By: Peter J. Tomasi (story), Fernando Pasarin (pencils), Scott Hanna (inks), Gabe Eltaeb (colors)
The Story: America just added one more to its unemployed statistics.
The Review: You know what I’ve realized from all this drama around Guy leaving the Corps? Green Lanterns don’t really retire, do they? The closest they ever get, going from events of the last year or so, is either outright dismissal or resignation (which is still dismissal, but sneakier). That means the Lantern survival rate is effectively zero; once the ring comes to you, prepare for an early death, and probable a pretty horrible one at that.
So maybe Guy should be thanking his lucky stars that he got out when he did. Resigning in disgrace doesn’t seem half as bad as, say, getting assimilated by a mouthless creature in the dead of space. But that’s just me being a total wuss. Guy is a cop without fear, not to mention something of a thrill-seeker with a lot of unaddressed anger issues; he lives to put these kinds of threats in their place. Without that channel for his energies, retirement means death for him.
We also see that Guy’s position in the Corps was a major ego-boost for him. In #0, we learned he got kicked out of the police force for thus far undetermined reasons, and it’s obvious he found solace in being the top dog in the ultimate police force of the universe. When the issue opens, you see him beating himself up over his loss, mostly fixating on that of his pride: “I was a lantern! A sentinel! Respected! My damn name burned into the book of Oa!”
You don’t need to be a shrink to recognize his desperate desire for recognition is due in no small part to daddy issues. The senior Gardner dismisses his oldest son entirely; power ring or no. This makes him mostly a jag, but he makes up for it with a highly entertaining personality. When Gerard asks Gardner Sr. if he’s going to pick up his phone, he replies, “Anybody I’d wanna talk to is watching the game and not looking to yap with me.”* The whole Gardner family dynamic is terrific, striking that perfect note between affection and irritation.
Tomasi’s talent for character also earns him a pretty powerful scene with Salaak, who has grown enormously as a Green Lantern staple over the years, the equal to popular figures like Kilowog or Ganthet. His passionate outburst at the Guardians is very moving, offering the most cogent protest against the Guardians’ act yet, only to be shut down with that old yarn about free will being the death of the universe, or whatever.*
In other news, it looks like John is due to run into the Guardians’ latest scheme himself, now that he has Fatality—or rather, Yrra—to help him track the disparate pieces of Mogo. The tension in that collaboration is pretty potent. Even though she ostensibly forgave him a while back for what he did to Xanshi, he’s still determined to hold on to his guilt and you can’t be sure how much of her generosity was due to Star Sapphire mojo. Here, she does bristle in a most unloving manner at one point; who’s to say that won’t lead to a much more toxic confrontation later?
Pasarin gets to cover a lot of ground in this issue, from cosmic drama to earthbound action, and he depicts it all with great credibility. Most of all, you have to appreciate his emotional work, bringing the vulnerability out of a man’s man like Guy or a stone-cold figure like Salaak. Pasarin’s cinematic sense of action really pays off in the final scene of Guy taking out a whole band of (secret) federal agents by himself. Eltaeb’s colors are appropriate and lend Pasarin’s figures good depth, but there’s nothing extraordinary to remark on there.
Conclusion: One of DC’s most reliable titles shows off its blend of action, adventure, and personal drama, all rendered in very becoming art.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: * His boasts to the contrary, I highly doubt that he “tossed” the signal device the Justice League gave him “back at the Amazon,” because I doubt he could stand up straight now if he did.
* The Guardians do have a point; their free will probably should have been beaten out of them a long time ago, before they started this whole overseers of the universe gig.
– I actually really like the idea of Mogo have a male and female side. Seems appropriate for a planet.