Green Lantern Week, part the fourth: featuring the greatest ever Green Lantern of Earth!
81. Guy Gardner
Guy Gardner is my favorite human GL. Why? I blame Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. They’re the two fellas who really made me care about the character. The rest of his portrayals haven’t been that great.
Take a look at his history. Guy (first appearance: Green Lantern #59) was the #2 choice for Abin Sur’s replacement, because Hal Jordan was closer. Guy was an upstanding guy (heh) who eventually become involved in the Corps, but got terribly injured and horribly brain damaged, then woke up as the bastard we all love (I’m not really happy with the fact that it started with a brain injury, though. That’s… not a good portrayal of people who have suffered similar damage). He had a great stint in the Justice League before he lost his GL status and ended up with Sinestro’s ring. Now, that one I didn’t mind, and it led to the good Gerard Jones series.
It didn’t last long, though, and Beau Smith, “manliest of men,” was brought in to write the book. Guy became “Warrior,” wearing silly armor. He quickly lost the armor and started looking even sillier, with strange war paint and weapons growing out of his body and stuff, along with a retconned-in “Vuldarian” background, whatever the hell that was. Damn Zero Hour. And let’s all do our best to forget that time he turned into a woman. Crimeny. It was also around this point that he opened a bar called “Warriors.” I suppose that wasn’t a bad idea.
Later, he got killed off, but quickly came back. Finally, somebody decided to bring back the Classic Interpretation of Guy, thank God. (Giffen and DeMatteis had done the same and even had the return of his yellow ring in I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League, but, of course, that’s been completely ignored by editorial.) He’s a Green Lantern again, finally, and leading a “SWAT team”-like group of GL “Honor Guard” in the new Green Lantern Corps series.
Yeah, so, I like Guy. My favorite interpretation of him, the jerk with a hidden heart of gold who seems like a loose cannon but will pull it together when the chips are down, worked wonderfully in JLI. I loved his relationship with Ice, and how she saw something in Guy no one else did (it led to a terrific and heartbreaking moment in JLA Classified #7. I can’t find the link, but it was Greg Burgas’ favorite issue of whatever year it was, I think). I loved Guy’s hero worship of General Glory, his childhood comic book idol. I thought it was hilarious when he got a bump on the head and became a sickeningly sweet fellow. I love his unrelenting heroism, even if he’s easily hatable.
Yeah, Guy’s pretty awesome, and he’d agree with me when I said I’d rather he be Earth’s GL than that boring (and occasionally homicidal) Hal Jordan, or the undercharacterized John Stewart, or that sometimes-annoying Kyle Rayner who goes through the same character arc every other year. Guy Gardner is the man, man. He’s slogged through a lot of crappy stories and survived. Let’s hope they don’t ruin him again.
Naturally, no look at Guy is complete without the “one punch” moment from Justice League, and I present it to you courtesy of Dave’s Long Box. In fact, he had an entire Guy Gardner Week. Check out his October and November 2006 archives for more.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they updated his costume, because his current one is too reflective of the 80’s era in which it spawned, and, you know, that was twenty years ago. [Edit:] This recent redesign at Project: Rooftop is pretty nifty. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it in the books. (Thanks for reminding me about it, chdb).
So that’s my bit on Guy. What does everyone else think? Fandom always seems split on this character and I’d like to hear your reactions.