Or – “Okay, One More GL Title And We’ve Reached Spider-Man Level Saturation…”
There’s a whole lot shakin’ in the cosmic portions of the DC Universe lately, what with the strange corpses who stopped living and became mixed-up cosmic zombies, the rewriting of the books of Oa, half a dozen new Corps to compete with the Guardians boys in green, and pretty much life, death and the whole cosmic enchilada flying back and forth. During all of this, Guy Gardner and Guardian Ganthet have made an unspecified deal with a particular devil, in the hopes of protecting the universe at large. They probably forget how badly those sorts of things tend to go…
Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #1
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by FERNANDO PASARIN
Cover by RODOLFO MIGLIARI
1:25 variant cover by LEE BERMEJO
Colors by RANDY MAYOR
Letters by STEVE WANDS
Published by DC COMICS
Previously, on Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors: Millenia ago, the women of Oa left the planet due to the butt-headedness of their male counterparts. Deprived of female companionship, the Oans declared themselves Guardians of the Universe, and created an interplanetary police force to enforce law and order. Those android cops, called Manhunters, eventually went insane and killed ALL LIVING BEINGS in Sector 666 to prove some sort of point, and were decommissioned. Eventually, the Guardians tried their super-cop idea again, with living beings bearing emerald rings of power, an experiment that has been somewhat more successful. In the wake of the war with Nekron (there was some talk about it, you mighta heard it?) the Guardians have been once again acting strangely, while Guy Gardner has entered into a pact with Ganthet and Atrocitus (leader of the Red Lanterns) to unknown ends. Speaking of Red Lanterns, it would seem that Guy’s own possession by a red ring has consequences…
We open on planet Oa, within sight of the main power battery, as Guy Gardner stands contemplating the nature of his recents decisions and alliances. He starts to record something that sounds like either a confessional or a last will and testament, when he’s interrupted by a bulletin from the ring. Leaping into action, Guy immediately rockets to sector 3600 (which does bring up the question of how these sectors are even numbered, as you’d think that 3600 would be the futher from sector zero, where Oa resides) and engages a group of criminals who have stolen a substance called Rakkonium. Guy’s constructs are really fun here, as he chases them down on a motorcycle, smashes their ship with a baseball bat, and dispatches thme in a glowing green paddywagon. His mission on the edge of the universe leads him to a decision, and Guy returns to Oa to petition the Guardians with a new mission: to go into the unknown sectors, chart them and find out what peoples live there, and bring some Lantern justice to the badlands. Now, before we get too much further into this, there’s a problem that I have with the scenario laid out by this issue. I’ll get to my reservations with this in a few moments…
After a quick vignette taking place on Daxam (I suspect Sodam Yat will be one of the Emerald Warriors of the title), we see Ganthet venturing into the darkest hidden caves of Oa, finding Scar’s citadel and the hidden Book of The Black. He is startled by the sudden appearance of Guy Gardner (a nice bit of character, actually, wherein Guy remarks that he doesn’t HAVE to be a bull in a china shop, he just chooses to) and the two of them discuss their situation with Atrocitus. They discover Sinestro Corpsman Lyssa Drak trapped in the book, and Ganthet takes it away for study, while remarking that the Guardians acquiescence to Guy’s plan (and Ganthet’s own wish to become a Lantern rather than a Guardian) seems a bit ominous. We get a quick scene on Ysmault, center of Sector 666, as Atrocitus sends his Red Lantern Bleeze (the one who looks like a blue exotic dancer with skeletal angel wings) to assist Guy, while Gardner finishes up his recording session. All that we hear are veiled hints as to his true mission, and he ends with his eyes glowing brightly with Red Lanterns symbols, and traces of blood appearing on his lips. That could be bad… The last scene of the issue shows events transpiring in the unknown sectors, showing what may be two Green Lanterns, seemingly hypnotized, returning to “Oa” to find a mysterious nasty-looking feller covered in serpents. “Long live the Corps,” growls the stranger as we fade to black.
Okay, first my reservations: To my understanding, the 3600 sectors represented the entire known universe, with the Guardians sending a Lantern (or more recently a pair of Lanterns) to protect each. With certain exceptions (like the Vega sector, where they have a non-interference pact) the Guardians of the Universe actually GUARDED the universe. Now, we’re given these “Unknown Sectors,” which make the Guardian seem even more provincial and limited than their petty squabbles have in recent issues of Green Lantern. I’m bothered by the fact that every attempt to deepen the mythos of the GLC and make the cosmic portions of the DCU more interesting always end up making the Guardians look smaller and more bureaucracy-bound, and I’m really bothered by this bit. That said, it’s not a bad issue, showing another side of Guy Gardner, giving us some depth on Ganthet’s new role, and even making Atrocitus seem less one-dimensional. The art is good throughout, reminding me a bit of Dale Eaglesham’s work on early issues of JSA, and we even get some glimpses of the future (Guy fighting Kyle Rayner to the death is one) without ever telling us what their secret mission actually IS. There is a sense of something very important going on here, but as with most secrets, we’ll probably all be disappointed when it comes to light. In the final analysis, this serves as a nice launching point for the new adventures of Guy, Ganthet, Kilowog and whomever, and does what it’s supposed to do in creating something I want to know more about, no matter how frustrated I am at the specific story beats or plot points. Green Lantern – Emerald Warriors #1 earns a solid 3 out of 5 stars overall, with a strong protagonist and a mystery that at least has me wondering…
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Are you at all bothered that all the infallible icons of the Silver Age (Professor X, Reed Richards, The Guardians of the Universe, Commissioner Gordon) have been dragged through the mire and shown to have feet of clay in modern stories? Is there no place for an untarnished figure of authority anymore?