Review: Green Lantern Corps: The Dark Side of Green trade paperback (DC Comics)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Constant readers know my schtick on Green Lantern Corps -- this was the title I was never supposed to like, but here with the second trade (third, if you count Green Lantern Corps: Recharge), this title makes me believer. Green Lantern Corps: The Dark Side of Green is a fantastic space romp with strong police procedural flavors; moreover, it's a title where both main writer Dave Gibbons and guest writer Keith Champagne write a fantastic Guy Gardner, probably one of the toughest characters in the entire DC Universe to write correctly. Hat's off to this team; this book comes highly recommended.

Guy Gardner shines in the two storylines included in The Dark Side of Green. The first, by Champagne, feels just slightly like a fill-in because it stars only Guy and not the rest of the Corps cast, but Champagne's story is almost compelling enough for us to forget what's missing. Here, Guy is recruited by a black ops arms of the Corps to steal a weapon from the Dominion; in the second story, by Gibbons, Guy is accused of murder and must prove his innocence on the Green Lantern planet Mogo.

Both writers cast Guy as sassy and sarcastic, but without the petty obnoxiousness other writers might include; Guy here is a professional -- though not a staid one -- and his first priority here is always his duty. I loved Beau Smith's portrayal of Guy in Warrior, and I'm glad his character growth has been continued here; interestingly, Champagne has Guy advocate against killing a foe, in contrast to Guy's murder of Major Force in Warrior, though whether this is retcon or it's meant to show additional change in Guy is unclear.

Dave Gibbon's Green Lantern Corps story here finally brings together the somewhat disperate cast of the Corps -- Guy, Natu, Vath, and Isamot -- whose missions usually have them at disparate ends of the universe. This gives the story a large-scale feel as it transfers to the Sinestro Corps crossover.

I had complained a bit in my last Green Lantern Corps review that Gibbons' art, while fitting to a Guy Gardner story in the last trade, seemed out of step with the tone of Green Lantern Corps as a whole. I'm pleased to see Gibbons back on art chores with this trade, with his art better integrated by just drawing certain scenes and characters; the effect was a more fluid blending of Gibbons' and artist Patrick Gleason's styles overall.

[Contains full covers]

In short, Green Lantern Corps: The Dark Side of Green is a delight, from the revelation of Mogo's Green Lantern partner to the final ominous yellow-tinged ending. If you've been on the fence about this series, go back to the beginning and pick up the first trade; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Collected Editions 2014 Comic Book Gift Guide
Get the Collected Editions scoop before anyone else -- on Facebook!

10 comments:

  1. I can't say I enjoyed this one as much as 'To Be A Lantern', personally, though putting my finger on why is difficult. I think that for me, as a relative newcomer to Green Lantern in general and the Corps in particular, the sudden shift away from the 'main' Corps onto the black-ops version hadn't really given me enough time to care about the Corps' ethos as a whole before they started exploring its grey areas.

    ReplyDelete
  2. At least these are coming out in paperback.

    I also picked up the first volume of the new legion based on your review. Pretty good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Matthew -- Having Keith Champagne guest-write the first story arc of the second trade, so early in the series, might be what jarred you. I think the Corpse story was good, but having a guest-writer is always a risky thing.

    Vince -- That's high praise; thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think Guy's problem was with killing, so much as with killing on command for the guardians. Of all the earth Green Lanterns, he is the most likely to go that route if he feels it is necessary, as is the case where he killed Major Force and had no problem killing various other alien creatures in the Warrior series. Plus he probably doesn't like assassinations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Reed -- That's a good suggestion, and would explain the apparent contradiction in Guy's behavior. What did you think of Beau Smith's take on Guy? I wish Beau would write an issue of Green Lantern Corps -- he remains one of my top Guy Gardner writers!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I liked some of it. I disliked some of it. I preferred Chuck Dixons run the most. What I liked about Beau Smith's run on Warrior were that he really understood Guy as a character, though he sometimes went overboard on the manliness chest thumping thing. I wish he got to do Guy as an adventurer, though some fun stuff came out of the Vuldarian powers. His storylines tended to be all over the place sometimes. I mean, he wrote Guy Gardner magically transformed into a woman for some reason.. Plus I felt a lot of things just happened to fall into Guy's lap during the warrior run. Vuldarian powers, warriors bar, compliments from Superman.. I like Guy best as a character when he's beaten up over and over and just wont stop. Like you think he's knocked out, then his hand twitches, and he gets up,cause thats what willpower is all about. Lately Guy has been portrayed best by Keith Champagne and whoever the writer is on Blue Beetle.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree with Reed: Guy's probably a "kill as a last resort" kind of guy; he was the one who authorised the use of lethal force against Superboy-Prime in Infinite Crisis after all.

    And yes, GLC is a great series. Just pure space opera, and Soranik's a great character.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Reed -- Yeah, you're right, in retrospect the whole "Demon-thing changes Guy into a woman" story was a little silly. But Beau was the first, for me at least, who showed Guy as more than comic relief, and I appreciated that. You ever read Green Lantern #25 (one series earlier than the current) where Hal and Guy boxed sans rings? I still remember that as such a powerful Guy story, and one that lead into the Dixon/Beau Smith series.

    Will have to check out Guy in Blue Beetle; think that's in the third trade.

    Jeffrey -- This is an interesting idea; Guy would kill on his own, but not as a Corps representative. Hope some writer picks up on this, because there's plenty of ground to mine in Guy's ultimate morals.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would have to say that Guy follows the train of thought that "some people just need a good killin'." Just because the blues pass give an order does not make the case for Guy... he never follows orders blindly (let's face it, he hardly ever follows orders- it's part of what makes him such a great character), so it's a natch that he'd apply his own logic before putting someone down for good... it's just the way he is.

    ReplyDelete
  10. heh old thread brought back from the dead..

    I think theres a logical in character reason that Guy is loathe to follow orders. The first time he followed orders, during Crisis on Infinite Earths, he almost destroyed the multiverse. And he sure as hell would have resented it. It made him look bad.

    ReplyDelete