Feeling alone and without purpose after the dissolution of the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan visits his buddy Superman for advice. They hang out, talk, and visit a museum exhibit—at which Hal notices what looks like a Green Lantern Power Battery. But when he tries to activate it, he and Superman get dragged to hell*.
Gaiman’s Hal & Kal-El teamup book is something of an oddity: he wrote it before Sandman, and for editorial reasons that he explains in the afterword, it wound up in a desk drawer, unpublished for years. So despite Gaiman’s writing it to be in-continuity, it doesn’t really fit anywhere—and that’s okay. The story itself is a quick read, with Green Lantern and Superman pulled from place to place pretty quckly. It has some fun elements, and it includes a number of cameos, including Deadman, the Worst Afterlife Welcome Party Ever. Ultimately, its quick pace isn’t a problem; what really matters is simply seeing Hal Jordan talk to his friend about his anxiety, and the two of them spend time together. That isn’t something you see in many comics, especially from the Big Two.
As for art, there’s no one style for this book. It switches every few pages; no one involved is a slouch, and they all turn in good work. You’ll probably like some pages more than others, but that will come down to personal preference. Having Matt Hollingsworth color the majority of the book helps to keep art shifts from feeling too stark.
The biggest reason to seek this story out is if you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman and want to dive deep. It’s a fun read, and I am glad that it’s in the collection of his DC work, which is worth picking up.
* Well, that escalated quickly.
- The DC Universe by Neil Gaiman (Secret Origins Special #1, Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame, Batman #686; Detective Comics #853; Material from Secret Origins #36, Batman Black and White #2, Solo #8, Wednesday Comics #1-12)
Writer: Neil Gaiman | Artists: Eddie Campbell, Michael Allred, Terry Austin, Mark Buckingham, John Totleben, Matt Wagner, Eric Shanower, Arthur Adams, Jim Aparo, Kevin Nowlan, Jason Little | Colorists: Matt Hollingsworth, Kevin Nowlan | Letterer: Todd Klein | Cover: Frank Miller, Matt Hollingsworth