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Monday, April 10, 2006

Rebirth: The One Thing I Hated

You know, as much as I loved Rebirth. Which I certainly did. But I am very upset with Mr. Johns for one thing.

No, it wasn't for bringing back Hal. I liked Hal. It wasn't for retconning Parallax, I think the retcon makes sense and adds an interesting element to Hal, basically naming him *weakest* of the Lanterns by being first to succumb. It wasn't for marginalizing Kyle, as Kyle was, as I see it, the hero of the piece as much as Hal.

It *certainly* wasn't for restoring Guy and John, or even getting rid of the Vuldarian-ness.

But it will be a long time before I forgive Mr. Johns for the unceremonious way he destroyed "Warriors".

I understand that Guy needed his ties to Earth cut dramatically, so he could be made the familiar human face of the space-based GLC. I understand that with regards to his character, having the bar had outlived its potential.

I would have been fine if Guy had left it. Or if he'd set someone else up to run it. Or if he just closed it and let it lie.

But in a burst of uncontrolled power, Warriors is destroyed. And that seriously upsets me.

Because that place wasn't only a bar. It was a museum to the superhero community. Lobo's cycle was there. JLA artifacts were there. Monuments to commemorate the Green Lanterns were there. Kyle's panting of all of them together... It was a marvelous way to put an accessible face on the superhero community, because anyone could go there and possibly comingle with heroes...even if they were in disguise. This is valuable! And would be even more so now, considering how often they're showing Diana snapping Max's neck on every tv screen in the country.

But it's more than that. Warriors was a *memorial*. Not just the Parallax statue, mind you. Though that's what gets the most attention. There were statues of *Ice* in there. Tora Olafsdotter as only a few people remember her. There was in particular a small figurine made by Queen Olaf herself of Tora and Guy, in her daughter's memory, given with deep, genuine love for the man she now called her son. Those are probably destroyed. Even G'nort's water bowl was there, apparently, behind the stairs...I'd imagine Arisia had some items displayed for commemoration as well.

Some of what was lost: (From Warrior 39)

I might be sensitive. My highschool was located in a museum, and I worked an internship there. And there's one thing, that even when the museum itself started to get boring (as anything would after every day for four years), I never could forget. These things there...they belonged to people. People like you and me. People who were probably long dead. Some might be in the history books, some never would be, but even the history books lie. They exaggerate. They make assumptions. No one really remembers the man or woman behind the legend.

But what we do have left from them are these things. Material objects. Completely worthless in their own right, but as the symbols of these people who are gone and forgotten...they're priceless. And the thought of something happening to these things, these things that commemorate people I will never even's heartbreaking.

And Mr. Johns just did that. Yeah it's fictional, but it was symbolic. And he just destroyed it so *casually*. Turn the page, well, Guy has the ring again. Back to Hal and Kyle.

But as horrifying as I'd find the loss of the worse would it be if the memorials were of people I knew and remembered. If these paltry little items were all that was left beside my own memories. All treasured and displayed with all the love and emotion I never showed them.

And to have it destroyed with his own *power*. Without even a nod afterwords. It's monstrous. And even moreso that we never saw what happened when this sank in. When he realized what was lost.

I mean if nothing else, last we heard in Warrior, his mom was living upstairs, ya know.

I know the loss of objects doesn't compare with the loss of people, but when you've got something like a museum. Like an exhibit. Like a memorial. The objects take on much much more meaning than that. They become important in their own right. Like the Museum has for me, Warriors had to have seemed almost like its own entity to the characters in the comics.

Its "death" deserved a lot more respect.


  • At April 10, 2006 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sadly,however,respect for such things seems to be lacking in the genre as of late...

  • At April 10, 2006 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said… seems to be increasing.This is not just about the usual Infinite Crisis-ness Yadayadaya.How often can you reboot a given universe before people stop CARING what happens?

  • At April 10, 2006 2:44 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Well, personally I still care what happens...and well, they might keep rebooting the universe, but they've also been around since 1939, which might indicate that they are doing something right long term.

    Besides, I'm inclined to think most of the reboots make things better. Post-Crisis was infinitely better than Pre-Crisis for me. Infinite Crisis is doing well in keeping most and changing the more problematic stuff...smoothing it out. I like it. I like what I'm seeing of New Earth and OYL.

    This is more of a peeve that we lost something so intrinsic to a character's life, without the story even allowing time for it to sink in. In one clean sweep, the character lost *everything*, and while that in and of itself doesn't bother me terribly. The fact that the emotional resonance was never addressed in Rebirth and the otherwise fantastic annoys me. Now it probably won't be given any weight at all in GLC now that everything's skipped a year.

    I mean, everyone makes a big deal of everything Hal's lost due to becoming Parallax and dying. Everything/Everyone Kyle's lost too, the severing of his ties to Earth and the dead girlfriend factor.

    No one really talks about how in one brutal act, Guy Gardner loses not only his sanity and mental acuity, but his friends/family, livelihood (there's no way brain damaged Guy could continue teaching), and seven years of his life. (The guy had to be about Kyle's age if not younger when Sinestro grabbed him. He'll have subsequently woken up at around the age of *thirty*).

    And now again, due to Parallax provoking an explosion of his *own power*, he's lost his livelihood, memorial treasures, ties to Earth, as well as his *heritage* and the powers that he'd worked so hard to find/activate so he could keep fighting/making a difference. (The quest for which had kept him from being present at Tora's *death*).

    And that's a tremendous loss that gets completely overlooked in the face of Hal's Parallax angst and Kyle losing yet another girlfriend. I mean maybe no one died, so it's not as vital, but the man pretty much just lost everything he had. And given that one of those was a bar/museum/memorial that was filled with treasured memories meant to be preserved and displayed...that's got to *hurt*. And a ring, while awesome, can't be a terribly strong comfort at this point when it's all that's left.

    And it irks me that it's being overlooked. Even though I'm thrilled with the direction taken with the character otherwise.

  • At April 10, 2006 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All big reboot events require a certain callousness, simply because they involve taking a firm hand and wiping things out. Was it unfair to Tora? Probably, but what isn't? The only good memorial she got was in I Can't Believe It's Not Justice League, and that wasn't even in continuity.

    Personally, I was more annoyed about retconning away Hal's Reed Richard streaks, simpky because it was so minute as to be slightly insulting. Just give him some hair dye and there you go.

  • At April 10, 2006 3:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    spiritglyph: Yeah, you're right about that. And intellectually I understand both the reasons for it and why it wasn't addressed further.

    But there better be an SF&O little story about it one of these days. Maybe with John or Hal (more likely John though, I love Hal, but the man isn't known for his considerate nature) finding the little magic-made figurine (which might be, thanks to the magic, strong enough to withstand the destruction), and returning it to Guy. It'd be quiet and sweet and make me feel better.

    And actually, Tora's death got a lot of closure in Warrior. It's just no one read Warrior except me because it was a little brain-breaky otherwise. But Tora got some very strong tribute moments, and even when not addressed, the effects of her death on *him* were constantly quietly palpable.

    In a weird way, of all the Green Lantern dead girlfriends, while she had one of the stupidest deaths, the grief/aftermath was probably the best and most sensitively written.

    By Beau Smith. Which breaks my brain a little too. :-)

  • At April 10, 2006 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You have a point there. I never really followed Warrior, because as refreshing as Guy is, that Vundarian thing was just too damn silly. I don't consider a Guy/Ice story quite canon unless it's written by Giffen and DeMatties, but that's my inner child talking.

    Worst written death for a GL girlfriend? Man, that's a competitive field.

  • At April 10, 2006 5:12 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Eh, the Vuldarian thing kind of worked the way Smith did it. It was...not exactly tongue in cheek...but there was something about the mix of everything wrong with 90s storytelling all in a pile of horrendous art...that somehow *worked*.

    Seriously. I *loved* Warrior.

    Smith was really good at highlighting the humanity of the character. (I was always very disappointed in the way Giffen wrote Guy actually, but that's a blog entry for another time. Though I do love the Guy/Ice relationship). And did a very good job with the other stuff...unexpectedly subtle. Especially for an author who's got such a...macho...public persona.

    And yeah. Heh.

  • At April 10, 2006 6:42 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    And there's also the whole thing between Bea and Guy in Warrior...that alone makes it worth reading.

    "I like the innovative way you use your gravity powers to keep your costume up, Fire."

  • At April 10, 2006 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I don't have gravity powers. I'm just built that way."

    I remember reading that panel (I think it was on Scans Daily). I do have to say that Guy Gardner the Animated Series would be an AWESOME idea. That tidbit made the series look pretty good.

    As opposed the most famous bit from Warrior: Gal Gardner. Good lord, that was the most disturbing fan service ever. Does go to the emphasis on GL behinds, though.

  • At April 10, 2006 9:05 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    "Peachy" (the animated series would have been the best DCAU series *ever*)

    The fascinating thing about the Gal Gardner issue was that it really wasn't...offensive. Seriously. I don't know a single woman who've read it and did anything but laugh. (Disclaimer: I'm sure some women were offended, but not anyone I know)

    See, the thing was, the main skimpy costume covered at least as much as his male costume did. And he tends to be gratuitous in both forms. The other costumes were just Dementor being perverted and liking to psychologically dominate him. Which is in character.

    Now what *I* personally liked was that Guy as a woman wasn't portrayed any differently than Guy as a man. There's no sense that "she" is less competent than "he" is. (She's stuck doing the fashion show thing because of hostages...not because she's any less capable.)

    There is none of that stupid man-becomes-woman and is immediately sensitive and emotional. Nope. None of the cliched man-becomes-woman and mends his errant ways from the lessons he learned. This was just Guy turned into a woman, severely annoyed about being turned into a woman (as I would about being a guy against my will). There is no indication that "she" feels weaker than "he" did (in fact she says: "And I feel *very* powerful" when she angrily transforms).

    And there's no "When I get my body back, I'm gonna kick your ass." "Gal Gardner" was more than willing to kick Dementor's ass anyway. Breasts or no breasts.

    And they managed to avoid the really obvious, tired, gender shifting jokes. Only once resorting to a "How the hell do you cross your arms?!" to a very very amused Zinda.

    Okay, the proportions were a little...but well, all the proportions of that series were insane (to accomodate the way Guy tends to be drawn as a tank, they also had a guest spot of the Blue Beetle in one issue...also...tank. Because if you pay attention to JLI and the stats given as well as the art, Ted's actually broader built than Guy with Warrior's fucked up art, Ted was suddenly *huge* too)...

    And he *is* an alien, Vuldarian woman are just really well endowed, I guess. Heh.

    There is also the fact that the "day" was saved by two actual women. The villainess Martika controls Dementor and makes him turn Guy back, then tries to mind-control him herself, while it's Veronna's mindlink in the nick of time that saves him from her. Now if "she" were saved by men, it'd have been irritating, but she ended up trapped in a situation that male-Guy couldn't have gotten out of, and was saved by women. That, oddly, works.

    It was gratuitous fan service, but it was surprisingly funny and inoffensive fan service. If nothing else, Beau Smith knows how to tweak fun at himself.

    The art was horrid though. :-)


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