For those who don’t know, I basically put the four Superman rebooted origins (Man of Steel, Birthright,Secret Origin, and New 52) beside one another to see which origin was the best. It was kind of based off the Nostalgia Critic’s “Old vs. New” segment. It took a while, but I got through it. Afterwards, I tried to think of other things I could do this to. It took a while to come up with some things. Green Lantern’s origins were one of the first things to pop into my mind.
In 1989, DC decided to do a retelling of Hal Jordan’s origins in a miniseries called Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn. Its sequel, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn 2, actually takes place during towards the end of Emerald Dawn. It was worked on by Jim Owsley (aka Christopher Priest), Gerard Jones, Keith Giffen, M.D. Bright, and Romeo Thangal. I actually talked about both mini-series a long time ago. I still think both stories are pretty good. In 2007, DC decided to do another retelling of Hal’s origins that tied heavily into Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern. Instead of a mini-series, the origin was featured in Green Lantern #29-35. Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Oclair Albert reintroduced us to a young Hal. It is also pretty good.
While Hal Jordan isn’t my favorite character (or my favorite GL), he’s still a nice character and is a major part of the Justice League. Plus, his origin stories are pretty good. Still, which one is the best? My plan is to look at the major features of each origin and see what was done better. I only have about eight things to look at, so this won’t take long. I’ll look at things like the heroes, villains, supporting characters, art, and overall story. I’ll now start off with the main man of the origins, Hal Jordan.
Today, I start off with everyone’s supposedly-favorite GL, Hal “Highball” Jordan. Both characters basically develop the same way in the origins, but it is done differently. One thing that is a constant is that they both see their father die in a plane accident. They were in the military and were test pilots. As adults, they are both in a bad place when the ring finds them. Through gaining the ring and getting put into different situations, they both come out as better men at the end. Still, which man is did I like better? I’m going to try to answer that.
Hal is an irresponsible jerk in both stories. I will say that Johns increases the jerkiness in Secret Origin to the point where you just want someone to hit him. Luckily, he does get some hits upside the head by a few folk. Kilowog, Atrocitus, John Stewart (blink and you’ll miss him) and Jack (his older brother) take swings at the butthead. Luckily, the a-holism does subside towards the end. Emerald Dawn Hal is a little of the same but he at least realizes his mistakes early on. Yes, I’m saying the DUI guy is more likable than the overly-cocky jackass.
Even though I want to hit him, Secret Origin Hal does develop a little more in his relationships. We see more of his past. We see him deal with his family and Carol. We also see him deal with the anger that surrounds his father’s death. Emerald Dawn Hal does go through some of this with his family and Carol but it’s not as developed. We do see both Hals have a rocky relationship with Sinestro. I kind of can’t decide which is better though because both relationships are pretty good.
When it comes to their feats, I think Emerald Dawn Hal wins that in strides. Secret Origin Hal does do some saves and overcame the yellow impurity for a moment. Emerald Dawn Hal made some saves and beat Legion not once, but twice. He beats him up on Oa by using some ingenuity. When Legion went into its “Final Boss” mode, Hal went into the Central Core Battery and came out charged up. The moment seriously needed some epic music or something. Overcharged Hal is able to get Legion off the planet so the other members can get it back to its planet. Then, there are his “hilarious” hijinks with Sinestro in Emerald Dawn 2.
In the end, there can usually be only one. In this case, there won’t be. This is going to be a tie. It’s my thing, remember? I do what I wanna do and you can’t tell me who to sock it to! Anyway, both Hals carry their stories pretty well. They both have to overcome the mess they’ve made in their lives. While one receives more development, the other gets to be a BMS (Bad Motha’ Sucka’) and have some fun misadventures. I really couldn’t make up my mind on which one was better, so they both get a point here. Don’t worry, folks. This will be the only tie for this series.
Emerald Dawn – 1
Secret Origin – 1