“They are not as different as they like to pretend”
Act Two of GodHead follows the theme of personal exploration, and in this week’s Red Lanterns #36 it’s all about Guy Gardner as writer Charles Soule reveals the toll that living the hard life has taken on Guy. Like in the other books in the Lantern family there needs to be a foil for the lead character to play off of and here Simon Baz serves as the agent to peel the layers off of Guy’s psyche to portray Gardner as someone who’s tired of losing those who have fought by his side while he himself lives to suffer the regret.
It might seem an unusual place for Guy to find himself given how stubborn and resolute he has always been portrayed, but the emotional depth is something we’ve seen Soule build up to provide some much needed characterization for a Green, now Red, Lantern who many have often found more irritating than entertaining. It wasn’t too long ago that DC was rumored to have had plans to kill off John Stewart, but given the build up that we’re getting from Soule and knowing that he will be leaving the series right before the big Convergence event it would be an easy leap to think that Guy Gardner might be on the chopping block if DC were looking to trim down the number of humans with power rings.
Baz’s tactics are effective, but he’s not going to score any points with the rest of Earth’s superhero community
Regardless of that the idea of Guy Gardner with a death wish makes him an even more imposing force to anyone who crosses his path, and right now Malhedron is the subject of Guy’s ire. Soule also explores Highfather a little more and we get the clear sense that not everyone who follows Highfather sees him in a positive light. Throughout GodHead it has been difficult to get a real bead on the character which I’m sure many New Gods fans find frustration in. In this issue Malhedron and his lady love Dia make the interesting observation that there isn’t as much that separates Highfather and Darkseid in their minds and I’m left feeling that Kirby’s New Gods have been given the Game of Thrones treatment for the New 52 universe. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what reverence you have for Kirby’s creations and for me I’m still on the fence about how much of a departure they seem to be. I’m still operating under the mindset that Highfather truly is benevolent, but like the Guardians of the Universe his perspective is from such a height that he no longer sees the sanctity of individual lives. My hope is that this event and the upcoming Darkseid War provides the catalyst to cause a paradigm shift in his way of thinking about all of us “bugs”.
Cyborg makes a guest appearance in this issue and his scene with Guy and Simon are tense based up on his lack of history with Guy and the sordid history with the current Green Lantern of Earth. I didn’t particularly care for how Simon Baz chose to get Cyborg to transport them to New Genesis and I doubt it particularly improved Cyborg’s opinion of Simon. Crude but effective the tactic gets the two ring bearers from point A to B, B being an intimate moment between Dia and Malhedron that reminds us that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder! It was also nice to see B’Dg if only for a few panels.
Highfather’s characterization continues to be enigmatic at best
Jim Calafiore does a wonderful job in supporting the script’s more personal moments between Simon Baz and Guy Gardner and his facial work let’s us see the emotion behind the words. It’s a particularly difficult job given the infernal design of Simon Baz’s mask but Calafiore’s pencils do an effective job. Red Lanterns #36 continues the theme prevalent in the second act of GodHead by making the encounter with the New Gods have some personal resonance for the Lantern cast. Charles Soule and James Calafiore provide an entertaining issue which serves to move Guy Gardner and Simon Baz to New Genesis, perhaps for an eventual reunion with Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris, and to further establish the paradigm of this new iteration of the New Gods. Four out of five lanterns.