Hal Jordan is Fearless
But He's Not Too Bright
When editor Julie Schwartz and artist Gil Kane helped to revive the superhero concept of the Green Lantern in the October, 1959 issue of Showcase, they probably did not anticipate all the stories to come that would emphasize the clumsiness of Hal Jordan, GL's alter ego. As he was originally conceived, Jordan was a fearless test pilot who was also, as the Green Lantern, part of a universal police force called the Green Lantern Corps. The character has also been popular enough to star in his own movie, but it is debatable as to whether it was any good or not. His primary weapon was a green power ring that could create any object Jordan could will into existence, which mostly meant it created a lot of giant boxing gloves.
The Green Lantern ring is a powerful object in the DC Comics Universe, and it would be a mistake to misplace such an important artifact. But you should never underestimate Hal Jordan, who has taken every opportunity available over the years to lose one of the most powerful weapons in the universe.
Silver Age Shenanigans
Being Fearless Doesn't Make You Smart
It did not take very long after Green Lantern began his own solo comic book series in 1960 to start losing his equipment. In the third issue of Hal's series, a group of villains called the Weaponeers of Qward stole Jordan's power battery, the source of all the energy needed for his ring. Luckily, Jordan managed to snag it back before his ring ran out of juice.
A year later, in issue no. 11, Hal's bosses decided that he was unfit for duty. His bosses, by the way, are all diminutive bald blue aliens who refer to themselves as the Guardians of the Universe, so they probably know what's best. Except the whole ordeal was really just a fake trial put on by the Guardians to test Jordan's resolve. Sneaky.
Curiously enough, in the same issue as the preceding event, a homeless man found Hal's ring after he left it laying around. Then they fought and Jordan got it back. Stay classy, Green Lantern.
Things continued to become more embarrassing for Jordan in future issues of his series. In issue no. 33, when "Barks" Ownley, a small-time crook, temporarily stole Hal's ring. In issue no. 40, the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, fought Hal for the right to wear the ring (Hal won that one). And in issue no. 46, Jordan had to give his ring to the police when he was framed for a series of crimes by the Triple Play Gang. He did eventually clear his name of any wrong-doing, but his bosses probably didn't like where all this was going, so...
Green Lantern Gets a Pink Slip
GL is Fired, Then Quits, Fired Again, Replaced...
The Guardians of the Universe decided for the first time (but not the last) to disband the Green Lantern Corps in issue no. 56. They said it was because the entire universal police force was unable to adequately protect the galaxy, but we think they just meant Hal.
Of course, eventually things were reformed and everyone was back to work, that is until Hal just outright quit in issue no. 68. He came back, and was fired again in number 76 for misusing his ring. Which likely means he started getting lazy and just using the power ring to shut windows and turn of the lights from across the room.
Because you cannot keep a fearless, thick-headed man down, Hal was eventually reinstated. But then he was replaced as the Green Lantern of Earth by a high school gym teacher named Guy Gardner in issue no. 116. Guy and Hal ended up grudgingly working together over the coming years and issues, since neither one of them was capable of being a useful Green Lantern in their own right.
Which may be why the Guardians decided to disband the Green Lantern Corps again the 172nd issue. Hal convinced them to keep the band together. Hey, he needs the work. Or maybe not, since Jordan decided to quit the Corps in issue no. 181, sick of being manipulated by his blue bosses.
Don't worry about Earth, though. The guardians found an actually competent replacement for Hal in the form of John Stewart with issue no. 182. But guess what? That's right, Hal came back, just in time for the 199th issue of the series.
Hal Leads the Corps
Then He Destroys Them
Clearly sick of the revolving door hiring policy for the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the universe decided to just leave the universe with some new friends they found, the Zamarons. This, of course, left the Corps disbanded, and just in time for the special no. 200 anniversary issue. But maybe all they needed was a long vacation, because after a year (of in-story time, readers only had to wait a month) the Guardians came back and put Jordan in charge of recruiting members for a new Corps. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot went wrong, and the Guardians disbanded the Corps after a climactic battle on the Guardian's home planet of Oa between villains Sinestro, Goldface, and Myrwhydden, and the combined ridiculousness of everyone Hal Jordan thought would make a good space cop. With issue no. 224, the second series of Green Lantern Comics was finished.
Curtain Call for the GLC
Hal Jordan is a Monster
But never knowing when to leave well enough alone, Hal, with the help of Guy and John, reformed the Corps in a new issue no. 1 of the series, this one premiering in June 1990. And things seemed to be going well for Hal and the Corps, with everything on the up and up. Alas, it was not meant to last, as Hal can clearly never stick with the same job for an extended period of time with throwing a temper tantrum and quitting. And so it was, with issue nos. 48-50, when Hal decided to quit again. However, in an exciting new twist, Hal killed everyone else in the Corps, took all their rings, and blew up the Central Power Battery on Oa.
That little mood swing happened in 1993. After that, Hal didn't get his job back until 2005. Nearly a decade later, Hal continues to make poor decisions, but at least he has not murdered all of his coworkers (again). And for those looking to learn more about Green Lantern's exploits, check out this great selection of GL comic books.