Let me be up-front with this, I’m picking a nit here. But, it’s the kind of thing that Geoff Johns does (especially in Green Lantern) that really grates sometimes. If it was an isolated thing, it wouldn’t bug me at all. But Johns does this sort of thing habitulally.
What am I talking about? Retcons. And not just retcons for the sake of making fixing a broken character. I can handle Johns’ Hawkman retcons. I can even swallow his Parallax retcons because (even though they fly in the face of years of Green Lantern continuity) they were necessary to make Hal Jordan viable. So, okay. I’ll play ball.
But the retocn in blackest Night #0 just felt completely unnecessary. It’s so minor, most readers probably didn’t notice it at all. The line I’m referring to is when Hal tells Barry that after he died, his grave was defiled. And not by his enemies. No, Hal claims his grave was defiled by his former allies.
This claim seems to have gone unquestioned by most of the internet, but it just rang false to me. I haven’t read Final Night in years. But my recollection is that everyone responded to Hal’s death respectfully with the possible exception of Batman. I seem to recall some grumbling from Batman, but nothing of the “I’m going to go out and defile his grave variety.”
Remember, Hal died re-igniting the sun to save life on earth. In the eyes of most of the heroes, Hal redeemed himself for his attempt to recreate the universe in his image during Zero Hour. Truthfully, most heroes never seemed all that angry with Hal to begin with. They understood his loss. Even as a villain, Hal was not totally unsympathetic. He was just trying to “fix” things.
So, which former allies of Hal’s might have done something as despicable as defiling his grave? Well, let’s look at the list of suspects.
First, I suppose one might consider Kyle Rayner. Certainly, Hal’s replacement could be accused of defiling Hal’s legacy in the meta sense that DC stripped away the Corps and everything that was associated with Hal in order to make room for Kyle. But Hal and Kyle had not been allies. And while Kyle could sometimes be portrayed as immature in his early days, desecrating graves just wasn’t his style.
Most of Hal’s allies in the Green Lantern Corps were dead or MIA at the time of Hal’s death. So we can pretty much rule most of them out of the suspect list. Unless Hal is suggesting that a lesser-known GL who’s whereabouts were unaccounted for found their way to earth and defiled his grave off panel. Unlikely, but possible. Hardly worth mentioning to Barry though.
I think we can all agree that there’s no way Alan Scott would even consider desecrating Hal’s grave. And while John Stewart was depicted as a bitter and broken man, it would be out of character for him to do so either. Ganthet was the only Guardian left and while he certainly had reason to be angry with Hal, Ganthet mostly seemed to regard him with pity.
(I know I’m leaving out Guy. I’ll get to him. Obviously, he’s one of the prime suspects.)
If we rule out all of Hal’s allies from the Corps (except Guy and possibly a lesser-known Lantern who’s whereabouts were unknown), we’re looking primarily at members of the Justice League. By large, the Leage represents the best of the best. You don’t really expect to find any grave robbers on the Justice League.
First, there’s guys like Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. These guys did some pretty stupid things back in the day. Some of their schemes to get rish were borderline criminal. And, at his worst, I could maybe see Booster digging up a grave for cash. But Hal went into the sun and never came out. His grave was empty. And neither of these guys had any serious beef with Hal.
Then there’s Batman. Of all the heroes, Batman has always been depicted as trusting Hal the least. He’s been especially reluctant to forgive him for his actions as Parallax.
(This paints Batman in an especially bad light given that Hal’s actions have been retconned to be involuntary. Since every superhero gets possessed or brainwashed somewhere along the way, Hal has a big fat “get out of jail free card” and Batman’s the only one who seems to have a problem with it.)
I could see Batman digging up Hal’s grave if it were part of an investigation. But as was stated above, Hal’s grave was empty. And even if Batman was working a case that resulted in him digging up Hal’s empty grave, that could hardly be considered a desecration. Would Batman have desecrated a grave? The son of Thomas and Martha Wayne. No way. Batman visits too many graves to do something so disrespectful.
But Guy Gardner is the most disrespectful hero around. And he barely tolerated Hal when Hal was alive. If anyone was likely to defile Hal’s grave, Guy Gardner seems like the prime suspect. But would he do it?
Seems unlikely. After Hal’s death, Guy put the Corps behind him. He opened his own themed bar/restaraunt (Warriors) which had a room full of GL memorabilia including a veritable shrine to Hal. Frequently, Kyle would visit and Guy would tell him stories about the good old days and about Hal.
Even the prime suspect seems like an unlikely candidate to have desecrated Hal’s grave. It may seem like a minor point, but this line just rings completely false if you’ve read GL storied prior to Rebirth. This is a small example of the kind of needless retcon Johns fills his stories with that just rip me right out of a story.