Hector Hammond’s life is in danger so he’s reached out telepathically to Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who is on Earth investigating a Parallax sighting with Superman. An alien race from a nearby space sector is determined to use Hammond and his massive mind as a weapon. Hammond is in prison and immobilized so he can’t do much to fight back as these creatures stick him with electrodes.
Half of the battle in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #31 has the title character and the Man of Steel beating the crap out of these little aliens. This looks like a one-sided battle at first because here are two grown men punching Gollum-like creatures. The tiny guys have Hammond’s vast psychic powers at their disposal. That is where the fight gets interesting.
There’s a brief scene where Hal falls into the illusion, seeing an alternate version of his life where he’s not a Green Lantern, but instead happy with Carol and his family. Everything is perfect, which makes the moment Hal sees through the ruse all the more heartbreaking. He has to leave this happy life because he realizes it’s not real and there’s a battle to be won. This is one of the qualities that earn him the title of the greatest Green Lantern of them all.
This scene is like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Artist Patrick Zircher creates a feeling of love that instantly surrounds Hal. Jason Wright’s colors give the sequence a warmth, like you’d be welcomed into this home in a heartbeat. Hal’s face when he realizes the truth is full of sadness and regret. This kind of happiness is somewhat within his reach. If he put down the ring, he could be with Carol. This moment is followed up by the end of the issue and it’s a perfect closer that matches the emotional gravitas of the psychic scene.
Zircher’s artwork gives Hal Jordan and Superman a larger-than-life appearance. They’re like gods on Earth, nearly bursting with power. This human perfection is a nice contrast to Hammond’s bizarre and sickly appearance. His head is gigantic, but his body is still the size of a normal man. It could be seen as comical at times, but for the most part, it’s sad. This is a man that has incredible psychic abilities and he can’t even stand up on his own.
If the aliens were after Hammond and his power and they tricked Clark and Hal, was Parallax even around in those recent issues of Superman? Did they pull a fast one on Sinestro too? I’m not quite sure how this all shakes out, although if that was all fake, I’m a little bummed as it was a pretty great idea.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps brings the action planetside for a more somber tale with issue #31. We’ve still got aliens and crazy power, but we get to spend some time with the man behind the ring. He yearns for a life with friends and family, but he’s so tied to the Corps that he may never find that happiness. That can make for a torturous and lonely existence. Hal sacrifices those feelings in order to protect the universe as a Green Lantern. Knowing that, I kind of which there was an Intergalactic Green Lantern Appreciation Day where all the space sectors could thank their designated space cop.