Jack O’Lantern and Guy Gardner: Fear Itself, Chapter 2: Born Without Fear

by PDebord

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As Daniel Cormac drove a car through the streets of the small Irish town, he cast a glance over at his companion, the still-disguised Guy Gardner.

“What seems to be the problem here, anyway?” Guy asked after finally calming down.

“The first problem is that I’m stuck here babysitting you two,” Fergus said gruffly.

“You’re merely a guide, old friend, and one to supply power that my Lantern cannot, if needs be,” Daniel said. “The problem we have here is a group of respectable people who are showing up in the hospitals scared out of their wits for no reason, and none of them are scared of the same thing.”

“Sounds like a mystery to me — you need Batman, not the world’s greatest Green Lantern,” Guy said.

“You may be more right than you know,” Daniel said with a smile as he pulled the car to a stop outside the local hospital.

Daniel and Guy walked into the hospital’s psychiatric ward unseen, thanks to the power ring on Guy’s left hand. All along the walls of the ward were men and women of all ages strapped to beds and screaming hysterically about this and that coming to get them.

“Sounds like the last time Fire and Ice got into a cat fight,” Guy commented.

“I’ve actually heard those, and this is pretty close — also pretty close to bedlam,” Daniel said.

“So what did you want me for, Jack?” Guy asked.

“Your ring can do more than I can. It can detect if there are any commonalities in all of these victims,” Daniel answered.

Guy held his fist out, and green energy went from the ring to one bed, then another, then another, until it covered every patient in the room.

“Interesting — according to the ring, all of these people have traces of a certain plant in their hair and on their faces,” Guy said.

“Can you find the plant?” Daniel asked.

“I can, but not like this. Suit up — it’s time to bust some heads,” Guy said.

Minutes after the startling discovery linking the victims of psychotic breakdowns, the Green Lantern named Guy Gardner and Jack O’Lantern flew over the landscape of Ireland. Jack’s fairy companion Fergus sat on Jack’s shoulder watching over both of them. As they flew over a certain section of moors, Guy began to turn down toward the land.

“What is it?” Jack asked.

“My ring says the plant we’re looking for is down there,” Guy answered. “It seems to be the only place on this tiny island where we can find it.”

“There’s a man down there,” Jack said.

On the moor at night, a tall, thin man in a plain brown suit stuck out like a sore thumb. He was over six feet tall and rail thin with horn-rimmed glasses and balding brown hair. He nearly jumped out of his oversized shoes when Guy Gardner and Jack O’Lantern landed in front of him.

“Professor Jonathan Crane, I presume,” Jack O’Lantern said.

“Why, yes I am,” the man answered.

“Vacationing from Gotham City, USA, I’ve heard. What brings you out here on this dark night?” Jack asked.

“I was collecting floral samples for a friend of mine back in Gotham, and the night just crept up on me,” Professor Crane answered.

“A friend named Ivy?” Jack asked.

Crane sighed and muttered, “Masks always get in the way.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a handful of yellow powder. Before either hero could react, he blew it into their faces. With a high-pitched scream, Fergus fell from Jack’s shoulder, fully visible and screaming about cats coming to get him. Jack O’Lantern covered his face and fell back, screaming at some nameless terror. Guy Gardner, on the other hand, just sneezed. Professor Crane backed away with an astonished look as Guy walked toward him.

“I don’t understand. The others went down like bricks crying like little babies. It’s the strongest stuff I’ve ever found, and I even colored it yellow. What’s wrong with you?” Professor Crane asked.

Guy smiled as he held up his right hand. “Take a good look at that ring, buddy. There’s only one way you can wear it, and that’s to be born without fear. That’s why Jack O’Lantern wanted a Green Lantern — a man with no fear,” Guy said. Professor Crane let out a long, wicked laugh as he shucked his suit for a garb of tattered rags.

“I’ve dealt with your kind, too, Green Lantern,” Crane said as he pulled a cloth mask with an orange hat sewn onto it over his head.

“The Scarecrow? I came all this way for a two-bit punk like the Scarecrow?” Guy said, laughing.

“Even the man without fear can learn fear,” the Scarecrow said as he tossed a small cylinder at Guy’s feet.

The Scarecrow turned his head and covered his eye slits with his arm just before the blinding yellow flash. Guy had relied on his ring to protect him, but the yellow radiation of the flash bomb did what it was meant to do. Guy staggered backward, raking at his eyes, completely blinded. Guy heard the Scarecrow laughing as he ran away.

“Ya won’t get away that easy! I may not be able ta see, but I don’t have to!” Guy yelled as he held his right fist straight up. Putting aside both the searing pain from the flash bomb and the fact that he was unable to see, he summoned all of his will power to command the power ring to break down the fear-causing plant into harmless sugars within a radius of a football field. The Scarecrow felt the flowers that he still held in his left hand break apart and stopped.

“What are you doing?! You’re destroying my beautiful flowers!” the Scarecrow screamed maniacally.

The maniacal fear monger turned toward Guy, furious, but his fury vanished when he noticed that the Jack O’Lantern was nowhere in sight. Thinking of all the times he had been beaten by the Batman, he was in no hurry to face a magically inclined foe like Jack O’Lantern and turned to flee again. Out of the darkness, he saw two glowing yellow eyes as they came closer.

“Get away from me!” the Scarecrow screamed as he began to tremble in fear.

“You used fear to drive my people from their homes. You planted fear of the wee folk who have always been their friends. For that, you must face your own fears. It is time to ask the question: What scares the Scarecrow?” Jack O’Lantern said as he walked out of the shadows holding his lantern aloft toward the Scarecrow.

Twin yellow beams came from the lantern and hit the Scarecrow in the eye slits of his mask. He fell back with a scream of terror.


Nearly an hour after the defeat of the Scarecrow, Daniel Cormac sat in the waiting room of the local hospital. The emergency room door swung open, and Guy Gardner — still dressed in the disguise that had been furnished by Daniel — walked out. He adjusted his dark glasses as he walked toward Daniel.

“What’s the verdict?” Daniel asked.

Guy shrugged. “The blindness is temporary, but I’ll have to wear these for a couple’a weeks.”

“That was pretty smart thinking out there,” Daniel said.

“Not really — it’s an old G.L. trick. I know of some Green Lanterns who can’t see at all but use the ring as their eyes.”

“I don’t know first hand, but I take it that blindness is at least humbling,” Daniel commented.

The outside doors slid open, and two paramedics wheeled in a gurney upon which was strapped the violently resisting Scarecrow.

“Bats! Everywhere, bats! Can’t you see them? They’re everywhere! The bats!” the Scarecrow screamed hysterically as he was wheeled toward the psychiatric ward.

“The only bats around here are in his belfry,” Guy said.

“Considering who he is, it’s understandable that he’s afraid of bats.”

“I guess that wraps up this little caper, so I’ll be getting back to Detroit,” Guy said. “If you need anything else, don’t call, don’t write, don’t even shout, because I don’t care.”

Daniel smiled as he watched Guy walk outside.

“Do you think we should have told him the truth about his team?” Fergus’ voice asked from Daniel’s shoulders.

“We don’t even know if it’s true,” Daniel answered. “If it is, he’ll find out soon enough. For right now, he deserves a rest.”

“You know they’re out there,” said Fergus. “When the Manhunters finally strike, no one will rest.”

The End

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