Cover Date: Early August 1998
Story: Ron Marz
Pencils: Jeff Johnson
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Cover: Jeff Johnson and Bob Wiacek
Hal Jordan can’t wait to see Coast City, and Kyle Rayner has a hard time trying to warn him about what happened. Not that it matters, as they arrive there too quickly, and Hal is shocked by the city’s absence. Now Kyle has the chance to explain everything, from Cyborg Superman’s destruction of Coast City to Hal’s actions as Parallax up until his death. Hal naturally doesn’t take it too well, after destroying his memorial statue, he flies off in despair and confusion. After saving a busload of disabled children, though, Hal returns to the memorial site. While he and Kyle can’t figure out how the timestream has apparently been unaffected due to Hal’s presence and knowledge of his own future, but they’ll seek help from the Justice League. Far away on Apokalips, however, Desaad and Kalibak plan to test this “new” Green Lantern.
Here’s another character-focused story, with little to no action; the most ring-slinging we see is when Hal destroys his own statue, and later saves the kids. But that’s just fine; after the action-packed previous four issues, it made sense to focus on our heroes’ mindsets for a while. This is most important in the case of Hal, when he’s told about all of the horrible things that are going to happen in his future.
But despite that massive shock (to which Hal rightfully overreacts to), he’s still a hero. He saved those kids personally, when he could’ve just made a construct to slow or stop the train instead. (Funny that it was a steam locomotive, for some reason; those are rarely used outside of tourist railroads, as diesel-electric locomotives are much more reliable.) Rather than dwell on his own problems, he thrust himself into the heroic role once more, and at the end of it, he returns to the Coast City site feeling much more at peace with himself.
Kyle didn’t do much while all of this was going on, sitting around and playing construct paddleball (no, that’s not a euphemism), but that’s the point: this story was about Hal’s reaction to his own future. There was no need whatsoever for Kyle to dog Hal after the latter flew off, and that’s made clear in Kyle’s internal monologue. I’ve always loved stories that prioritize character development over mindless action, and this issue is no different.
A brief note on the art: Jeff Johnson’s work looks great, especially his pages detailing Kyle’s recollection of recent history to Hal, but the page that really sells it is this:
Hal’s anguish is carried across perfectly, from his horrified expression to the disjointed panel arrangement. Even the subtle lines around Hal’s head and palm construct help convey exactly what he’s feeling…and the reader can’t help but feel the same way, even knowing in advance what future Hal had done.
You guessed it: issue #102 will be reviewed tomorrow. See you then!