Publisher: DC Comics
First Appearance: All-Star Squadron #25 (September 1983)
Created By: Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway
Jennifer-Lynn Hayden had a totally normal childhood. Well, if you don’t count the star-shaped green birthmark on her palm that sometimes glowed, but I’m pretty sure lots of people have those, right?
At 17, the rest of Jennie turned green as well, leading to an awkward “Oh, did we never tell you you were adopted? And you have a twin brother you’ve never met” conversation with her parents. (Note: I am ignoring the retconned origin wherein Jennie’s powers manifested as the result of being sexually assaulted in the orphanage, because uggggggggh.) Intrigued, Jennie tracked down her brother, Todd “I just have a lot of feelings” Rice. Thanks to Jennie’s telltale glowing green construct powers, it didn’t take a genius to guess that they were probably Alan Scott’s kids.
Sure enough, Jennie and Todd turned out to be the result of a brief marriage between Alan and the reformed villain Rose “Thorn” Canton, who’d given her children up for adoption, fearing she’d hurt them. Jennie quickly bonded with her new/old daddy and, along with Todd, joined Infinity Inc. as Jade and Obsidian. There Jennie struck up a romance with Brain Wave Jr., which ended when he, uh, kinda went crazy. Whoops.
Post Infinity, Inc., Jennie moved in with Kyle Rayner, then the only remaining Green Lantern. Roommates soon became lovers. (Which, go Jennie! Seriously, have you seen Kyle? Damn.) When Jennie lost her powers, Kyle lent her a spare ring, making Jennie an official Green Lantern, and then restored her natural powers when he became the cosmic entity Ion. The relationship ended, however, when Jennie began an affair with another man while Kyle did a long stint in space.
Jennie then joined – and led – the Outsiders for a time before being killed off in an Infinite Crisis tie-in, mostly to give Alan, Todd, and Kyle bonus angst. She returned during the whole Blackest Night/Brightest Day kerfuffle and, in short order: joined the Justice League, rescued her dad from the moon, temporarily merged with her brother, and was eventually erased by the reboot, which made her dad a) gay and b) like 12 years old. Sometimes coming back from the dead just isn’t worth it, huh?
So What’s So Great About Her?
Jennie-Lynn Hayden is one of the most powerful people in the universe.
Think about it. We know the ring can do anything, up to and including splitting the atom. She doesn’t have the yellow weakness; she has the issues with organic matter, but she’s also inherited plant powers from her mother, giving her an easy workaround. And unlike the Green Lanterns, her powers can’t get lost or run out of charge. She’s fought Kryptonians – and won. By rights, she should be considered one of the biggest powerhouses in the DCU.
But that’s the problem with having all the men in your life be superheroes: writers are far less interested in what you can do than what can be done to you to make your dad, brother, or various ex-boyfriends sad. And thus poor Jennie rarely gets to shine as brightly as her power level deserves.
That said, what she’s been allowed to do is still pretty great. You guys, I just love her to pieces. Jennie just bubbles over with energy and charm, especially in her early appearances with Infinity Inc., where she’s barely out of high school and full of dreams of making it as a movie star. She’s spunky and flamboyant, full of confidence and old movie references.
Despite her ambition and vanity, though, she’s also deeply loving and compassionate: towards her just-discovered father and her deeply damaged mother; towards her isolated, troubled boyfriend and her prickly, possessive brother; even towards Solomon Grundy, whose life she saves despite his multiple attempts to kill her and who then follows her around like a faithful dog. On a team full of hot tempers and angst, Jennie is a breath of fresh air, all charisma and heart.
And yes, Jennie did cheat on Kyle, and I know that’s a dealbreaker for a lot of people – but no one’s perfect (and every comic book character’s suffered through their share of unsympathetic writing for plot purposes). She’s impulsive and she can be flighty, but to my mind those flaws just make her more sympathetic and relatable. Not to mention she seems to be growing out of them – it’s a much steadier Jade who takes over the Outsiders than the one who skipped out on an Infinity Inc. mission to play Slave Girl #3 in a B-movie.
As I mentioned up above, the reboot seems to have benched Jennie and Todd indefinitely, but here’s hoping some enterprising writer comes up with a way to bring them back into continuity. And when they do, here’s hoping Jade gets to live up to her full potential.
All-Star Squadron #25, 28, 53
Infinity, Inc. v1 #1-53
Infinity, Inc. Annual #1-2
Green Lantern v3 #19, 81, 86-87, 91-93, 96, 103, 106-114, 117-119, 121-122, 131-134, 136-146, 148, 150-155, 157-162, 166, 168-171, 173-174, 176-177
Green Lantern/Sentinel: Heart of Darkness #2-3
JSA #7, 9, 21, 34-35, 37, 49-52, 54, 85
The Outsiders v3 #1-32, 43
Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-2, 4, 6
Infinite Crisis #2-3
The Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special
Blackest Night #1, 8
Green Lantern v4 42, 54
Green Lantern Corps v3 #33, 39-42, 58
Brightest Day #0, 7, 16, 19, 21, 23-24
Justice Society of America v3 #19-20, 22, 27, 41-43, 50
Justice League of America v2 #44-60