Later this year DC will be launching zero issues this September, but that isn’t the first time the publisher did that. After the Zero Hour crossover ended, the publisher spent October 1994 launching zero issues of established and new titles. They changed some characters and other continuity problems, some changes completely put the book on a new direction. Guy Gardner: Warrior #0 was one of those books.
At this point, Guy’s life was pretty miserable. His life had become filled with failure at that point. He had been kicked out of the Green Lantern Corps, lost his Yellow Lantern Ring, had some really odd body armor, and even attempted to be a non powered super hero.
And poor Guy didn’t think his life couldn’t get any weirder.
Guy finds out that he descends from a race of alien warriors from the planet Vuldar. The benefit of being a Vuldarian/Human hybrid is that he can shape shift his body into all kinds of weapons and other things, kind of like Random from X-Factor.
Now having new-found powers and a desire to use them, this revamp of Guy Gardner gave series writer a lot of wiggle room and resulted in some fun comics.
Guy got to keep his fun new powers for a few years, until Parallax erased his Vuldarian from his DNA, leaving him just an ordinary human again. That’s one way to erase continuity!
Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti’s Justice League International #5 finishes their first story arc without a bang, and I mean that in a literal sense since the JLI was able to put aside their individual pettiness and stopped alien invader Perraxus from destroying the Earth.
Along the way there’s lots of arguing, in fighting and a whole lot of self doubting on the part of Godiva, but they survive. The book ends with a panel showing the JLI surviving on a television monitor, with someone saying that they’ll have to go to their fallback plan on killing the heroes.
What I do like about this book is Jurgens’ take on the characters. None of them are impressed or in awe of Batman, which is an overdone cliché in a lot of super hero team comics. They treat him just like any other hero. I also like the relationship between Booster Gold and Guy Gardner; Guy is always antagonizing Booster (who isn’t as inept as the original JLI).If I could change the book, I would probably make the team a little smaller just to allow more characterization and depth. At time it seems like Fire and Vixen are just there. Anyway, this first arc was pretty solid and I wonder where they’re taking this “kill the JLI” subplot.
I finally found it! Justice League International #1 was found at a Barnes and Noble in Holyoke, Massachusetts on the way back from my friend Margot of White Hot Oven fame’s awesome wedding. So Sunday was a double treat for me–I went to a great wedding and got a chance to pick up the relaunch of one of my favorite comic book concepts. So how did Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti do?
The new JLI is founded by the United Nations to be their own multi-national super hero team. It seems that in the New DC, people are much more skeptical of super powered types like in the Marvel Universe. Lead by the popularity seeking Booster Gold, the new JLI is made up of some of the usual suspects like Guy Gardner (who resents taking orders from Booster), Fire and Ice, and the current Rocket Red. The new additions are Vixen (a perpetually underused character in the DC pantheon), Godiva (a forgotten super heroine with magic hair who flirts with Booster continually) and August General in Iron, a Chinese super hero from the Great Ten.
The book is a lot of exposition, as to why the heroes were picked for the team and how they interact. Batman, well because he’s Batman, has to be part of the team. He joins up independently, as the UN doesn’t want him in due to his secret identity. The book ends with the team setting off on their first mission.
Lopresti’s art is fine, and Jurgens does a good job of getting across all the different personalities. I like that he’s writing Booster to be a stronger character/leader type, as he did in Booster’s recently ended solo book. Overall, I would give this a B+, as it was very good and definitely peaked my interest for the next issue.
We’ve done it. We’ve gotten to one of my–if not the favorite–things in comics, the Justice League International. So how did a group of B and C list super heroes capture my heart?
Writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis gave this motley crew such great personalities. Just look at some of them. Booster Gold was a greedy, scheming George Costanza type, but had the looks and self confidence to make it work. His best friend Blue Beetle was always cracking jokes, but secretly had low seelf esteem in regards to his appearance.
Fire was a Brazillian sex pot and her best friend Ice was a bit socially conservative.
Guy Gardner was the prototypical dumb jock and was stuck with an idiot would-be sidekick in G’nort. Power Girl and Black Canary were super feminists. Elongated Man and his wife Sue were the obnoxious cute couple. Maxwell Lord was like Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny, but more of a tool. And these were just the primary characters.
The best part of this book was how they were able to intertwine the JLI’s personal lives and problems equally with the crime fighting and world saving stories. The book may have been silly at times, but you would always be more interested in what was going on between the characters then what diabolical scheme they were stopping.
You remember the time that Booster and Beetle tried to open a vacation resort on the living island Kooey Koeey Kooey. You remember Guy’s awkward first date with Ice. Or when Batman finally had enough and punched Guy out. Just fun stuff.
I thin that’s why many readers, and myself personally, had such a hard time with the whole mid 2000s DC, where it seemed that JLI characters were being killed left and right. Sue Dibny’s death was the plot device in Identity Crisis (and later on Elongated Man got killed off). Maxwell Lord turned uber-villain and murdered Blue Beetle. Rocket Red bit the dust in OMAC Project. Saying the last decade was rough is an understatement. It sucks seeing your favorite characters getting knocked off left and right.
But I’m really excited for the fall, with a new book featuring JLI coming after Flashpoint. It’s written by Dan Jurgens, who not only worked on JLI back in the day but also created Booster Gold. I can’t wait!
I think I’m still on some sort of post Green Lantern kick, because I keep wanting to write about related things. This clip from the wonderful Batman: The Brave and the Bold series from Cartoon Network.
In it we see G’nort Esplanade G’neesmacher trying to remember his Green Lantern oath. He debuted in the Justice League International books back in the late 1980s. When I got into those books, he became one of my favorite characters, mostly because he seemed so dimwittedly lovable.
Yes, G’nort is a bit of an idiot. But at his heart, he’s a loyal friend and brave. The way he interacts with Guy Gardner is a thing of beauty. Guy is so the alpha dog in their relationship and somewhat abusive, but he really is G’norts best friend, and therefore G’nort always puts up with him.
In his more recent appearances, he’s a bit depressed. His homeworld was destroyed during the Rann-Thangar war, and he is deservedly sad. G’nort hasn’t been seen in a while, and I hope he resurfaces in the new post-Flashpoint Justice League International.
One of the greatest running features on Mike Sterling’s great comic blog Progressive Ruin was the Sluggo Saturday posts that gave us a glimpse into the inner working of Nancy’s best friend.
This series inspired me to do Splash Page Saturdays where we will examine splash pages. This week’s installment continues the trend of Green Lantern posts with an example from Green Lantern Corp #43 by Patrick Gleason.
The page shows an irate Guy Gardner powering himself up with a Red Lantern ring. Combined with his Green Lantern ring, Guy is ready to unleash the powers of Christmas on evil-doers everywhere.