Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, December 30, 2005

On Guy Gardner:

In contrast to my I Hate Hawkman post, I decided to post something in tribute of my favorite egotistical jackass ever: Guy Gardner.

It's hard to explain what it is about this jerk that makes him my second favorite Lantern after Kyle Rayner (whose appeal should be obvious: I like them young, sweet, strong willed and victimized).

But Guy is harder to explain.

Many people hate him because he's a jerk. And he is. There's no doubt about that. He's a complete asshole. He's so amusingly, unashamedly an asshole. He'll call Batman obnoxious nicknames and moon him in space, he'll make lewd comments to Fire, Mary Marvel and any other attractive female. He likes to annoy the hell out of his fellow Lanterns and seems even to take pride in his lack of civility. (Since after Warriors, at least, it became definitely a choice.)

But then there's JLA v2 (JLI/JL-Europe, et cetera). And there's "I Can't Believe it's Not the Justice League." And Ice. Guy with Ice is amazing to read, because she didn't make him not a jackass. He was as much a jackass when dating her as before, but because of her, he tried to tone it down (at least in her presence). He loved her so completely that he was willing to suffer through all sorts of indignities to make her happy, only making token complaints. He wasn't exactly a completely different person with her, but he was certainly more three dimensional. And I challenge anyone to read "ICBiNtJL" and not tear up when the mock-Orpheus/Eurydice scene reaches its conclusion.

Then there's the OMAC Project. Throughout JLA/JLI fewer characters got along less than Ted Kord and Guy Gardner. Their personalities and histories are designed perfectly to clash with one another. But regardless, in OMAC project we can see that Guy cares in his way, is angry. He and Ted might never have been friends, but there would be hell to pay.

And there's also GL v3, after Kyle Rayner takes over. He doesn't have the competition issues with Kyle as he did with Hal, and it shows. He's been, as Warrior, a partner against Major Force, a confidant. Even a mentor figure. Helped him tease Roy; took the kid to a street corner where the traffic of *four modelling agencies* intersected, to cheer him up after traumatic torture! In the JLA story "World War III", Guy mocks Kyle a little at first for "breaking the ring" but it's actually pretty gentle for him. And later in the book, he says, "You gotta stop taking me so seriously". From Guy, that's a freaking *apology*. (page 147 of the Trade, I don't remember the exact issue, for the skeptical.) I could go on for a while to dissect why I think Kyle gets such a different reaction from Guy than any of the other Lanterns, but honestly "why" isn't really the point. The point is that it is a very different reaction.

The thing about Guy is that he's deeper than he looks. He was a gym teacher with kids once, he was Hal Jordan's case worker in prison during Emerald Dawn, he went to University of Michigan (and as a Michigan State student, I *should* hate him for that), and even, apparently studied law.

He's actually possibly the most educated Earth-based Green Lantern. Which is mind-boggling. He's also shown himself capable of very deep emotion and feelings for others. I think, in a strange way, that Guy *feels* the most and the deepest of any of the Lanterns. And I'm including Kyle in that. Guy's all about his relationships with other characters. His loves, his rivalries, his brotherly camaraderies. He expresses it all so honestly, so without artifice, that it's...breathtaking. He shows it, for better for worse, and he doesn't really care what you or (almost) anyone else thinks about it.

Recharge so far has been really good at showing many of these aspects too. This is the guy who'll march into the Guardians lair to demand answers and protest their orders, heedless of the consequences. But he's also the same guy who when slyly teased by Kyle Rayner, merely tells him "Don't push my buttons." He's the guy who'll hit on Soranik Natu like every male chauvanistic (pardon my spelling) pig in the book, but he'll also express sincere (if gruff) concern about his kid partner risking his position in order to break the biggest rule on Oa. It's all there. And I'm ecstatic that both guys are slated for the GL:C monthly come spring. My two favorite Lanterns in Space! You know I'll be there.


  • At December 30, 2005 9:34 AM, Blogger Mike said…

    Gardner's a Wolverine!?! That explains why I have such utter disdain for the character. Because like most U of M alumuni, it's not that I really hate them, it's just that I think I'm supposed to hate them.

    The way you describe Guy, it actually makes me feel shallow for never liking him.

    Oh Well...go State and go Lanterns!

  • At December 30, 2005 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "He's actually possibly the most educated Earth-based Green Lantern"

    ...and with that the universe imploded

    creepiest realization [b]ever[/b]

  • At December 30, 2005 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yes but he couldn't beat Hal in a fist fight.

    which makes Hal > Guy.


  • At December 30, 2005 4:41 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thanks for commenting, guys.

    flash: believe me, I know. I'm a Spartan myself. Ack, though, I don't really want to make anyone feel shallow. *I* just really like Guy and feel the need to share. :-)

    anon: Yeah. It is, isn't it. Scarily enough though, it's true. Guy's gone to *grad school*.

    mallet: Heh, I judge on more criteria than fist fights. Guy gets decked all the time, it's part of his charm. :-)

  • At December 30, 2005 6:26 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    If it makes you feel better, the way you describe Kyle makes me wish I never stopped reading comics. He was introduced right around the same time I stopped reading (it was the adult thing to do) almost a decade later and I'm playing catch up.

  • At December 31, 2005 5:09 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    :-) Flattery will get you everywhere. Now's probably a good time to start it up again. Yeah, Infinite Crisis is screwing with everything. But in March-April, everything's going to be skipping forward a year, and thus there won't be any in progress stories to have to catch up on. And lots of series are starting fresh. It should be a lot of fun!

  • At October 11, 2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like Guy, but as a Kyle Rayner fan I've only ever seen him in Kyle's storylines, which put him in a positive light as one of Kyle's many father figures. At first I thought he was just an overgrown jock, but his relationship with Kyle shows him to be a much deeper and more protective person, which gives him points.

    As far as pugilistic skill is concerned Guy is a tough cookie, I think he could probably beat Hal in a fist fight, but i think wee Kyle would give him a run for his money, he was pretty scary in the whole Terry Berg storyline a couple of years back, wrist-breaking and wall smashing. That would be an awesome fight.

  • At October 11, 2006 10:24 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Heh honestly, without the Vuldarian advantage, Guy's pretty sucky at hand-to-hand. Almost no training at all.

    Hal's military. I think Hal'll take that fight. :-) Now Kyle actually might have a chance though. But it'll depend on how angry he gets...

  • At October 14, 2006 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yeah you're probably right, Hal does have the military training, but Kyle has that temper, I think when he wants to be Kyle is the scariest Green Lantern ever.


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