“I thought it’d be easy: say the oath, save the world”
It’s been so long and so many things have changed with regard to DC’s continuity that it’s very easy to forget how much Guy Gardner went through before emerging as the annoying wild card that is so synonymous with the character today. While being tormented in the Forbidden Zone Guy witnessed his love, Kari Limbo, fall for Hal Jordan and then upon his release lapsing into a deep coma for many years. With this week’s release of Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1 readers get a chance to revisit an alternate history where Brainiac’s dome brings Guy out of his coma rather than the Guardians in a compelling story that explores Guy and his relationships with John Stewart and Hal Jordan.
The creative team behind High Moon and The Only Living Boy, David Gallaher and Steve Ellis, partner up again and deliver an issue which makes the whole Convergence “battle of the cities” element take a back seat and instead focuses on Guy’s personal story as he wrestles with the psychological trauma caused by what he endured in the Phantom Zone. The script plays a lot of Guy’s resentment of Hal, born from a combination of deep seated jealousy and feeling that the life he should have had was taken from him. As Guy goes in pursuit of Hal in hopes of confronting his issues face to face Gallaher we encounter a very needy Carol Ferris and get a surprising revelation from John Stewart. Carol’s portrayal may seem awkward to fans who didn’t read the Green Lantern books during the pre-Crisis era but it’s pretty spot on to the way she was written back then.
When Guy finally finds Hal we learn how a year under the dome has driven him down his own rabbit hole of sorts. Hal’s incredible drive to find a way out of the dome has consumed him to the point at which he lives a hermit’s life solely focused on trying to contact Oa. He has also managed to arrange for Guys therapy with Leslie Thompkins in part to make up for feeling responsible for what happened the last time Guy used a power ring.
Throughout the issue Guy manages to control himself, but meeting up with Jordan triggers Gardner’s infamous temper and the reader can see the near-instant transformation into the all too familiar personality we’ve come to love and loath. It was almost a disappointment to see Telos interrupt the moment but it acts as the catalyst needed to create the moment that pushes Guy over the ledge. Once the Convergence event inserts itself into the story the issue comes to a close, leaving us to wait another month to see Guy, Hal and John confront their foes, and each other. With the setup of this issue I’m not sure what will be the bigger battle! That’s what makes this series my favorite so far of this event and it’s that Convergence is secondary to good storytelling.
Steve Ellis does a wonderful job on pencils and keeps the panels uncluttered so that the emphasis is clearly on the characters. Ande Parks and Hi-Fi play a big part in the issue’s visual success as well and the team effort pays dividends in what I think is one of the best looking books so far this month from DC.
Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1 is so far my favorite issue of DC’s two-month long Convergence event, focusing more on telling a great story rather than serving as a cog in an event machine. We’re reminded of how rough a road Guy Gardner has had to hoe and the winning team of Gallaher and Ellis effectively channel the pre-Crisis DC vibe to great effect. Seven out of ten lanterns.