One has to feel a little for Guy Gardner no matter how abrasive you might find his personality, and throughout the Rise of the Third Army he's found himself in the center of the crosshairs of everyone from the Guardians to the Third Army to his own family. Green Lantern Corps #16 is the penultimate chapter in the story arc for this title leading into next weeks conclusion in the series' annual.
The Story -
The Guardians watch as the Third Army continues to grow in numbers on the Earth, apparently not attracting enough attention for the rest of the planet's superhero community while Guy takes up residence in prison. His history as both a cop and a Green Lantern makes him a popular target, but he's more than able to hold his own against the first person who thinks he's going to make a name for himself.
Gloria and Gerard Gardner make a late night visit and try to help Guy, but the years of family tension get in the way. But when the Guardians send the Third Army to the prison to add him to their growing ranks the family sticks together to try to fend them off.
Meanwhile out in deep space Fatality and John Stewart continue to work towards bringing Mogo back, discovering that some of his pieces are being used for their residual energy as a weapon of terror. The two former adversaries make quick work of things and soon compare notes on what's been happening with the New Guardians. John comes to the realization that the Guardians are not acting normal and that his mission is all a part of the plan to separate John from the rest of the Green Lantern Corps.
|John puts the pieces together|
Back on Earth the Gardners are in a desperate bid to stay alive against the rising tide of the Third Army. Baz and B'Dg arrive, fresh from their activities over in Green Lantern #16 and make a huge impact in the battle. The two are far more effective than Guy's squad was in issue fourteen and are not only able to keep the Third Army at bay, they manage to evacuate any of the un-assimilated humans before taking out the entire batch of enemies. Baz and Guy find themselves to be of similar nature as they depart for the moon and as the issue closes Baz plays back the message from Hal and Sinestro to bring the gobsmacked Guy Gardner up to speed.
The Writing -
Peter Tomasi does a great job as usual in building the frantic pace of the assault of the Third Army and still keeps the drama high by building on Gardner's past to really put the screws to him. I don't think Guy has ever been this compelling of a character and Tomasi has been superb at adding a lot of dimension while embracing the exterior that fans are so familiar with. Guy's introduction to Simon Baz was also spot on, and it's clear that the two of them are similar in some ways, but it won't be long before they are odds with each much like anyone who spends too much time in Gardner's proximity.
|Tomassi excels at building the tension between Guy and his family|
The John Stewart sequences still seem to interrupt the flow of the story and I've on more than one occasion wished that this subplot was pulled out of the main story and served to us as a backup in the title, but that's just one opinion. I liked seeing John the tactician looking at all the elements for recent history and coming up with his own conclusion about the Guardians' activities. He and Fatality are a good combination and it would somehow seem fitting if the two of them were to find love after all the times they've fought.
Like many fans I've heard from since the issue came out I'm a little puzzled by how easily B'Dg and Baz were able to fend off the Third Army, with B'Dg able to keep them in a bubble all by himself while Baz flew off while just two issues ago and entire team of Green Lanterns were incredibly ineffectual against smaller numbers. I also wondered why Guy wasn't given a duplicate ring - surely it might have reduced the tension a bit but it would have been the smart thing to do.
The Art -
Fernando Pasarin has been consistently putting out great work for this series and he's clearly and unsung hero for Green Lantern Corps. His work during the meeting between Guy and his siblings really brings Tomassi's script to life and the subsequent assault by the Third Army is a great piece of visual storytelling that puts us in the action as everyone fights to stay alive.
What Do I Think?
The creative team on Green Lantern Corps is so consistent from month to month and it's wonderful as a reader to know that there's going to be something to look forward to every time a new issue hits the stands. This issue is a great combination of action and personal drama with enough light humor mixed in to add a little flavor. I'm looking forward to next week's annual to see how things wrap up before we see the Wrath of the First Lantern. Four out of five lanterns.