Probably no character bears testament to the power of incessant fanboy whining than Green Lantern Hal Jordan.
Following his descent into madness after the destruction of his beloved Coast City, Hal Jordan became the maniacal villain Parallax!
Hal was originally a typical DC hero: that is, his biggest character trait was that he had a super power. An affable jock who, just like when you were in high school, had everything handed to him on a silver platter - an alien gave him a magic wishing ring that, (again) just like when you were in high school, let him do whatever he wanted. Up to a point.
When his hometown was destroyed, Hal tried to use his power to resurrect it. Of course, when his power ran out, so did the fantasy. He decided to confront his masters, cutting a swath of destruction through the galaxy on his way and leaving thousands of his fellow Green Lanterns abandonned and powerless. What a hero!
Arriving on the distant planet of Oa, Jordan blew up the central power battery, took all the energy for himself, created a new costume and left. It was one of the most abrupt transitions in comics, and pissed off a lot of fans. Kyle Rayner became the last Green Lantern, and Hal Jordan became one of history's greatest monsters.
No one knew what to do with Parallax any more than they knew what to do with Hal Jordan, so he was eventually combined with another useless character to create a third, even more unusable character. Yay! Thanks, DC! However, lame as Parallax was, his costume was pretty cool.
The task of redesigning Parallax fell to Darryl Banks, the best designer working in comics today. Hal's new costume was obviously not a uniform, as his last one had been, but a unique suit of armor. The look is great, using the same green, black and white color scheme as the original, while still managing to look vastly different. The colors are all slightly adjusted: black is dark grey, white is semi-metallic and there are two shades of green - a dark forest green and a lighter tone that has the same sparkle as the white.
Large shoulder pads frame a slightly raised collar that blends down into the concentric design in the center of Hal's chest and from there into the swatch that covers his stomach and back. The outer circle, a darker green bordered in white, moves out at the shoulder and flows down the outside of his arms before wrapping around the forearms and wrists to suggest gloves. The black on his legs is banded, like metal, and his boots now stretch up to the thigh, with a few areas of contrasting color to break up the lines. For the first time, Hal has a cape - it "attaches" to a large circle on each shoulder pad and has a slightly art deco design in white along the edges.
DC Direct did a great job with this figure. The sculpt is excellent, with etched lines marking the edges of all that intricate detail. Hal's face looks appropriately aged - remember, this is before all the silly retconning that's gone on in recent months.
Articulation is just what you'd expect from DCD, though for some reason Hal got ankles in addition to his neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. If you look behind his cape, you'll see that his pose is strangely exagerrated - he's got his back arched a bit too far. Maybe they did it for balance, but that's just silly - he comes with a 3 3/4" diameter logo base. The base is molded from translucent green plastic, which is great, and uses white paint and negative space to make the classic GL logo.
Originally, "Emerald Twilight" was supposed to be a much different story, with a war between two factions of Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps. At the end, Hal would have merged with the battery, becoming Parallax and heading off to explore space as a paladin - thus the armor. Kyle Rayner still would have become Earth's Green Lantern, and fans would have had the chance to judge him on his own merits.
But that didn't happen. Someone in DC editorial decided that story wasn't exciting enough to draw in new readers, replaced the writer and threw together a half-assed plot about Hal going insane and murdering the Corps. The change was handled extremely badly, but the results were the same: Hal was in space, Kyle was on Earth. It could have been left at that.
If not for the incessant whining of fanboys.
The fans of Hal (all dozen of them) congealed into a shrieking mass of petulance called H.E.A.T. - Hal's Emerald Attack Team. They spent months, years, a decade pestering and needling DC about Hal Jordan. They bought ads in Wizard and other magazines. They went to the cons en masse. They went to the 7-11 en masse. They wrote letters, sent emails, compsed love songs and crochetted afghans in honor of their hero, Hal.
No concession was enough. DC redeemed Hal and gave him a hero's death? No way. DC resurrected Hal and made him the Spectre? Nope. It was Green Lantern or nothing. DC, in true corporate style, eventually folded like a card table.
After a decade's absence, Hal is back as GL, and all the work done in the intervening years has been pitched right out the window. Oh well - at least we get a figure of the one and only time Hal Jordan was a character and not just a guy with a super power.
Who's the best Green Lantern: G'nort, the diamond guy or the one that looks like a broccoli? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.