Flash and Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold

June 9, 2008

Geoff Johns’s work on both The Flash and Green Lantern to date can barely hold a candle to this simple 6-chapter book by Mark Waid and Tom Peyer.  It exemplifies the best of all known The Brave and the Bold team-ups, which certainly include the ones from the title’s current revival. It also trumps most adventures involving the other celebrated superhero pairing, Superman with Batman, in the Elseworlds’s Generations series and the ongoing Superman/Batman series. It is perhaps on a par with — and, in some sense, even better than — Denny O’Neil’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories.

So much heart is invested into this untrumpeted collection that it is difficult not to reach the end feeling deeply moved by its humanity. Its goal is to show, under very ordinary circumstances, the decades of friendship between 2 great superheroes who, one day, decide to take the bond felt in their working capacity to another level. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan start to learn not just about each other but, with time, also brutally about themselves. They learn about the strangeness of such attachment, the way it can change both for the better, the increasing level of trust it requires, and its strengthening of their mutual respect.

Every chapter hits the right note with the right tug at the right point. We experience the initial curiosity and hesitation and watch them acquaint each other with their respective loved ones — Hal to Barry’s only love, Iris, and Barry to Hal’s long string of girlfriends. We join them as they interact with each other’s mentors, Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, battle each other’s mortal enemies like Mirror Master, Black Hand, and Sinestro, and be pally with each other’s apprentices, Kid Flash and Tom Kalmaku. We sense how Hal unknowingly helps Barry break his workaholic’s ritual and how Barry, in turn, becomes an invisible support for Hal’s endurance through another long list of his — that of odd jobs.

Crucially, Barry and Hal are not just 2 more extraordinary comrades-turned-friends in the DC universe. At the turn of the millennium when this series appeared, they are also 2 dead heroes, one remembered as a martyr and the other as a villain. These stories, however, are far beyond such judgements and even appear to suggest that Barry’s last act of courage had come into focus under Hal’s green light. The narrative brilliance shines up to the closing moments when it is revealed that Tom Kalmaku is actually the comic’s third-person narrator. From his mind issues the profound description of the nature of their friendship’s endless talk: Hal, he says, is fascinated with “the Flash’s freedom and Barry’s discipline” and Barry with “Green Lantern’s discipline and Hal’s freedom”.

And that’s exactly right to a hair. This kind of sensitivity is what Waid and Peyer crown their tribute to these beloved characters with, and the outcome surpasses in so many ways not just the horrid Green Lantern Legacy but even World without Superman.  It makes the highly compelling and moving case that a person’s worth is defined by the friendship he or she conducts and that friendship can indeed shine brighter than the memory of separate individuals.

Gweek gives this volume 10 appreciative hugs.

One Response to “Flash and Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold”

  1. Muchos Gracias for your article post. Excellent.

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