Guy Gardner gets completely trounced in the opening scene of “Green Lantern Corps” #0, which depicts Gardner and a bunch of other rookie Green Lanterns fighting a foe named Xar. His fellow Corps members are slaughtered all around Gardner, but he fights on, putting his stubbornness — excuse me, willpower — on full display. Despite the overwhelming force being directed, Gardner continues to fight and survive, taking a physical beating.
By simply setting this story in the nebulous time of “Before…” Peter J. Tomasi is able to avoid having Gardner locked in on any timeline, no matter how slippery it is. Tomasi is smart enough to make reference the Justice League and their relative newness. Furthermore, Hal Jordan does appear in this book (in one of the funnier moments) as does Kilowog and Oa. The focus is on Guy Gardner, however, as this is his chance for a star turn. As he has done with other characters, Tomasi makes Gardner believable and entertaining. He takes it a step further and even manages to elevate Gardner to my favorite of the Earth Lanterns and even delivers a scene revealing how Gardner and Kilowog found common ground for their mutual respect.
Part of Tomasi’s process is gradually transforming Gardner into a likeable character, albeit still an overly confident one. Guy never waivers in battle, but as a person he has some other issues. Tomasi digs into those issues, sharing Guy the pre-Lantern with readers. Coming out of this story, I’m keen for more from Guy’s past and hope Tomasi makes a case to share those details.
Fernando Pasarin, ably assisted by the inking duo of Scott Hanna and Marc Deering, is a perfect choice for this issue. While Pasarin’s aliens and creatures lack the grotesque wonder Pat Gleason naturally infuses into the same type of character, Pasarin captures humans, their emotions and their environments without peer. The level of detail he inserts into this comic is stunning and beautiful, cutting out easy work for Gabe Eltaeb.
“Green Lantern Corps” #0 fleshes out Guy Gardner more in twenty pages than he has been in twenty years. Tomasi has made the development of Guy Gardner a personal project during his time writing Guy both pre- and post-“Flashpoint” and in this issue, Tomasi doesn’t hesitate to show the personal side of Gardner: where he comes from and who influenced his development. The character does get a goosed up origin, but he’s also given purpose and definition, particularly when it comes to him acting like a jerk for the greater duration of his existence This is an excellent zero issue — it could even be framed as a pilot for a TV show or a debut film in a series. It hits the right notes, delivers character definition and motivation and sets the table for the world around the protagonist moving forward.