based to a down and dirty fistfight.  These two just absolutely beat the hell out of one another.  It’s an amazing fight, that ends with Hal getting the upper hand.  He grabs Sinestro in a headlock, and… snaps his neck.  Not before Sinestro lets out one of the sweetest “last words” I’ve read in a comic.  He agrees that Hal should’ve snapped his neck a long time ago!

With Sinestro out of the picture, Hal continues toward the power battery.  Before he can steal the power he feels a giant paw on his shoulder… Kilowog is back in the game… and he ain’t happy.

Before he knows it, Hal is dragged into his second fistfight in as many minutes.  Kilowog tries to talk reason to Hal… even going as far as comparing what happened to his home planet, Bolovax Vik to what happened to Coast City.  Kilowog’s home was destroyed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths… and considering that was an entire planet… not just a city, there really isn’t much of a comparison.

He tells Hal it’s not too late to turn back.  It’s not too late to stop all of this… and then, it happens.  Hal barbecues Kilowog.

Hal slumps to the ground next to the smoldering skeleton of one of his closer friends… and mentors.  He sits there, realizes the gravity of the situation… perhaps for the first time… he sits there, and weeps.  He removes his ring and tosses it to the ground, knowing he no longer deserves the right to wear it.

Hal again approaches the power battery.  The Guardians make one last effort to stop him.  It goes about as well as it could be expected.  Hal, still weeping, grabs a Guardian by the collar and tells them it’s too late.  And so, he enters the battery.

While Hal is “in dispose”, the Guardians decide to impart all of their power into the youngest among them… Ganthet.  They stand in a circle, and focus all of their emerald energy into the one who would become the “final” Guardian of the Universe.

The power battery explodes, and Hal reappears… in some new duds.  He walks through the smoldering corpses of the Guardians and stomps on his former ring for good measure before taking off.

Ganthet emerges from the pile of bodies and repairs Hal’s ring… he knows what he must do.

Ganthet heads to Earth, and finds himself behind some dumpy nightclub.  There’s a young man out back “getting air”.  You remember that stargazing fella a couple of issues back?  Toldja he wasn’t gonna be important… he’s just some artist and Nine Inch Nails fan named Kyle Rayner.  Oh yeah, and he’s now the one and only Green Lantern.  So there’s that…

Well, how ’bout that?  I was pretty shocked the first time I’d read this all those years ago… and I still get kinda cringy upon rereading.  This really felt as though it would be Hal’s Rubicon… there really ain’t any going back after all this.  I’ve mentioned before… it would have been easier to kill him, and bring him back down the line… with the massacre, however… yeesh.

Regardless of whether or not the Parallax was a giant yellow space bug who was causing Hal to act this way… it’s still kinda tough to separate the “man” from the behavior.  I was happy upon Hal’s redemption, that Batman still kinda questioned if the League should be so trusting of the man.

Some great writing here.  Really dug the trash-talk between Hal and Sinestro.  Sin agreeing with Hal that he should’ve killed him long ago was pretty awesome.  Of course, he couldn’t because of the Zamoran yellow-impurity-in-the-battery dealie was lingering about… but still, cool.

Hal barbecuing poor Kilowog was pretty heart-breaking.  I think that’s when most readers realized that DC creative and editorial wasn’t screwing around here.  It was also the moment where the stark realization of the events kinda caught up with Hal in-story.  The man sits next to his old friend’s smoldering skeleton… and openly weeps.  Up until that point, I feel it would have been pretty easy to sweep things under the rug… this one action really was Hal’s bridge-too-far.

This issue, at least to my knowledge didn’t have a “first” solicitation like the other two parts of Emerald Twilight.  There is, however, a Gerard Jones proposed plot summary available online.  Wildly interesting reading!

If you don’t feel like clickin’… here’s the quick ‘n dirty:  New Guardians arrive on Oa and claim the “originals” to be fraudulent imposters.  They take over the Corps, remove the yellow impurity and 24-hour time limits from the rings.  Hal and the Justice League have to fight the Sinestro-led Corps.  Hal discovers that the original Guardians were behind the death of Hal’s father… in order to give Hal sufficient “trauma” to become a hero.  Turns out the “new” Guardians are the fakes… and all goes back to normal.  We can’t forget, however… the Guardians had Hal’s dad “offed”.  Hal leaves the Corps, and renames himself the Protector.  No, not that Protector.

Let’s take a look at the some of the constants between the two.  At the end of both versions, A) The yellow impurity and 24-hour time limit are eliminated from the rings, and B) Hal Jordan is no longer a Green Lantern.  Now, it’s not much of a secret that during his time Hal has “quit” the Lanterns so often that it’s almost a running gag.  Had the original story gone forward, I believe it would have felt more like “Hal being Hal” than anything profound or special.

As for the Guardians of the Universe being “behind the scenes” as it pertains to the death of Martin Jordan… hmm, I’m getting flashbacks to the end of the Grant Morrison run on Doom Patrol, where it was revealed that Niles Caulder kind of “masterminded” the circumstances behind Larry, Cliff, and Rita ultimately becoming Doomies.  That story hit in 1992, if I’m not mistaken… and I really can’t speak to how much of a crossover audience the two books shared, but still interesting.

This being the mid-1990’s, DC felt they had to commemorate the landmark 50th issue with an enhanced cover.  Rather than just shovel out another book covered in tin-foil, however, they gave us a much more interesting glow-in-the-dark deal… which much to my surprise, still glows in the dark!  Below you can see it illuminated… I closed myself in my laundry room with the lights out like a goon to snap the pic.

Of course I recommend anybody check this one out.  Love it or hate it, Emerald Twilight is one of those stories all fans of superhero comics should know about.  Again, Reggie and I spent about 45 minutes discussing it (and a lot of the stuff surrounding it, including fan theories and the emergence of H.E.A.T.) on this past week’s Weird Science DC Comics Podcast.

Letters Page (with a great post-script by Eddie Berganza):

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0 thoughts on “Green Lantern (vol.3) #50 (1994)

  • The Crabby Reviewer

    Thank you for going above-and-beyond with the laundry-room pic. Nice!
    This was pretty heady stuff back in the day. I was jaded even then, and thought "This won't last." But it did, for a pretty long time. Lot of good reading in Marz's GL run. (I still think Marz is a criminally underrated writer.)

    Unfortunately, the trifecta of KNIGHTFALL, REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN, and EMERALD TWILIGHT got us to where we are today, where you're more likely to find a replacement hero than the real one in any given book.

  • Marc D.

    Emerald Twilight…as someone who was never a big fan of Hal Jordan (give me the honesty and crudeness of Guy Gardner anyday over the flighty, playboy, golden-boy pilot), I really enjoyed the idea of Hal going insane and performing these mad deeds. He's a control freak anyway, and was always butting heads with the Guardians. Why not take it a step further and take control of the green Oan power himself?

    I also thought that the events of GREEN LANTERN #25, when he wagered his Corps membership and ring against Guy in a *fist fight*, foreshadowed his evil turn. I mean, can you imagine one cop saying to another "let's have a fistfight, my badge and gun wagered against yours. Loser is out of the polic force"? It's manaiacal behavior. Guy goes along with it, of course, but Hal is supposed to be the responsible one.

    Anyway, I had no problem with any of the events in ET, and wished they had kept Hal as the evil (and interesting) Parallax.

    • Hal as Parallax worked! I think if they needed to breathe some new life into GL, this was as good a way as any to accomplish that.

      I know I talk a lot about Malvolio, but… man, GL25 has the Hal/Guy fight… and it's there where Guy asks Hal if he's still wearing Malvolio's ring! IT WAS RIGHT THERE the whole time… and, nobody (chose to) pick up on it. That could have been used to explain just about everything away! Hal's weird behavior, his aggression, his fraying… just a lot could've been swept under the rug with a "Malvolio's ring dunnit" revelation


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