on July 20, 2013
Rose Hardin is a simple farmer from the town of Hope Springs, West Virginia. She is a self-sufficient and pragmatic widow with a young son named Toby. Hope Springs used to thrive on coal mining, but has since turned to agriculture. During a time when the town was called Desolation, she helped in a fight between workers and mine owners when Green Lantern Hal Jordan appeared to settle things.
When Hal Jordan was searching for his humanity and had no friends to turn to, he sought out Rose Hardin. She took him in, allowing him food and shelter for helping on the farm. The two developed feelings for each other. When Rose discovered he was Green Lantern, she sent him away. She didn’t approve of super heroes and wanted nothing to do with them.
Later on, Hope Springs was lifted from Earth and brought to Oa, along with many other cities from many other worlds, due to a Guardian of the Universe who went insane because of loneliness. With the inhabitants placed in alien surroundings, and with alien neighbors, violence broke out between the cities and Rose Hardin was instrumental in settling the conflict and creating a peaceful environment.
Rose Hardin often has a very simplistic view on things, which contrasts with John Stewart’s deep musing, creating a fun dynamic.
John Stewart was charged with keeping the peace on this patchwork planet, which came to be known as the Mosaic World. Rose Hardin’s support proved invaluable to John and the two came to deeply care for each other. Hal Jordan offered to take Rose and her son off the Mosaic, but she decided to stay and help John make the planet work.
Rose kept a lot of her feelings about John bottled up inside. She could never see the Green Lantern as a normal person. From her perspective, the power changed him. She didn’t want to believe in hopes and dreams, and wanted to stay settled in the reality she felt she could depend on.
Now here is a Green Lantern character that just does not get her due. I daresay Rose Hardin is one of the best Green Lantern characters there have been. She’s strong, independent, resourceful and very useful. She’s also not annoying, as Carol Ferris can often be. Rose got shafted due to the Mosaic series’ untimely demise. She was set up as a great love interest, but was completely pushed to the side when Katma Tui was resurrected. I’m as big a Katma fan as anyone, but I admit that a bad taste was left in my mouth because of what happened. For the entire series, John cultivates a very close relationship with Rose Hardin, only to have it suddenly… end? And everyone is okay with that? Well, I wasn’t.
But what else could Gerard Jones have done? There had to be a satisfactory ending to Mosaic, and resurrecting Katma was a suitable reward. I suppose the whole thing felt strange since Jones wasn’t given enough time to really work the story the way he wanted to.
Rose came to love the Mosaic and to love John. She loved John because he admitted he wasn’t the man he was before he got his power, whereas Hal Jordan kept trying to convince her that he (Hal) was still just a man, when from Rose’s perspective, he wasn’t. John welcomed his madness and used his unconventional thinking to build a world of hope and new opportunities for people who didn’t have any in their old worlds. People like Rose. Rose stood beside John every step of the way, doing her own large part in bringing people together in peace and completing John where he fell short, bringing out the best in him.
Furthermore, John did not save the day and fly away like many other heroes do. John stayed on the ground with the people and made sure things worked out for them. He stayed and was willing to be a father to Rose’s young son Toby. Mosaic celebrates that John Stewart is not the typical hero, and Rose was attracted to him because of that.
Rose Hardin is one of the best characters in the tapestry that is the story of Green Lantern John Stewart. It’s a shame that such a strong character faded into comic book limbo.