Thursday, March 17, 2016

Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 (1995)


Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 (March, 1995)

"It's My Party and I'll Fight if I Want To"
Writer - Beau Smith
Penciller - Phil Jimenez
Inkers - John Stokes & Dan Davis
Colorist - Gene D'Angelo
Letterer - Albert DeGuzman
Editor - Eddie Berganza
Warrior's Designed by - Brad Gorby
Cover Price: $2.95 (gatefold) $1.50 (standard)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I was planning on doing a "Green" book today (Arrow or Lantern, natch).  While flipping through my books, this one just jumped out at me.

Visiting Warrior's Bar should be a nice way to hold me/us over until the weekend.  At least at my house corned beef, cabbage, soda bread, and family will be in abundance come Saturday.

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We open on Darkseid and Desaad curiously observing a large conglomeration of superheroes.  They appear to be gathering for reasons other than battle.  What event could be so significant as to pull nearly the entirety of DC's metahuman community together?  Well, today is the opening of Guy Gardner's WARRIOR'S.  Part bar, part Planet Hollywood, Warrior's features tons of superhero ephemera to peruse and enjoy while you dine and drink.



We watch as Guy interacts with just about all of the movers and shakers of the DC Universe at the time.  No pun intended, this issue really is a "Who's Who?" of the DC Universe circa-1995.  One interaction of note concerns Aquaman.  This is shortly after Aquaman loses his hand... Gardner approaches, and Arthur fully expects a snide comment about his new hook-hand.  Instead Gardner gives a snarky comment about the length of Aquaman's hair.  Too funny.



A (very convincing...) impostor in a Superman outfit gets evicted by the real steel deal.



This opening is receiving television news coverage, so we become privy to the thoughts of those watching from afar, including a collection of super villains currently locked up in Blackgate Prison (a handy note informs us that at this time Arkham Asylum was destroyed).

In a tiny panel, we observe that Zatanna and the then-Vertigo imprint only John Constantine are present.



The Blood Pack introduce themselves.  They appear to be a team consisting of the new characters introduced in the Bloodlines crossover... and Jade?


Look out, Dylan McKay!
Current (at at the time, final) Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner meets up with former-GL Arisia (who may at this time be part of Guy's side-cast).  They discuss the recent happenings regarding Hal Jordan.  Kyle apologizes thinking he may have killed Hal.



Captain Atom shows up... don't dig Nate with the longer hair.  Doesn't feel right to me.  As he is settling in, Guy... in full Vuldarian Warrior form, lands a blow that sends Atom flying.  Guy blames the Captain for what has happened to his former squeeze, Ice.  She had apparently died at the hands of the Overmaster in a recent Justice League story line.



Donna Troy (now a Darkstar) has a brief confrontation with Artemis, who is the current Wonder Woman.  Just as the discussion gets heated, the entire party gets interrupted by...



The main man, Lobo.



Guy and Lobo begin brawling, inciting the entire establishment into a riot.  As the brouhaha continues, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis arrive on the scene, perhaps to scope out the competition to their own Planet Hollywood venture.  They decide discretion is most definitely the better part of valor, and vamoose.



Later on, we find that Lobo has passed out.  He had apparently finished off every drop of beer in the bar.  Gardner himself is conspicuous by his absence.  Arisia and Veronna head up to Guy's office to check on him.  The blast open the door, and find a potentially un-well Warrior... and we are [to be continued...]



--

This issue proved to be one of the more difficult to synopsize/spoil.  So many guest stars... and just so much going on.  If I'm honest, DC Comics really weren't my thing in the mid-nineties... so many of these characters (and/or their current circumstances) are somewhat unfamiliar to me.  I also don't have a large Guy Gardner(: Warrior) collection, so the main cast is rather foreign to me as well.

This was an extremely fun romp through mid-nineties DC Comics.  It's incredible that they were able to pull such an issue off.  I highly doubt anything like this could be done today.  For the near ubiquity of cross overs and guest shots in contemporary comics, a story such as this is still a wonderful novelty.

The first Beau Smith I'd read was actually not in comics, but in a column he kept in one of the Two-Morrows Publishing's "How-To" magazines... either Sketch, or Write Now!  His real-man persona is quite engaging, and he is one of the writers whose work I actively seek out if I come across it in the bins.  This issue was very well written, all that appeared felt very much in character... and they all seemed as though they were having fun.  Fun was a precious commodity during this vintage, I am glad that a book like this existed back then (wish we had more like it now).

Phil Jimenez is at his George Perez best here.  I would have sworn some of these pages/characters were actually drawn by Perez in this issue... Donna Troy, especially.

Highly recommended.  This issue has not yet to my knowledge been collected, and is unfortunately absent on DC's Digital Comics site.  So, this will be a single-issue only experience.  I have come across it several times in the wild.  Should not be terribly difficult to procure, if you are so inclined... and it won't set you back much.  Read this one as you down your next green beer.  Now, what say you, Guy?



Umm... Happy St. Patrick's Day, y'all!

--

The version I own features the gatefold cover.  When we open the fold we are treated to a view of the inside from over Superman's (or his swarthy mustachioed doppelganger's) shoulder.



The standard edition features perhaps an even better image.  It is an homage to Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.



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Interesting Ads:


I have absolutely no recollection of this...

$15 for a year's worth... yes, please!
In an era where I'm surprised when books make it to issue #25...
... seeing those about to hit #100 is somewhat bittersweet.

7 comments:

  1. This really is an amazing slice of mid-nineties DC...the Blood Pack, Guy Gardner as Warrior, and a gatefold cover which, for what it's worth, is marginally less gimmicky than holo-foiling the title type or similar shinies that have nothing to do with the story. Thanks for dredging up this day-appropriate gem!

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    1. And oh god that Batman: Jazz comic...that's a classic stinker of a clunker if I've ever seen one!

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    2. Reggie! Thank you for stopping by. Mid-90's DC was such an odd and interesting place, right? It's books like this that make a quarter-century collector like myself feel like a "new reader". This is like if Crisis had a 1990's supplement. Odd and one-off characters popping in for one panel, John Constantine (!) showing up, so much fun!
      I was cool with the gatefold cover, as it actually kinda fit the story... opening the doors to Warrior's, I would agree that it is less gimmicky than holo-foil chromium-ing up covers for sure (cheaper for the consumer as well)!

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  2. Beau Smith really did an excellent job capturing the personality of Guy Gardner. I miss this kind of stuff.

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    1. Hello Deron, thank you for taking the time to comment! Very true, Beau and Guy go together so well! It feels like comics are far too serious these days to just have a fun get together issue like this. Definitely miss these fun romps!

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  3. Tried to post the other day, but password issues.

    Great post!

    Guy and Kyle are "my" Green Lanterns. One of my first comics purchases "on my own" was Guy Gardner #1, after encountering the character in the Adventures of Superman annual with Eclipso: The Darkness Within; seeing his #1 was a draw for me...though I wound up not keeping up with the series, it still left its mark.

    While I can't say I truly, fully kept up with anything outside the Superman books in the '90s, thanks to friends, Wizard magazine, etc. I was interested in and at least loosely "aware of" a lot of the DC Universe (probably part of why I so thoroughly enjoy modern quarter bins full of '90s stuff...)

    Though I must say...your post cost me a bit...I believe I have most of the first 24-25 issues of the series, but if I had this issue, it wasn't a conscious memory, and you inspired me to seek it out for myself. Found this deluxe/collector's edition for $3.50 (amazingly only 55 cents more than cover price, some 20+ years later).

    Agreeing with comments above--this stuff is far more forgiveable to me than modern variants: the "regular" and "deluxe" covers are different things; the package is physically different beyond just an image on the cover; and I believe (through comic shops) they were equally available. But if one wanted the "variant," it was $1 or so more...but no ratioed things or incentives, beyond some "enhancement" or such.

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    1. Heyyy Walt!

      Thanks for stopping by. I feel I never really gave Guy a fair shake growing up... I think his abrasive character may have had a negative affect on me, he was always such a jerk to Beetle and Booster!

      Kyle is "my" Lantern as well... through him it felt as though the DCU was maturing. He and his contemporary "legacy" heroes, Wally and Connor gave a measure of prestige to their titles.

      I'm happy you decided to seek this one out. It's such a fun time! Great price too, by the way! My local comic shops mark even new-ish back issues up to ridiculous levels, I'd be wary of what they'd charge for this one.

      This variant really didn't do too much to annoy. As you said, it's worlds better than what we're currently subjected to. Hell, its even better than Marvel deluxe books in the mid-90's... if you wanted a "newsstand" (non-foil, yadda yadda) version of, say a Phalanx Covenant issue, you'd have to find... a newsstand! Usually several weeks after release, to boot!

      Thanks again for popping by!

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