When it comes to Green Lanterns, everybody has a favorite. This debate raged in 2004 when DC and Geoff Johns brought the original Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, back from the dead in ‘Green Lantern: Rebirth’. Fans drew sides on who was better the better Lantern: Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner. That debate continues to this day in the New 52 with both heroes headlining their own books (‘Green Lantern’ and ‘New Guardians’ respectively). In my mind, however, the Kyle/Hal debate is pointless. We all know who earns the title of the greatest Green Lantern of them all… Guy Gardner!
In this special “before New 52” #0 issue, we’re treated to the new origin of Guy Gardner. In the opening pages, we see Guy, still a recruit who hasn’t earned full Lantern status, holding off an unstoppable alien force. All around Guy, his fellow recruits are dying. Despite this, Guy refuses to surrender… even if it means that he’ll die too.
Then we cut back to three months before the Lantern battle. On Earth, the Gardner family is celebrating the graduation of Guy’s sister, Gloria, from the Police Academy. It quickly becomes clear that, in the Gardner family, Guy is the black sheep. His father is an ex-cop, his brother Gerard is a cop, and now his sister is a cop as well. But what’s guy? Well… he used to be a cop. He was kicked off the force in disgrace after a falsified report was filed against him. Now his father has all but disowned Guy and forced the boy to struggle to get back in good graces.
In the middle of a heated argument between Guy and his father, an emergency call comes over the police band about a shootout. Gerard is in trouble! Not hesitating for a moment, Guy rushes to save his brother… but will he be in time?
I’ll admit to being a bit biased. Guy Gardner, with his arrogant but loyal personality and abrasive sense of humor, has always been a hit with me. I grew up on Guy’s stint in the Justice League during the Maguire era of the late ‘80s. That said, even if you don’t care for Guy, this issue is amazing! It gives some backstory and some reasons that Guy is so hardcore loyal to the Lanterns and why he’s always willing to go the extra mile, even at the cost of his own safety.
Peter Tomasi has given us a new look at Guy Gardner that might make him a little more sympathetic and it only serves to make me like him more. Guy is an everyman. He’s the little guy that struggles with life knocking him around. Despite all that, he’s a hero and a great Lantern. Like Spider-Man (another of my favorite heroes in case you hadn’t noticed), Guy isn’t perfect… and I like him just fine that way.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #0
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and Cover by Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna