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Tue, Mar. 6th, 2007, 08:29 am
arcturusrann: Parallax cop-out...

So, who in here followed the whole Hal Jordan/Parallax storyline?  I ask because recently when I visited one of my dearest friends (who I moved away from), we got into a bit of an argument about the resolution DC gave to the issue.

For those who aren't aware of the situation, when Hal Jordan was ordered away from Earth, his hometown of Coast City was completely obliterated, leaving nothing but a crater, by the madman Hank Henshaw as the Cyborg-Superman.  Hal, destraught at losing close to everything he had ever cared about used his ring to momentarily "recreate" Coast City (litte more than a projection) and was then chastised about it by the Guardians who had kept him from being where he could have defended the city in the first place.

He snapped, took the energy of the projection, went after other GLs and took their rings, and finally destroyed the central power battery taking its power as well, killing most of the Guardians and becoming Parallax.  As Parallax, Hal tried to "fix" what had gone wrong in our universe, a task that could only be accomplished by "resetting" the universe, destroying it and recreating it, exactly as it was, except without the problems that had happened (these events occur in Zero Hour).  And ultimately he was defeated, subsequently sacrificing himself to save the Earth in Final Night.

Anyhow (I'm amazed I could recap that in two paragraphs), DC decided to revise the storyline when they brought Jordan back, saying that "Parallax" was actually the name of a mind-controlling alien who had been imprisoned by the Guardians within the central power battery and was the source of the yellow impurity.  Since he could induce fear, they needed GLs without fear and that once Coast City was destroyed, he was able to enter Jordan's psyche and manipulate events as they occurred.

In other words, they completely absolved Hal of any culpability of his crime, which seemed to me to be a huge freakin' cop-out.  They had written a well-made story that involved a hero being kept from defending his home and loved ones by an arrogant, unfeeling group (the Guardians) who had further smacked him down, instead of showing some sympathy, and between their behavior and his circumstances, he snapped and went insane.  But DC has decided that no, they can't have their heroes actually show humanity, and decided to invent some alien to take the blame instead.

My friend's argument was that there was no way that the strongest will in the universe would break, even under these circumstances.  My issue is that it first undercuts the basic humanity of the character if you state that he is immune to breaking under circumstances that are more extraordinary than any that a normal human has ever known.  Those circumstances are that not a single atom was left of his hometown and knowing that he had the capacity to stop its destruction had he not been ordered away by those whom he had long disagreed with and who showed him no compassion when he needed it.  That's the kind of thing that would make pretty much anyone deeply embittered and angry, and in the midst of such complete sorrow and tension, that level of bitterness could all too easily become hate, especially when the Guardians could be seen as culpable in Coast City's destruction.

Anyhow, what do you think?  Do you like the current "official" storyline of the DC universe here, or do you prefer the original explanation?

Tue, Mar. 6th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
noblebearaw: Hal was Human

I totally agree with you.

While I confess having little knowledge of the DC universe and Hal specifically, he seemed to me ultimately human. What I mean is that there are those who have subsumed their base tendencies in order to uplift within themselves the ideas of service, strength and moral character, who have worked hard to make these cornerstones of their daily walk. I believe Hal was one of these people.However, there are times of unavoidable extra-ordinary stress when these qualities are tested to far greater extents.

When someone one has felt a connection to is lost that loss can be devastating. When an entire city and all its inhabitants that one has felt a connection to is lost the loss I would imagine to be insurmountable.

What Hal did, he did out of grief. I believe that there must still be consequences for his actions but at no time was he a man of evil motivations or character.

What DC did was not absolution, it was not extending forgiveness and restoration to him. In a weak and unnecessary attempt at saving his dignity what DC did was cheat us by saying our sympathies were in vein; saying in effect the one we strove and agonized with was, in fact, an utter monster who we would not have given regard for under any other circumstances.

Fans will find it in their heart to extend reconciliation to Hal Jordan, DC may not be as fortunate.