My Green Lantern Can Beat Up Your Green Lantern

Editorial – We can’t move forward if we keep moving backward

As comic fans we all have our preferences for our favorite heroes and we all want to see them viewed by the general population with the same reverence that we have for them.  Who doesn’t want to see a character that we identify with given the visibility and public recognition on a level somewhere close to Batman and Superman?  As Green Lantern fans we’ve come close to that during events like Blackest Night and certainly the period of buildup prior to the release of the Green Lantern movie saw recognition of the characters from a greater portion of the population than ever.  However, as much as those things did to unite fans to enjoy the limelight for a few months, the fallout of the movie’s poor performance has left a bitter taste in our mouths and unfortunately the darker side of fanboyism has once again reared its ugly head.


There is this sad trend that seems to have somehow become the norm that, in order to justify the validity of our opinion, rather than promote our point of view we must advance ourselves by sullying others; to make ourselves look better not by showing why but by making the other guy appear horrible.  It’s in our politics, our advertising, and unfortunately in our fandom.  Worse yet – it’s so often built on less than factual information or by making broad logical leaps that defy rationality.  I’ve seen several examples of it lately among Green Lantern fans, especially when it comes to the hot topic of Warner Brothers DC movie plans and who’ll wear the ring as Green Lantern in the inevitable Justice League movie.  For the sake of this commentary I’m going to shift my focus elsewhere though, to an article on DC Infinite which tries to promote the notion that Kyle Rayner is the greatest Green Lantern and making a number of statements that are more than a little questionable while disparaging Hal Jordan and overlooking John Stewart and Guy Gardner’s exploits.   

The roots of the whole “Hal vs. Kyle” debate run deep in Green Lantern fandom – and these days it  is a pointless debate. Geoff Johns and DC spent a great deal to repair the damage to the mythology that Emerald Twilight and previous editorial mandates created and at the same time wonderfully brought us back to the mode that each ring bearer was not only worthy of being a member of the Corps but of being the “greatest” Green Lantern in someone’s eyes. The rift that Emerald Twilight created twenty years ago was repaired by Green Lantern: Rebirth ten years ago.  TEN. YEARS. AGO.  All the more reason that this article is foolish at best and incendiary at a time when we need to have each others back like the Corps does for each other.  Green Lantern as a franchise does not benefit from anyone buying the divisiveness that  this article is selling.
About Hal snapping Sinestro’s neck – Jordan and  readers alike were fooled.
The author, editor in chief Jay Mattson, builds his argument based on many statements which clearly don’t hold up to what we know and it’s a shame that no one appeared to edit this article for accuracy.  Some of this stuff has been repeated so many times that people who don’t know any better actually accept it as factual because they presume the article writer has some form of credibility.  Here are just a few statements made by Mr. Mattson which are not only questionable, but completely erroneous:

“This led to Hal Jordan going mad and slaughtering all 3600 active Green Lanterns, as well as all but one of the Guardians.”

In Emerald Twilight Hal killed one Green Lantern, Kilowog, and that’s it.  Others were left incapacitated and subsequently taken by the Manhunters.  As for the Guardians – all but Ganthet committed mass suicide in order to put their energies into forging the last ring which went to Kyle Rayner.  And, yes, Hal snapped Sinestro’s neck as we saw in the same story, but as we’ve all come to find out that wasn’t really Sinestro.  I certainly don’t condone what happened to Kilowog but as we also know, Hal wasn’t really in control, either.  While Mr. Mattson would like to paint Hal as “selfish” let’s also remember that he arrived at this moment in time under the influence of Parallax.
Hal Jordan’s darkest deed
Suicide is not murder

“…Kyle had no support system. Hal Jordan had murdered all the beings in the entire universe who could help Kyle understand how to use to his ring…”

Let’s forget that John Stewart and Guy Gardner were more than readily accessible to Kyle, as were all but a handful of Corpsmen that were left out in the universe, still very much alive, if anyone had only searched for them.

“Kyle is the best Green Lantern because he had the strength to sacrifice when Hal Jordan did not.”

This is where the article goes from silly to ridiculous. By some strange logic Kyle Rayner giving up the power of Ion to restart the Corps at no personal sacrifice is greater than Hal Jordan suppressing the possession of Parallax during Final Night long enough to give up HIS LIFE to save the lives of everyone on Earth and any other planet that the Sun Eater would have gone on to devour if he hadn’t?  I’m not buying into the need to even compare what deeds Kyle, Hal or any of the other Green Lanterns we’ve seen in over 50 years of stories have done, but if someone else is going to they’d better at least put some real thought into it.  
Hal found the will to sacrifice himself in the face of Parallax’s control in Final Night
Listen, sure Hal is my favorite guy and to me he is the greatest, but I’m not about to do something so irresponsible as to try to argue that when Hal, John, Guy, Kyle, Simon Baz or any one of thousands of other Green Lanterns who are all worthy of wearing a power ring are just as likely to be the greatest in someone else’s eyes.  And I’m certainly not going to make my argument by using information that’s so incredibly inaccurate and logic which defies…well, logic.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but don’t try to present this warped version of history as what really happened in the comics and continue to beat a horse which is deader than Nekron.
There are things that all of the Earth Lanterns have done which distinguish themselves and had any one of them not been there during the Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, the War of the Green Lanterns, The Wrath of the First Lantern or any number of other stories those events could have gone completely differently.  But the difference in how those events turned out comes in the knowledge that the writers knew the value of each of the characters and, unlike Mr. Mattson, understood that to make each of them valuable relies not on putting any of them down, but on building each of them up and showing how their ability to work together is more powerful than wasting energy worrying about who’s the greatest.
Who’s the greatest?  Greatness was thrust on them all and all were found worthy.

About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I’m a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

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