The story of the Green Lantern villains called Parallax is one of the more confusing points of DC Comics history. However, Green Arrow #4, by Joshua Williamson, Sean Izaakse and Romulo Fajardo Jr., has shed some light on the matter.
The action of Green Arrow #4 pits Oliver Queen against Parallax, in the guise of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Oliver accuses Parallax of being “some weird alien parasite” and “a big ol’ fake.” Parallax asks why, if he was completely possessed by an evil force, he was still able to do heroic things like resurrect Oliver Queen. This question, and the convoluted history of Parallax, has bothered many comic readers for years.
Parallax in Emerald Twilight And Zero Hour Explained
The first Parallax was introduced at the end of the Green Lantern storyline Emerald Twilight. Spinning out of The Death of Superman, Emerald Twilight found Hal Jordan mad with grief following the destruction of his hometown, Coast City. Jordan declared war on the Guardians of the Universe, and stole their power, taking the name Parallax.
This kicked off the Zero Hour event, where Jordan rebooted reality using his new powers. Jordan hoped to make a new universe where innocents (like the Green Lanterns he had killed) never died, but was unsuccessful. This set up a brief period where Hal Jordan was an anti-hero, trying to change the time stream for a greater good. This included his facilitating the resurrection of Oliver Queen, during the Green Arrow storyline Quiver.
The Redemption of Parallax And Return of Hal Jordan
Parallax went on to seek redemption for his crimes. He sacrificed his life to restart Earth’s sun during The Final Night event. In death, the former Green Lantern became the host of The Spectre, briefly turning the Spirit of Vengeance into a Spirit of Redemption.
Despite this, many Green Lantern fans felt it was horribly out of character for Hal Jordan to go mad with power. They also believed he would never turn against the Guardians or The Corps. One of these fans was writer Geoff Johns, who thought of a way to restore Hal Jordan to a place of honor — and with him, the Green Lantern Corps.
The True Parallax Revealed
Johns’ retcon came in Green Lantern: Rebirth, which introduced a new villain, who was also called Parallax. This Parallax was a primordial parasite, the avatar of Fear itself. The Guardians trapped Parallax within the Central Power Battery of the Green Lantern Corps and kept its existence a secret. The only way Parallax could influence the universe was by preying on the fears of those wearing a Green Lantern ring. This was why the Guardians sought out fearless beings to populate the Corps.
This retcon paved the way for an emotional spectrum, which would empower other Corps. This idea would also renovate the Green Lantern comics, even as it redeemed Hal Jordan, making him the victim of Parallax’s machinations. Yet one question remained; how did Hal Jordan, when he was Parallax, continue to do heroic (if questionable) things, while possessed by the avatar of Fear?
Green Arrow Explains The Parallax Paradox
Oliver Queen provides the answer in Green Arrow #4. After the Hal Parallax asks him to explain how he did good things if possessed, Ollie says that was Hal fighting Parallax’s control. He further says that the Hal Parallax was “some rogue fragment of a lost world in the multiverse.” With the DC Multiverse having been opened up by Infinite Frontier, the idea of Hal Parallax being a doppelgänger from a divergent timeline is the perfect explanation.