NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for "Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps" #7
The legacy of the hero may not be what fans would hope on the big screen, but in the animated DC Universe and comic book page, the Green Lanterns are as distinguished and influential a group as they come. And no matter how many new ringbearers may take up the cause to protect their assigned sector of the galaxy, or Earthlings are inducted into the galactic police force, there's only one who can truly claim the title of the Green Lantern: and his name is Hal Jordan.
It's because of that fact that DC Comics' recent "Rebirth" initiative selected two other characters to headline the "Green Lanterns" series, and award Hal a series of his very own: "Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps" - but things haven't been easy. In fact, with the last ring in the galaxy resting on his finger (as far as he knew) and no backup in sight, Hal set out to defeat his greatest enemy once again: Sinestro, once again ruling over the innocent. But in the latest issue, something may have happened for the very first time.
Needless to say that SPOILERS lie ahead, because in Issue #7 of Hal Jordan's own "Rebirth"... both he and his nemesis may have been wiped from existence. Seriously.
Hal Jordan vs Sinestro (Again)
For the readers a bit confused by the shift in comic series title, or why Hal Jordan is the last living Green Lantern - in his mind, at least - here's what you need to know about the current state of the galaxy. The war between the Green Lantern's willpower and Sinestro's army of fear is over, and it was yellow, not green that came out on top. The Lanterns were chased into unknown reaches of space, and Sinestro's planet-sized-battle station 'Warworld' destroyed the Lanterns' home planet. In other words: when Hal Jordan decided it was time to step up and be the hero again, he had some serious odds to overcome.
Then again, this is Hal Jordan we're talking about. So it's no surprise that he defeated dozens of Sinestro's soldiers, stunned to see the legendary human Lantern return from myth headed straight for their leader. It didn't even matter that the Green Lantern Crops returned with just four hundred soldiers, headed for a last stand on Warworld completely unaware that Hal was one step ahead. No, Hal had his sights set on cutting the sinister head off the snake, and with Sinestro consuming Parallax - the cosmic source of fear itself - he was more powerful than ever before.
The stage was set: Sinestro ordering his forces away so that he and his former pupil could settle their war once and for all, secret backup on the way, and a showdown for the ages beginning. There's just one little thing Sinestro didn't know about this brand new Hal...
Hal Jordan Has Been Changing
For the full story on the changes Hal Jordan has undergone since before "Rebirth" began, be sure to read our breakdown of his return issue. To make a long story short, Hal wielded an ancient (ancient) Lantern artifact that allowed him to mainline the cosmic source of willpower. The power was even greater without the ring middle man, but over time, Hal began to lose himself to the power (for Flash fans, it's something similar to the constant pull of the Speed Force). Knowing that becoming one with that much raw power would also mean losing himself to it, Hal cast the artifact aside - after performing one last task.
Conjuring an ingot of willpower made real, Hal did what only the Guardians of the Universe had done previously: created a ring to channel his willpower. It seemed to cure the problem, but it also linked Hal more closely with the emotional spectrum of the universe, allowing him to both cause and experience tremors across each of the different colored Corps of the DC Universe. It seemed like a simple return to status quo... but writer Robert Venditti was building to something else entirely.
Hal Finally Reaches His Potential
Sinestro may be powerful, but he's not perfect. In his unwavering pursuit of total domination (or "order") through the power of fear, not every one of his recruited soldiers remained as loyal as they once were - some of them truly did believe they were bringing order and peace. Even the former Green Lantern Soranik Natu - Sinestro's daughter - took up the cause, helping her father achieve victory... only to see him unleash horror on the innocent to power his next 'victory.' In the end, she helped Hal make it to this final showdown, and helped Guy Gardner escape torture on Warworld for good, bringing all the Sinestro Corps members who wanted out along with her.
So with all the innocents out of harm's way, and believing himself to be the last Green Lantern in existence, Hal Jordan accepts that he finally has nothing to lose-- rather, nothing to fear. Thanking Sinestro for granting that freedom from worry, responsibility, or guilt, Hal opens himself up to the cosmic energy that had been transforming him, and releases every bit of power he has within him.
The result is a wave of raw willpower that shatters Sinestro's constructs, disintegrates the villain himself, and detonates Warworld in a massive explosion of green energy, breathtakingly illustrated by artists Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey (capturing Sinestro's last scream of defeat with Hal's final smile). It's as earned a moment both visually and narratively as can be hoped for - and will almost certainly have fans asking: did Hal Jordan and Sinestro actually just die?
It seems a bit more likely to assume that Sinestro has been killed (it's hard to come back from having your body reduced to dust), and Hal Jordan has, in his acceptance and sacrifice found some kind of peace in the cosmos. Shifting focus to the returning Corps, witnessing the massive explosion just as they encounter the Sinestro deserters, the process of rebuilding can finally begin. No matter where Hal is gone, or when and how he'll ever return, the term "Rebirth" has taken on new meaning.
Now it's up to the Green and Yellow Lanterns to put their war behind them, and find common ground to start protecting the galaxy together. John Stewart and Guy Gardner remain - but it's Hal who would be the proudest.
Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps" #7 is available now.