Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Even Polite Guy hates Batman:

In JLI, there's a part in which Guy Gardner, having been hit on the head and given *another* dose of brain damage, becomes very sweet and a childlike way.

(Basically if regular brain damaged Guy was like an angry little boy, freshly brain damaged polite Guy became a prim and proper little girl. Which is disturbing enough that I refuse to think of it again)

Anyway, polite!Guy had a nice word for everyone, but I realized something...sometimes what he said actually wasn't as nice as it seemed to be. Sometimes it was a pretty sharp insult if you think about it. Inner Guy couldn't be suppressed that much...

Like this panel: (From JLI 13)

Why there are few men on Earth more honest, more decent, than you are. Not even my own father could-- -Emphasis mine.

Now it seems like a sweet thing to say...

But is it really? Let's look at the kind of father Guy Gardner had?

Okay, hmm, considering the kid just spilled juice on his newspaper, well, it seems a bit like an overreaction, but what do I know? Might be a one time occurance. He had a bad day.

Hmm, bouncing a football off your son's head and calling him a pansy for not being able to catch it. That's a bit mean. And probably explains a lot of his personality right there.

Yeah. And this scene continues for the entire following page. I won't go into detail but well, let's just say, comparing you to his dad? NOT a compliment. In fact it means he probably HATES you.

Hee, even *Polite* Guy hates Batman. Now that's *some* strong dislike right there. When even the sweet little girl inside even the toughest of jerks hates you, that's pretty damn impressive.

(Disclaimer: I realize that it's probably just that somewhere along the line different writers have different ideas of the as-yet-unpublished parts of a character's backstory. But I like my explanation better.)


  • At March 19, 2006 4:49 AM, Blogger James Meeley said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At March 19, 2006 5:20 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    *nod* His mom was a piece of work too. I kind of want a crossover thing where the parents of the Lanterns can meet each other. Just so I can see Maura Rayner bitchslap Peggy-Louise Gardner in the way she completely deserves.

    Maura would do it too, because Maura is awesome.

    Don't mess with temperamental Irish women. :-)

  • At March 19, 2006 11:02 AM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    Mace? His brother's name is Mace? Now you know the parents are drunks, when Guy is the best of the two names the brothers got.

    Seriously though, I completely agree that Polite Guy hates Batman. As he should. Batman hates everyone, so it's only natural that everyone should hate him right back.

  • At March 19, 2006 1:46 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    calvin: Oh totally. Naming your sons "Mace" and "Guy" implies some really fucked up masculinity issues. It explains so much.

    And really, if you look at the mess with the brother...well suddenly all the problems brain-damaged Guy had with Hal make so much sense.

    (I firmly believed they scoured through hundreds of old issues when it came time to actually write his backstory, because very rarely does one come together to make so much damn sense.)

    But yep. Totally hates Batman. :-)

  • At March 19, 2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, Polite Guy would find the Batman of the post-Miller era pretty repulsive, I agree. I remember Geoff Johns said in Wizard that he made sure to tell Van Sciver to draw Guy very, very happy when Hal Jordan socked Batman in Rebirth #6.

  • At March 19, 2006 6:08 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Dan: Yeah. Hee, I know a lot of people didn't like that scene, but it amused me too. Mostly because of Guy's reaction. :-)

  • At March 19, 2006 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kal: People didn't like that scene? Batman has deserved a sock in the jaw for years, no matter the circumstances. Though I think Guy wouldn't bother delivering it unless provoked these days. He's a little bit more mature than that.

  • At March 20, 2006 12:43 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    Dan -- Some readers had trouble accepting that Batman the World's Greatest (Actually, the highest he can be is 3rd Greatest) Martial Artist being knocked out in a single punch by a clumsy pilot.

    Personally, I figure Hal could get a punch in when Batman's expecting a different sort of attack. Nobody's perfect.

  • At March 20, 2006 4:08 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Yep, Ragnell's right. That's my opinion too.

    :-) And it was nice to see him hit once. More than that would be too much, but surprise can make fools temporarily of anyone.

  • At March 20, 2006 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ragnell- That's how I bought the scene too. Batman's probably thinking, "That power-mad fool is going to use to ring to--" KAPOW!

    What I loved about that scene was Hal socking him was half just telling Batman to shut it for being such an (editorially mandated) dick all these years, and just an answer to all those (also, I assume, editorially mandated) scenes where Batman had to come in- even in the last page of the funeral issue in #81- and remind us that Hal Was Bad.

  • At March 20, 2006 12:57 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    dan: Thing is Batman did have a point sometimes, I *did* think most of the others accepted the Parallax thing too quickly.

    I mean the Lanterns accepting it made sense. Kyle's a bit gullible sometimes, and he's the one who found the information. John has first hand experience with the moments when Parallax-as-Hal was more Hal like, helping him walk for example. And Guy is just weird (though considering the subtle comparisons Warrior tended to make between Hal and Mace Gardner, and his own ties to the GLs with or without the ring, it's not really surprising that he'd want to forgive too)

    I do think some outside skepticism wouldn't have been amiss though.

    But Batman's deserved something like that for ages. :-)

  • At March 20, 2006 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, Kyle tends to be gullible mostly because some of Ron Marz's plots would have fallen apart if he didn't. ;-)

    As for Guy, I look at it as that he'd rather have Hal, as much as he finds him an infuriating goody goody, on his side than against him. He never took too much pleasure in Hal's fall from grace, since it meant the destruction of the Lanterns.

  • At March 20, 2006 9:53 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    dan: well, yeah, but Winick, Raab, Morrison, Kelly, and pretty much everyone else who writes him also uses the gullibility, it's pretty much now a part of his character. :-P

    I agree and disagree on Guy, I actually think it's a more personal thing. At the point Hal fell, Guy wasn't a Corpsman, and in fact had (understandibly) ill feelings toward the Guardians (something about them leaving him in a coma for 7 years because he was only a replacement, and then not fixing the considerable brain damage because he was a better Lantern...less hesitant this way...)

    But *Hal* has always been an important figure, especially after he got brain damage. Hal's the competition, the favored one he could never live up to. The one who constantly and consistantly showed him up and took every thing he'd loved and worked for away from Kari to the status of Green Lantern (not saying that Hal intended to, but from *Guy*, especially brain damaged Guy's position...).

    Basically, in a real sense, Hal supplanted/took the place of his brother. (The Parallax thing just adding another parallel to the way his brother ended up a crooked cop). Deep down for all of that, Guy still loves his brother and probably, though he'll never admit it (ever) still loves Hal the same way. That's why he didn't drive Parallax away during Arisia's funeral, and why he's so supportive of Hal back now.

    Or I could just be having too much fun psychoanalyzing fictional characters. :-P

  • At March 21, 2006 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I dunno, that's a pretty good analysis of Guy, and sort of what I was going for- that Guy loves and respects Hal- but I didn't quite articulate it properly. In any case, your posts have given me much food for thought on the Lanterns.

  • At March 21, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    dan: Thanks. :-) Lantern posts are fun! For some reason of all the Lanterns, I find it easiest to understand Guy as a character...

    I'm not sure what that says about me, but too many more picture posts and I'll have to change my blog layout...

    ...It clashes with his hair. :-P

  • At March 21, 2006 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I'd say Guy is the most identifiable of the Lanterns, because he's the most outwardly flawed, I think. Kyle running a close second. Hal and John are sort of paragons of stoic heroism, not that they can't be interesting characters in their own right, it's just they rarely have been, particularly in post-Crisis DC IMO.

  • At March 21, 2006 4:52 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Hmm, I'd actually disagree with regards to Hal. I've blogged about him before, but basically, between mishandling things in volume 3 the way he tended to, then the Parallax stuff (Even if it was a possession, he needed to allow it a foothold, in contrast, Guy, even when using the yellow ring that supposedly corrupted the user, remained free of the taint), and now Johns's writing him in a way that seems to be calling out his arrogance and blindness. And occasional outright going flying in the plane without wearing the ring.

    And he gets hit on the head a lot. :-) In the Batmobile even! :-)

    But I agree those flaws are harder to see at first glance, where Guy's are much more painfully apparent. But I think in the end, Guy actually makes for the most complex personality of the Lanterns. He's been able to be innocent victim (of the quiet, calm, polite and sweet variety), semi-villain, idiot, anti-hero, mentor and now something of a charismatic (in a unique interpretation of the word) leader for the Corps. And each "incarnation" of the character made perfect sense, evolving relatively naturally out of events that happened before.

    Possibly it's because Hal, John and even Kyle were created to be heroes first. Where Guy was created essentially to be a victim of circumstance and then Sinestro, essentially as motivation for Hal. Then when they brought him back it was as an antagonist, so the heroic qualities had to be slowly developed and nutured, creating a completely different style of personality.


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