Injustice 2 Chapter 53: The Haunting Of Hal Jordan

by CJ Stephens

Injustice 2 Chapter 53 switches the focus away from Earth as Hal Jordan is brought to trial for his crimes against the Green Lantern Corps. He’s very sorry for what he did, but how can that ever be enough?
There will be spoilers…

Our story begins on Oa, home of the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps, where Hal Jordan is on trial for his part in the death of 200 Green Lanterns. Hal doesn’t defend himself, pleading guilty, which is the most heroic thing he’s done in quite a while. Not only did he enable and support Superman in his fascist plan to take over Earth, he turned to the dark side and embraced fear, the tool of Sinestro and his Yellow Lanterns. In addition, he killed Guy Gardner, most entertaining of the Green Lanterns, ripping his arm off. He did this while under the influence of Sinestro and the yellow ring, but even so, he chose to support Superman, and he chose to put on the yellow ring.
Hal is found guilty and sentenced to manual labor in the Prison Colony on Harring, where he’ll work to terraform the planet for recolonization. Oddly, Guy Gardner is there for the sentencing, and again, on Harring, where he looks on and jeers as Hal digs trenches. Hal tries to apologize, but Guy’s not listening.

Apparently, Hal Jordan is haunted by the ghost of Guy Gardner. Or at the very least, guilt over the murder of his friend and fellow Lantern has pushed Hal just a little too far. Proving that Guy’s not really there, Soranik arrives to punish Hal for laughing at one of Guy’s jokes, thinking he’s not taking his sentence seriously. With a nod to the Silver Age, she decks him with an emerald fist construct. When Hal complains about the treatment, it gives her just the opportunity she’s been waiting for to tell him exactly how little she cares for him. Hal was a hero, an idol, a role model, and when he fell, it crushed the hearts and souls of many members of the Green Lantern Corps. Soranik reminds him that when he was responsible (at least partially) for the death of Mogo, the planetary Green Lantern, he was also responsible for all the various species that lived on Mogo. Her disgust for him is evident, and she pays absolutely no attention to Guy as he provides comedic commentary on her rant. Because he’s not real, except in the tortured mind of his murderer, Hal Jordan.
More prisoners arrive, which is good news for Hal, because terraforming a whole planet is a lot of work for just one man, even the former greatest of all Green Lanterns. But it’s bad news too, because foremost among the prisoners is Sinestro, Soranik’s father and a solid symbolic manifestation of Hal’s fall from grace. Ghostly Guy can’t let an opportunity like this pass, and quickly taunts Hal into attacking Sinestro.

Attacking another prisoner leads to Hal being sent to solitary confinement, which is a terrible place to be when you’re literally haunted by guilt. Again, Hal tries to apologize, but Guy reminds him that being sorry doesn’t bring him back to life. And then Guy fades away. We’ll have to wait until next issue to see if he’s permanently gone or just leaving Hal to his thoughts for the time being. I’m of two minds on the recurrence of Ghostly Guy. On the one hand, I love Guy Gardner, and his presence normally brings a little bit of light to an often dark narrative. But on the other hand, he’s dead, so his presence would be a constant reminder of that death, and thus ring somewhat hollow in terms of fan-based satisfaction.
So you’d think this would be a good place to conclude the first chapter of Hal’s story, but writer Tom Taylor‘s got one more element to work into the story. Just as most of the Green Lanterns are preparing to return to Oa, Tomar-Re detects a life force on the dark side of the planet, and flies off to check it out. Unfortunately for him, the life force turns out to be the feline Dex-Starr, cutest of all the rage filled Red Lanterns, who promptly slashes Tomar-Re’s throat.
And that’s it for this week’s chapter. Not much of a cliffhanger, although it definitely feels like the narrative focus is on redemption now, which is a common aspect of superhero stories. The question for this particular part of the story, however, is whether or not some actions make one irredeemable. I seriously don’t know how Hal Jordan becomes a sympathetic character again. At least, not this Hal Jordan…
But I am interested to see how Dex-Starr ties in with Jordan’s story. Although considering Ace the Bat-Puppy’s fate, I’m not holding out too much hope for another cute victim of Amazo‘s destructive rampages…
Injustice 2 Chapter 53, published by DC Comics, is currently available and features writing by Tom Taylor, lettering by Wes Abbott, and art by XermanicoJ. NanjanTyler Kirkham, and Arif Prianto.

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