The discussion about problems with superhero movies got me to thinking about the essence of some comic book characters. I would like to get as many comments as possible on what exactly comprises the definitive version of Green Lantern.

Who is the real GL? Hal? John Stewart? Kyle? What is the greatest or definitive GL storyline? Definitive GL moment? Which creators had the best handle on how to handle him? Who drew him the best? Did he work better when paired with Green Arrow or is he better in a team setting. What were the biggest mistakes in regard to handling the character? Who is the definitive GL villain? Is he better as a spacefaring character or a more earth bound hero?

Any and all opinions appreciated. I don' have a ton of thoughts myself as I only read the character in spurts but I am curious if there is any kind of consensus around the character. If this topic goes anywhere I may want to try it with some other characters. Thanks!

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Richard Willis said:

I think the terminology of Hal and the others being "without fear" is antiquated. Fear is necessary for self-preservation in any human or non-human. It is overcoming that fear when necessary that is the trick. The only people without fear are either dead or in rubber rooms.

I respectfully disagree, and I think taking away that aspect of Hal Jordan and the other Green Lanterns weakens the character.

Why?

I'll accept the premise that "Fear is necessary for self-preservation in any human or non-human," and also accept the premise that "It is overcoming that fear when necessary that is the trick." But what makes Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns special is that they are without fear, and they aren't dead or in rubber rooms. And why aren't they? How can they function without fear yet still have sound judgment?

That's what makes Hal Jordan special. A Hal Jordan who has to overcome fear when necessary is no different than anyone else. Or, as Captain Comics once put it, DC went wrong when they started writing Hal Jordan like Peter Parker. He isn't Peter Parker, and that's a strength, not a drawback.

That's part of why I couldn't cotton to Kyle Rayner; he didn't have The Right Stuff.

Maybe the definitive one should be the one with the best written story?

I liked the GREEN LANTERN movie a little more than most, but I think it suffered because there were too many cooks. The original intention seemed that Hal and his origin story would be the focus. But somewhere along the way they seemed to decide we need to throw in a bunch of 3D special effects with aliens in outer space--and  they shoe horned all that in, in post production. And they re-edited the director's movie into something that didn't respect the story he was trying to tell.

Like most on here, I wanted them to pay more respect to the Broome/Kane/Giella/Schwartz Green Lantern. Especially the early SHOWCASE and GREEN LANTERN issues.

I thought that they were trying to do something with Hector Hammond along the lines of Geoff John's rewrite of the origin--and there were some interesting character notes--but a lot of that got lost in the final cut.

I look at the early Hector Hammond in the Broome stories as the DC version of Tony Stark. He's a lot like Stark--down to the moustache--but where in the Marvel Universe a guy like Stark is considerered a hero, in the DC Universe his equivalent is a villain.

If they had held off on the evolution until a possible second movie, or at least until the end of this movie, they could have used Hammond as this rival for Carol's affections. And he has everything over Hal, in being rich and very slick. Plus a genius. The fact that Hammond's genius warps him from this great looking guy who has it all into this horrid, big-headed monster is the tragic arc of his character--but that's a story that would need to be developed over a longer space of time.

If they needed an evolved villain that looks grotesque for this movie, then they could have used the Shark. Hammond might have experimented on evolving a shark--foreshadowing his later experiment on himself.

The great thing about the original Hal Jordan Green Lantern stories is that everything is revealed bit by bit. You don't come into the story knowing everything about the Guardians or the Corps (in fact the idea of the Corps develops through those issues and the name Green Lantern Corps is not used).

Since a movie auditence is a wider audience than those that read the comics (one hopes), it was possible to play their cards closer to the vest. In the opening, I wanted just enough information about Abin Sur to pique interest in him, who he is and why he lands on Earth--but without having those quesitions answered.

Hal's receiving the ring, finding out how it works and coming into his own as a hero of Coast City should have been the central focuse for the first half of the movie. The second half of the movie might have given a little more information about the Guardians and the Green Lanterns--but it should still have left a lot of unanswered questions.

I don't think the villains that faced off against Hal were nearly as lame as some have made out--but at the same time, I don't think the villain count is the most important thing about Green Lantern. Both Flash and Green Lantern were really outgrowths of MYSTERY IN SPACE and STRANGE ADVENTURES.

Schwartz and Broome (and sometimes Fox) pulled off the trick of taking plot ideas that were used in one-off stories for science fiction anthologies and letting those ideas play out within the magnified reality of a super-hero comic. Adventures in time and relativie dimensions in space occoupied Barry and Hal as they explored varieties of story types.

Hal tended to go to other planets, travel through time, enter different dimensions, struggle with his identity issues and Carol, pal around with his brothers or Tom, receive honours as champion of Coast City, team up with other Green Lanterns, encounter strange villains and team-up with Barry.

Barry tended to go into other dimensions, meet lost civilizations, toy with his identity issues, have way-out dates with Iris, pal around with Wally, Jay or Ralph, receive honours as hero of Central City, travel through time, fight a rotating gallery of rogues and team-up with Hal.

What is the greatest or definitive GL storyline? Definitive GL moment?

I'd commend the Silver Age tale "The Strange World Named Green Lantern" from GL #24 (October 1963), in which Hal, on a space mission, encounters and makes friends with a sentient planet!  It's wonderfully bizarre piece of SF told in about 8 pages. Strangely enough, although it's illustrated on the cover, it takes second place in the issue.  The lead story is "The Shark that Hunted Human Prey", which is the first appearance of Hal's foe the Shark.

This tale could also be seen a prefiguring (or being the origin of) Mogo, who is a planet-sized member of the GL Corps introduced in Alan Moore's story "Mogo Doesn't Socialize" from GL #188 (May 1985). 

 

ClarkKent_DC said:

Richard Willis said:

I think the terminology of Hal and the others being "without fear" is antiquated. Fear is necessary for self-preservation in any human or non-human. It is overcoming that fear when necessary that is the trick. The only people without fear are either dead or in rubber rooms.

 

I respectfully disagree . . . .

 

I respectfully disagree, as well.  The discrepancy in the premise is equating lack of fear with "reckless abandon" or "foolhardiness".  Granted, the ability to overcome one's fears (and, in doing so, take appropriate action) is a purer form of courage.  But the absence of fear does not automatically confer a lack of common sense or knowledge of a danger when it's presented.

Someone points a gun at ordinary old Argyle.  Argyle will feel fear and might give in to his initial impulse to run.  Or he might stand there and quake.  Or he might force himself to ignore his fear and look for a way to disarm his attacker, but even so, his thought processes might be so disrupted by fear, that he misses an opportunity to do so.

On the other hand, someone points a gun at Hal Jordan (not wearing a power ring).  Jordan doesn't feel fear; he doesn't give in to an impulse to run, because he doesn't feel afraid.  But that doesn't mean that he doesn't know what a bullet can do to him.  It doesn't mean that he doesn't know that he can be killed or severely injured by being shot.  He doesn't just stand there and say, "Go ahead and shoot."  He doesn't charge the gunman heedlessly (unless there's no other option).

What it means is, where the rest of us, at worst, will try to run or just stand there paralysed, or at best, will fight to overcome that fear and look for a way to defend himself, Jordan will be assessing the situtation calmly and with total rationality, unencumbered by fear.  He doesn't want to get shot; he's not apathetic toward the consequences of being shot; he just isn't burdened by fear.

Thus, he will probably see faster than ordinary old Argyle that his best option for thwarting the gunman is to suddenly kneel down and yank the rug out from under the man's feet.

There is a rare genetic disorder, termed Urbach-Wiethe disease, which damages or destroys the amygdala of the brain.  The result is a lack of fear in the patient.  Damage to the gland which produces adrenaline, or its removal---a last-ditch treatment for Cushing's Disease---also typically results in the patient no longer feeling the emotion of fear.

The number of such fear-less people numbers less than one percent of the population---'way less; there are lots of numbers after the decimal point.  They live more or less normal lives.  They don't do wild and crazy things because they feel they cannot be hurt.  They understand the concepts of risk and injury, just like anyone else.

But there are some drawbacks.  These individuals, when confronted with a perilous situation, might overestimate their abilities to deal with it.  And they miss out on the vicarious joys available to the rest of us.  They don't "get" the thrill of a roller coaster ride or watching a horror movie.  But they don't go out and indulge in wild and seriously death-inviting stunts because their lack of fear has cut off their common sense.

As to that quality of literal fearlessness combined with the ability to act rationally being what makes a Green Lantern special, CK hit the nail on the head.



Jimmm Kelly said:

Hal tended to go to other planets, travel through time, enter different dimensions, struggle with his identity issues and Carol, pal around with his brothers or Tom, receive honours as champion of Coast City, team up with other Green Lanterns, encounter strange villains and team-up with Barry.

Barry tended to go into other dimensions, meet lost civilizations, toy with his identity issues, have way-out dates with Iris, pal around with Wally, Jay or Ralph, receive honours as hero of Central City, travel through time, fight a rotating gallery of rogues and team-up with Hal.

I wonder If you've hit on one of the reasons that WB has problems translating their characters to the big screen. Are they simply interchangeable ciphers with different powers attached to them?

That wasn't exactly my point, but aren't a lot of popular movies filled with interchangeable ciphers?



Jimmm Kelly said:

That wasn't exactly my point, but aren't a lot of popular movies filled with interchangeable ciphers?


Yeah, i think so. But i'm just wondering about the notion that WB doesn't understand the character. It makes me wonder what exactly it is that they don't understand. What are they getting wrong about Green Lantern or Hal Jordan in terms of character/personality/motivation?

I can't say that I recognize Hal in the current GL.  As Dave Elyea pointed out in the previous page, GL is as much about the Corps as anything else, and for that reason I never thought of Guy Garner or Kyle Rayner as being true Green Lanterns.

If I had to go with one of the current ring yielders (and I would rather not), I suppose it goes to John by default.

They sure aren't showing a lot of understanding of what Superman is all about in Man of Steel.

Even in the comics, DC is simply not very good at characterization.



Detective 445 said:

I wonder If you've hit on one of the reasons that WB has problems translating their characters to the big screen. Are they simply interchangeable ciphers with different powers attached to them?

Part of the problem is that while most Marvel heroes are characters (that is that, for the most part, Peter Parker has been essentially the same guy for the bulk of his existence) while the DC characters have tended to be icons--their "larger than life" quality has allowed them to survive drastic reimaginings as characters that few Marvel heroes could weather (the Hulk being the most notable exception, and he's pretty darn iconic too.)  Batman, in particular, has had more, and more diverse incarnations than Doctor Who.  In Green Lantern's case, Hal Jordan started out as a test pilot, which was pretty glamorous & exciting at the time (altho I'm surprised they didn't go all the way and make him an astronaut), and was basically a "rugged individualist" type (which is interesting given his status as just one of thousands of GLs), and except for his bizarre turn as a mopey traveling toy salesman, he's tended to remain in some sort of "individualist" character, even when it was as cheesy as being an inter-state trucker during the CB craze.  I'm kind of surprised he hasn't been an actual cowboy yet.  Actually, I wonder why, when the powers that be wanted to really change things up, they brought in other people to be Green Lantern, where they never think twice about giving Batman or Wonder Woman entirely different personalities and world-views.  Well, obviously, it was simpler to just give someone else a power ring, but there's a whole island full of Amazons who could have taken turns being all the characters Diana's been.

...Luis - If I may say this , as opposed to the . Oh Holy Of Holies , Reeve movies giving Superman the " bring dead people back to life by circling around the Earth " power --- Oh , and Supes DOING such a thing ?????????

Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

They sure aren't showing a lot of understanding of what Superman is all about in Man of Steel.

Even in the comics, DC is simply not very good at characterization.



Detective 445 said:

I wonder If you've hit on one of the reasons that WB has problems translating their characters to the big screen. Are they simply interchangeable ciphers with different powers attached to them?

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