Green Lantern (vol.4) #10 (2006)

Green Lantern (vol.4) #10 (May, 2006)
“Revenge of the Green Lanterns, Part One”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Ivan Reis
Inker – Marc Campos
Colorist – Moose Baumann
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Associate Editor – Michael Siglain
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.99

Waitasec, more One Year Later?  It’s weird… when I was wrapping up my notes on “Up, Up, and Away!” yesterday, I thought to myself how this era of DC is just so muddy in my mind.  I honestly can only remember blips and blops of it… none of which I could go on about at length (minus, the Superman books now).

Then I remembered Green Lantern‘s One Year Later book having a wonderfully striking cover.  Not a cover that tells you much, but a beautiful one nonetheless… I mean, just look at it!  That’s a nice cover!  This was also during DC’s push to sorta “boutique up” the Green Lantern book a bit… so the cover is of a much nicer/thicker stock than everything else on the shelf.

Anyhoo… I guess I’m taking the scenic route all to say that I’m reacquainting myself with this post-Infinite Crisis era… and if you’d be so kind as to indulge me, you’re more than welcome to come along!

It’s One Year Later when we join Hal Jordan.  He is in Russian airspace attempting to detain the Igneous Man.  His internal monologue suggests that something pretty heavy went down five months earlier… but doesn’t say much more than that.  His attempt to snag the I-Man is unwittingly thwarted by… the Rocket Reds?!  Well, we did say he was in Russian airspace…

The Reds are pretty ticked off that Hal is breaking some sort of treaty (more on that in a bit).  Jordan comments that while he’s in uniform he doesn’t represent the United States, but the Green Lantern Corps… and they really ought to back off and let him do his job.  He then smacks one with a construct hammer and sickle for good measure.

Remember the Igneous Man?  Well, he’s still lingering… and he’s decided to use his powers to melt the wings off some Russian jets… and also start cooking the Rocket Reds inside their armor.  Hal is able to capture the baddie in a bubble… while keeping a jet in the sky… and fighting off a gaggle of angry Reds.  Wow, Hal Jordan is the coolest guy ever!  I mean, that’s what we’re going for right?  More on that later…

Suddenly we’re swept into an emerald flashback… a jet crashes in the woods.  Out crawls a ring-less Hal Jordan… he never wears his ring when he flies, donchaknow.  He calls out to a fellow pilot before collapsing before some masked terrorist-types.

He then wakes up in a panic… I’m assuming back in the “present”.  Well, what happened to the Rocket Reds?  Did he land that jet?  I guess that’s for us to find out.  On the television, the… ay yai yai, Global Guardians are being interviewed about Green Lantern having violated the Freedom of Power Treaty by heading into Russia.  You’d figure if they wanted folks to take the treaty seriously they’d have a better spokesteam than the freaking Global Guardians.

In case you forgot how cool Hal Jordan was, a woman enters the room.  She calls him by the wrong name… and he replies in kind.  I guess one-night-stands are cool… right?

Jennif– Julie leaves to go to work, and Hank… er, Hal is now joined by the Mayor of Star City himself, Oliver Queen.  The Hard-Traveling Homeboys go out for a stroll, so Ollie can do what he does best… lecture Hal.  We learn that there’s a price on Hal’s head… and with an enemy list as long as his, he doesn’t even know where to start.  It’s alluded to that Alan Scott has had a rough time of late, but they don’t go much further.  The contentious chat wraps up with Ollie telling Hal that he should have never taken his ring off.

Next, a brief aside to space Sector-674 where Arkillo of the planet Vorn is welcomed to the Sinestro Corps.

Back on Earth, Hal and a few fellow pilots are being awarded Prisoner of War Medals at Edwards Air Force Base.  I’m guessing this has something to do with what went down in that flashback five months earlier.  Hal is joined by Colonel Shane “Rocket Man” Sellers and Captain Jillian “Cowgirl” Pearlman… they each have a short length of chain to show their bond.

The ceremony is interrupted by a jet crash-landing right in the middle of the proceeding!

Hal approaches the smoldering craft and is shocked to find it inhabited by… Tomar Tu!  Ya know, the birdfaced Lantern Hal “killed” during Emerald Twilight!

Wow, Hal Jordan is the coolest guy ever…

… is something I could say if I wanted to be pithy.  I mean, at first blush… Hal has gone “full Fonzie” here.  Taking care of business in and out of costume.  If we look a bit deeper, however, we can see that he’s actually processing some pretty heavy stuff here.

From the flashback scene and the awards ceremony we can likely deduce that at some point during the “missing year”, Hal was taken Prisoner of War.  He chooses not to wear his ring when he flies (jets), and finds himself unable to protect he and his fellow pilots when the masked terror-types took them captive.

So, what we have is perhaps a Hal Jordan who is dealing with a bit of Post-Traumatic Stress.  A different lady every night to keep his mind off things… all the while trying to keep his Sector of the universe safe.  It’s a much deeper story than I think I’d initially given it credit for.  I’m pretty sure I dismissed it completely my first time through.

Back then, I was a Kyle guy… and really saw Hal as something as a usurper.  The fact that he was constantly depicted as the coolest guy in the room really compounded my disinterest… I hated that this dude who did really bad stuff was able to just stroll back in like nothing happened.  Kyle, who actually “grew up” in the costume was just shunted to the background… and really never got his due.

It’s only after really “getting to know” Hal that I can truly appreciate this volume.  When you come right down to it, Hal is still a very broken individual.  It’s just that he doesn’t really project that brokenness like he used to.  This isn’t a slump-shouldered Hal who needs to crash on your couch… this is a Hal who keeps his insecurities on the inside, and projects (exudes really) a confidence and aloofness.

Hal really isn’t a stranger to being on the wrong side of the law.  The Powers Treaty is an interesting wrinkle… one I’d either forgotten about or never knew of to begin with.  I think this is another bit that I likely dismissed as Hal being “too cool for rules” or something the first time through.  This time, however, I was cool with it.  The Igneous Man was trying to collect a bounty… and after the year Hal has had, he really doesn’t appear interested in dealing with anybody’s/any country’s crap.

We get a bit of Claremontian subplot-dropping here, which is always good to see.  I feel like in recent years we’ve become so accustomed to the “six and done” method of storytelling… with subplots being a relic of the late 20th Century.  Having the Sinestro Corps scene here really excited me, and shows that this series is an ongoing narrative and not just a collection of six-part vignettes.  The ending was pretty cool too in bringing back Tomar Tu.  I suppose this serves to add to the Corps, and to assuaging Hal of his murderous guilt.  Like I’ve said before, this is a bit of a cop-out, but one I’m willing to allow.

Overall, had more fun with this issue than I expected… I definitely recommend checking it out.

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