Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern Corps 15, originally released December 12th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage.
Mikyzptlk: Loss and regret are, unfortunately, a big part of our lives. Whether it be the loss of a job, a relationship, or especially a loved one, it can be very hard to deal with. People deal with loss and regret in many different ways and while some may choose a positive outlet to get over their grief, others may not. For example, if not for a personal loss in my life, I wouldn’t be a blogger writing this review today. Ever the goofball, I hate to be such a downer, but I couldn’t help but notice that this issue dealt a lot with the concept of loss and regret as Guy Gardner finds himself back in his home town, sans ring. However, while Guy’s journey is the main thrust of this issue, it’s certainly not entirely about him. And while Guy experiences regret and loss, fellow Green Lanterns John Stewart and Salaak get a taste of their own.
The issue opens with Guy Garner…excuse me, Gardner, alone in his garage in a fit of rage (no, not the vomity kind). He’s wondering how things could have gone so wrong after achieving all he’s achieved. He tears his GL jacket off and replaces it with his motorcycle jacket and takes off. Out in “the unknown sectors,” John Stewart and Fatality have been summoned by pieces of Mogo, which in case you’ve forgotten, John sorta destroyed a few story arcs back. Suddenly, Fatality is pulled by a small remnant of Mogo and, as it turns out, this small part of Mogo is actually female! Take a look.
Over on Oa, the Guardians are admiring their handiwork as Salaak silently watches through the use of a nano-cam (which is kind of like a nanny-cam, only much, much smaller). Unfortunately for Salaak, this only fools the Guardians for so long and they end up stashing him away in a coffin-sized compartment. Back on Earth, Guy discovers that his father is still a jerk and that his sister is out climbing her way up to Detective status. After a bit of an epiphany, Guy decides that he doesn’t need a ring to be a hero. Hey, if Batman can do it, why not Guy? He busts some heads (with the threat that he still has his ring and is just going “old school”) and collects a few leads. The biggest of which leads him to an arms deal which actually turns out to be a huge sting operation. Whoops. The issue ends with Guy’s sister reading him his rights.
Peter Tomasi continues to impress me this series. Even in the midst of the Third Army event, he manages to tell what seems like the story he wants to tell. Whether the machinations of Geoff Johns or not, the plots surrounding our characters feel like they would have happened anyway. I mentioned before that these characters are dealing with loss and regret. Guy has just lost his ring, the thing that after so many years of struggling to live up to his father’s expectations finally validated his choices, if not in his father’s eyes, then in his own. Guy’s ultimate response is to go out and bash some heads. On the one hand, his attempt to get over his loss seems positive in that he wants to continue to do what he does best, be a hero. However, he goes about it in a way that is less than positive in a shoot first, ask questions NEVER manner and pays the price for his brashness.
KLAK indeed. Tomasi really has a good handle on this character. He recognizes that Guy is a good person at heart who wants nothing more than to have the respect of his loved ones. He also recognizes that Guy is prone to go off half-cocked. Regardless of whether or not Guy had his ring, I think he would have approached the arms deal the same exact way. “Are there bad guys? Well, I’ll knock their heads off!” The only difference here is that Guy no longer has his ring to get him out of trouble. I feel that Tomasi has a great handle on the other characters featured here too. In true John fashion, he continues to deal with his regret by blaming himself for…pretty much everything. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it’s not too far off from the truth. Fatality is also still dealing with loss of her own. John accidentally destroyed her home planet and even though she’s no longer a villain, she is still dealing with the pain. It seems to me that Tomasi may be leading both characters down the path of healing by helping Mogo to piece him/herself back together. Finally, as for Salaak, he’s dealing with the loss of his once great leaders and the regret that he followed them so blindly. Considering that he’s now trapped in what is essentially Oa’s cellar, he doesn’t quite get the chance to deal with his pain quite yet. However, I’m assuming (and really REALLY hoping) that Tomasi is going to let Salaak let loose against the Guardians before this event is over.
Lastly, but certainly not leastly(?), Fernando Pasarin really does a bang-up job with his pencils. As much as I feel that Tomasi gets these characters in his writing, I feel that Pasarin gets them in his artwork. I don’t really know how else to explain this except that when I see his interpretations, I feel that this is the way they are meant to be drawn.
So, Shelby, what did you think? Were you as enamored by this issue as I was? I did feel slightly cheated by the fact that there weren’t really any interactions with the Third Army even though the ramifications of the Guardians plans are still unfolding. Other than that though, I’m very interested in where Tomasi is taking these characters and I’m wondering how Guy is going to get back in the green colored fold.
Shelby: I was not quite as enamored as you. After the zero issue, I had been looking forward to seeing more interactions with the whole Gardner clan. I was more than disappointed to see zero growth in the relationship between Guy and his dad. Considering how long Guy has been a Lantern and the things he’s done with the ring, his father’s insistence on belief that people without help beyond “a nightstick and a gun” are somehow serving a nobler cause and deserve better rings pretty hollow. Do Guy’s brother and sister deserve to be rewarded and respected for putting their lives on the line to protect civilians? Of course they do. Does that fact make Guy any less worthy of the rewards and respect he earned as a member of the Green Lantern Corps, putting his life on the line to protect civilians? Nope. Guy was a cop, just like the rest of his family; he just had bigger guns to take on bigger enemies. The fact that his dad can’t even begrudgingly recognize that seems a little forced, like Tomasi is just keeping it in for the sake of having a conflict instead of growing organically out of the story itself. Who knows, maybe the fault is mine; maybe I want to think Guy’s dad is less of an asshole than he actually is.
I’m also getting a little fed up with the pace of this title. Last month I was hoping that Salaak and Kilowog’s discovery that new rings haven’t been going out foreshadowed some sort of action against the Guardians this month. Instead, it just means Salaak is hidden away so things can continue to plod along, business as usual. The John/Fatality story is another example; last month we learned that the two of them are tracking the same piece of Mogo, which appears to be trying to reform. That’s super interesting! This month we learned the seemingly important fact that Mogo is both male and female, and those are the pieces trying to get back together. Who the hell cares? Fatality and John didn’t move an INCH between this month and the last; they mostly just talked about how John feels bad and Fatality forgives him. More old news.
One of the things I’ve liked most about this title is the character work Tomasi has done with Guy and John. Now that he has to follow the timetable of a cross-over event instead of his own arcs, I think we’re getting TOO much of this character development work. Instead of learning new things, seeing new depths of these characters, we are treading water with the same old facts while we wait for the plot to thicken elsewhere. Even though there are so many interesting things I wanted to learn in this issue, I found myself to be a little bored. Maybe next month we’ll get some new answers to our questions, instead of the same answers just re-worded from the last time we got them.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?