Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: Guy Gardner: Warrior #17

Guy Gardner: Warrior #17, "Warrior Road," cover date February 1994
Written by Chuck Dixon, Penciled by Mitch Byrd, Inked by Dennis Cramer and Dan Davis

Warrior Guy Gardner 17

As the contents of this blog have probably made clear, I grew up an admitted Marvel Zombie in the 90's, so realize that this is basically an outsider's view of Guy Gardner. Basically, he's the jerk Green Lantern, originally just sort of a foil for Hal Jordan the way U.S. Agent was for Captain America. He became pretty popular during his run on Justice League International in the late 80's/early 90's, where he's maybe best remembered for being punked out by Batman. His anti-hero appeal was enough that even after he was kicked out of the Green Lantern corps, he was given other super powers via Sinestro's ring, and was given his own comic, Guy Gardner, in 1992. As of this issue, the book's title officially changes to Guy Gardner: Warrior, as Guy is finally given a codename, and it's terrible. Guy is also noted for having a pretty dumb Moe Howard-looking haircut. So that's the intro: time for the "first scorchin' issue," aka issue #17!

We begin our story with Guy Gardner saying that he was about to face the "toughest challenge he ever faced." It quickly becomes apparent he means more emotionally than physically, as he flies to his parent's house. His mom invites him in and starts making a dinner omelette, as Guy says he wants to talk to his dad. His mom informs him that his dad died just after his brother Mace committed suicide.

Warrior 17 Militia
What on earth is she wearing?

We cut to a masked Deathstroke type character named "Militia" as he communicates with the "Quorum" about finding Guy Gardner. Gardner's apparently wanted for murder, and Militia is very zealous about catching him.Guy looks at old photos, wondering if he hadn't repressed happy memories, and if that's what made the Draal's copy of Guy a murderer. He watches TV with his mom, but when she asks if he makes decent money fighting crime, he takes it as fishing for a loan, rather than motherly concern, and flies off, upset that he wasn't able to tell his father what he really thought of him. On a plane, Militia is being outfitted by a woman wearing an unfortunate costume, and announces that Guy has 3 minutes to live.

Warrior 17 Memorial
"Wait, which memorial has a rotunda? Ah, who cares."

Guy flies over to the Washington, D.C., area to reflect by the reflecting pool and the composite Lincoln/Jefferson Memorial that apparently stands there in the D.C. universe. Militia slams into the reflecting pool and starts spouting off about how he's "the Reaper Man." Guy realizes a national monument to... someone isn't a good place to fight, and takes the rooftops. Militia surprises him with a hard haymaker, but Guy responds by encasing himself in a yellow bullet and slamming into Militia at full speed. Elsewhere, "Ice," apparently an old grandmother, is having coffee with Wonder Woman and "Fire." She says she and Guy are done, as things haven't been the same since she came back from the dead. Isn't that always the way?

Warrior 17 Ice Fire Wonder Woman
Frankly, Guy can do better.

Guy flies north along I-95, but his ring shorts out on him and he crashes to the highway. Militia goes to finish him off, but somehow his armor runs out of power and he lands hard, then gets hit by a semi-truck. He still manages to comically shout that "this isn't over" as he's carried away.

Warrior 17 Guy Militia

We end as the Blue Beetle, one of Guy's friends from his JLI days, watches Guy try on costumes. He asks what the big "W" on Guy's chest is for, and he says from now on, he's "Warrior."


I've always been pretty partial to Chuck Dixon, and he does a pretty good job of humanizing a character that's mostly known as a bit of a joke. The "I was a jerk because my father was mean" backstory isn't exactly winning any prizes for originality, but it's nice that he doesn't really get any stock scenes with his mom. Militia isn't winning any points for originality, as it's clearly an attempt to give Guy his own rogue's gallery. There was apparently a multi-part "Guy Gardner: Year One" story earlier in the year, where Guy's brother Mace was introduced as a major factor in his life- Mace was a cop who set Guy on the right path. There's a pretty big hint as when the truck hits Militia, as we see a shock of orange hair.

Guy Gardner Warrior new costume

Byrd's pencil-work is a bit cartoon-y, but it's certainly capable, lack of references to prominent national landmarks notwithstanding. He also does the old penciler trick of just copying the same image in six vertical panels with absolutely no change. Maybe the biggest issue is his faces, but for the most part his stuff is pretty solid. That said, the coloring and inking ain't great, and the book's attempts to draw "sexy" women end up looking pretty comical. I do like that there's a range of non-bombshell women in the book, particularly Guy's mom, but the art makes Ice look like somebody's grandmother.

90's Fashion: Warrior's new costume is spiked gloves, a leather jacket over a t-shirt, and chaps over a pair of jeans. Militia's armor looks vaguely Batman-ish, along with a row of pouches at his belt, and two mid-thigh pouch belts. "Honey," one of Quorum's agents assisting Militia, has a costume that looks like a reject from a Larry Hama 1980's G.I. Joe issue, as she wears a mask, a purple jumpsuit and what appear to be blue oven mitts.

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