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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Belated Review of Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage

Okay, as a Guy Gardner fan I should probably have reviewed Howard Chaykin's Collateral Damage before now, but honestly, SallyP and Ragnell have pretty much said my piece for me.

It's an okay Howard Chaykin comic. But that really isn't Guy Gardner, and since I'm the sort to read for a character rather than a creator, I'm probably not going to continue with the mini-series.

Chaykin's take on the character fits snugly in the JLI interpretation of the character, which would fit in that time period but ignores the very significant part of the whole JLI Behavior=Brain Damage concept that is pretty central to the character. As soon as the damage was fixed (Warrior, Kyle's run of GL, and everything since), his characterization changed. He's a jerk, yes, but he's a self-aware jerk now. And believe it or not, that does make a big difference.

And honestly, the thing with the Thanagarian and the Rann cadet was honestly done better in Green Lantern Corps: Recharge. (And honestly, considering Oa HAS two lanterns from that sector in Isamot and Vath, that seems rather ominous for our GG:CD cadet).

I should be happy about the addition of female characters (since Isamot and Vath are men) but...honestly, it seems like a gratuitous thing here. Like they are ONLY female so that Chaykin can draw breasts and so Guy can be an ass to people with double-X chromosomes. This might just be my bitterness that there are no protruding nipples on THIS main protagonist.

Not that I really want to see protruding nipples. But I've read Hawkgirl, and honestly, what's good for the goose ought to be good for the gander.

It's a shame though, I do like seeing more girl-Lanterns. And I like seeing a female character in a uniform that's actually practical (I don't mind skimpy costumes but I like the variety), but...her characterization seems empty. Vapid. The same with the Thanagarian woman. I'll take Isamot and Vath any day.

Gibbons may not have Chaykin's political finesse, but he writes far more appealing characters, anyday. And in the end, that's why I read.

The Tormockian part is pretty interesting, but the Vuldarians don't even make sense. And it seems like such a waste. I mean, I know not everyone liked that development in Warrior, but being Vuldarian was important to the character then. It was a scary development, initially out of control, but it ultimately led to something of a greater sense of belonging and family with characters like Buck and Veronna.

It should mean something that he's not a Vuldarian anymore. Especially face to face with these others, when he, so long, was considered the only one left. Guy's always had this unfair element of loss to his lanternhood. The first time, becoming a Lantern came hand in hand with losing his sanity. This time it came with losing his personal power/species identity. I'm okay with that loss not being addressed right now in GLC, as the focus of his current stories isn't in that direction at this moment. But in a story revolving around Vuldarians and Tormocks and all that, I want to see something.

Dark G'Nort is hilarious, but well, he's already coming off like a one-note joke to me. Okay. You have G'nort. Dark. Where do you go from here?

I'm not sure if I'll buy the next one. Probably not. Though I am a sucker for anything with Guy Gardner on the cover. Still, as I said, I read for character. And the character I like to read about really isn't in there.

I'll stick with Gibbons and Johns, thanks.

I do have to admit though, reading through Collateral Damage, I couldn't help but think: "This would have been so awesome if written by Beau Smith." Missed opportunities.

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  • At December 06, 2006 10:47 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    If Beau Smith had written this, I would be as happy as a pig in mud, wallowing up to my eyeballs in GG Goodness.

    Honestly, I WANTED to like this...but there are just too many things that don't make any sense. And DARK GNORT just annoys me unspeakably...he's always been a loveable idiot, and that's how I think of him. I guess I'm too rigid or something.

    And while (of course) Guy is written as a complete tool, so is EVERYONE ELSE!

  • At December 06, 2006 11:20 AM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    You two said it far better than I could. Smith knew how to make GG complex; Chaykin just regresses him.

    And dark G'Nort really doesn't work if he's just going to sit around and complain.

  • At December 06, 2006 11:50 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    I think Beau Smith is really one of the few people who really know how to write Guy Gardner. So, I totally agree that it would have been great if they were going to do a Guy Gardner mini-series to hand it over to the best.

    I am not a big fan of Howard Chaykin, though. His writing can be okay to great, but I find his art really distracting and it makes it difficult for me to enjoy the story. When I saw G'Nort, I kept thinking, "That's not G'Nort!" But, I kinda did dig his Kilowog.

  • At December 06, 2006 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I liked Guy Gardner the jerk in JLI because he didn't have any authority with anyone (except, maybe, G'nort), now in the new GL corps, he actually has a voice that carries weight which is why I don't think the mindless jerk works anymore.

  • At December 06, 2006 10:29 PM, Blogger Chris Sims said…

    "This would have been so awesome if written by Beau Smith."

    It's rare that one gets the opportunity to see a sentence used for the first time ever. Thanks, Kali!

  • At December 06, 2006 11:38 PM, Anonymous Beau Smith said…

    I've gotta be honest....this is not easy for me to write because it's not often that I'm speechless or close to it.

    All of the comments here really mean an awful lot to me. My time writing Guy (Issue #20 through #44 & Annuals #1 & #2) were more than two years of the most fun I've had in my writing career.

    I enjoyed working with all the artists and editor, Eddie Berganza & kevin Dooley. It was such a rare taste of freedom to some in on a series that they were pondering on axing at any moment. I was given almost a total free hand to do what I wanted with the character...almost.

    My main goal as I've mentioned before was to give the Guy Gardner character.....character, dignity and make him likeable in a big brother/bad uncle sorta way.

    I wanted to build upon what had come before not erase or ignore it. I figured if I did that as a writer I'd be insulting every Guy Gardner reader that ever found something they liked in each of his previous adventures. As a writer you don't wanna subtract, you wanna add.

    I haven't read the new Guy Gardner issue yet. Mine should be coming in a week or two. So I really don't have anything mush to say about yet. I wish Howard the best on it. I haven't forgotten that sometimes everything that somes out on paper isn't always what the writer wanted.....editorial's hands have more of a tight grip on characters at DC than they did when I was running around there. Sometimes that can be a good thing,but most of the time it's not.

    Thank y'all again for the kindness and good words. I truly do appreciate more than you will ever know.

    As far as me writing Guy again....ya never know.....DC has to sleep sometime. When they do I'll be there to grab the throttle again.

    When I do....y'all better hold on really tight.

    Your amigo,

    Beau Smith


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