By: Peter J. Tomasi (story), Fernando Pasarin (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Gabe Eltaeb (colors)
The Story: Of all the days for Guy to not have access to his own bar.
The Review: It’s easy to fixate on Guy’s anger issues and in-your-face attitude, but one should never overlook his incredible sense of dedication. While Hal Jordan’s clearly the golden boy of the Green Lantern mythos, I actually don’t think anyone has as much loyalty to the Corps as our Guy. He probably has tighter bonds with more of his fellow Lanterns than any of the human ring-bearers, and I daresay even the Guardians probably prefer dealing with him than Hal.
But that could just be the their preference for folks they can manipulate. Guy’s bristling personality aside, he is, as the Guardians observed last issue, amazingly predictable. If you know the right buttons to push, you can get whatever response out of him you want, and that makes him easy to control. No wonder the Guardians let Ganthet call the shots on their plan to oust Guy (and John). Even stripped of his emotions, he still knows how these humans tick.
Too bad he uses it to give Guy absolutely the worst day of his life. Let’s set aside the total public humiliation (the Guardians open the Citadel sunroof so all of Oa can witness his censure). Not only does he—spoiler alert—fail to stop and capture Xar, he loses one of his closest teammates, both the crews under his supervision, and an entire diplomatic delegation (thereby causing, although not really since the Guardians caused it, galactic strife)he has to get a lecture on Corps values from the little blue people actively trying to destroy it. Tomasi writes this breakdown with a methodical precision that’s almost cruel, almost guaranteeing your sympathy.
However, these ongoing blows to the Corps are getting pretty noticeable. Even Salaak, who’s traditionally blind to these kinds of things, gets suspicious enough to launch his own investigation*, confiding in a concerned Kilowog as he does so. With both John and Guy out of the picture, we only have the non-human Corpsmen left to keep things together—something Tomasi should’ve done sooner, in retrospect. It’s kind of ridiculous how rarely the alien Lanterns get the focus of this series, even though this is the only series that makes it possible.
While I appreciate Salaak and Kilowog taking some steps to find out what the Guardians are up to, it’s troubling that they get relegated to information dumps, reciting a bunch of facts that we already know. Even the Guardians’ long diatribe to Guy consists mainly of summing up events between this and last month’s issues. You can’t deny that much of it is necessary within the context of the story, but it does make for a slower, weightier read for us.
If Tomasi earns the final scene with Guy on his knees from all that’s happened, it’s because Pasarin gets across Guy’s inner turmoil so well without resorting to emotional excesses. You can see his manly attempts to keep from falling apart throughout the issue, even though his anguish comes through in his eyes. Pasarin does a lot with eyes, actually; even with no pupils to speak of, his characters convey so much of their thoughts just with a slight twitch or crinkle to their eyes. Both Hanna and Eltaeb shine most, funnily enough, in darker scenes, where Hanna’s inks take on expressive shadows and Eltaeb’s colors become almost glossy from concentrated light. Overall, one of the best and most consistent art teams since the relaunch.
Conclusion: A little too much talk, but an emotionally compelling issue that definitely opens the door to even more drama.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * I love that Salaak sends Lantern B’dg to Earth because he can “blend in with its indigenous creatures.” I had no clue who B’dg was and when I looked him up, that got a good laugh out of me.
– The idea of Cyborg, the Flash and the Gardner family awkwardly eating Thai food on the League satellite is just delightful.