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Justice League of America/Green Lantern: Hero's Quest Mass Market Paperback – 16 May 2005

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (16 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743417127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743417129
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,369,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

With a career in comics spanning five decades, Dennis O'Neil was for years a group editor at DC Comics and the guiding force behind the Batman mythos during the 1980s and '90s, helping to return the charcater to his roots as a dark, mysterious gothic avenger. As a freelance writer and journalist, O'Neil has produced several novels and works of nonfiction, as well as hundreds of comics, teleplays and short stories, including the bestselling Bantarn novel, Batman: Knightfall and his critically acclaimed Green Lantern comics, Hard-Travelling Heroes.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on 26 July 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pop quiz GREEN LANTERN fans, select one of the three options below which you beleive 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 latest incarnation of GREEN LANTERN (and soon to be replaced by Hal Jordan in the comics), "C" is your choice. Kyle sleeps a lot in this book. Whenever 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 happned 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 novel and cool idea about the Green Lanterns and then dropping it, but I can not fault him for being stuck with Kyle. A poor choice for a Green Lantern to begin with, he was created to "speak" the average comic reader... an artist with "real problems", living in the "real world" suddenly finding himself part of a larger more complex world of superheros, villians and alien goo-gaa's. Kyle is 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.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 27 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Physics, Existentialism and Meta-Physics? 23 July 2005
By David Hood - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
2.5 stars

To me, Hal Jordan will always be Green Lantern. However I found the beginning of this work fairly strong. Kyle is endearing as a slacker and a loser who ends up with the ring. He's presented pretty well in having difficulties dealing with the ring and the rest of the JLA. It is a bit off-putting though to return to the alleged origin and see his best friend the Flash sneering at him for being irresponsible.

After we get rid of the rest of the JLA by magic, which is the one major suspension of disbelief the reader must get over in every one of these solo JLA novels, Kyle must rise to the occasion.

He does of course, but the story veers crazily at this point into a melange of hard-sf physics, meta-physics and existentialism. Rather than doing much of anything, Kyle engages in lengthy socratic dialogues with his Oan mentor and philosophizes on reality, immortality, the rights and responsibilities of power and on change. Now many of these things should be included in a superhero novel to elevate it above mere action but here it is overdone and done poorly.

The ending is also inadequate and very unbelievable. Other nonsense includes the idea that Oans created superheroes 10 years ago. Ok, sure, there are many different realities in the DC metaverse, but this is a series and the series must remain consistent. In this case we already have 3 generations of Flashes so this 10 years is nonsense.

Even as a standalone book, taken apart from the rest of the series the liberties taken with "known history" would be jarring and less than acceptable.

What I always loved about Green Lantern was the power of the ring that needed to be used with such creativity. Sadly we get little of that here as O'Neil one of the premier GL writers turns it into a hard-sf universe building novel mixed in with meta-physics, and existential philosophy.

To sum it up, the origin story and the hilarious satire of the action-adventure genre at the start was good. The last half was badly wanting.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
not as bad as expected 17 April 2005
By mmsjohns - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I usually don't leave reviews, but I feel I have to for this novel just because it's gotten panned so badly. I really have no idea what everybody else is talking about -- the novel is extremely character driven. Because it is written from the first person, we get a very detailed account of who Kyle is. The other characters are also presented in very clear detail. Batman, in particular, is very sharply defined considering how often he's around.

Yes, Kyle's origin has been rewritten - but it's made clear that this is an alternate reality. It won't change your life, but it's not so terrible it deserves to be obliterated. I myself am a huge Kyle fan and found it very entertaining. It was great to see a novelization of his character, and I enjoyed it despite his new background story. The only major con I found was the fact that there is so much science talk being thrown around. It can get a bit confusing. But I also found Kyle's quirky and geek boy first person narration made it bearable. I would definitely consider it worth the cover price.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An oddly mixed bag 12 Feb. 2007
By David C. Hill - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
1. O'Neil should know this character, and the DCU, a lot better than he seems to. Instead, he intentionally veers wildly off from DCU continuity -- not little fanboy stickling, but major pieces of the character and the world vary significantly from the "canon." Why?

2. The best part of the book, as noted elsewhere, is the beginning, where Kyle is learning how to actually use the ring.

3. The weakest part (aside from #1) is the endless Cosmic Stuff -- which, as also noted, takes up much of the book and works far less well in print than it might have with pictures. Or maybe not.

4. Kyle's characterization is solid and entertaining. Everyone else (in the JLA, the Oans, Hal Jordan, etc.) are cardboard cut-outs.

Not a bad book. Just, disappointingly, not a good one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have not cared much for the Green Lantern but I picked this one up on impulse 20 Nov. 2010
By DWD's Reviews - Published on
Format: Audio CD
6 CDs
7 hours
Voiced by 20 actors

When I was a kid I never cared much for Green Lantern. I liked Superman and Batman and in Marvel I liked Spiderman and the Hulk but the Green Lantern never did it for me. Maybe it was the giant green baseball mitts, pincers and boxing gloves coming out of the ring. Just seemed hoaky, I guess.

Which is all the stranger that I liked the audiobook for Green Lantern: Hero's Quest (Justice League of America). The book features Kyle Rayner, a new Green Lantern whose real life job is that of an artist and his specialty as a Green Lantern seems to be creating artistic even cutesie things with his ring, such as baseball mitts and giant boxing gloves.

Graphic Audio creates yet another adaptation that delivers "A Movie In Your Mind" as promised. I readily admit that I pick these up as less of a comics fan and more of an entertainment fan and I do find this series to be quite entertaining. Voiced by 20 actors, this audiobook reminds me of those old-fashioned radio shows that, if you're lucky, you can hear from time to time even nowadays.

Kyle Rayner is a struggling graphic artist who lives in a junky basement apartment and lives a life that really isn't going anywhere. A slacker might be the best term for him.

In the end, I was reminded of other stories more than I was the Green Lantern I remember (and disliked) from my childhood. Kyle is handed a Green Lantern ring by an alien and given precious little instruction, which reminded me of the TV show Greatest American Hero: The Complete Series as Kyle Rayner bumbles around and tries to figure out his powers.

As the story progresses we see a lot of themes discussed in the Star Trek shows and movies, including aliens interfering in other cultures (the Prime Directive) and the theme of being forced to live in a lavish prison - no matter how nice it is, it is still a prison ( as in "The Menagerie" found here:Star Trek - The Original Series, Vol. 40, Episodes 79, 99 & 1: Turnabout Intruder/ The Cage (B&W/Color Version) / The Cage (Full Color Version) in the original series). There is also the idea explored with Captain Kirk in Star Trek Generations - the hero retiring to a perfect paradise and then being called back to fight once again.

This is not a perfect book. It gets fairly bogged down a little past the halfway point with large sections of the book describing space travel and seemingly endless discussion of physics and philosophy. A philosophical point raised by the Oans is never resolved satisfactorily - if life is evolved randomly,does it actually have value? The book seems to say that it does have value because the Green Lantern values it - but since he is evolved too, does his opinion count for anything?

Green Lantern purists seem to hate the book, but I enjoyed it. Not the best, but well done nonetheless.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Storyline contradictions notwithstanding, a solid read 26 April 2005
By Doc - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, I was anxious to get this book... in 2003 when it was supposed to be released. A lengthy couple of years and my enthusiasm turned slightly into dread that it would never come out. Finally, it made it past whatever hurdles had so delayed it.

I confess that I was a fan of Green Lantern in my youth, and I am woefully ignorant of the current setting. Thus, while some other reviewers have noted the severe divergences from the comic story, I cannot provide that (much like how some people love movies based on books when they haven't read them, but the people who have read the book are outraged at alterations -- I am typically among the latter by the way).

The book does a fairly good job of telling the story of how a young man inexplicably and randomly ends up with a Green Lantern ring and the immense power it gives its wearer. Kyle is a down and out artist with no confidence and no luck. He gets the ring in a back alley after losing out on pursuing a girl, and life takes a big turn from there.

He gradually learns how to use the ring somewhat subconsciously or from the ring itself, or so it would seem (the actual mechanism is a bit iffier but is explained). He meets up with the Justice League and pretty quickly falls into their poor graces by being a typical flaky young man with personal concerns and no desire to be a hero. When the Justice League disappears mysteriously, save for Kyle and Batman, Kyle is tasked with the quest to recover them. What follows is some outlandish coincidences that affects the very nature of reality and all the beings living in it, which only Kyle and a couple alien helpers to save.

The characterization is good, and the book flies by. I was left wanting a bit more, as Kyle essentially becomes a new man after his hero quest. While this is not the best of the JLA books, it is a decent read, at least for those like me who have not kept up with the comics for over a decade.
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