I have a confession to make: I’ve never been that big of a Guy Gardner fan. Shocker, I know – especially considering how often I praise Peter J. Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps. And given my recent rants – I mean, reviews – of Green Lantern #12, Green Lantern Annual #1, and Green Lantern #0, I’m sure most of you know that I am a rabid Hal Jordan fan. But, after picking up this week’s incredible Green Lantern Corps #0, Tomasi has done the seemingly impossible:
Green Lantern Corps #0 has all the hallmarks of Tomasi’s great work on that series, as well as his work on Batman & Robin: it’s extremely well-written, the characters are well-rounded and very tangible, and the dialogue is fantastic, snappy and breathes life into the characters. The action is great as well, and this is one of those comics where the writer and artist’s love for the story and its characters practically jump from each and every page: there is a sense of fun here, a joy if you will – the kind of joy you would expect from a fan boy getting to write about his favorite Green Lantern’s origins.
What Tomasi does so perfectly in Green Lantern Corps #0 is make Guy Gardner a relatable character. Frankly, I’ve always been annoyed by Guy Gardner – I found him a bit too rude, a bit too jockish for my tastes, and the only really thing he offered me were some chuckle moments every now and then. And I had always found his quest to prove himself worthy of his Green Lantern mantle too heavy-handed and it always left me miffed that Guy felt he had to out-shine Hal Jordan because he had been chosen as Earth’s second Green Lantern. I guess I just never got where Guy was coming from – I mean, come on, he got to be a Green Lantern! Who cares if he was Green Lantern 2814.2? After reading Corps #0, I definitely can sympathize with Guy. Here’s a guy (pun intended) who could never do right in his father’s eyes, a guy who was the only one in a family of cops to be discharged from the force for – supposedly – getting innocents killed. Guy Gardner is ultimately a man who feels he has never and maybe can never make a difference, whether that difference means earning his father’s love and respect or making the world a better place. And there is where Tomasi finds the crux of his character: the warrior who so desperately wants to prove himself, who wants to prove that he can indeed make a difference, that his life means something. The genius of Tomasi’s writing here is that he makes Guy Gardner an everyman. Not all of us can be Hal Jordan – not all of us have that quick sense of humor and reckless abandon that makes Hal Hal; but all of us, whether we admit it or not, have experienced the feelings of insignificance and anger that make Guy Gardner Guy.
I can finally enjoy reading Guy Gardner now – because Tomasi has so wonderfully and yes, beautifully, rendered Gardner’s backstory, I can enjoy his rough and tumble dialogue, and I can even enjoy his ridiculous biker-meets-80’s-hair-metal GL outfit. Because, believe or not, Peter Tomasi has brought Guy Gardner to life, and in a strange new DC Comics universe where Hal Jordan is currently stuck in limbo, it’s nice to have another Green Lantern to connect with and enjoy.