As long as I can remember, personal trauma has been part of a being superhero. I realize that hasn’t been the case always but for me as a reader the amazing set pieces and crazy costumes has always walked side by side with the pain of their past. However in mainstream comics there is a reliance on that trauma a bit to much that readers can be beaten over the head with it thus losing the power of whatever the moment the writer is using. Heck even our own Hal Jordan has been subject to the overuse of his Dad dying (spoilers btw). Warning there will be spoilers going forward. You have been warned.
As I read this arc, I can’t help but feel that Robert Venditti either should write a Guy Gardner solo series or wants to write a Guy Gardner solo series. It’s a bit odd that the arc indicates that Saint Walker would be the primary focus, and even though Saint Walker is in this comic he isn’t focal point. Given that this book features a large cast of characters you want to fit as much character development you can no matter what the arc is called. Heck that’s what the X-Men did for decades. Before getting into the Guy Gardner portion of this comic, as I was reading the opening sequence I couldn’t but want the partnerships between Sinestro Corps and Green Lanterns expanded upon. Just seeing a brief team up is nice enough but it’s begging for one shot stories of former adversaries actually becoming partners.
I simply adore how Venditti and Sandoval framed Guy’s confrontation with former high ranking Sinestro Corps officer Arkillo. I need to start off with the stupendous Rafa Sandoval on pencils as per usual he does stellar work once again but this fight sequence between Guy and Arkillo is on another level. First off the brutality of the fight reminded me of Invincible (published by Image Comics) in fact Sandoval seemed to be influenced by Ottley. Yes the fight sequence was brutal but what made it spectacular was the inter cutting of Guy’s childhood.
When you’re like me and you’ve been reading comics for ten plus years the tricks of the trade are well known that includes recalling a tragic moment to serve whatever narrative purpose the writer needs. What makes this Guy Gardner recalling the abuse he took from his father different is how minimalist it was. The flashbacks stick to the horrible moment of Guy getting abused and doesn’t over stay its welcome. For new readers it’s great because they get more depth on this loudmouth jackass, proving that you can never judge a book by it’s cover. I doubt that Guy is dead after this fight but will probably be on the shelf, which means it gives other characters a chance to shine.
Guy Gardner has never been one of my favorite characters, let alone Green Lanterns. This issue made a fan of his confidence and borderline stupidity, he’s the spice this series needs. My only real problem and it’s a pretty minor one is how Saint Walker seemed oblivious to who Guy was. I’m sure there is a story reason for it, but it still irked me a bit.
Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps #16 earns a 4/5