Green Lantern: Rebirth #3 (February, 2005)
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Ethan Van Sciver
Inker – Prentis Rollins
Colorist – Moose Baumann
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.95
We are halfway through… seems as good a time as any for a big ol’ info dump! Let’s clear Hal’s conscience!
In New Mexico, the soulless-looking Kilowog refuses to stand down at the word of Ganthet. Wow, where was this guy during Emerald Twilight? Wog unleashes all of his power in the li’l guy’s direction… but it’s to no avail. With a wave of his hand, Ganthet stymies the onslaught. Off to the side, Kyle is forced to rais his ring… at which time he gets to see some of the Lanterniness going on… he sees Guy and John Stewart, both in various stages of having “lost it”. He thinks to himself… he hopes Hal Jordan is “worth it”.
Speaking of Hal, we join him on the outskirts of this barren, but logistically sound all-new Coast City. He’s drawn to his old apartment building… probably because it’s the only building there… and heads inside. He passes his landlady in the hallway, who razzes him about bringing his lady friends back every night. He laughs it off and enters his apartment. In the middle of the floor sits… his old Lantern. Picking it up, he sees his reflection… and it’s Parallax!
Back in New Mexico, Kilowog is being kept at bay. Hal’s corpse appears none the worse for wear… though, ya know… still dead. We learn that Kyle retrieved the body from the center of the Sun, likely where it was left at the end of The Final Night. Kyle needs to visit with the Justice League to let them know what’s happened to Hal… and we learn that “it” has already gotten John, Guy, and ‘Wog.
We join Kyle as he arrives at the now-ruined Watchtower. DC’s big brains, J’onn, Mr. Terrific, and Dr. Mid-Nite have been kayoed. Green Arrow is down, but not out… he informs Kyle that the damage is due to Guy Gardner goin’ all sorts of whack. Ollie gets to his feet… and sees that Kyle didn’t come alone… sorta. He’s got Hal’s casket in tow. We’re about to get some new info…
But first… back in Coast City. Hal is fighting off Parallax… and soon “they” are joined by the Spectre! ‘Lax is being a jerk, threatening that something bad may befall Carol… but she’s “fine” for now. The Spectre struggles to regain control, because he has something important to tell Hal… the truth about Parallax… the truth about himself!
Back at the Watchtower, Kyle begins telling Ollie his story. Toward the end of “his” volume of Green Lantern, Kyle decided to leave Earth for a bit. While on his cosmic walkabout, he learned something… at the edge of the universe. On the tenth planet, Pagalus, he met a race of folks who feared that the universe was about to end… at the hands of Parallax! Their crude cave-painting of Parallax didn’t really resemble Hal Jordan though. Enter: Giant Yellow Fear Bug from Outer Space!
The Pagalan Elder tells Kyle what had happened billions of years earlier. Parallax threatened to consume the universe by instilling fear in every living creature… fear, which would lead to violence… and therefore, more fear… over and over again. The Guardians of the Universe arrived and used the Central Power Battery’s collected willpower to combat the Yellow Space Bug’s fear. Parallax wound up imprisoned within the battery… and would be responsible for the “yellow impurity” the rings had up through Emerald Twilight.
Got that? Good, cuz we ain’t done yet. One day… Parallax woke up. He/it found Hal Jordan… and saw him as one who may (unwittingly) help him/it escape. Parallax latched onto Hal… which is how we explain away Hal’s pre-Emerald Twilight graying temples, because… ya know, fear makes your hair turn white. We jump ahead to the destruction of Coast City… this was the moment where Hal was shaken enough for the entity to fully take over. We know the deal from here… Hal tries to remake Coast City, is called to Oa to stand before the Guardians,
slaughters disarms every Lantern who gets in his way, and finally… snaps Sinestro’s skinny pink neck.
From here, Hal destroys the Central Power Battery… freeing Parallax completely. The Yellow Bug grafts itself onto Hal’s very soul. From here, Par-Hal-lax attempted to restart time with Zero Hour, and finally… sacrificed himself to save the Universe during The Final Night. Whew… reminds me of that old saying: “How can we miss you (Hal), if you won’t go away?” Anyhoo, this also serves to explain why Kyle’s ring never had the yellow deficiency… Parallax was no longer inside the Central Battery… because there was no more Central Battery! Stands to reason, no?
Back in Coast City, the Jordanian Trinity continue jockeying for position. Parallax gets personal, and brings Hal’s pop into the discussion, and the Spectre finally reveals why he chose Hal as his host. The Spectre saw Hal as an “infected being”, and hoped in latching to him, he could burn out Parallax as though it were a disease.
That’s all well and good… but unfortunately, Parallax is finally able to overtake Hal’s will… shredding through his civilian facade (skin and all!). Parallax lives… and he’s gross!
We wrap up back on the Moon. Ollie’s annoyed at the Guardians… which is nothing new. Kyle informs him that Ganthet’s memories of Parallax (the bug) had been purged. Ollie laments the fact that the Giant Yellow Fear Bug from Outer Space marred Hal’s reputation… and stole his soul (see, it wasn’t Hal’s fault after all!)… and wonders aloud how and why Parallax suddenly awoke that day… and why it chose Hal. Who was responsible? Well… no sooner does he ask, than he and Kyle are hit by some yellow arrows… Why, it’s our old friend Sinestro of course!
Alrighty… there’s our big reveal. Hal wasn’t (completely) responsible for his actions as Parallax. How do I feel about that? To be honest, I don’t dig it so much. Though, to be fair, I never viewed Hal as wholly irredeemable.
How was the reveal handled? Despite my not feeling it was necessary… it was handled perfectly. The precision-point on Geoff Johns’ continuity pen makes George Perez sweat. Perez’s pencils are allegedly 0.03mm, by the way. Everything you could want explained… and several things you may not, are popped in place perfectly here. Everything from Hal’s hair going white… to Kyle’s ring not having the yellow-weakness… to why the Spectre chose Hal as a host! So well done that I cannot dismiss it… regardless of how bad I might want to!
I won’t bore you with my “take” on Par-Hal-lax… just suffice it to say, I don’t think he’d ever lost his altruism. And dammit… even that is explained as part of the reveal! His sacrifice during The Final Night is referred to (by Kyle) as “a momentary glimpse of the real man shining through.”
I will say, however, this reveal might be a bit too clean. As far as we know now, the Parallax entity is responsible for all the bad stuff Hal’s done since 1994. As far as the other heroes (will eventually) know, Hal=good/Parallax=bad. This makes Batman’s distrust of Hal seem rather outlandish… buuuuut, I’ll expand upon that s’more later on.
Speaking of explaining away erratic behavior, we learn here that “it” is Parallax… and “it” is responsible for Guy, John, and Kilowog’s acting out. Fair enough. I mean, Guy is a loose cannon, and ‘Wog just returned as a “dark being” or whatever, so that’s easy enough for us to swallow… but John attacking the Justice League really needed to be explained.
Another great issue… and definitely a sign that business is about to pick up for our green-ringed pals.