Story summary - Gerard Jones
JUST THE STORY:
The destruction of Coast City and his breakup with Carol make Hal realize that he can't find the roots he wants on earth. He's inspired by the memories of the dead, especially his father, to become a better hero; he decides he must affirm himself first and foremost as a Green Lantern, finding his community in the Corps.
But when he goes to Oa for the big swearing-in ceremony of all the new GLs, a new group of Guardians appears, claiming to be the true Guardians. These "New" Guardians claim that the "Old" Guardians are impostors who plan to use the GL Corps to reduce the universe to chaos. The Old group counters that the New ones are impostors who plan to use the GLs to subject the universe to tyranny in the name of "order."
Adding credence to the New Guardians' claim--and raising the stakes--are the Zamarons, convinced that they are their husbands. The Zams are about to give birth to the ultimate Cosmic Children, whose power will be such that whoever controls them can control the cosmos. The fate of the universe--chaos or tyranny--hinges on whichever set of Guardians can win over the GL Corps and gain control of the Children.
Hal--who knows the Guardians as no other GLs do, having seen the Old Timer at his most human and vulnerable, and having gone through his conflict with them and his "act of faith" in GL 35--knows in his gut that the New Guardians are the impostors. But the weight of evidence is against him and he can't convince the other GLs (the "Twelve Angry Men" dynamic).
Hal has a choice: break with the GL Corps, now his only hope for community and belonging; or collude with something he feels will reduce the universe to tyranny.
Hal chooses the former. He enters the battery to increase his power, fights the Corps and takes the Old Guardians into hiding as he seeks a way to convince his fellow GLs or beat the New Guardians. The stakes for Hal are high: if he's RIGHT about the New Guardians, but they WIN, then the universe is doomed. If he's WRONG in his gut-feeling and HE wins, then HE'S doomed the universe. If he's WRONG and he LOSES, then the universe is okay but Hal is ostracized from the only group that means anything to him. The pressure is on him not only to win, but to be damn sure he's right.
The New Guardians announce their new leader of the GL Corps: Sinestro, renowned for his devotion to order before he broke with the GL Corps. He whips the Corps into a paramilitary group and starts a program of "good" but ruthless acts: like destroying the Khund homeworld.
Hal sends his only ally, Star Sapphire, to appeal to her fellow Zamarons. She learns some things about the way the New Guardians convinced them of their legitimacy that suggest to Hal that the power behind the New Guardians is ENTROPY.
Hal contacts the confused but sympathetic Arisia, trying to argue his point with other GLs through her. But Sinestro has them all wowed or cowed...and when Kilowog throws in with Sinestro and his tough new approach, Hal feels like his struggle to win over the Corps is becoming hopeless.
Hal returns to the Coast City monument, to commune with the memory of his father, whose grave was destroyed along with the city. But the Hunter GLs--revived by Sinestro to police the Corps' internal affairs--catch him there. He escapes for the moment, but they've destroyed his ring. His low-point gets lower than ever...
But the inspiration of Hal's dad makes him want to find a way to keep fighting, and he discovers that he has power within him. His trip into the battery enabled him to internalize his power, but he couldn't realize that as long as he felt he needed his ring, and the Corps.
Hal fights back, knowing he may have to fight alone to his death, and defeats the Hunters. Sinestro reacts to this by getting even tougher with the Corps and speeding up his acts of "purification," and some GLs begin to wonder if Hal was right.
The Zamarons, meanwhile, are about to give birth, which would give the New Guardians the power they need to take control of the universe no matter what Hal does. The clock is ticking faster and faster.
Star Sapphire, acting under Hal's instructions, learns enough about the New Guardians through the Zamarons to start forcing Entropy to show his hand.
Hal gathers DC earth-heroes to join him against the Corps.
When Sinestro tries to send the whole Corps against Hal and his allies, Arisia rediscovers her nerve and fights back against him. Other disaffected GLs join her--but not enough to stop the rest. Arisia's splinter group flees into space, is nearly caught and destroyed by Sinestro's group...but are saved at the last moment by Hal.
Hal now leads his rag-tag band of heroes and rebel GLs against Sinestro on Oa. But Entropy, through the New Guardians, throws him a curve: they reveal to Hal that his father didn't die by accident; his death was arranged by the Old Guardians, who saw the potential for a great GL in Hal but foresaw that he would need a trauma to make him the fearless man he could be. At the moment before the final conflict, Hal is shaken to the core: can he fight to defend the beings who killed his father?
Hal realizes that his private grief and rage means nothing against the fate of the universe. He fights for the old Guardians despite what they did.
The babies are about to be born. The New Guardians capture Sapphire and are about to kill her. The battle begins. Hal goes head to head with Kilowog, the most painful battle of either of their lives. In the heat of conflict, though, Sinestro begins to reveal his true, wretched self. Hal tricks him into showing his true colors. Kilowog realizes he's been suckered. Enraged, he joins Hal's side.
Sinestro's support collapses. The New Guardians dissolve, revealing themselves as mere manifestations of Entropy, and Entropy throws himself personally into the fray. His goal all along has been to reduce the universe to lifeless entropy by robbing it of its life, its ability to change. Too much order (Sinestro) is essentially equal to too much chaos (Entropy). The Old Guardians represent the right way, the way of Life.
Now he's about to seize the Children as they're born...
The Old Guardians show up--thanks to Hal's power--and tip the battle. They snatch the babies from Entropy at the last moment. The GLs turn on him. He's destroyed.
All seems well. Deceived GLs are forgiven. The Guardians send the Corps off to do its thing while they tend to the Children who will become the greatest powers in the universe.
But all isn't well with Hal. He fought for the Guardians, because it was right, but he can't go on serving the cosmic manipulators who killed his father. They say they don't do things like that anymore, but it's too late. Hal has his own internal power now, and he's learned that he fights best alone. He won't be manipulated again. He goes off to become the Protector.
NOTE: You'll notice that Sapphire giving birth to her demon-children is NOT in here. That's one plot element that I would like to get rid of, unless we can find a way to make it serve this story.