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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Green Lantern: Hero's Quest (Justice League of America) (audiobook) by Dennis O'Neil

I have not cared much for Green Lantern,  but I picked this one up on impulse...

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 Spider-man 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 The Greatest American Hero 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 ("The Menagerie" 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.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Green Lantern: Hero's Quest (Justice League of America)

Reviewed on November 20, 2010.

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