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
1:25 variant cover by LEE BERMEJO
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…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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?

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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  1. Russell Catt
    August 13, 2010 at 7:50 am — Reply

    Major Spoilerite answer:
    Personally I am more tired than bothered at the current “tarnishing” trend in comics.
    However, I believe this is simply matching the current trend in society. I’m not sure if many people have the absolute faith in their respective country’s leadership that seemed to be evident in my parent’s generation.
    I think the big problem in this is how the comics industry will sustain these characters in the long-term. If we hate the leader of the day, we can simply elect a new one. It’s hard to elect a new Professor X.

    • Damascus
      September 22, 2010 at 4:30 am — Reply

      I agree, and I don’t like the Professor X that I grew up reading about and watching on Saturday mornings being a giant douche now, but the flip side is that when he was this all-knowing benevalent guy who always had the next best move planned out, everyone else didn’t have to make any tough decisions. It’s the same with Nick Fury, I always kinda liked the character a little and I hate that he got deposed when he did, but for him, I think he actually got more interesting after that happened than he had since, well since The Hoff played him. If it had gone much further, or if it goes much further, Beast and Dr. Strange will invariably be next to turn into manipulative horrible dick weasels. I know they threw some mud on Stephen Strange for using Dark Arts, but I don’t fault the guy for that move, he was doing what he had to do to save his friends and he willingly suffered the consequences after the fact (also it put Brother Voodoo in the spotlight for a bit and I got to see Son of Satan for a brief moment which is awesome).

      I haven’t read much of the newer X titles, but I am glad that they put Scott in charge now, for too long had they been playing Scott (man, I keep typing his name Scoot and having to retype it) like a massive whiny tool. They did it in X3 and in the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon and other places and it’s nice to have the field leader actually leading something for once (again).

  2. Doctor Sleepless
    August 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm — Reply

    Didn’t they already elect Cyclops “new Professor X” …

  3. brainypirate
    August 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm — Reply

    Spoiler question:

    I was firmly expecting the recent “backstory” for Saturn Girl to be received with the same kind of venom as the Gwen Stacy-Harry Osborne backstory. But the reviews I’ve seen so far seem to think that it makes perfect sense for its Silver Age context.

    So maybe it’s just a question of how well the writer allows such developments to grow out of the character’s history.

  4. August 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm — Reply

    ” how these sectors are even numbered”

    I forget which book it was, but it said that the sectors are sort of like pie shapes (3d wise a square extended out from a point) with the skinny end on Oa. That way each lantern can be in their sector and still on Oa. So… i guess sort of like if the universe (pet peeve time here, i hate it when they alternate galaxy with universe, big difference) was a sphere (of no real set size) and squares covered it and each corner drawn to a point.

    That’s neat and all, but does raise the question you posed as to how you number that. ;) Also how any can be “unknown”. I’m probably overthinking this. heh.

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