In a comic focusing on Hal Jordan’s return to Earth, The Green Lantern tries to find solace in habits from the past, but has to face the truth: Earth has moved on, and he needs to build a new identity beyond being a pilot and a leader of the Green lanter Corp. Green Lantern #38 offers:
- Artwork that foreshadows the storytelling.
- Themes of Golden age thinking and change.
- A character driven comic, focusing on the need for identity, and moving on.
Gold Light in the comic represents the past remembered in a happy light. Hal tries to return to Earth, and revisit his past. Guy Gardner stands in the way, blocking the sun’s light, which foreshadows the outcome of Hal’s home visit.
At the beginning, a large scale space shows off a new dawn over planet Earth. Guy Gardner surprises Hal, blocking his view of new sunrise. This foreshadows the rest of the story: Gardner, and other characters, are blocking Hal’s bright return home. The gold colour of the sun’s light is there for a reason. Gold light is a often used to represent happy, past times. The gold light suffuses the comic.
One continuity point – blue skies turn to night within 20 to 30 minutes after Hal enters the Air Force bar he choses to visit. Sunset in the sky as Jordan enters would add to time’s passage here.
Despite trying to return, Hal Jordan does not fit in with Earth. He has changed. Hal is encouraged to move on from the past, and find a new identity.
Hal Jordan can’t get a word in. He slowly comes to a conclusion after a drink and catch-up with Barry and Guy – He has changed. He does not fit in with his old friends. He can’t connect with Carol Ferris they way he did before. He came to Earth to fit back into old habits and feel connection and stability.
Unfortunately, Earth has moved on, and like it or not, he has moved on.
In the past, Hal has been a character that resists change. His story arcs in previous DC comics have taken him in cycles from deep space, and back to Earth. In this short side story, Hal Jordan changes into a new person. Who he is he now? The question is not answered entirely in this issue. His status as a pilot and a “Space Cop” are brought up in opposition in each other. This is the starting point for the next step in his career – a search for identity based on this foundation.
Barry Allen is portrayed as slightly naive, but well meaning in this comic. Guy Gardner is arrogant and overbearing. The two leave little room for Hal to share his thoughts.
This comic is an interesting character story – Green Lantern faces a responsibility that has been waiting underneath his galactic duties. He has to face change, and not retreat into golden age thinking, building a new identity.
The golden light that suffuses the comic book promotes the golden age thinking here. Hal wants to leave responsibility for a night and go back to a time in his past when he had safety and security.
This type of Golden Age thinking does not work for him here. Instead, old friends force their way in with their own stories. This leaves no room for Hal to reminisce. He’s forced to confront the one remaining responsibility left after his duties as a Green Lantern and Pilot are moved aside: his identity.
It’s an interesting character story. Hal can’t ignore the fact that his role is changing him, and his experiences have changed him. There’s a theme of change here: the guardians of the universe comment that the eons old centre of the corp is gone. Hal’s equally essential connection to Earth through his friends, and through Carol Ferris, are also disconnected. Carol has grown into a different character. The final result: Hal Jordan has to face change, and not retreat into golden age thinking.
Green Lantern #38 is published by DC Comics ($2.99 USD). Robert Venditti (W.) Admira Wijaya (P.) Andrew Dalhouse (C.) Dave Sharpe (L.) Cover artwork by Billy Tan and Alex Sinclair.