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Comic Book / Green Lantern: Rebirth

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Hal... His reputation, his life, his very soul. It was all taken away.

Written by Geoff Johns with art by Ethan Van Sciver (pencils, inks) and Prentis Rollins (inks), Green Lantern: Rebirth is the return to the franchise of Hal Jordan as main character. It depicts Jordan's struggle to free his soul from both The Spectre and Parallax with help from surviving members of the Green Lantern Corps, the opposition of Sinestro and the mistrust of the Justice League of America.

A limited six-issue series, Issue #1 was in stores by the end of 2004, with the sixth and final issue coming out around mid-2005.The story served as a prologue of sorts for the relaunch of the Green Lantern comic book in July 2005.

Although somewhat controversial because Jordan's return implied moving the then current Green Lantern protagonists to the background, the series proved wildly popular and was one of DC Comics' top sellers at the time it first hit the shelves, the first issue going through four reprints to keep up with demand. Green Lantern: Rebirth rivaled even regular cash cow Batman comics sales, something Green Lantern comics had not achieved in decades. Rebirth also opened the gates for a series of very successful Green Lantern sequel stories, mostly written by Johns that defined the franchise and even The DCU for the following decade.

Not to be confused with the Green Lanterns about Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz or Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, which are part of the DC Rebirth print.

Green Lantern: Rebirth contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Events in Johns' then-concurrent runs on The Flash and JSA collectively served as a loose prelude and add additional context to Batman's antipathy and hatred of Hal during this story:
    • In Flash, the Spectre had just wiped all public knowledge of Wally West's secret identity in the wake of the events of Blitz. Bruce eventually learned the truth and discovering Hal had played God once again reignited his paranoia and anger in time for this mini-series. Identity Crisis (2004) would add further context a few months later, revealing there was a very good reason why memory manipulation was such a trigger for Batman.
    • In JSA, Johns used the Redemption Lost arc to conclude Hal's post-Day of Judgement direction. Hal's attempts to steer the Spectre towards a path of redemption fail spectacularly and the Spectre ultimately returns to his traditional mission of vengeance. This, along with Batman's reaction to these events, sets up the Spectre's depiction in the mini-series.
    • Wizard Magazine also published a preview story (Rebirth #0 for all intents), that serves as another prologue. It shows Kyle's discovery of the Parallax oral record and hints at the Spectre's true purpose for bonding with Hal's soul. This preview story was ultimately reprinted with the collected edition.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Happens as Hal "The Spectre + Parallax" Jordan appears in Oliver Queen's basement to mutilate and disintegrate Black Hand's, well, hand for trying to steal the extra-ring he gave Green Arrow for safe keeping.
  • Arc Symbol: Parallax has a recurring symbol that flares up when Parallax is around or being discussed, even appearing on its body. The symbol would later become the emblem of the Sinestro Corps.
    • Ethan Van Sciver's also explained the symbol was taken directly from Darryl Banks' design of Hal-as-Parallax. The idea was that Parllax and its symbol had been hiding in plain sight this whole time (and with no one the wiser due to the Guardians have covered up the fear entity's existence).
  • Armor-Piercing Response: John Stewart to Batman's cruel rant against Hal Jordan:
    Stewart: Hal is the only person in this world that didn't buy what you're selling. Hal was the man without fear. And what is "The Batman" when you're not afraid of him? Just a man.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Hal Jordan lives in this state during the first half of the story.
  • Asshole Victim: Black Hand.
  • Back from the Dead: Hal Jordan comes back to life in the fourth issue.
  • Butt-Monkey: Notable because besides being a major Jerkass, Batman gets his comeuppance for it. First in the form of an Armor-Piercing Response from John Stewart, then as a Talk to the Hand moment from Hal Jordan, then because Alan Scott negates his order to assemble the Justice League to fight Parallax on their own, all these in front of other Justice League members to boot!
  • Continuity Nod: When Hal punches Batman out, Guy shouts giddily: "Have you seen that? One punch!"
  • Continuity Porn: Geoff Johns shows off his continuity chops, tying together elements from across Green Lantern history.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Justified. After listening to Kyle's briefing on the truth about Parallax, Ollie rightly wonders why Parallax would pick Hal out of thousands of other then-active Lanterns. Immediately thereafter, Sinestro makes his entrance, revealing he was the one who sicced Parallax on Hal.
  • Covers Always Lie: Inker Prentiss Rollins is credited on the cover of Issue #6, but the inner credits don't mention him at all, crediting Mario Alquiza (mistakenly named "Marlo" in a glaring typo) and Mick Gray, both of whom do not appear on the cover. Gray is also only credited in the inner pages of Issue #5.
  • Demonic Possession: Anyone Parallax gets into, including Hal, Kilogwog and Ganthet.
  • De-power: After Hal is finally freed from the Spectre he loses his immaterial status and becomes human again.
  • Determinator: His friends have fallen, he's been cut off from reinforcements and is standing alone against the same eldritch abomination that utterly ruined his life. Hal gives up? Hell, NO!
    Parallax: Give up. You failed once, you'll fail again. Lay down and die. You're weak. You're scared. Give up now. Give up.
    Hal: I...
    Parallax: Give up damn you.
    Hal: I don't know how.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Black Hand tries to steal the Green Lantern ring under Oliver Queen's care, for which Hal Jordan, still under the Spectre and Parallax's control, mutilates Black Hand's hand.
  • Do You Trust Me?: As the Green Lanterns rush towards Parallax, John is somewhat concerned about Hal's lack of a plan, prompting Hal to ask if John trusts him. He does.
    John Stewart: "We can't just rush in without a plan, Hal."
    Hal Jordan: "I'll have one by the time we get there."
    John Stewart: "But—"
    Hal Jordan: "Do you trust me, John?"
    John Stewart: "...Yeah. Yeah, I do."
  • The Dreaded: Rayner explains how Guy Gardner always talks trash about Hal Jordan's enemies except Sinestro, whom he never mentions.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Sinestro's design. Van Sciver was using the original, classic character model (though he's also admitted that he was probably subconsciously drawing influence from Hulk villain the Leader). Sinestro wouldn't receive the overhauled look that became synonymous with the run until 3 years later during Sinestro Corps War.
    • Arisia is shown in the afterlife alongside Abin Sur and Tomar Re even though it will subsequently be revealed later in Revenge of the Green Lanterns that she's actually still alive and a prisoner of the Manhunters and Hank Henshaw. This at least could arguably be justified by the soft reboot of the DC Universe at the end of Infinite Crisis over a year later. Arisia may indeed have been dead at the time, only to be resurrected by the formation of New Earth and the changes to the timeline.
  • Faking the Dead: Sinestro is revealed to have faked his death during Emerald Twilight and has been playing the Long Game from the shadows.
  • Flipping the Bird: Guy Gardner flips off Mr. Terrific and Martian Manhunter as his Power Ring flies to him and lands on his middle finger. Word of God confirms it was intentional, as they were surprised that panel got approved. invoked
  • Foreshadowing: While explaining how the Power Battery collects willpower, Kyle states there's an entire "emotional spectrum". Later Johns' seminal run delved into the concept.
  • Ghost Town: While still under the Spectre's power, Hal Jordan seems to unconsciously recreate the layout of the pre-devastation Coast City.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Seen on Hal when first confronted by the Justice League on Carol Ferris's airfield.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: If you look for it, you'll notice that whenever Hal Jordan is still under Parallax's influence, be it obvious or not, he wears yellow shirts under his old pilot jacket.
  • Gone Horribly Right: After Parallax's original capture, the Guardians purposefully buried all records of the Fear Entity to prevent anyone from ever freeing it from the Central Power Battery. It worked...up until Emerald Twilight. The Guardians were killed by Hal before they understood what had happened or could warn anyone (and Ganthet, who survived, claimed his memories were tampered with). So, with the Guardians dead and all records erased, nobody recognized Parallax's symbol or the signs of the entity's influence and power; all they saw was a now-insane former Lantern. The only reason the heroes find out any of this is because Kyle, by sheer chance, stumbled across a previously unknown oral account of Parallax on a distant alien world.
  • Gorn: Par for the course considering that Ethan Van Sciver drew the story.
  • He's Back!: At the end of Issue #4, Hal Jordan is not only brought back to life in his own body, but restored to his place as a Green Lantern, and the first thing he does is confront his Arch-Enemy Sinestro in defense of his friends, proving he's back to his true self.
  • Hold the Line: In the final issue, six Lanterns desperately struggle to hold Parallax back and re-imprison it in the Central Power Battery.
  • Hope Bringer: According to John Stewart, Hal always managed to rekindle his self-confidence, even in the direst and most hopeless of circumstances.
    John Stewart: Our Rings could be out of power, we could be trapped on the edge of a black hole facing off against Evil Star — but if I looked Hal in the eyes, if he told me we were going to get out of it — I always believed him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Early on, Hal tries to have a normal day at a baseball game with his friends, but because he's the Spectre, everyone feels compelled to tell him their regrets and secrets.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Batman is the last Justice Leaguer to still mistrust Jordan's return, but the problem arises when he starts getting in Green Lantern's way.
  • It's All My Fault: Even though Hal could reasonably blame Parallax and Sinestro for everything, he mainly blames himself. As far as he's concerned, he should have realized what was happening and overcome Parallax's influence.
  • Jerkass: Batman is at his nastiest and most self-righteous here, flat-out refusing to believe Hal could possibly have been an Unwitting Pawn of Parallax.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Hal identifies some planes as Tomcats and claims to have flown them in the Air Force. Except, the Air Force never flew Tomcats and the artworks is based on the F-22 Raptor.
  • Never My Fault: Sinestro blames Hal for ousting him from Korugar, which Hal did because Sinestro conquered and ruled the planet with an iron fist.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Batman tries to stall the Green Lanterns from fighting Parallax (who's ready to wreak havoc right there and then!!) so that Hal Jordan may answer a few questions about his true intentions before anything else.
  • Once More, with Clarity: Kyle's flashback sequence during Rebirth #3 revisits scenes from Emerald Twilight (especially Darryl Banks' now-iconic shot of Hal becoming Parallax) with the new context and revelations about what was really going on.
  • Old Flame: Carol Ferris meets Hal Jordan at the old Ferris airfield.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: Guy Gardner's energy discharge leaves his thoracic cage half-exposed (he gets better, though).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Gardner tells Stewart that he's letting Batman call every shot and pull Stewart's strings.
    • This then leads to Stewart reconsidering his status in the JLA's pecking order and ultimately dealing an Armor-Piercing Response to Batman's arguments against Hal Jordan.
  • Reconstruction: This is the story that introduces Hal Jordan into the 21st century.
  • Reimagining the Artifact:
    • This arc provides the explanation for the decades old "yellow weakness" of the Lantern rings, saying that Parallax imprisonment within the main lantern in Oa was the reason for it. After this story, the yellow weakness continued, but it wasn't as important.
    • Hal's greying temples, originally just meant to be a sign of Hal logically aging over time, are retconned as a result of Parallax's increasing influence.
  • Reset Button: The first of the story's six issues came out at the time when the Green Lantern comic book series started in 1990 was being cancelled. When the sixth and final issue came out six months later, the field was clear to re-launch the Green Lantern title almost from scratch.
  • The Reveal: Parallax is not Hal Jordan gone mad, but rather the cosmic embodiment of fear as well as the real nature of the "yellow impurity", who was manipulated by Sinestro into driving Hal mad.
  • Scenery Porn: The amount of illustrated detail is staggering.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Guardians sealed Parallax in the Central Power Battery. Parallax could influence other Lanterns' thoughts but it couldn't get out until Hal Jordan walked in and Parallax grafted itself to his soul.
  • Talk to the Fist: Batman grabs Green Lantern Hal Jordan by the shoulder to stop him from getting away and...
    Batman: We're not done—
    (Hal punches him; Batman falls down)
    Jordan: Right now we are.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: At one point, narration notes the difference between how each of the four Earth Lanterns and Kilowog use their rings. Guy's ring is constantly sparking off energy as his willpower yearns to break free, John's constructs are more solid than average thanks to John's architect skills, Kyle's are always forming and reforming due to Kyle's artistic mind, and Hal is all about precision attacks that get the job done, while Kilowog has so much raw power that his ring makes a sound when it's in use.
  • Trilogy Creep: The series was originally supposed to have lasted five issues, but when sales went beyond DC Comics' wildest, wettest dreams with Issue #1, they proceeded to commission an extra issue to make it a total of six.
  • Unexplained Recovery: It is never explained how Sinestro survived after getting his neck snapped by Hal at the climax of Emerald Twilight. Later material explained that version of Sinestro was only a hard light construct created by Parallax and controlled by the real Sinestro.
  • Wham Shot: Kyle and Oliver Queen are both questioning why, out of all the Lanterns, Parallax picked Hal to possess...and are both struck by a wave of yellow arrows as they realize too late Parallax didn't break free, it was set free by one person...
    Sinestro: Who would? Who could? Who else?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The story itself doesn't provide any explanation for what Hector Hammond has to do with the plot. He appears for a page at the beginning detecting that Kyle has brought Hal's inanimate body back to Earth. Then he appears near the end picking up that he's back as a Green Lantern and laughing about it. The 2004 relaunch will subsequently reveal he was referencing the Lost Lanterns in his final scene.
  • Wingding Eyes: During his final bout with Parallax, Hal gets the Lantern symbol glowing in his eyes.
  • The Worf Effect: Just to prove how powerful Sinestro is in this story, it takes two Lanterns to get rid of him.
  • Writing for the Trade: Again, by adding a sixth issue to the series, not only would the company be able to stretch the successful Rebirth run, but it would fit more snugly into a trade paperback format.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Just before the big showdown with Parallax, Hal gives Kyle one of these pep talks. According to Johns, the exchange was intended to resolve Kyle's long-established inferiority complex and allow the character to move in a new direction.
    Kyle: I'm not like the other Lanterns, Jordan. I'm not...I'm not a guy that can overcome great fear or whatever."
    Hal: "Fighting from one end of the universe to the other. Risking your life to help someone who everyone else wrote off. Facing Sinestro one-on-one and living to talk about it. What do you think you've been doing, Kyle? Hiding under your drawing board?"