Once upon a time, DC Comics’ iconic space superhero went completely unhinged, beat up all his intergalactic peacekeeping comrades and stole the power that let all Green Lanterns fight evil. Now Parallax is back and he’s fighting a Hal Jordan who doesn’t even have a ring any more.
Twenty-two years ago, Hal Jordan turned into the biggest bad guy the heroes of the DC Universe had ever faced. The traumatic destruction of his hometown by cosmic conqueror Mongul led to Hal’s theft of every Green Lantern ring in existence, the absorption of the Central Power Battery and transformation into Parallax. As shown in Zero Hour, his desire to create a ‘perfect’ version of the universe led to one of the many reboots of DC continuity. Little mention has been made of the Parallax identity since DC cleared the decks with the New 52 reboot of 2011, but that mega-powerful version of Hal Jordan just returned in the latest issue of Green Lantern.
Green Lantern #50 opens with Parallax looking over his hometown of Coast City, vowing to protect it from any harm. His first target: the new 52 version of Hal Jordan. It’s not clear where exactly this evil older version of Hal Jordan is from. An alternate reality of Parallax appeared during DC’s Convergence event from last winter, which also had restored the multiverse structure wiped out by the New 52. The current mainline version of Hal doesn’t wield a ring any more. Instead, he channels green willpower energy through a gauntlet prototype that predates the rings used by the Green Lantern Corps.
Despite the increased power of the gauntlet, New 52 Hal gets his trenchcoat-wearing butt handed to him.
That is until he experiences a sudden exponential power upgrade of his own.
What’s especially confusing here is the fact that the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe wasn’t re-imagined whole cloth like the Superman or Wonder Woman mythos. The New 52 version of Hal is still the one who became Parallax.
(Parallax is actually a sentient energy being who takes over his hosts and Sinestro later bonded with the malevolent yellow energy creature in the new continuity.) So, this Hal-Parallax either hails from the past or an alternate reality. One wonders if Parallax’s return — like that of the pre-New 52 Superman in the Lois & Clark series — is a seed for what will happen in the upcoming not-a-reboot-for-real-this-time Rebirth event. We’ll find out in a few months, as details about Rebirth start trickling out. Until then, this fight will either be a weighty portent or a brief reappearance of a loathed heel turn for a beloved hero.