Dennis O'Neil,
Hero's Quest
(Pocket Star, 2005)

Pop quiz, Green Lantern fans: Select one of the three options below which you believe best relates to what you would do if you were given a Green Lantern ring. Would you, A: Decline the ring as being something you could not handle; B: Take on the mantle of the Green Lantern and fight for truth, justice and the Oaian way; or C: Take a long nap?

If you're Kyle Rayner, the most recent incarnation of Green Lantern (newly replaced by Hal Jordan in the comics), "C" is your choice. Kyle sleeps a lot in this book. Whenever writer Dennis O'Neil needs to pass time, he simply has Kyle "sleep on it" and wake up several hours later to help move the plot (what little of it there is) along.

I'm not sure what O'Neil had in mind when he started this book, but by the time it ends, you're lost -- just what happened and why is a complete mystery. I can fault O'Neil for not really trying, I can fault O'Neil for laying in a rather unusual and cool idea about the Green Lanterns and then dropping it, but I cannot fault him for being stuck with Kyle. A poor choice for a Green Lantern to begin with, he was created to "speak" to the average comic reader -- an artist with "real problems," living in the "real world" and suddenly finding himself part of a larger more complex world of superheros, villians and alien goo-gaas. Kyle was a dud from the first word and O'Neil doesn't so much try to write around it, but instead tries to cut right through it ... and it just doesn't work.

And having the book in first-person helps us to get into the mind of Kyle, but it does cut us off from the larger plot and grand ideas (since Kyle knows NOTHING, we know nothing, and anything that has a hint of sparkle is quickly passed over by Kyle as out of his mental abilities), as well as the rest of the JLA. Again, like in Carol Lay's Mythos, Batman comes across best. For some reason you just can't write a bad Batman, and it shows here -- you'll simply want to junk Kyle and hang out with The Bat.

This is a poor book all around and very depressing to think this is the best O'Neil could come up with. Avoid.

- Rambles
written by T.E. (Bob) O'Sullivan
published 13 August 2005

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