Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

GREEN LANTERN: NO FEAR by Geoff Johns, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver, Darwyn Cooke, Alex Ross

Green Lantern: No Fear is far less technically ambitious than its predecessor, Rebirth. The previous novel in the “new” adventures of Hal Jordan basically had to re-invent the character and discard a decade and more of maltreatment of the character, in my opinion.However, that said, No Fear offers a lot in the way of great character building. Geoff Johns’s first graphic novel in the Green Lantern saga was all about getting back to the basics and skewering missed approaches to Hal Jordan. This volume reintroduces Hal Jordan and Green Lantern to the world as a human being and a hero. It’s about history and family, about dreams and responsibilities, and the fact that there’s precious little wiggle room for anybody trying to balance all those things and live a good life.

I especially loved the first story. The art by Darwyn Cooke was amazingly simple and really underscored the light but deep tale as Hal remembered his relationship with his test pilot father. The fact that Hal and Kyle Rayner (the latest Green Lantern, and the character that really split the polls on favorite Green Lanterns) are shown together and we get a sense of how that relationship is going. Johns could have totally blown off the Rayner character, but he chose to embrace him in the series to offer the readers the best of both possible worlds.

From there, the stories move into more Green Lantern history with the threat of a Manhunter, the androids created by the Guardians to police the spaceways before they created the Green Lantern Corps. The art is pretty cool, shows lots of action, and allows a great pacing for Johns’s story.

I enjoyed the sequences with Hal’s brother a lot too. Johns seems intent on advancing stories as much as he is on introducing back stories that we hadn’t before seen. The story of why Hal got dishonorably discharged from the United States Air Force was especially emotionally compelling.

Johns also broadens his current Green Lantern universe by bringing in other old enemies: Hector Hammond and Black Hand. Both of those characters are far creepier and more dangerous than we’ve ever seen them before.

I have to admit that the scene where Hal pounded away at Hector Hammond when the man couldn’t defend himself made me uncomfortable. On one level, I understood it because Hammond had used his mind-probing powers to assault Green Lantern, but it still just didn’t seem like something Hal would do.

This collection of stories was much lighter than the arc that ran through Rebirth. Since I read them so close together, I’m glad there was such a difference. Rebirth emotionally exhausted me, but No Fear was – mostly – a fun romp.

The scene where Hal busted General Stone in the mouth the way he had all those years ago, and the fact that that clue was what gave away Hal’s secret identity as Green Lantern, was great. I think having a USAF general know that Hal and Green Lantern are the same guy can’t be anything but beneficial. (You still have to wonder how Clark Kent can go missing all the time from the Daily Planet.)

I’ve got two more of the graphic novels lined up to read, and I’m really looking forward to them. Johns is making magic again, and it’s fun to watch.


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