Or – “Why No Character Is Unsalvageable…”

glc8.jpgreviewbubble.jpgFor a long time, the conventional wisdom at DC seemed to state that there were two brands of characters: the funny and the dramatic. During the bleak time that was comics in the 1990’s, it became necessary to traumatize the funny ones so they, too, could be dark and gritty. Thus did we see Booster Gold lose an arm, Blue Beetle have a series of heart attacks, and Guy Gardner become an mighty morphin’ gun-totin’ alien. With 2003’s Green Lantern: Rebirth miniseries, we’ve finally seen both characterizations amalgated into one: the salacious, rude, mercilessly funny Rambo Guy and the dedicated, angry, powerful Guy together make for such a potent combination that he has become a key supporting character in GL’s book, and the anchor of Green Lantern Corps. Which is part of the reason this issue disappointed me…

glc1.jpgGLC is one of those books that snuck up on me. I’m a sucker for a huge spanning team, as well as for a little space opera, and I’ve been entertained by Guy becoming the respected veteran Green Lantern while Hal finally reaps the karmic whirlwind. With the Corps barely restarted, and Guy enjoying a renaissance, why would we concoct another super-secret branch of the GLC and throw our newly-respected Mr. Gardner in a standard “rookie cop” situation? Beats me…

We begin our story in a stronghold of The Dominion (not the same one from Deep Space Nine, mind you) with the yellow fangfaced creeps known only as Dominators. In a moment of pure blech, one of them manages to be fat. A zen koan for you: what’s uglier than a fat Dominator?


A fat Dominator with his face blown off. Gyaah… See that big creature with the horns of doom? That is a former minor scientist of the Dominion, now a hugely powerful telekinetic creature who wishes to be known as The Dominator. This causes my first bone of contention… Yes, it’s a pretty powerful name. But when the entire RACE is already known as the Dominators, wouldn’t you choose something… I don’t know… more distinctive? Moreover, he has a pretty big grudge (as seen by the pop-skulling) against his former fellows, you’d think carrying their name forward might irritate him? Meanwhile, down in the depths, another monster awaits. He sits in darkness, fully aware that he’s being watched, and none to0 happy about it.


I don’t like him. Moreso than the Dominator, he’s frightening. This creature is referred to as “The Khund” throughout the issue, though Khunds don’t look like that. Bygones. The person whose memories he ate is a creature called Daggle (familiar name to Legion of Superheroes fans), a member of a super-secret branch organization of the Guardians of the universe, called “The Green Lantern Corpse.” Ouch. For all the interesting intentions of this story, the names are killing me. Daggle heads upward, into space where Guy Gardner and R’amey Holl, the newest recruits to the Corpse await. Guy rants (as Guy is wont to do) about the mission, about Daggle, about how he’s never heard of any “Corpse” as long as he’s been a Lantern (which works against the story for me… When you retcon, it’s best not to keep pointing out how it’s a retcon), when butterfly-girl R’amey finally interrupts him.


I alternately love and hate Holl’s speech patterns, with a mixed alien understanding causing phrasing like “His emotion-doubts were beginning to overwhelm him. I acted to temporarily distract-remove those feelings.” It conveys her alien nature, but also borders dangerously on cutesy territory. Daggle arrives, reading them both the riot act for their hormones, and sends them on their mission. Guy will handle the Khund, he and R’amey tackle the Dominator. Guy confronts the Khund, and gets his brain half-shredded for his troubles, while Daggle exposits the existence of the Corpse.


Which is an interesting point, but I’m not thrilled with the handling of it. Certainly, a “black ops” team of Lanterns is an interesting concept, but I’d be more accepting of it as a recent change, rather than secretly existing from the beginning. I miss the Guardians as infallible and omniscient space-Smurfs with everyone’s best interests at heart. Interestingly, the Corpse’ power signature is purple, bearing more resemblance to Star Sapphire, the tool of the Zamarons (the Guardians former female counterparts) than to the emerald energy of the Guardians. Had we just said that the Corpse was a Zamaronian invention, doing the things the Guardians wouldn’t sully their pristine hands with, it’d work better, at least for me.

The Khund smacks Guy down, hard, turning off his entire brain, except for his pain receptors, and leaves him paralyzed on the floor to die. R’amy confronts the Dominator, and learns firsthand why a weapon you have to swallow may be asking for trouble…


Ever notice how nearly everyone Guy Gardner kisses has a terrible life afterwards? The Dominator eats the not-a-power-ring, which makes him even more insanely powerful, throwing the corpse of R’amey away, as his pet Khund returns from fighting Daggle…


I’ll put down ten bucks right now that says this is actually Daggle, rather than the Khund. Especially given that we don’t see the end of their fight. The Dominator and The Khund head for Earth (why Earth? I dunno) leaving R’amey disemboweled and a spectacularly ugly Guy (seen in the teaser at the very top) to die horribly in a charnel pit. Not exactly a happy ending…

The darkness of the story works in the books’ favor, even if I’m not entirely sure I buy everything that Daggle is putting down. I think there’s a lot more going on here than we think, and I’ll be disappointed if it’s a simple fistfight next issue. As I mentioned before, while it’s interesting to see Guy out of his element, I’m bothered by this story appearing this early in the run of the book. We’ve have 12 issues (counting the original 5 issue mini) to establish the players and the field, and we’ve already started with the “everything you know is wrong.”

The art in this issue does well when portraying the monsters, with Dominator and Khund horrible, and even R’amey suitibly alien. But they draw a really hideous Gardner (the only character we’ve any familiarity with) and the anatomy of humanoids tends to be a little bit off. Also problematic is the dark coloring, obviously intended to convey mood and tone to a bleak and harsh story, but the characters wear all black, the big bad is primarily black, and all the action takes place either in the blackness of space, or the blackness of a dungon. How much more black could this issue be, David St. Hubbins? “None more black,” indeed… All told, this issue had some strong elements, and the basics of a good suspenseful story, but the follow-through doesn’t quite live up to the tale they seemed to want to tell. It’s an interesting showing that never quite gets past the two star mark.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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