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Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Confession: I love the Space Bug

Okay. I admit it. I love that Parallax wasn't Hal. I love that it was a Yellow Bug from Space. I don't mind it robbing much of the accountability from Hal Jordan.

I really really don't.

You know why?

Because I just read GL v3 25 again. And anything that allows me to write that off as ANYONE BUT HAL is a damn good thing.

That's the issue where Guy and Hal have the fight to determine which has the right to be Earth's chosen Green Lantern. The last time I read it, I was only mildly familiar with the characters and found Hal a bit appalling. NOW, knowing the characters, it's actually a little horrifying.

Now the fight isn't the problem, though naturally it's a dumb posturing move, because you can't tell me the Guardians wouldn't have favored Hal over Guy anyway, so it was just Hal establishing dominance. And how he does it, it's so incredibly cruel.

Here's the culmination of the fight:

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6

I don't know, to me that looks a LOT more like a villain's return than a hero's. I can't imagine any way that this was supposed to be a sympathetic portrayal of Hal.

And the taking of the ring was just heartlessly cruel. Notice John in the background still has his ring. And it's all well and good for Hal to talk about getting his life back, what about Guy? He obviously can't go back to being a teacher! What does he *have* at this point that's not being an admittedly erratic Lantern?

Guy's an obnoxious bratty jerk, yeah, but it's not like he chose to be that way. Injury in the line of duty, remember? As I recall, Hal, it was injury obtained while doing your duties.

Admittedly, I'm biased. :-)

But regardless of my fondness for Guy, the thing that leaps out at me is that HAL JORDAN actually has the following thought regarding a teammate:

"He's mine now. Mine to spare. Mine to destroy."

Okay, so, it's a very irritating/obnoxious/inconvenient teammate. But that...


Just no.

My heroes don't THINK things like that. Sorry. They don't.

So yeah. Parallax. Space Bug Influence. Yeah. Not Hal. Space Bug fucking with his thoughts. Space Bug. I can deal with that.

So I'm officially declaring my deep, unrequited love for Geoff Johns right here.

Space Bugs, yay!


  • At July 23, 2006 2:55 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    See, as I told every Kyle fan on every GL fansite -- the whole damned era was begging for mind control. My Hal is the Hal of the Broome/Kane era, and the O'Neil/Adams era, and the Emerald Knights storyline.

  • At July 23, 2006 6:26 AM, Anonymous Starman Matt Morrison said…

    See, I'm in a weird place.

    I grew up on Superfriends. THAT was my Hal.

    I got into comics because of Kyle.

    I liked both characters and couldn't get WHY there was such a "my way or the highway" attitude given all the thousands of GL's runnning around...

  • At July 23, 2006 6:32 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Ragnell: Honestly, I'm not sure 100% that the space bug/mind control *is* a retcon. There were points...

    Starman: I love all Green Lanterns myself. That's why this issue was so traumatizing. I can't believe Jones wrote this intending Hal to be remotely sympathetic.

    Thank heavens for mind control.

  • At July 23, 2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sorry, I loved seeing Guy Gardner get his clock cleaned.

  • At July 23, 2006 10:25 AM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    Wow. That's a level of Hal dickery I'd not seen before.

    What was the writer thinking?

  • At July 23, 2006 11:22 AM, Blogger lostinube said…

    Was someone undersestimating the appeal of Guy?
    I felt really really bad for Ice. She looked so sad. (Although I could do without her dialogue in there..oy vey) The rest of the heroes come off as unsympathetic pricks.

  • At July 23, 2006 3:02 PM, Anonymous ingvild said…

    Anonymous: It doesn't matter if you don't like Guy. The way Hal and the others are treating him makes them look callous and nasty. It's kind of like Cyclops in X3: no matter how you feel about him, if you like Storm and Wolverine it should piss you off how they casually disregarded him because it makes THEM look like jerks.

    All right, so Hal has the Space Bug. What's Beetle's excuse?

  • At July 23, 2006 6:18 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    anon: Yeah, I don't mind it either, usually. This is going a bit far.

    evan: I don't know honestly. I really can't imagine that Hal was meant to be sympathetic here though. That's awful.

    lostinube: *nod* Poor Ice seems to be the only one to really understand how sad it all is.

    ingvild: Well, to be fair to Ted (and the others), I think they see Hal being a jerk to someone who'd always plagued them as a jerk.

    I don't think any of them (except possibly Batman or J'onn during their times in the League) really know back circumstances.

    Hal though...Hal knows better. He knew Guy before and after Sinestro got his hands on him. He knows that the jerkiness comes from brain damage from torture by a bad guy. It's a medical thing.

    Ergo, Hal is more of a jerk. :-)

  • At July 23, 2006 8:33 PM, Anonymous Ununnilium said…

    Wow. Yes. Have to agree.

    Space bug it is, then.

    Who wrote this, now?

  • At July 23, 2006 9:03 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Gerald Jones.

    This actually makes me think that they had evil-Hal in mind for a long time.


    I like Space Bugs.

  • At July 24, 2006 12:22 AM, Anonymous Starwolf said…

    Hard to say who the writer, Gerard Jones, was more sympathetic towards, since he wrote *both* Hal's series and Guy's series. Guy was sympathetic in his own series, but he also had a strong will... as every GL is supposed to have.

    In fact, I believe Gerard Jones wrote almost every single GL issue, finishing with issue #47. Which, as you might know, is the last issue before Emerald Twilight and Hal Goes Buggy.

  • At July 24, 2006 1:15 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    starwolf: I'm sure he was, in general, sympathetic toward Hal.

    But that scene above. Definitely not sympathetic.

    In that scene, Hal looks brutal and cruel and domineering.

    He asserts *ownership* over another person.

    And this is in Hal's own book!

  • At July 24, 2006 10:19 AM, Anonymous SallyP said…

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Finally somebody has pointed out that Hal was the epitome of jerkiness in that issue! I've always been on Guy's side in that particular fight. Hal is just so
    horribly triumphant in the end, he really gloats about his victory, which seems out of character for the old Hal. And who is to say that he was really authorized by the Guardians to kick Guy out of the corp? There certainly aren't
    any Guardians there to supervise.
    Why couldn't he have just given
    Guy his old job?
    Ahem. I'll calm down now.

  • At July 24, 2006 1:34 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Can we also explain Kryptonian-criminal-killing Superman, whiny Batman and now-I-don't-kill-people-and-now-I-do Wonder Woman as infected by space bugs?

  • At July 24, 2006 2:22 PM, Blogger Evan Waters said…

    I'm actually reminded of a Superman comic from 1997, in the midst of the "electric blue Superman" period. There was a sequence where he battled Parasite and drained his energy away- and gloated about it. I honestly thought he was killing Parasite, which struck me wrong (this was before I knew the "no body" rule), and on top of it he was being all "I'm going to enjoy this!" about it.

  • At July 24, 2006 3:55 PM, Blogger The Fortress Keeper said…

    I'm with Ragnell. My Hal Jordan never acted this way, and to be honest I don't believe the space bugs lessens Hal responsibility in the whole Parallax mess.

    He allowed himself to falter, making him an easy target for Sinestro's evil m-f plan.

    I don't think Hal sees himself as being less guilty either, given his remarks in various series.

    But back to the space bug - yay for mind control

  • At July 24, 2006 4:06 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    sallyp: It is quite monstrous isn't it? My only consolation is that the fight was a lot closer than I'd expected. I like that they made it clear that Guy is faster/stronger but lacking with the skill/endurance, so Hal had to out-wait him.

    I like knowing these things, oddly.

    But yeah, Hal's so very cruel here. And of course, what kind of life is he sending Guy back to? We can assume that Hal has no real knowledge of his family life, the man can't resume his old career, and most friends would probably have wandered off during the years in coma or been offput by the new attitude...

    Ack. Just awful.

    zaratustra: Heh. I'm sure we can figue out something.

    evan: Egads, I'm glad I didn't read that. I'm picky about my Supermen.

    keeper: I agree with you on the space bug. I was trying to point out a counter argument I've heard.

    The thing that interests me most about the bug retcon is that it establishes Hal as, in a way, the weakest Lantern.

    The thing was in the battery for so many years and Hal's the first to weaken enough to let it in. That's fascinating to me. And oddly makes me more interested in Hal.

    I'm also really interested in the fact that Guy used Sinestro's ring directly for quite a while and remained uncorrupted. (My personal theory is that while damaged his mind was too simple/childlike to accomodate.)

    But yeah, I'm perfectly fine with this being Hal-under-the-influence because

  • At July 24, 2006 4:38 PM, Anonymous Ununnilium said…

    This reminds me of the issue of the Silver Age event where Hal was in Sinestro's body, and almost immediately the yellow ring started driving him crazy.

  • At July 24, 2006 8:40 PM, Blogger notintheface said…

    According to Geoff Johns, Hal with white temples = Space Bug influence.

    I've got to feel bad for Gerard Jones, though. His whole run on GL is tainted by the Space Bug influence. That reminds me of the Claremont-Byrne feud where Claremont wrote a Dr. Doom story arc in X-Men and Byrne invalidated it in Fantastic Four by having his Doom claim that Claremont's Doom was a robot.

  • At July 24, 2006 8:45 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    notintheface: Current series clarifies that he was *influenced* by the Space Bug then, but only really possessed when he smashes the battery.

    So it's not really that bad. It means that Jones's Hal was Hal for the most part, just the more monstrous tendencies weren't.

    And honestly, rereading this, it makes it seem like Parallax and even the mind control parts were a long time building. From this sort of erraticness to the linking of Parallax to the yellow ring in Emerald Fallout...

  • At July 25, 2006 9:52 AM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    I never understood why Ron Marz, bore the brunt of the blame for "Emerald Twilight" when Gerard Jones, who really shouldn't have been writing comics anymore at that point, because he was beyond burned out, drove the GL series and Hal Jordan into the ground by making him such a jerk. And more importantly, A BORING JERK.

    So, Space Bug? I'm fine with that. Besides, the way Johns wrote it, Hal is still struggling with feelings that Parallax is "his" fault anyway. The confrontation with Boddika and the others in issue #12 was terrific.

  • At July 25, 2006 1:37 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I actually like a lot of Jones's run myself (especially his stuff with John and Guy) but I definitely think some sort of evil!Hal was in planning before Emerald Twilight.

    And yeah, I'm liking it too. :-)

  • At July 25, 2006 1:56 PM, Anonymous AnthonyF said…

    The worst thing about that sequence, for me, is Kilowog saying he'll miss Guy and then immediately congratulating Hal for kicking the crap out of him.


  • At July 25, 2006 1:59 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Space Bug. It's extending to all of them, like in Rebirth...

    Space Bug!

    I love the Space Bug!

    (That said. Yeah. John's behavior also bothers me. Jackasses. :-()

  • At July 25, 2006 11:10 PM, Anonymous CrimsonThunder said…

    I grew up reading Gold and Silver age reprints from the library, when I started collecting comics post crisis DC was so unfamiliar, I stuck with Marvel.
    I came over to DC because of GL series 3, the return of the Justice Society and Nightwing showing up in the Bat titles.

    Here's the thing, they didn't play up or even mention Guy having brain damage at the time. He was just a jerk, an ass, and a bully. He seemed from the same mold as many ultraviolent Image heros, or Az-Bats, Eradicator-Supes etc. They even had him show up in one of the Superman Armageddon 2001 annuals where Superman becomes president and attack him in the White House, Superman shuts him down, takes the wing by sheer wilpower, and then turns over Guy and the Ring to the corps, who basically arrest him.
    I've grown to like Guy a lot since those days. In the Warrior series where it crossed over with GL or Superman, and in his more recent appearances as a GL. (I fell out of my chair when he mooned Batman)

    But at the time this issue came out, it was glorious seeing Hal finally have enough and beat the crap out of him.
    After reading all the analyses on this blog of Guy, I feel slightly guilty about that, but, again, at the time, he represented everything I felt was wrong wit modern comic heroes and it was something I was really waiting for, and it was great.


  • At July 25, 2006 11:14 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    They didn't tend to reference the damage in JLA or crossovers, but every once in a while they would in Jones's GL. It was more common though in the GL run before that. (Where Guy was a lot closer to an actual villain sometimes than comic relief, I think)

    :-) It's good to have an opposing opinion of course. I wouldn't necessarily have been averse to Hal beating him myself. Just...

    This way wasn't the way to do it. IMO. :-) Not and stay a hero.

    Works pretty good with the mind control thing though. :-)

  • At August 03, 2006 2:54 PM, Anonymous SallyP said…

    Look at Guy's face, when Hal demands the ring...I don't think that he really believed that Hal
    was actually going to take it. Then look at his face when he reluctantly pulls it off of his finger to hand is just

    Poor Guy.

  • At August 03, 2006 2:57 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    :-( Yep. It's really hard to read this and think highly of Hal at all. :-(

    Bastard. :-(

    Space Bug! :-)

  • At March 04, 2008 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Two important points:

    1) At the time, the Guardians were not inclined to have more than one GL per sector. So it really was an issue of which of the two would be allowed to continue as GL.

    2) Guy had been derelict in his duty on countless occasions. Yes, he was a charming jerk, but he was also a charming jerk who would overthrow countries for laughs. And that's not just Jones's take on Guy; it's pretty much how he was written in every comic. Arrogant, unpredictable, unreliable, and generally a bad choice for the most powerful weapon in the universe.

    Given who Guy was at the, Hal did what needed to be done. He took Guy's ring away and didn't apologize for it.

    SMUK: the sound of Hal getting elbowed in the groin.

  • At March 04, 2008 4:54 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Except at that time, both John and Hal were ringed and the Guardians didn't care.

    Also, Hal's been more derelict than Guy over the years. :-)

    But really, the issue is that even if you allow that Hal had the right to take Guy's ring, the absolutely humiliating and even dehumanizing manner in which he does so was pretty freaking abhorrent.

    Not in the least because you have a HERO thinking "mine to destroy" about a comrade. It wasn't enough for Hal to take the ring, he had to make it into a sadistic power play better suited to a villain.

    I'm very glad the retcon has a way to explain that away.


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