This is the same introduction I posted when I posted my comic book review for Green Lantern v3 01-08. I left the introduction because I think it’s important to show where I’m at with the reading so far, which means understanding why I’m reading these and what kind of background (or lack thereof) that I have with the Green Lantern storyline.
I’ve recently started reading some comic books from the 1990s, and I started with the reboot of Green Lantern which started in June 1990. These comics actually came out while I was an avid comic book fan, but my tastes back then tended more towards the Marvel Universe and the X-Men series. Just over two years ago, a very good friend of mine introduced me to the Green Lantern universe. She was so adamantly passionate about Green Lantern that I started reading some of the later Green Lanterns and we watched the Green Lantern animated series on Thanksgiving of 2013.
There’s a lot going on in my life right now, but I found some of the comic books from the reboot of the Green Lantern series in 1990. I’ve been spending some time reading those and it’s been a really good experience.
As I begin my reading journey of these classic comic books, I have to say that I only have a very rudimentary knowledge of the Green Lantern and DC Comics Universe in general. I know that the Green Lanterns have rings they receive from little blue guys and that their rings can be used to do anything their imaginations can think of, so long as their rings are charged from their lantern every 24 hours. Their rings are powered by Will power, which means that they have to have the will to do what is required to solve their issues.
Issues 09-12 are dated February through May of 1991 and this is a four-part series that focuses mostly on Guy Gardner, who is currently my least favorite of the Green Lanterns we’ve so far been introduced to in these comic books. Guy Gardner starts out this “solo” adventure by finding Hope Springs, which is an American town that has been transplanted to Oa, the home planet of the Guardians, because one of the Guardians (I found out that the little blue guys that give people their rings are called Guardians) went stark raving mad and pulled a bunch of places from all over the universe to his planet so he wouldn’t be lonely.
Guy Gardner lands in Hope Springs and steals a whole bunch of munchies from the general store. He runs into Rose Hardin, the woman who owns her own farm and is struggling to make ends meet. Only now, her farm and her son, Toby, are part of the groups that are stranded on Oa. I think I agree with Rose completely when she describes Guy by saying, “I cannot believe that any mortal soul could be so prideful, so lewd, so arrogant, so altogether dad-blasted barbaric.” And that sums up my ideas about Guy very, very nicely. He is just the kind of entitled jerk that I would very much like to treat like a glow stick where I snap him and shake him until the light comes on.
One of the interesting things about these four issues is that Guy continues to reference Streisand, which I assume to mean Barbara Streisand. This is interesting to me because of the study and implications of what happens when you include modern references in your popular culture or popular fiction. While I know I’ve heard of Barbara Streisand, I can’t actually think of any of her songs or the lyrics off the top of my head. I am positive that she was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S., but I wasn’t really focused on music at that stage in my life. So there is some sort of pop culture undercurrent that I am missing with these comics by reading them now, 25 years after they were originally published. And I don’t think there are many people who would read this series for the first time and understand the implications of Guy’s use of the word “cowabunga.”
Guy gets the position as *the* Green Lantern of sector 2814, which is Earth. When Guy shows back up to the Justice League, they don’t treat him with the level of respect or reverence he feels as though he deserves and he acts like a spoiled child who doesn’t understand responsibility at all. This is actually pretty standard behavior for him, as evidenced by the fact that he goes out to patrol the world and just causes more damage and more trouble than he could have possibly prevented.
Guy becomes partnered with Gnort, who looks and acts a lot like a dog, in order to investigate supposed false Green Lantern recruiting. Gnort is a big-hearted person and he wants to do good things in the world and Guy treats him with disdain and disgust. I strongly dislike the way that Guy treats people, especially people like Gnort.
Admitting to himself that he’s in a little bit over his head, he tracks down Hal Jordan and asks for his assistance in tracking down the location and personnel behind the non-Guardian supplied ring that gives Gnort his powers. Hal helps Guy out on his journey, but Guy still treats Gnort badly, which makes me continuously annoyed at this portion of the Green Lantern comic books. Gnort demonstrates that he’s far more of a hero than Guy is because he is loyal to his friends and the other Green Lanterns, he’s willing to sacrifice himself in order to save others, and he very much wants to help and protect people. I feel like Gnort is the exact opposite of Guy and I think that’s the point that these comics are working to show to readers. Guy isn’t supposed to be a likeable character and Gnort is supposed to show how even a “simpler” person with the wrong background can be a super hero.
Just because I understand why the characters are written the way they are doesn’t actually make me like them better, just to be clear.
Overall, I’m happy to be reading these comic books and I would probably rate issues 09-12 as a two on my rating scale. Guy Gardner is not a character who is endearing himself to me in any way and I’m slightly annoyed that I have to continue reading about him in order to understand where the story goes from here.