Friday, October 7, 2011
My Favorite DC: Green Lantern
While Chad was infiltrating my video game playing group of seminary friends, I was spending my time in Michigan getting introduced to the woman of my dreams, Amy Bolan. When I met her, I said that my comic book interests included Marvel Comics plus Batman. The fact that she was a Batman fan made me delve into Batman all the more. I'm still working on a Batman reading list that I had originally intended to be a kind of book club for Amy and I. But when I returned to school, Chad's passion for Hal Jordan converted me from Marvel plus Batman to Marvel plus Batman and Green Lantern, and eventually to Marvel plus DC. "The cool thing about Hal Jordan," Chad would say, "is that he would be a hero even if he hadn't gotten a Green Lantern power ring." Having read the recent Green Lantern #1 from the DC reboot, this fact has been proven. A de-powered Hal Jordan jumps from balcony to balcony in order to save someone who appears to need help. But I knew this before I read Green Lantern #1, because Chad had given me a must read list for Green Lantern comics.
You know that my initiation into Green Lantern was the result of a fantastic friendship with Chad. You also know something about the history of Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern. But I don't think that tells you why Green Lantern is one of my favorite DC characters. The truth behind that has something to do with the balance of will and fear in the Green Lantern books. Sometimes I believe that I have the will to overcome great fear. But mostly I fear that I do not. Every time I read a Green Lantern story, I am forced to know if I have what it takes to do the right thing, and honestly to do magnificent things beyond the abilities of normal people. Because if I am conquered by fear, I am conquered entirely. The question of whether I am ruled by will or fear has become very important to me, and I honestly think that it has built me into a better person. Sure, I compared myself to Batman in my previous entry, and Batman was offered a Sinestro Corps ring. Does that make me a character who is ruled by fear? I don't think so. Maybe it just makes me smart and unrelenting, if not a little bit haunted. But I think I can be something better. I think that I can inspire. After all, the way that Green Lanterns overcome the taint of the yellow element is to feel the fear and then to defeat it.
Green Lantern has actually been a driving force toward my personal betterment, and I'm not sure that there are a lot of characters who will ever do that for anyone else. I have to say that I've held high a variation of Professor Charles Xavier's dream for nearly all of my life, but the person of Charles Xavier does not do for me what the person of Hal Jordan has done. He is the man without fear and he lives in the city without fear. But none of this would be true if fear had not once been there only to be conquered.