When our fearless leader handed down the edict that this week would be dedicated to bringing out our favorite comic book hero origin story, my inner geek went WILD! To say that comic book stories capture my imagination would be a vast understatement. I’ve spent so much time in the past reading series after series, unable to decide whether I was more a DC or Marvel comics fanboy. The allure of a good origin story for me, lies in how it can relate to real life. These writers take real world problems, give them an imaginary spin, and then present them to us with bravado, absurdity, and hope.
Consider the story of Hal Jordan, the son of a fairly famous pilot. Hal has followed in his father’s footsteps and appears to be one of the bravest, (and most reckless) pilots. He served in the Air Force, and was known for pulling off maneuvers that would make the average man..well, then average man wouldn’t even be up IN a jet. The critical wrinkle in this story, however, is that behind his brave veneer lies the fear of a little child. See, Hal watched his father be killed in a plane crash, and because of this, he has tried to overcome his fear by packing it away under a glut of thrill seeking adventure. His world is interrupted in the most unlikely way.
Abin Sur is one of the most famous of the Green Lantern Corp, an intergalactic police force of sorts. Following a particularly deadly battle, Abin is fatally wounded, and orders his power ring (I’ll explain this in a bit) to find a suitable replacement. The Green Lantern Corp was founded by the Guardians, a group of old, green fuddy- duddies who long ago figured that the emotional spectrum made all life too unstable to continue unchecked. To combat this, they separated the color spectrum, creating rings of power to correspond to what they felt were the essential emotions of humans. Also, the essential weakness in each power ring falls to whatever emotion can most undo it.Thus, the green power ring represents the power of will, and the color that can undo the power of a green power ring is a yellow one, which represents fear. So, when Abin Sur orders his ring to find a replacement, the ring is looking for someone who can overcome great fear, because if a Green Lantern can overcome fear, then his or her power becomes almost limitless.
Hal stumbles upon Abin’s crashed ship, and finds a dying man inside of it. After a brief conversation, Abin dies and the ring flies over to Hal, settling on his ring finger. It says out loud, “Hal Jordan, you have the ability to overcome great fear.” Even without Hal totally agreeing, or believing this statement, there is a flash of light, and then we see Hal in a uniform totally constructed by his mind. See, the power ring works to construct whatever the mind of the wearer can conceive, provided they have enough faith in themselves to form the image.
Probably above all other comic books, I relate to Hal and the rest of the Green Lantern Corp. I fancy myself an honorary member. I deal with self-doubt and fear on a daily basis, but the thing that I love most about this comic, is that whenever there is a problem, these men and women have to look their fear in the eye and decide that their will can overcome anything that they face. They construct the most amazing things, from gatling guns, to giant elephants, to exquisitely designed buildings- all for the purpose of defeating their foes. Hal was not just the FIRST Green Lantern from Earth, but in Green Lantern lore, he is touted as the GREATEST of them all!
To me, the beauty about this story lies in the struggle of an everyday man to do extraordinary things. At the heart of every man, woman, and child is the desire to be more than they are, to do more than they could ever fathom. In truth, our limitations only come when we focus on them, rather than exploring every possible solution that comes to our mind. Very often, the constructs that Hal and his partners make do not work, but then somehow they stumble across one random idea, and it works. Absurd? Maybe. Realistic? Very.
Today, I challenge you to free yourself to be creative, tapping into your will to be great, to achieve something you’ve never done, to be greater than great. Today, I challenge you to join me in the Green Lantern Corp!
“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power, GREEN LANTERN’S LIGHT!”