Here’s a surprise. This new comic by most of the creative team of “Green Lantern Corps” is not nearly as good as “Green Lantern Corps.” Is it the artist? Fernando Pasarin is the only major change, here, replacing Patrick Gleason as the dude-who-draws-Guy-Gardner-looking-agitated. But Pasarin is an excellent artist. He has a few moments in this issue where he looks like he’s slipping into a kind of day-Bryan-Hitch-learned-to-photo-ref-faces mode, but other than those few jarring moments of facial expression acuity, Pasarin draws dynamically. He has a roundness in his physical forms and a hyper-attention to detail. It’s good-looking stuff.
So why isn’t the first issue of “Emerald Warriors” as good as the bulk of the Peter Tomasi “Green Lantern Corps” run? An over-reliance on Guy Gardner. And an over-reliance on the idea that his bluster is part of his charm.
Gardner was the lynchpin of the “Green Lantern Corps” series, and Tomasi wrote some nice stories with him as an important supporting character, but “GLC” was, much more than this first issue, an ensemble book. And, here, we get 90% Guy Gardner, and he’s just not all that interesting, at least not the way Tomasi writes him.
The issue begins with Gardner creating a video camera with his ring to record some of his words or wisdom, and then it explodes into a battle with an alien spaceship in which Gardner rides a will-powered space motorcycle while swinging away with a baseball bat made of green energy. But it feels flat and lifeless. Too contrived. An attempt to make the character seem cool, when he’s just tedious. And though Guy Gardner, the boor that he is, might, in fact, quote “Cool Hand Luke” at a moment of high drama, a comic book writer can’t really pull of the “failure to communicate” gag at this point in the history of the world. It’s like having “wazzzup?” or “where’s the beef?” as a punchline. It’s too late. Too unfunny.
The issue ends more strongly, with a sense that something big is brewing. But it’s the Geoff Johns age of “Green Lantern,” and something big is always brewing. Still, it will be nice to get to that part of the story, so we can move past the trying-to-make-Guy-Gardner-cool-and-likeable phase.
Tomasi has proven that he’s good at juggling a variety of characters in a boiling pot of superhero melodrama, but this isn’t a strong start for “Emerald Warriors,” even with the heat turned up in the final pages.