Release Date: January 27, 2010
Cover Date: March 2010
Story: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin, and Doug Mahnke
Cover: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
Variant Cover: Jim Lee and Scott Williams
The seven Corps representatives and their new deputies are trying their damnedest to fight off the Black Lantern horde, but it’s not going well. Hal Jordan’s cranky because lunatics like the Scarecrow and Lex Luthor have power rings, Larfleeze is upset because he wants to be the only one with an orange ring, and the other new recruits aren’t quite sure how to save their fallen friends. The shit really hits the fan when Black Lantern Spectre makes a thunderous appearance in order to “judge” Hal! He even succeeds in turning Hal into a Black Lantern briefly, but Ganthet and Sayd manage to break him free. No matter what the group tries, they can’t bring the corrupted Spectre down…because the actual Spirit of Vengeance is trapped inside, and his power rivals that of the Guardians. Faced with certain defeat, Hal has one last risky gambit: he tells Ganthet to summon his power battery, along with those of John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner. (I hope those guys don’t need ‘em!) Inside the batteries are the four pieces of Parallax, trapped there at the end of the Sinestro Corps War. Hal’s going to let the stupid giant space bug out, let it possess him again, and then throw down against Black Lantern Spectre. When Hal was the host for the Spectre long ago, he knew that the Spirit of Vengeance and Parallax were locked in battle with Hal’s soul as a mere bystander; when they were finally split (in Green Lantern: Rebirth #4), the Spectre took off. Hal thinks that the Spectre’s actually afraid of Parallax, so pitting the two against each other again might be their only chance. However, even Sinestro thinks this is a really bad idea, and once the bug is free, he refuses to let Hal anywhere near it! Hal eventually fights Sinestro off, but Carol Ferris is the next to suggest against this dangerous course of action. Hal’s confident that he can control the bug, and gives Carol a goodbye-and-good-luck kiss. Parallax gladly flies into Hal’s body, and the issue ends with Parallax apparently in full control of him once more, ready to resume its grudge match with Black Lantern Spectre.
Just like the last issue #50 of a Green Lantern series (Vol. 3, way back in 1994), this one’s got Parallax on the cover. And also like that other fiftieth, this one’s a doozy!
In proud comics tradition, this anniversary issue was a great one. Plenty of character development, some good surprises, and it moved the story forward in a smooth manner. Obsessive Hal Jordan fans may have burst a blood vessel over Green Lantern (Vol. 3) #50 in 1994, but this new issue was clearly meant as a reference and almost a tribute to that legendary story. Black Lantern Spectre called Hal out for living “without considering consequence,” and that’s got to be a commentary on the numerous retcons we’ve seen over the past few years. With the entire “Emerald Twilight” story from 1994 being blamed completely on the Parallax creature, as well as virtually every other problem Hal had in the past, he was absolved of all guilt and responsibility. Hal really has been living without consequence! Intentional or not, this commentary is still there.
More to the point, the two issues end the same way: Hal, as Parallax, is now ready to go forth and do some even more serious damage. Of course, we all know Parallax’s possession of Hal won’t last; the book wouldn’t go very far, otherwise. You’ll notice that in the first panel where Parallax is in control of Hal, you can still see the Green Lantern symbol on his chest (it’s later obscured by green flames). That’s an obvious reference to Hal still being in some semblance of control. Finally, artist Doug Mahnke’s rendition of the original Parallax costume (designed by Darryl Banks) looks fantastic. The cover looks good; the final splash page looks ten times better!
While Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #50 overall was very good, Hal’s pathetic one-liners just keep getting more and more awful. They were seriously cringe-worthy, and Geoff Johns really needs to stop writing them. They don’t fit the character at all, and given that Hal’s a cocky fighter pilot, that’s saying something! You want funny quips? Have Kyle or Guy spit ‘em out. The other big difference between this #50 and that of Vol. 3? This anniversary issue was just a small piece of a much larger story, while the other #50 was both the end of a shocking tale as well as the beginning of a new era.