Character Issues: Hal Jordan

The Stats:
Name: Harold “Hal” Jordan
Height: 6’2
Weight: 200 lbs
Powers: Wields the most powerful weapon in the Universe.  A Green Lantern Ring can do anything he can will into existence.
Type:  Magical Space Cop
Excels at:  Lechery
Fails at:  Being a decent person

The Character:

Hal Jordan is the second person to carry the legacy of Green Lantern.   He was chosen by the ring because he literally was a man without fear.  In comic books, being without fear is a admirable trait.  In the real world, it’s called antisocial personality disorder.  Hal has managed to be an asshole on a scale Batman can’t even conceive of.  He is the single worst human being to be a superhero in the entire DC Universe.   He has been the central villain in multiple crossovers, has murdered thousands of living creatures and had a sexual relationship with a sort of underage alien girl, like an intergalactic R. Kelly.


Hal is such a powerfully unlikeable character that he remains a shitty person even after multiple redemption arcs.  Saving the planet on a few separate occasions have only moved the needle from Completely Abhorrent to Kind of Reprehensible.  Hal is well deserving of ever bit of hate he gets.  He died saving the planet, was resurrected via plot convenience and his friends were still pissed off at him.


The Issues:

If Batman is the archetype of the angry white male, Hal is the archetype of the smug yet mediocre white male.  Hal is oblivious to his shortcomings and takes no ownership of how his actions effect others.   His quips are really just mean-spirited jabs or micro-aggressions and women are accessories to him.  Hal is a refugee from the Silver Age of Comics, when everybody was an asshole.  Hal’s assholery isn’t tied to any single action or event.  It’s a state of being for him.  He exists as a perfect nexus everything assholish about the JLA.   Hal is the portal that connects Modern Age Dickishness to Silver Age Dickishness.


Hal hasn’t paid any sort of penance for the intergalactic killing spree he went on during Emerald Twilight OR the time he tried to murder the entire multiverse during Zero Hour.  Here’s the difference between John Stewart and Hal Jordan.  John has spent the last 20 years kicking himself for not preventing the destruction of Xanshi…something he had NO control over.  Hal, spazzes out, intentionally kills a bunch of people and barely mentions it.   He never really agonizes over it.   It was just some shit that happened…you a sneeze or a dubious sexual relationship with an underage alien.

The Fix:

Hal has been such an ego driven jerk for so long, giving him a self-deprecating demeanor would be a nice change of pace.   Make him critical of his his own bad decisions and a guy who is earnestly trying to make amends.  He can keep his abrasive personality, just highlight how awkward he is in interpersonal relationships that aren’t just one night stands.  Hal really is best when he is able to partner with someone who can call him on his bullshit.  For all of its flaws, Hal was very palatable in the Green Lantern Animated series when he was allowed to play off of his supporting cast.  I think that a team dynamic is the best vehicle for Hal.


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