"Legend of the Green Flame": In 1949 Berlin, Janos Prohaska and Weng Chan of the Blackhawks Squadron go down into a deserted bunker covered in rats and littered with long dead bodies. The two are looking for a German secret weapon Janos heard about from a mysterious 'she'. They come across a str
Appearing in "Legend of the Green Flame"
Synopsis for "Legend of the Green Flame"
In 1949 Berlin, Janos Prohaska and Weng Chan of the Blackhawks Squadron go down into a deserted bunker covered in rats and littered with long dead bodies. The two are looking for a German secret weapon Janos heard about from a mysterious 'she'. They come across a strange green railroad lantern buried in a pile of rubbish. Janos is intrigued over the object as he is faintly reminded of a legend surrounding a green lantern although he is unable to recall the specific significance of the lantern, and he decides to take it with him.
In the present day, Clark Kent finds Hal Jordan in Metropolis and invites him over to spend some time together. When Clark ask Hal about his romantic relationship with Arisia, Hal succinctly stated that "We split." Clark, aware of how difficult a dual life and a relationship are to manage, also knows that any words as this moment would be too thin to offer any real comfort. Hal explains he's having a personal crisis stating he used to be part of the Green Lantern Corps with a purpose and a plan. But with Oa drained and the Guardians fled, all he is a man with a ring.
After some reassurances from Clark, they accompany each other to a museum convention Clark is supposed to cover for the Daily Planet, and briefly running into Selina Kyle. They then find the green lantern discovered by Janos in an exhibition. Hal recognizes it as a power battery, and tries loading his power ring with it despite Clark's wariness. The effect is disastrous and a wave of magic energy kills both heroes. They wind up in the Region of the Just Dead and encounter Deadman, who explains that their deaths are not irrevocable until they have gone "into the light". Hal then tries using his ring to take them back to their bodies, the worst thing he could have done...
Meanwhile, the Phantom Stranger sits in the apartment given to him by the Lords of Order, his current masters. Sensing that something else needs his attention, he finally leaves the apartment forever and dismisses the Lords, who insists that he cannot leave his confinement. The Phantom admits to no membership or affiliation with any group and also denies belonging to this place or even having a home, because if he belonged then he would cease to be a stranger. He bids the voices farewell, even as their threats of wrath echo in a now empty room.
Superman and Hal have wound up in Hell, where Superman's super-senses can not experience anything but suffering, fear and pain. Horrified by realizing that he can't save these innumerable souls, he is slowly going mad. The catatonic Man of Steel can't do anything but float around and cry, while a terrified Green Lantern desperately tries waking him up. When the two of them are attacked by blood-thirsty demons, Hal once again uses his ring, and they disappear.
Superman and Green Lantern encounter the power that killed them - the sentient Green Flame, the remains of the magic energies of Maltus. The Green Flame explains that their deaths were a result of Jordan trying to load his scientific ring with supernatural energies. Then it tempts Hal to give in for the supernatural power of the Green Flame instead. At that point, the Stranger appears, and teaches Hal how to tame the corrupt Flame. Hal reads the oath of Alan Scott, loads his ring, and the threat of the Green Flame is neutralized. The Stranger then returns Hal's and Superman's souls to their bodies, disposing of the lantern.
Alive after this experience, Hal is feeling better. Superman tells Hal that, even given tonight, it was good to see him, and lets Hal know he's always just a call away. After a warm good-bye, the two heroes part.
- This issue is dedicated to Gil Kane.
- This one-shot was originally intended as the main story of Action Comics Weekly #642, but was canceled due to an editorial decree. Writer Neil Gaiman had woven the story around the friendship between Hal Jordan and Superman, and their knowledge of each others' secret identities. When the Superman editorial staff objected because it hadn't yet been established post-Crisis that Jordan and Superman knew each other's identities (and in general they wanted to have as few people as possible know Superman's identity), Gaiman chose to abandon the script instead of rewrite it. By 2000, after Zero Hour had once again rewritten DC's continuity (and Gaiman has become a much more famous writer), it was decided that the script could be published as originally written.
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