Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Sudden Insight: Black Circle and Zero Hour

I was rereading the Green Lantern/Green Arrow Black Circle storyline and I got to thinking about Ollie's irrational dislike of Kyle. I'm not trying to say that Kyle's not sometimes obnoxious enough to merit certain conflicts.

But Ollie's usually a *little* better about that. He's worked with Carter without much trouble and Carter's a lot harder to get along with than Kyle is. I mean, Kyle's own prickliness is somewhat justified; the kid's high-strung, in the middle of a stressful time, and Ollie's being a completely unreasonable ass when they *could* be working together and have the damn thing done by now and be completely out of each other's hair.

But Ollie's usually not this unreasonable. Is it just bad writing?

Then I read Zero Hour again (I *like* Zero Hour), and had a realization when I saw this scene again: (Zero Hour #0, pages 19-20)

Page 19
Page 20

So yeah, I think everyone remembers this part. When Ollie shot Hal to stop him from destroying/rewriting the universe.

But notice...Ollie doesn't shoot Hal to save the universe, I think he shoots Hal out of anger, because of what happened to alt!Batgirl. I don't think Ollie's unsympathetic here, far from it. But he didn't shoot Hal to save the universe. And to an idealist like Ollie...that's gotta haunt him.

And Kyle's there too. The very green (pun unintended) kid who's been Green Lantern for maybe 5-6 issues by this point. The kid who's got Hal in a hold, calling for Ollie to stop, wait, Hal's powerless now!

The kid who ends up unintentionally sharing Hal's fate.

A few issues of Green Lantern later, there are some crossovers, with Warrior, with the Titans, in both cases there's a very pointed reaction of "I thought you were dead!" As far as most of the DCU knew by that point, the littlest Lantern was killed, sucked up into that vortex with Hal Jordan.

So as far as Ollie knew, he'd not only killed his best friend, but a total innocent in the process. Out of anger. And hell, what if the kid was right? What if it hadn't been necessary?

And that has to grate on a guy like Ollie. He's got that guilt: killed his friend, killed the kid, because he didn't listen. Sure both turned up alive again later, but that's almost circumstantial. Ollie's also the sort to express guilt/grief/pain/sorrow outwardly as anger, as often as not, I think. He's got to have a lot of self-recrimination/self-directed anger there. But he's going to lash outward instead.

And then there's resentment of Hal. Hal's his best friend of course, but he also went crazy and put Ollie in that position in the first place! Rewriting the universe, screwing with time, killing Batgirl. But Hal's his best friend, he's crazy and ultimately he's dead. So that meant a lot of anger that couldn't be focused on its original target.

There's resentment of Kyle. He's glad on some level that he didn't cause the kid's death, but why does *he* get to come back well, whole and sane and not Hal? Why is his best friend the one to be crazy and die, while this kid gets to use the name and powers and be smartass and irreverent and metrosexual, and completely not-Hal. (For the record, I don't think Ollie's got a problem with metrosexuals in general, just that it's yet another way this kid isn't Hal. Well, post-Crisis Hal anyway, Silver Age Hal is a *whole* different bird.)

And there's another part too: revisiting what I said earlier. Ollie's an idealist. That at the moment he shot his friend, he wasn't really thinking about saving the universe. He was *angry*. He acted against his own morals, hurt someone for a reason that while sympathetic and understandable is certainly not heroic...

And that kid is a witness to it, that kid saw him violate the heroic code, or something like that. That kid knows. And is probably judging him for it every time he sees him.

With all that probably going on in Ollie's head, his insane behavior in Black Circle starts to make a whole lot of sense. And Kyle, sensitive to the emotional undercurrents even if he doesn't know the cause, would undoubtedly set him off. No one likes to be unjustly attacked after all, especially when under a lot of stress.

So yeah, now, it all makes sense to me. So I can enjoy Black Circle for the fun adventure I think it is, instead of griping about possible OOC-ness. Yay me!


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