Cover Date: Early October 1998
Story: Ron Marz
Pencils: Jeff Johnson and Scot Eaton
Inks: Bob Wiacek and Don Hudson
Cover: Jeff Johnson and Bob Wiacek
Kyle Rayner returns to Warrior’s to go over some blueprints with John Stewart and Guy Gardner, but the place is trashed. Kyle helps the two former Green Lanterns out from under some rubble, and they explain what happened. Hal Jordan came calling…but it wasn’t the one from the past. It was Parallax! He destroyed the place, demanding to know where his younger self is. He discovers that the time-displaced Hal is at the JLA Watchtower, and Parallax speeds off. Kyle manages to catch him on the lunar surface, but Parallax does not recognize him. It turns out that this is Parallax before the events of Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, who was traveling the timestream and hasn’t even met Kyle yet. He’s easily able to overpower Kyle, but Parallax soon has a new opponent: the young Hal!
The cover art sadly ruined what would’ve been an awesome surprise: the return of Parallax, who’s been dead for months (in-universe)! And rather than going down the clichéd route of just bringing him back to life, his return makes much more sense here; Zero Hour established that Parallax was all over the timestream well before he put his plans into motion, so why wouldn’t he still exist in the future? Ron Marz is to be commended for using such a simple yet logical twist. (Geoff Johns would later use the same technique when he had Barry Allen make appearances during his run on The Flash [Vol. 2].)
You could even argue that this incarnation of Parallax still exists. He was powerful enough to change the entire history of the universe, sure…but he was also clearly strong enough to travel between universes, as Parallax was able to get outside of the primary one. So perhaps the proper antihero Hal, not a giant space bug, is still waiting in the wings…
But I digress. I loved how it’s made clear from the get-go that Kyle has little chance against Parallax, as the latter is at his most powerful. The Green Lantern did his best, but c’mon, very few heroes could take on Parallax one-on-one. We’re even reminded here that Parallax dropped Superman with a single punch! The battle between Kyle and Parallax, brief as it may be, was expertly illustrated. Kyle brought equal parts desperation and determination to the forefront, and Parallax’s power-mad arrogance was the perfect foil.
Of course, this whole story reeks of a paradox, but that’s been handily mentioned many times within the story itself. Most modern tales would just completely ignore an elephant in the room like that as they built up to the next unending event, but things were different in the twentieth century, damn it. Even the little stuff in this issue, like John’s brief display of emerald power, are linked to a paradox. John received that power from Parallax in the past…but it was in this Parallax’s future. All this temporal back-and-forth is enough to make your head spin, but I love that stuff.
Anyway, the paradox truly forms the crux of the entire “Emerald Knights” saga and its eventual resolution…which you’ll read about tomorrow.