Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Moments in Green Lantern History: Hal's gals

"Why,” said a fellow, older Green Lantern fan to me recently, “is Hal Jordan depicted in comic books these days as a Casanova? He never used to be that way.”

I respect this particular fan a great deal. He is about ten years older than I am and his personal comic book collection is something most comic fans would give their right arms to obtain. But in the wake of his statement, I found myself staring at him like he was out of his mind -- and at my expression, he became a bit defensive.

“Well, he wasn’t!” he insisted.

Much as I respect him, I’m afraid I must disagree with my friend, at least to a certain extent. True, Hal Jordan is currently depicted in the comics as a bit of a womanizer, but to me he’s always been that way, at least in spirit. He's certainly always been depicted as a hopeless skirtchaser. Though the character does seem to have a hard time maintaining long-term relationships, Hal Jordan does have a reputation for being good with the ladies -- and as another friend of mine recently put it, “A man doesn’t get a reputation for being good with the ladies unless he really is good with the ladies.” Hal Jordan has been depicted that way since he first debuted back in 1959 -- at least as far as then-social mores (and the Comics Code Authority) allowed.

In 1959, in the early days of the Silver Age of comics, not only were readers introduced to test pilot Hal Jordan, they were also introduced to Carol Ferris, daughter of the owner/head of Ferris Aircraft, Hal Jordan’s employer. In the early stories, Hal very frequently and very loudly proclaimed that he wanted to marry Carol Ferris -- but back then, if a guy wanted to have full-contact intimacy with a woman, the socially acceptable way for him to do so was to marry her. The fact that he claimed that he wanted to marry Carol Ferris certainly didn’t stop Hal from flirting outrageously with other women, though. Not only that, by the end of the Silver Age of comics, Hal had had more girlfriends than the entire rest of the original male Justice Leaguers combined.

Hal Jordan still has one of the most elaborate and convoluted romantic histories of any super-hero anywhere -- and it's also not terribly flattering. Following is a by-no-means-complete history of Hal Jordan's love life. It's primarily a catalog of Hal's relationships, but readers are welcome to draw their own conclusions with regard to Hal Jordan's romantic tendencies.

In the beginning: Carol Ferris

When they’re first introduced, Hal and Carol are depicted more or less as a couple, until Carol is made head of Ferris Aircraft. (At this time, Hal also becomes the Green Lantern of space sector 2814). Once Carol is Hal’s boss, she takes her responsibilities quite seriously. She lays down the law and informs Hal that theirs is now strictly a business relationship. Hal doesn’t like this arrangement at all, and vows that one way or another he’s going to get Carol to marry him. At first his approach is somewhat less than chivalrous -- and these days would probably get him fired for harassment:

However, Carol is more than a match for him and succeeds in keeping him at bay.

Not long afterward, Carol (who doesn't APPEAR to be making the connection that a certain handsome, arrogant, brown-haired super-hero is uncannily like a certain handsome, arrogant, brown-haired test pilot) encounters Green Lantern and becomes totally smitten with him:

Carol’s first encounter with GL doesn’t proceed quite the way she wants, though. He spots an impending disaster and abruptly leaves her mid-kiss to go play super-hero. After the bad guys are dealt with, another meeting between Carol and GL degenerates into an argument over the politics of kissing. I don’t remember any other super-hero at the time having an argument even remotely like this one:

Soon afterward, the local press has as field day reporting about GL being seen in public with many different gorgeous women:

Carol Ferris is jealous, much to Hal Jordan’s delight, and she soon works her way back into Green Lantern’s good graces. However, Carol becomes infatuated with GL so much that she almost completely dismisses Hal, and Hal, in effect, becomes his own rival. Hal becomes determined to get Carol Ferris to prefer Hal Jordan to Green Lantern.

Iona Vane

Around this time, Hal becomes caught up in a very strange incident of kidnapping -- an incident that would be repeated quite often throughout his history. In the year 5700 A.D., an advanced Earth civilization (which apparently didn’t have any decent leaders in their own era, and apparently didn’t have any Green Lanterns, either) determines that Green Lantern Hal Jordan would be perfect as their military leader to get them out of a jam. So, via their time-travel technology, they kidnap Green Lantern, brainwash him into taking on a new identity (“Pol Manning”), and get him to do their dirty work for them. Not only that, they determine that in order to make Green Lantern feel totally comfortable in their era, he needs a girlfriend, and they elect one -- a woman named Iona Vane.

Iona Vane isn’t crazy about the idea at first, but she abruptly changes her mind after she gets a chance to meet Hal:

Iona falls in love with Green Lantern and quite willingly becomes his girlfriend-in-the-future. But Green Lantern never quite remembers her after he bails the future out of trouble and gets sent back to his own time -- and back to his ongoing battle to get Carol Ferris to marry Hal Jordan.

Dorine Clay/Onu Murtu

Another incident during this era involves a girl named Dorine Clay. Even though Hal claims to be in love with Carol, he’s intrigued by Dorine -- especially when she keeps brushing off his advances. It later turns out that Dorine is actually an alien named Onu Murtu, who is on Earth to research how to free her people from some intergalactic baddies called the Headmen. Green Lantern helps Onu fight off the Headmen, after which she decides to take a spaceship back to her home planet, Garon:

Before she leaves, Onu hands Green Lantern a letter for Hal Jordan. GL, of course, reads the letter immediately after Onu’s ship is gone:

Naturally, Green Lantern is quite pleased with himself (“So she fell for Hal after all -- but concealed it! Well, this makes me feel better!”), but it isn’t the end of his history with Onu. More on that later.

Katma Tui

Despite being a test pilot, and a Green Lantern, and a member of the Justice League, Hal somehow finds time to become friends with a few other Green Lanterns, one of whom is Katma Tui from the planet Korugar. She never really becomes a girlfriend of Hal’s, but Katma appears to be the only female member of the Green Lantern Corps for a time -- and she also happens to be gorgeous. Hal and Katma like and respect each other as fellow Green Lanterns, but sometimes Hal can’t resist laying a kiss on Katma. Katma claims that Hal’s kisses have no meaning for her at all:

However, that doesn’t stop Katma from occasionally giving Hal kisses of her own:

In fact, Katma seems to think kissing Hal is a lot of fun, especially if it gets him into trouble -- as in this case, where Katma (disguised as an Earth woman) kisses Hal right in front of Carol Ferris and John Stewart:

All of this playful physicality comes to an end, though, when Katma Tui falls in love with John Stewart and eventually marries him.

Eve Doremus and Olivia Reynolds

Hal’s attempts to get Carol Ferris to like Hal Jordan instead of Green Lantern come to an abrupt close when Carol announces that she’s engaged to a man named Jason Belmore. Hal becomes distraught and quits his job as a test pilot. In current continuity, Hal claims that he broke up with Carol. While some readers claim that this is a retroactive continuity change (a “retcon”), I’m more inclined to believe that Hal’s ego would never allow him to admit that Carol broke up with him -- It certainly isn’t far-fetched for him to claim that the opposite happened. At any rate, Hal becomes cut loose from both Carol and Ferris Aircraft, and he's soon caught up in pursuing new jobs and new girlfriends.

First, Hal becomes an insurance adjustor and involved with a woman named Eve Doremus. Hal has the opposite problem with Eve that he had with Carol, in that Eve likes Hal Jordan but isn’t all that crazy about Green Lantern. But Hal likes her, and on at least one occasion accidentally comes close to revealing his identity to her:

Neither the relationship with Eve nor the job as an insurance adjustor last long, though, and soon Hal has another new job, as a sales representative for a toy company. He meets rival toy rep Olivia Reynolds and becomes intrigued by her -- or, rather, by her strategy for selling toys:

Ultimately, though, the pursuit of Olivia Reynolds leads nowhere (and is later revealed to cause Hal’s friend, Barry [the Flash] Allen, to ask him, “Why must they be so ‘hard to get’ for you?”). Hal soon abandons both his job and Olivia Reynolds to join Green Arrow, Black Canary, and the “Old-Timer” on their now-famous tour of America as the Hard-Traveling Heroes. The tour eventually leads to a reunion with an old girlfriend.

Carol Ferris and the “Big Reveal”

After a strange case in which Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary battle a corrupt and creepy employee at a children’s school (and bail out Carol Ferris’s fiancé, Jason Belmore), Green Lantern and Carol bury their differences in what some readers call one of the most well-done super-hero reveals in comic book history. It's a reveal that also leads many readers to suspect that Carol knew all along that Hal was Green Lantern:

The two apologize to each other for how they’ve treated each other, and for a time, they're a couple again:

Having Carol know his secret identity doesn’t seem to help Hal in the long run, though. After an incident involving an alien creature known as Replikon, Carol promptly dumps Hal again:

And when Hal goes to complain about it to a very sympathetic Green Arrow, Dinah (Black Canary) Lance overhears and promptly storms out on both of them:

Thus sparks the beginning of the end for the Hard-Traveling Heroes, but that’s another story.

Oh, and for anyone who thinks Black Canary has never been kissed by Hal Jordan:

Kari Limbo

In Green Lantern comics toward the end of the Silver Age, the Guardians of the Universe (founders of the Green Lantern Corps) are very keen to make sure their Green Lantern officers have backups. In Hal’s case, his backup is a man named Guy Gardner. (Yes, THAT Guy Gardner.)

Poor Guy has a tough time being Hal’s backup in that he tends to get beat up a lot. First, an accident puts Guy out of commission for a while, leading the Guardians to select John Stewart as Hal’s backup. Then, once Guy is healed up and has a chance to really be a Green Lantern, an incident with a power battery quite literally blows him into another dimension -- into the Phantom Zone, to be precise. Guy isn’t dead, but everyone else thinks he is.

Guy, as it turns out, has a girlfriend -- a gypsy fortune teller named Kari Limbo. Hal, of course, gets the job of telling Kari Limbo the bad news -- that Guy has been blown to kingdom come. First, Kari goes off on Hal:

Soon after that, she begs Hal to hold her:

And it isn’t long before Kari and Hal are all over each other on a regular basis:

Kari even eventually figures out that Hal Jordan and Green Lantern are the same person, though she does keep comparing Hal to Guy -- which Hal doesn’t seem to mind for some reason. They even come very close to getting married, though they promptly break things off when they find out that Guy is still alive.

Afterward, Hal goes back to working for Carol Ferris as a test pilot, and the two are soon a couple again, their relationship reaching -- er -- heights that it hadn’t reached before:

Once again, though, their relationship is thrown a curve ball and the two become separated, but not by choice.

Exile in Space

Having defied the Guardians of the Universe once too often, Hal faces an abrupt change in his plans (whatever they were) when the Guardians decide that the Green Lantern of Earth is a wee bit too rebellious and home-planet-bound for their liking. They punish Hal by exiling him to space for one year, to carry out his duties on other planets in sector 2814 besides Earth for a change. Carol Ferris bravely claims that she’ll stand by her man and wait for him no matter what, but Hal, of course, is not at all happy with the situation.

Grudgingly, Hal carries out the Guardians’ orders like a good Green Lantern, and those orders eventually take him to the planet Garon. There he becomes prisoner of the Headmen, and to his astonishment, he’s reunited with Onu Murtu:

Gee, thanks, Green Lantern -- Hugs and kisses to you, too. Onu, as it turns out, knows that Green Lantern is Hal Jordan, and she’s still carrying a torch for him:

After Hal and Dorine get out of that mess, Dorine becomes Hal’s companion for the entire rest of his exile in space -- though Hal keeps insisting that he still loves Carol Ferris. Once Hal’s year of exile is up, the Guardians allow him to return to Earth and to Carol, and he does so, seemingly without a backward glance at Dorine. In fact, he later tells fellow GL Arisia that his relationship with Dorine was due primarily to loneliness.

Star Sapphire

When Hal gets back to Earth, Carol Ferris is waiting for him, and the two resume their relationship, but not without problems. Carol finally gets fed up with Hal leaving her all the time to play super-hero, to the point where she orders Hal once and for all to choose between her and his power ring. Remarkably, Hal gives up being a Green Lantern in order to be with Carol. He immediately regrets his decision, though, after Carol transforms into a particularly nasty version of Star Sapphire.

Starting with the early stories, in one of the more unusual Silver Age twists involving a comic book super-hero and his girlfriend, Carol Ferris is regularly subjected to a sort of alien possession that turns her into a powerful pseudo-villain called Star Sapphire. The possession is courtesy of a gemstone given to her by an alien race known as the Zamarons, an offshoot of the Guardians of the Universe. As Star Sapphire, Carol has powers equal to (if not greater than) Green Lantern’s, but she never remembers being Star Sapphire after Hal manages to snap her out of it.

Star Sapphire has several agendas, one of the most persistent being to force Green Lantern to become her consort or mate:

Carol isn’t the only woman to be possessed by Star Sapphire. In fact, in one early story, an alien named Dela Pharon (who originally bears a striking resemblance to Carol, though she's later retconned to be very alien) nearly ensnares Hal as her consort:

All in all, the early conflicts between Green Lantern and Star Sapphire are mostly friendly (and, in fact, Star Sapphire refers to Hal as her “friendly enemy”). However, corporate- and Hal-related stresses eventually cause Carol Ferris to transform into a Star Sapphire that is mean and murderous.

Though Hal is no longer Green Lantern at this point, the mean Star Sapphire confronts him once more about becoming her consort. When he turns her down, she subjects him to a physical and emotional pistol-whipping, tells him more or less to get stuffed, and then leaves Earth altogether. Hal then becomes determined to be a Green Lantern again.

After a series of events during the Crisis of Infinite Earths, Hal gets his wish and in fact becomes the sort-of leader of a group of Green Lanterns stationed on Earth. Included in the group are John Stewart, Katma Tui, Ch’p, Salaak, Kilowog, and a Hal-worshipping female GL named Arisia.


During a nasty battle between the entire Green Lantern Corps and a renegade Guardian of the Universe, Hal encounters a Green Lantern named Arisia, who says she's 13 years old and who strongly resembles a blonde, golden-skinned elf. Arisia is greatly impressed with Hal, and she becomes convinced that she’s completely in love with him.

For a long time after the battle with the renegade Guardian, Arisia continues to hero-worship and throw herself at Hal every chance she gets, almost to the point of being truly annoying. Hal continually rebuffs her advances, but he remains nice to her and even starts calling her “little sister.” Katma Tui does her best to calm Arisia down every time Arisia comes crying to her about Hal, but Arisia’s strong feelings soon take on a life of their own.

After becoming part of the Green Lantern Corps stationed on Earth, Arisia’s appearance begins to change. She soon resembles a mature and very exotic woman -- a change brought on by her power ring responding to her subconscious wishes. Thus transformed, and apparently matured, Arisia confronts Hal over her feelings for him, and he finally relents:

Arisia finally has what she wants, but Hal expresses concern over how others might feel about their relationship. John Stewart, in fact, does voice disapproval of Hal and Arisia as a couple, but the other, alien Green Lanterns don’t seem to think anything of it -- with the notable exception of Kilowog, who (as it turns out) is in love with Arisia(!). To this day, the relationship between Hal and Arisia remains controversial for many readers, though recently the publisher has retconned the storyline to make it appear that Arisia is, in fact, older than Hal due to her home planet’s orbit (13 years on her planet supposedly being the equivalent of 240 years for Earth).

Soon after Hal and Arisia become a couple (and John Stewart and Katma Tui get married), events bring about the temporary fall of the Green Lantern Corps. For a while Hal is one of only a few Green Lanterns in the universe left with working power rings. With the dissolving of the Corps, Hal and Arisia remain together on Earth, and Arisia even gets a job as a fashion model. However, their relationship isn’t exactly a (ahem) bed of roses:

Not only that, Star Sapphire returns from space and murders Katma Tui in order to “send a message” to Hal. She also frames John Stewart for her own (Carol Ferris’s) murder, and kidnaps Hal to subject him to torture. Hal and John both eventually escape their situations, but Star Sapphire disappears -- kidnapped by aliens.

At this point, Hal isn’t exactly a happy camper, and he starts taking his frustrations out on Arisia. When Arisia allows a villain to escape in order to rescue Hal, Hal lashes out at her:

Definitely not one of Hal's better moments. Arisia decides to pack her bags and leave -- though she and Hal do become friends again (just friends) later on. For the time being, however, Hal is left without a girlfriend -- but he certainly has his admirers:

Deciding that his life has hit rock bottom and he’s run out of friends -- not to mention his hair is starting to turn gray and he’s tired of playing super-hero -- Hal soon hits the road and becomes something of a vagabond. It doesn’t take him long to find a new girlfriend, though -- and new responsibilities toward the Green Lantern Corps.

Rose Lewis

While wandering around the countryside, Hal decides to drop in on a woman named Rose Lewis, who he met when he and Green Arrow visited her town way back in the Hard-Traveling Heroes days. Rose hires Hal to help with chores on her farm, and the two flirt with each other and engage in playful banter:

Soon, however, Rose gets more than she bargained for. Not only does she find out Hal is Green Lantern (a fact that doesn’t exactly thrill her because she doesn’t approve of super-heroes), her entire town becomes kidnapped by an insane Guardian of the Universe and made part of what’s known as the Mosaic world.

Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner all team up to defeat the insane Guardian, which also brings about the return of the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians decide to keep all of the kidnapped interplanetary communities on the Mosaic world for a time. Rose isn’t happy about the arrangement, but she decides to pitch in to help out the best she can, and John Stewart is left in charge of Mosaic.

John and Rose soon become a couple, and Hal isn’t happy about it. In fact, he accuses John of brainwashing Rose. A Green Lantern battle royale soon explodes over the situation, and John ultimately wins the fight. Hal concedes defeat, and John and Rose are left alone to pursue their relationship -- even though Rose keeps calling John “Hal” in her sleep. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.

The Return of Carol Ferris

With the relaunching of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal is put in charge of scouting out new recruits. However, he runs into a few problems when some of the new female recruits, like Brik, start falling in love with him:

Star Sapphire also resurfaces. It turns out that she’s been the victim of slave traders all this time. Of course, Hal feels obligated to rescue her, and with help from the other GLs, he succeeds. Carol Ferris becomes free of Star Sapphire for the first time in years, and Hal is given the go-ahead to take her back to Earth and remain there as head Green Lantern.

At first, Hal and Carol are just friends, though Hal keeps a close eye on her to make sure she’s fully recovered from being Star Sapphire. Gradually, though, their old relationship shows signs of returning. Carol even suggests that they should probably go ahead and get married, especially since her biological clock is ticking. By this time, the idea of marrying Carol -- or anyone else -- doesn’t appeal to Hal at all.

During this period, Hal’s old friend Barry Allen is seemingly back from the dead (though it isn’t really Barry -- but that’s another story), and Hal tries to tell him why he isn’t terribly interested in marriage at this point:

Hal also becomes leader of the European branch of the Justice League, taking over from Batman. Some Leaguers, like Wally West and Ralph Dibney, are quite pleased to have Green Lantern in charge, but others aren’t thrilled by the idea. Aquaman, in particular, thinks Hal is too reckless to lead the Justice League. Nonetheless, Hal is more than happy to be in charge of the League, though it leads to an uncomfortable situation with one of its members

Power Girl

In a vicious battle with a group of villains, Green Lantern’s Justice League team becomes all but incapacitated when many of its members -- including Hal -- lose their memories. Despite not knowing who he is or what his powers are, Hal ends up helping Power Girl battle the villain Sonar. Sonar gets the drop on them, however, and Green Lantern and Power Girl become trapped together, with Hal lamenting that he might die without knowing his own identity. Overcome with emotion, Power Girl grabs GL and lays a big ol’ kiss on him. Heck, she practically inhales his face:

Memory or no memory, Hal doesn’t seem to mind Power Girl coming on to him, and the two are soon engaged in hot-and-heavy intimacy despite Sonar’s efforts to pulverize them. Eventually, the two are rescued, Hal gets his memory back, and he and Power Girl go about life as usual, as if nothing happened between them.

Later, the Justice Leaguers are surprised to learn that Power Girl is pregnant. GL, in particular, seems shocked by the news, and he seeks out Power Girl to question her. Readers are at first led to believe that Hal is worried that he’s the father. As it turns out, Hal wants to know who the father is because it definitely isn't him. Apparently, Power Girl never let him get much past second base -- in fact, she gave him the ol’ “I’m not that kinda girl” line before things went too far. Power Girl claims that she hasn’t slept with anyone and doesn't know how she became pregnant, but Hal doesn’t believe her and thinks she's being a hypocrite. He jealously accuses her of sleeping with Aquaman -- and she promptly belts him one:

Thus ends, perhaps for all time, Green Lantern’s chances of getting more involved with Power Girl. And his life soon gets a whole lot worse.


Following the death and eventual rebirth of Superman, Green Lantern’s home town of Coast City, California, and its millions of inhabitants, get wiped off the map by villains Mongul and Cyborg Superman. Though at first Hal seems to be doing an okay job of coping with the tragedy (especially since Carol Ferris and many of his friends have survived), he ultimately succumbs to a downward spiral. He becomes possessed by an all-powerful alien parasite and is transformed into the villain Parallax. At this time, readers also find out that Hal's old high school sweetheart, Jennifer, apparently died when Coast City was destroyed.

As Parallax, Hal has no love life (at least none that anyone knows of). In one weird occurance involving time travel and identity swapping, though, Hal/Parallax very nearly gets to have a relationship with Kyle Rayner's old girlfriend, Alex, but the situation dissolves before things get too out of hand. Later, Hal/Parallax does get to give Carol Ferris a farewell kiss just before sacrificing himself to save the Earth:

Hal dies a heroic death, but death certainly doesn’t keep his heroism -- or his love life -- in check for long.

The Spectre

After Hal's death, the Spectre -- a nasty, all-powerful spirit that likes to bestow horrific punishments on sinners and evil-doers -- is in need of a new human soul to act as its host, and Hal Jordan’s soul is selected. For a time, Hal manages to transform the Spectre into a spirit of redemption rather than vengeance, but ultimately, being the Spectre isn’t a pleasant walk in the park.

Possession by a being as nasty as the Spectre, though, doesn’t stop Hal from having romantic encounters. On one occasion, he’s tricked into believing he’s still alive and happily married to (and happily physical with) Carol Ferris (though by this time, the real, still-living Carol Ferris is actually married to someone else). On another occasion, he shares a profoundly intimate moment with a being known as the Forever Woman:

Leave it to Hal Jordan to find a way to get even the Spectre to experience a little romance.

Back from the dead -- and back to business

Eventually, Hal is freed from both the Spectre and Parallax, comes back from the dead, and proceeds to put his life back together. He returns to his roots by becoming a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, and by becoming available to the ladies, including a woman named Jennifer -- or is that Julie?

Hal’s current girlfriend is fellow test pilot Jillian “Cowgirl” Pearlman, who seems to be as much of a flirt as Hal and shares his “single until death” attitude. It probably doesn’t hurt that her call sign (Cowgirl) is slang for the woman-on-top position:

During Hal’s first real date with Cowgirl, Star Sapphire returns, embroiling Hal, Cowgirl, and Carol Ferris in a crazy fight with the Zamarons. Soon after successfully fighting off the Zamarons, Hal learns that Carol Ferris is now divorced. It remains to be seen what -- if anything -- will happen between them next.