Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 Review

August 13, 2010 at 2:14 PM | Posted in (All Posts), Comic Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin
Cover by Rodolfo Midigari

Can Guy Gardner really carry a book on his own?

Read on to find out —

Even with the help of the other Green Lantern Corps members, “Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors” seems like a risky move. If you composed a list of the consistent complaints that comic readers might have with series, it’s that once something gets good — we start to see that product being milked.

Take Wolverine for example. Or Deadpool. Or Batman. And now we see the Green Lantern universe as well. When a character or group of characters start to put out quality stories that readers can expect month in and month out, we start to see publishers push that product. They’ll use those characters in other series. They’ll add a mini-series with that character to add sales. They’ll even add an entirely new book for readers to pick up. They always use the mask of “This character has too many stories to tell.” While some characters like Batman certainly could have stories written with them until the end of time, it’s obvious that publishers add these extra books just to get more money out of readers. Often times, the quality on the overall franchise goes down.

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors is a series that is to focus on Guy Gardner — and other significant GLC members, but mostly Guy Gardner. Some of the preview images for the early issues show Guy and Kilowog or Guy and Ganthet, but at least for the time being — Guy Gardner is going to be a star in Emerald Warriors. Peter J. Tomasi — the writer on Emerald Warriors and overall Green Lantern editor — has stated time in and time out that his favorite character to write is Guy Gardner.

If you would have asked me years ago my thoughts on Guy Gardner — I would have simply said “I think he’s stupid” or “He shouldn’t even exist.” I had this hatred for the character that I couldn’t explain. His bowl cut. His obnoxious attitude. His stupid vest.

He’s like that loud guy that comes into a movie-rental store and starts spoiling movies that people pick up. He’s like that annoying guy in the post office line who won’t get off his cell phone. He’s like the guy in a restaurant who starts screaming like an infant because there’s “too much ice” in his drink.

For a time, Guy Gardner was everything I disliked about humans wrapped up in one character. I knew very little about Guy, so I just dismissed him as “stupid.” Who would want to read about Guy when you have John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Hal Jordan? Guy just seemed like the red-headed stepchild who got a ring by some stroke of luck.

But enough of that. I was WRONG. Any writer can make the stupidest character cool, and Peter Tomasi in particular made Guy Gardner — for lack of a more sophisticated word — cool. He took all of his flaws and used them to work for the character, rather than against him. He would be the Green Lantern who would mouth off at Sinestro right in the middle of a “ring slingin’ fight.” He’d refer to Kyle Rayner as “kid” and call the Guardians of the Universe “smurfs” and would even make fun of how “high and mighty” Hal Jordan can be.

Guy Gardner suddenly changed in my eyes. I like the character now. In fact, he’s one of my favorite characters in current storylines. Did you read his story during Blackest Night? He turned into a Red Lantern! And he had these chain things on his arms like Kratos from God of War! That was awesome!

My point is, Guy Gardner used to be a character whose name brought unanimous groans, but now he’s a character that anyone can read and see how likeable he is.

But can he really have a book of his own?

— — — — —

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors first story arc will focus on Guy Gardner and his secret pact he has made with Atrocitus and Ganthet. What that exact deal was that the three of them made is yet to be fully revealed, but just to catch up, here is the basic setup for this issue:

*Guy Gardner and Ganthet made a secret deal with Atrocitus on Ysmault sometime after the conclusion of Blackest Night.

*The exact details of the pact and what their mission is has yet to be revealed.

*Guy Gardner stated when the deal was first proposed that “If we go through with this, Jordan and I are done bein’ friends.”

*They are looking for something in the “unknown sectors” but must receive permission from the Guardians first.

The issue opens up with Tomasi really establishing Guy Gardner as a “space cop”. While recording a confessional on his digital camera construct, he gets an alert that the “location of the stolen rakkonium (alien element)” has been detected. Guy stops recording and leaps into space in high pursuit of these thieving aliens.

The aliens are all the way in Space Sector 3600 (the end of the “known” sectors) when Guy arrives, spoiling their hopes that they might make it out of the Green Lantern Corps jurisdiction. Surprisingly, the aliens put up a fight, but it’s nothing that Guy Garnder can’t handle. He literally rides all over their ship with his ring-constructed motorcycle, then flies away and rears back with a giant baseball bat as they fly right towards him. Guy takes a home-run swing and obliterates the ship. Aside from the stolen “rakkonium”, there were a number of kidnapped physicists on board that Guy shields from the explosion with circular constructs. Despite being safe, they describe his actions as “reckless and destructive” but Guy just dismisses their complaints and says “A simple Thank You woulda been better.”

The issue continues with Guy being granted an audience with the Guaridians. There, he explains that the aliens that he subdued were on their way to the unknown sectors. Guy argues that the Guardians must let the Green Lantern Corps search and discover these unknown sectors. Seeing as how the Guardians have been quite incorrect with their logic concerning recent events, they grant Guy Gardner his request.

There’s a pretty humorous part during all this when Guy makes a construct of a reclining chair and sits back, fully prepared to argue his case for hours if need be, but the Guardians are basically just like “You’re right. You should go.” Guy is in total disbelief for a moment and makes a reference to being “Punk’d” (which only confuses the Guardians). Guy decides not to spoil the moment and goes to find Ganthet.

Meanwhile, on the planet Daxam, we see two small Daxamite children pulling the now grounded corpse of Sodam Yat. For those who don’t remember, Sadam Yat was the bearer of the Ion entity for a time and chose to reignite the Daxam sun with his powers. However, he recently had the entity pulled out of him by the strange “Entity Hunter” that has been haunting the pages of the Green Lantern book as of late. Some militarized force is looking for the body of Sodam, but the children drag him into a ditch and lay ontop of his glowing ring to keep him hidden.

Guy catches up with Ganthet who is deep within the core of Oa. Ganthet has found the evil book that the former Guardian Scar was using to see the prophecy of the Blackest Night. While looking upon the Black Lantern symbol, Guy shuts the book and states that Ganthet can simply tell him the “cliff notes version” of the story when Ganthet figures it all out. Ganthet asks Guy if he was granted permission to go to the unknown sectors, to which Guy replies he has.

I don’t want to spoil the entire issue, so I’ll just stop here. We do witness a scene with Atrocitus and a certain Red Lantern on Ysmault. And another bit with Guy that involves his Red Lantern past. And so on and so forth. There’s still plenty I didn’t cover — especially the ending that definitely has me curious for the next issue.

— — — — —

I really enjoyed this issue, if it’s not obvious already. It really felt like a long read that covered a lot. Each scene felt very significant in it’s own little way, and I definitely am excited for the rest of this story. Peter Tomasi definitely loves Guy Gardner, but he writes him in a way that still makes him feel like the same Guy Gardner he’s always been. Somehow he’s managed to take this character I had nothing but an annoyance for and turn him into a character that I really like — and I can’t really explain why.

Even characters like Ganthet seem captured very well. There is also a scene in particular with Atrocitus that really makes that villain seem much more evil than he has in recent events. Tomasi definitely makes it clear that Atrocitus is working with Guy, but the moment their deal is done, his number one priority is to kill every Guardian and every Green Lantern.

The art from Fernando Pasarin is wonderful. It’s not stylistic in the least bit — just GOOD. He can draw so accurately, and somehow make a scene of Guy Gardner riding a motorcycle while wearing a baseball helmet look really awesome.

I have extremely minor complaints, but it felt like I was searching for them rather than actually noticing them as I read.

If you’re a Green Lantern Corps fan, you might want to pick this up. It looks like a book that is going to have an exciting story that will tie all of the Green Lanterns (Hal included) together in one big event — just like the Sinestro Corps War and the storylines that preceded it. In fact, I have a feeling this storyline might have more significance than the current story arcs of the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps books — at least for the rest of 2010.

Even if you’re a Green Lantern fan who feels like they can never understand the appeal of a character like Guy Gardner — give this book a shot. I think you’ll quickly see how this character can be written well.

And I would even go as far to say this could be a book an outsider of the Green Lantern universe could read. There are going to be some small references here and there that don’t add up, but for the most part, you’re going to be reading a story about a very different kind of hero as he goes on a journey that definitely falls in the “gray” area of good and bad.

I’m going to give Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors a “B+”.

It’s good — very, very good. The $4 dollar ($3.99) price hurts a little bit, but you’re getting a lot of good content for your purchase.

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