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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weird Green Lantern thought #446.743

I was thinking about Green Lanterns and I've come to a strange realization.

I can't remember a single time that John Stewart and Guy Gardner have ever really socialized with each other that didn't involve Hal or Kyle.

(I'm not counting the time when Guy was batshit crazy as well, he was crazy and pretty much clashed with everyone. I'm thinking solely of the past ten years or so that he's been sane.)

It's weird, because John and Kyle have interacted a lot, I know, from the time when John was a darkstar and then when he was using the wheelchair. Guy and Kyle interacted more in superheroic team-ups, but they were still seen hanging out a lot.

There were those times John, Guy, Kyle and Alan would all get together to tell the kid old stories and reminisce. But I can't think of anything that was just John and Guy.

After Hal's come back, he's had significant casual interaction with Kyle (you've never flown with me, indeed,), Guy and John.

But still, I can't think of anything that was JUST Guy and John that wasn't, say, a temporary team-up in a fight scene. Even their interaction at the beginning of Rebirth was just waiting for Hal to show up.

There was, as I recall, one storyline in Warrior that involved the two of them, in which Neron uses promise of bringing back Guy's mean dad, evil brother, and Tora back if he kills John Stewart. But ultimately, their interaction consisted of maybe a page which paraphrased went: "You almost killed me!" "Yeah, almost. Here's a bunch of ex-Lanterns, lend me a ship, I wanna go home."

It's strange really, since I think there are a lot of elements to make for some really interesting interactions. I mean, for one thing, think about how testy Guy gets that Hal was chosen first.

Then consider that John was Guy's replacement. The only reason John got the position the first time was because Guy had the bus accident, and after that there was the whole exploding-battery-on-the-first-mission debacle. However, at the same time John actually got to do Lantern-y stuff early on and got to keep doing it while Guy was out of commission. There's really no doubt of the two of them, which is the more experienced Lantern.

That's got to rankle!

And considering that John probably, to an outside observer, seems almost as teflon as Hal. Nothing sticks to him! Guy's one of those characters who gets an unfair share of bad shit happen to him and all he can really do is push through and try to deal with it. John, like Hal, tends toward a loftier demeanor. While we, the audience, know it's not true, it's really easy to see where a colleague would consider them frustratingly untouchable.

Not to mention John's both got far less screw-ups on his record and as well, his big black mark (Xanshi) is so massively big and looming's so inconceivable that you can't even blame the guy for it. There's no bitching someone out for that kind of tragic mistake.

Also, while Hal tends to be fairly patronizing toward Kyle and even Guy, he tends to treat John more like an equal partner.

I wonder if there wouldn't be something of a class element as well. To me, John reads very middle class/upper middle class suburban. This is mostly due to my over-generalizing based on career choice (architect), attitude, intellectualized/academic approach to radicalism, and what we've seen of his family life. It's not concrete, of course, but that's how I see him. I think it's kind of interesting that there's a distinct class difference regarding the 2814 Lanterns. Hal (as a military officer's brat) and John on one end and Guy (struggling factory worker's kid) and Kyle (son of divorced immigrant cleaning woman). I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it could add an interesting subconscious level to their dynamic.

John's side is interesting too of course. Because he's in a distinctly different position from Hal or Kyle. Hal knew Guy originally and had spent time getting to know the man before Sinestro got ahold of him. Kyle in turn only knew Guy after the Vuldarian thing kicked in, fixing his brain back up.

John's really the only one of the three whose primary formative experiences with Guy involved the man either being a crazed maniac, an angry brat, or an utter moron. And even if they've all gone out together for drinks and reminiscence to help the kid out or just hang around all "Four Musketeers" (I always did like Porthos best) that underlying perspective will still be there.

I dunno, it seems like there's a lot there to make their interaction fairly interesting, so it's so weird that I can't think of a single time those two were forced to interact without one of the other two involved. Maybe I'm just missing a storyline.

It's pretty weird though...


  • At September 23, 2007 10:36 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    You're right...dammit. Heck, they fought the very first time they met, back when Guy was recruiting bad guys to fight the Anti-Monitor. Then Guy ran away from Maltus and made fools out of the rest of the Lanterns,and then he got Katma and John bombed on New Year's...Oh, and he DID save John and Katma's butts in Russia, not to mention Kilowog's.

    It's funny though, this seemed to have turned Kilowog into his buddy, but not John.

    When it was the three of them out in space (Hal, John and Guy), Hal and John ALWAYS teamed up against Guy. Personally, I am wondering if John's animosity stems from Guy's mocking of Streisand's music.

    There is another possible alternative I suppose. John's from Detroit, and Guy's from Baltimore, and Maryland is...sort of...a southern state. If Hal can be all snotty about John when he was first introduced, I suppose that John can have similar feelings about Guy.

  • At September 23, 2007 2:43 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That's definitely something to consider! Especially given everything else John can likely feel snotty about.

    ...heh, come to think of it there's MORE reason for interaction! John's from the Detroit area, Guy went to University of Michigan! That's funny!

  • At September 23, 2007 11:23 PM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    Just a second! The Musketeers and the Earth Lanterns! Brilliant!

    Has this comparison ever been made in detail before? Because I've never seen it.

    Guy is Porthos, of course; the loyal, boisterous one (Dumas once said that he believed that Porthos was the best of all the Musketeers).

    Kyle is D'Artagnan, the kid with all the potential.

    But that's where it gets tough. Which of John and Hal is Aramis, the ambitious ladies-man priest who always has some other intrigues going on? Which is the melancholy aristocrat Athos? Not a good fit either way, but unless someone gives me a better idea I'd have to map Hal to Aramis and John to Athos.

  • At September 23, 2007 11:41 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I can't claim credit. Johns used the term in an interview.

    Hmm, I have to admit, Ladies' man qualities aside, I've always affiliated Hal with Athos and John with Aramis.

    Partially because I don't really think Hal has the head for scheming and intrigue. (Also, Athos always seemed more of a lead character in Hal's sense than Aramis did.)

    I think it may also be the way the Man in the Iron Mask ties Athos and D'Artagnan closer together in a sense. Something about the parallels between D'Artagnan and Athos in that story get me thinking of that. (Also, I can imagine John in Aramis's role regarding the king easier than I can Hal for some reason.)

    It's been YEARS since I've read Dumas though, and even then I was a bit more about the Count of Monte Cristo than I was the Musketeers, so I might be totally off.

  • At September 24, 2007 1:36 PM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    The "ladies' man" element of Aramis doesn't map that well to John (definately Hal's thing), I think, but John does have Aramis's "warrior poet" quality about him.


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