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“It’s freakin’ unacceptable he ended up like this”

It’s no secret that Emerald Twilight is my least favorite Green Lantern story of all time and that those events, coupled with the comics industry’s tactics in the 1990’s, was enough to make me drop the hobby all together.  So it’s not hard to imagine that this week’s Convergence: Green Lantern/ Parallax #1 is one that hasn’t been high on my anticipation scale as DC revisits the Green Lantern universe during the pre-Zero Hour timeline.  I picked the issue up and vowed that I’d try to remind myself that this story has no lasting consequence and make an attempt to look for the positives.  Needless to say, I failed miserably.

They say if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth, and there are untruths about Emerald Twilight that have been repeatedly uttered in comic shops and online since 1994 that have become the truth for many people, including this issue’s author, Tony Bedard.  So, for the record, let’s clear up some of these things, including some new twists that Bedard has concocted:

  • Myth – Hal murdered the Guardians of the Universe.  Fact – The Guardians committed mass suicide, placing their energies in what became Kyle Rayner’s power battery and ring.
  • Myth – Hal killed the entire Green Lantern Corps and stole their rings.  Fact – Hal killed Kilowog and Sinestro, although he also left a handful of members of the Corps adrift in space after he took their rings and many assumed them dead.  At this point in time neither Hal nor Kyle realize that only Kilowog really died, Sinestro was an illusion and the “Lost Lanterns” were taken prisoner on Biot.
  • Myth – Parallax’s power comes from the rings Hal took.  Fact – While Hal had those rings on his fingers it wasn’t until he entered the Central Power Battery and became infused with the energy within that he became Parallax.  It’s an important point as that’s the moment when Parallax the entity grafted itself to Hal’s soul.
  • Myth – Batman and Superman don’t blame Hal for what he did.  Fact – While I can see Superman being able to eventually forgive Hal for what happened, Batman never stopped blaming Hal and spoke openly of it any time the subject came up, continuing even at Hal’s funeral and infamously during Hal’s rebirth.

My big bugaboo about Convergence as a whole so far is that none of the books have had the punch that an epic event should have.  In this case I simply don’t care about Electropolis enough to get engaged in the story that Bedard is trying to tell.  Had this been perhaps a story where Hal and Kyle were pitted against the heroes from Earth 21 (featuring the heroes from the DC: The New Frontier limited series) there would be a lot of potential for storytelling as the idealistic version of Hal confronts a broken version of himself.  There’s just not enough history between Kyle and Hal at this point in history, and no history between this Earth and Electropolis, for there to be any meat on the bone to enjoy beyond the simple “let them fight” dynamic.

Bedard’s dialogue also reads like so much bad fan fiction.  Cringeworthy lines like Hal saying, “My one consolation in all this is that my successor was a better man than me” left me rolling my eyes as I struggled to find anything in this issue which appealed to me.  Now I’m well aware that some fans are going to love the book for its nostalgia factor and I don’t mean to lessen the enthusiasm for anyone who likes the book, but it just didn’t work for me on any level.

I do think that Ron Wagner did a nice job conveying emotion in this issue and while I don’t think Hal’s mental state is in line with my understanding of the character his work does represent Bedard’s vision of how guilt ridden Hal is and those panels definitely convey that effectively.

Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1 pays a visit to one of the most controversial time periods in Green Lantern history, starting out with strong emotional beats which quickly give way to a very pedestrian issue.  From getting its comic’s history wrong to sophomoric dialogue there’s not much to get excited about here beyond a  potentially nostalgic trip down memory lane.  Four out of ten lanterns.

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