The picture more or less says it all. Ethan Van Sciver draws a beautiful right cross delivered on Batman’s cowl in Green Lantern: Rebirth #5, and delivering one of the most iconic moments in the story arc. To most fans, this splash page was a long time coming. Come find out why!
Reading through Rebirth and I looked at the juxtaposition with Batman and darkness. Before Batman gets struck, his appearance in Rebirth is like a shadow, just darkness with eyes. Hal Jordan is always pictured with light, either visually or metaphorically. Thematically, the conflict is immediate, agents of light and dark on a one way collision course. The minute Batman is struck, you can see him again. Hal Jordan struck light on him.
It goes even deeper than that though, and relates deeper into the characters’ backstories. Batman is an agent of fear, it’s his primary tool for his work. Hal Jordan is all about will, and in the lantern mythos will opposes fear and vice versa.
In RebirthHal Jordan comes out of “retirement” and Batman is mistrusting and fearful of what this could bring about. So he attempts to exert control over the situation, but Hal won’t have any of it. Hence the excellent looking right cross, that Batman probably never saw coming.
I thought this was one of the key scenes in Rebirth because it brought this symbolic clash to a close. The message that most of the Green Lantern mythos talks about is that will trumps fear, so by extension Hal will always trump Batman because Hal has the will to show Batman up.
Now here’s the twist. In the New 52 during the first Justice League arc, Batman looks to identify with Hal and befriend him by recognizing familiar patterns in personality to his own. When I read that dialogue and recalled Rebirth it seemed like a contradiction. I came think that maybe the reason why Batman and Hal fight as much as they do is because they are so alike, just different aspects of the same personality traits.
In the end this dynamic, across two different periods of DC continuity, really reflects the creative muscles Johns has to create a solid character conflict, catharsis, and to add depth to such well established characters.