[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
I’ve never really like Guy Gardner. Over the years I’ve tolerated him with various degrees of success. He’s usually a mean, thoughtless one character. This issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps may be guys single best showing ever. Not being a Guy guy, I’ve not read all his appearances. But Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps gives Guy a depth I’ve not seen before in his character.
John and Soranik take off with Space Cabbie in tow as they trace Guy’s location. It doesn’t seem to take them long before they find Guy in hand-to-hand ringless combat with Arkillo. It’s not looking good for Guy. John realizes however, how important it is for Guy to bring Arkillo in this way that he prevents Soranik from intervening. Meanwhile, Kyle, Hal arrive on Mogo with Saint Walker in tow. They find out that Guy’s gone missing and John and Soranik have taken off after him, but they don’t realize the gravity of the situation.
As Guy continues to rise from Arkillo’s beating it seems that he’s not going to finish this fight in one piece. However, he summons everything he has to take down Arkillo with a vicious blow to his eye, penetrating into his skull. Guy, ends up in what appears to be just as bad a shape as Soranik’s ring registers critical levels on his hear rate.
The best part of this issue is the flashback’s interspersed during Guy’s fight with his memories of the abuse he took as a child from his alcoholic father. Now, while this is not an uplifting moment, it gives a depth to the character that while not excusing Guy’s coarse and violent approach to the world, provides an explanation for why Guy is the way he is. It also goes a long way in explaining why Guy’s will is so strong. It is an uplifting moment when that little boy who was guy is at last able to overcome the abuse and find an outlet for his rage as he subdues Arkillo. I feel good for that little boy.
While the issue is mostly a fight, its focus in this issue is well deserved. The blood might be too much for some, as well. It may seem that not a lot moves forward this issue. In the grand scheme of the story line, these are minimal if present at all.
Despite being a no-holds barred, all fight issue, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #16 is at it’s heart a character driven issue. The inner Guy gets some attention and works in an element of sympathy for his character. If you love Guy, you’ll love this issue, if you don’t like Guy, this is still a special issue that makes an unlikable character sympathetic.