The morality of the possession of one's actions

One of the most morally ambiguous things which can happen to a character is the possession of that character (meaning here that the actions of that character are beyond their control.)  Possession throughout the majority of literature has generally focused around some sort of diabolical power but with the advent of science fiction it has become possible that new forms of possession have resulted without absolute evil necessarily being associated with it.  In terms of how the heroes are portrayed there is some level of a discrepancy when it comes to their actions.  Take for example two cases, Hal Jordan being possessed by Parallax and Superman being possessed by Maxwell Lord.  In both cases the heroes are acting against how they regularly would, but there are generally a few who would argue that Hal's actions make him a criminal whereas Superman's do not affect his hero status.  In terms of the actual actions of the heroes while possessed it is not terribly different in terms of intent if only time restricted the scale of Superman's actions.  Hal Jordan wanted revenge for the destruction of Coast City whereas Superman was being used to destroy the world's superheroes starting with Wonder Woman.  Although Superman never actually killed anyone it was still a possibility after having thrown Diana from outer space onto a highway.  Hal on the other hand did kill some people, other Lantern members as well as Sinestro and many of the Guardians.  Actions are important here, but if intent is an indicator then there is not difference between the two, thus if someone says Hal Jordan is a villain then Superman must equally be one.  The difference in the scenario perhaps comes from the conditions of the portrayal of the characters.  Superman is generally viewed as the paragon of a stable character, in that he is mostly incorruptible.  The depiction of Hal though is that he partially aided his possession by wanting revenge against Hank Henshaw and Mongul.  Revenge is generally not a particularly bad feeling, rather is depends on what you do with it.  For instance, Batman has based a large part of what he does on revenge or at least a retribution or reckoning but again here there is a disconnect.  in one case the desire for revenge forces Bruce to become a great hero, in the other it caused the person to become possessed while emotional fragile and become a villain. I would say overall that the interpretation that Hal is a villain is inaccurate.  It was not heroic, but he was not in control of his actions and he only reached that point by being human.  The fact that he eventually overcame it is the true mark of hero.  
19 Comments
19 Comments
Posted by Daveyo520

Superman sure likes to get his mind taken over a lot. The moments that stand out in my mind are his appearance on batman Beyond and in Hush when he fought Batman under Poisson Ivy's control. Though he didn't cause much harm. I would say Hal did indeed help things go bad as it is part of his nature and Parallax just pushed him over the line. I really need to read older GL stuff, I started with Rebirth and have been reading most of John's stuff since then. I still need to read Brightest Day and some of the war stuff. I also don't know a lot about Kyle and Ion and that dude that became Ion. I am getting off topic and going long.

Anyway ya it was not their faults.

Posted by Saren

In Green Lantern: Rebirth #3 Johns retconned Hal's massacre of the Corps in Emerald Twilight, turning it from an act of insanity into the actions of Parallax from the get-go. It was stated that his grief at the destruction of Coast City allowed Parallax to get a foothold in his psyche through his ring, influencing all his subsequent actions until he destroyed the Central Power Battery and actually freed the fear entity. So the things he did were all Parallax's actions according to Johns and not Hal's. Even his desire for revenge was the work of Parallax. From that point till the conclusion of Zero Hour, I don't think Hal was even in the building. At least according to Johns.

Moderator
Posted by Saren

Superman wasn't really possessed, was he? He was tricked into a state of rage because of the illusions Max Lord created.

Moderator
Posted by Daveyo520

@CitizenBane: I need to reread Rebirth and all that. Though Rebirth is the only reason I even know that Hal was possessed and all those things happened in the 1st place.

Posted by Godlovesusall

The way you put it,I don't think that someone can tell that you're wrong.

I was shocked (again!) after learning about this occurences. Superman succumbing to "someone with mind control abilities". Superman is well known as a champion of justice,good and light. I still don't believe that he can be mind controlled that easily-hasn't he got mental resistance at all? He sure has! You probably know that nowadays,"mentalists" and the like are a trend.You may even have watched a show where the performer supposedly hypnotizes someone.For example.:When I say the word food you will act like a dog".This is soooooo not real.For something like this to work,the other person must give his/hers consent.In simple words,if you don't want to be hypnotized,you won't be(I think there's an episode of Mythbusters about that).Simple as that.It is completely insane that someone can take your free will away like this.And we're talking about Superman! Who has an unyielding will and moral code.

And Hal Jordan,the one who was mocked and underestimated only because he was human (I didn't like that from the start,but from another viewpoint it was good because a common practice of writers is to present humans as arrogant,with no respect for life) and went to become the greatest Green Lantern ever, destroyed the entire Corps while murdering some of his comrades. Well,he did ask for help to defend his home town (and planet) and they refused. He surely was angered.But he was also afraid of what would happened.Parallax feeds on fear and capitalized on this.I heard many saying that the Green Lantern movie wasn't good,but I liked it a lot.There,Hal Jordan was able to defeat Parallax single-handedly since he overcame fear.I don't see why this couldn't happen to comics also(yeah,sometimes,the comics must drag on somehow).

Posted by Saren

@Godlovesusall said:

The way you put it,I don't think that someone can tell that you're wrong.

I was shocked (again!) after learning about this occurences. Superman succumbing to "someone with mind control abilities". Superman is well known as a champion of justice,good and light. I still don't believe that he can be mind controlled that easily-hasn't he got mental resistance at all? He sure has! You probably know that nowadays,"mentalists" and the like are a trend.You may even have watched a show where the performer supposedly hypnotizes someone.For example.:When I say the word food you will act like a dog".This is soooooo not real.For something like this to work,the other person must give his/hers consent.In simple words,if you don't want to be hypnotized,you won't be(I think there's an episode of Mythbusters about that).Simple as that.It is completely insane that someone can take your free will away like this.And we're talking about Superman! Who has an unyielding will and moral code.

And Hal Jordan,the one who was mocked and underestimated only because he was human (I didn't like that from the start,but from another viewpoint it was good because a common practice of writers is to present humans as arrogant,with no respect for life) and went to become the greatest Green Lantern ever, destroyed the entire Corps while murdering some of his comrades. Well,he did ask for help to defend his home town (and planet) and they refused. He surely was angered.But he was also afraid of what would happened.Parallax feeds on fear and capitalized on this.I heard many saying that the Green Lantern movie wasn't good,but I liked it a lot.There,Hal Jordan was able to defeat Parallax single-handedly since he overcame fear.I don't see why this couldn't happen to comics also(yeah,sometimes,the comics must drag on somehow).

When did he defeat Parallax singlehandedly? He needed the Spectre for that.

Moderator
Posted by Godlovesusall

@CitizenBane: I was talking about the movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMnmZkdUnsQ

Posted by Saren

@Godlovesusall said:

@CitizenBane: I was talking about the movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMnmZkdUnsQ

Movie Parallax sucked big time, he was a former Guardian who became a giant gas cloud.....of fear....

Moderator
Posted by Delphic

@CitizenBane said:

Superman wasn't really possessed, was he? He was tricked into a state of rage because of the illusions Max Lord created.

Yep, Maxwell Lord caused an illusion to where Superman saw Doomsday kill Lois, and Wonder Woman was Doomsday in Superman's eyes.

@Godlovesusall said:

The way you put it,I don't think that someone can tell that you're wrong.

I was shocked (again!) after learning about this occurences. Superman succumbing to "someone with mind control abilities". Superman is well known as a champion of justice,good and light. I still don't believe that he can be mind controlled that easily-hasn't he got mental resistance at all? He sure has! You probably know that nowadays,"mentalists" and the like are a trend.You may even have watched a show where the performer supposedly hypnotizes someone.For example.:When I say the word food you will act like a dog".This is soooooo not real.For something like this to work,the other person must give his/hers consent.In simple words,if you don't want to be hypnotized,you won't be(I think there's an episode of Mythbusters about that).Simple as that.It is completely insane that someone can take your free will away like this.And we're talking about Superman! Who has an unyielding will and moral code.

And Hal Jordan,the one who was mocked and underestimated only because he was human (I didn't like that from the start,but from another viewpoint it was good because a common practice of writers is to present humans as arrogant,with no respect for life) and went to become the greatest Green Lantern ever, destroyed the entire Corps while murdering some of his comrades. Well,he did ask for help to defend his home town (and planet) and they refused. He surely was angered.But he was also afraid of what would happened.Parallax feeds on fear and capitalized on this.I heard many saying that the Green Lantern movie wasn't good,but I liked it a lot.There,Hal Jordan was able to defeat Parallax single-handedly since he overcame fear.I don't see why this couldn't happen to comics also(yeah,sometimes,the comics must drag on somehow).

The easiest way to mind control Superman is to use his moral code against him. In a sense that is what Maxwell Lord did. Max caused an illusion to where Superman saw Doomsday kill his wife, so Max used his love for Lois against him. It wasn't true mind control

@CitizenBane said:

When did he defeat Parallax singlehandedly? He needed the Spectre for that.

It happened in the Green Lantern Movie.

Posted by RazzaTazz
@CitizenBane said:

Superman wasn't really possessed, was he? He was tricked into a state of rage because of the illusions Max Lord created.

He was possessed, he wasn't in control of his own actions
Posted by Saren

@RazzaTazz said:

@CitizenBane said:

Superman wasn't really possessed, was he? He was tricked into a state of rage because of the illusions Max Lord created.

He was possessed, he wasn't in control of his own actions

He was in control, it's just that he was in an illusion. First he saw Brainiac kill Lois, Jimmy and Perry and then he saw Doomsday kill Lois. He thought those situations were real and so he acted accordingly.

Moderator
Posted by RazzaTazz
@CitizenBane: Then Superman is more of a villain than Hal was because Hal was not in control
Posted by azza04

@RazzaTazz: How is Superman more of a villain for attacking who he believed to be Doomsday?

Posted by The Poet

If only any of you knew why this blog was created...

Moderator
Posted by azza04

@The Poet: Bestow your knowledge upon us.

Posted by Saren

@The Poet said:

If only any of you knew why this blog was created...

Haha, that discussion (for lack of a better word) on the villains thread?

Moderator
Posted by The Poet

@azza04 said:

@The Poet: Bestow your knowledge upon us.

@CitizenBane said:

@The Poet said:

If only any of you knew why this blog was created...

Haha, that discussion (for lack of a better word) on the villains thread?

yep. though you are only seeing half of the "discussion". Icarus argued for a whole page with liberty on this before she left the pm. and I'm in the center of it all. I think its died down, but then there are things like this. I really am curious where he's going to end up on the list and if he will be kicked off or not.

Moderator
Posted by RazzaTazz
@azza04 said:

@RazzaTazz: How is Superman more of a villain for attacking who he believed to be Doomsday?

He is not more of a villain, thats the point, neither of them are.  
Posted by CATPANEXE

@The Poet: In the end know that all of you were possessed, so you can forgive yourselves with whatever turn-out (gosh us comic fans are freeeeeekin detailed huh? I think we put more into the characters and comics then the writers themselves do?). Hell, I'm possessed right now and won't even know I typed and posted this by tomorrow. * looks over again at oil bleeding out of the door hinges * >.< Stay away from Captain Howdy, that is the lesson I think we really all took home from this. No more Ouija boards, even glow in the dark ones, it's not just a novelty board game. V_V