Before we begin, it's worth highlighting that Hal Jordan, a.k.a Green Lantern is my favourite superhero from DC. He may not be as cool or popular as Superman or Batman, but his unique powers and cosmic adventures are what drew me to the character since there are near limitless possibilities for stories. While the “modern” Green Lantern has been around since 1959, today's book is a fleshed out retelling of the character's origin that ties it into the famous “Blackest Night” series.
One of the most notable things about “Secret Origins” is that it finds time to depict Hal's troubled relationship with his family, especially how he idolises his fighter pilot father and the impact his death had on Hal. We get an in depth look at his personality, how his cocky bravado masks his anger and fear. While I won't go into too much detail, Even before Hal receives his power ring, we get a glimpse of Hal's heroic side. There is a great deal of emphasis on Hal's humanity; all of his interactions with human characters in this book, especially in moments with Carol Ferris, ground Hal Jordan in an otherwise bizarre, fantastical universe. All of this highlights the significance of Hal being the very first earthling to wield a Green Lantern ring.
Naturally, this book has a strong focus on introducing the science fiction elements of Green Lantern. After he receives his ring, Hal is transported to the planet Oa, the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. He gets to meet staple characters of the Green Lantern mythos such as Kilowog, Tomar-Re and eventually Sinestro and the Guardians. The training scenes on Oa are an eloquent method of exposition for how the Green Lantern ring works, such as how willpower is required to create constructs and the weakness against the colour yellow (something that Hal jokes about). The book also introduces the villain Hector Hammond and how he gained his telepathic powers, though it merely serves as a sub-plot to the much larger story of Hal and Sinestro solve the mystery surrounding the death of Abin-Sur (the Green Lantern who passed his ring to Hal).
“Secret Origin” was written by DC mainstay Geoff Johns, who clearly has a lot of respect for the Green Lantern mythos and characters, which is shown through in the dialogue as well as in Hal's narration. While there are plenty of hints throughout the story that tie it into “Blackest Night”, this book stands out as its own story. The artwork is crisp, clear and detailed, with the human characters displaying suitable expressions that match the dialogue, not to mention the creative designs of the aliens. As a neat bonus, the original comic where Green Lantern was introduced is placed at the back of the book.
Overall, if you're looking to get into Green Lantern (pre “New 52”), this is the best place to start. It effortlessly introduces all of the vital components of the mythos while also adds dimensions to the character of Hal Jordan. It can be purchased here.