Green Lantern (vol.2) #196 (1986)

Green Lantern (vol.2) #196 (1986)
Writer – Steve Englehart
Penciller – Joe Staton
Inker – Bruce Patterson
Letterer – L. Lois Buhalis
Colorist – Anthony Tollin
Editor – Andy Helfer
Cover Price: $0.75

This cover always reminds me of one day back around the turn of the century when I was working as a manager for a pretty large call center in town.  I worked nights, and had to unlock one of the training rooms for a crew of new hires.  When I did, one of them noticed that I had a Green Lantern key chain… the Kyle Rayner green and black logo.  He noticed it, and mentioned he was a fan… but we didn’t get to talk much more than that.

That morning when I was getting ready to go home, I found a note under my windshield wiper blade… I picked it up, unfolded it, and found the message “Guy Gardner is a douche bag”.  I chuckled then, and I’m chuckling now just thinking about it.

We open with Guy Gardner returning to Earth following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths #9.  He is lamenting the fact that it has taken him this long to become a Green Lantern due to the simple fact that he was further away from the ring when Abin Sur passed away.  It is revealed that he and Hal were equal in all respects of ring-wielding readiness… but, Hal just happened to be in the neighborhood when Abin bit it.

Guy blasts some trash on the streets of Baltimore, and by that I mean garbage… not people.  He then dives into the ocean in order to find an irradiated shark so that he may save the universe… sure, Guy.

We shift scenes to a ring-less Hal Jordan who is being returned to his home after an unsuccessful attempt to get in on the Crisis.  It’s the hottest crossover around, donchaknow.  The Guardians gave him the “pfff”, and sent him home… that’s okay though… Hal’s happy to be retired… just listen to him say it, over and over again!

We now shift to John Stewart, another returnee from the Crisis.  He surveys the Earth as he approaches, and notes that it’s not exactly as he’d left it… but not too terribly different either.  His first order of business?  Check in with his chick, Katma.  

He finds her working clearing away some avalanche damage.  They embrace, and he shares with her not only his “What I did at Crisis” report, but the good news that the Crisis has been averted altogether.  Katma, however, is not convinced as she feels there’s still an energy barrier surrounding Oa.

Back with Guy, he comes across the radioactive shark that apparently gave Hal a run for his money some time prior.  The shark man is one of the goofiest villains I’ve seen, and is most definitely one of those “why I read Marvel instead of DC when I was a kid” things. 


They fight a bunch, and the shark uses his mental powers to turn the seas yellow… let’s hope that was his “mental powers” Guy!

For your sake, I hope that’s his “mental powers”

They fight some more, and finally the shark uses his mental powers to grow to the size of a (freakin’) giant.  He grabs Guy and prepares to feed… when he realizes the Lantern he’s looking for is in another castle… or apartment, or wherever the hell Hal is staying.  Guy is tossed away like so much rubbish, and the shark-man hunts on.

We watch as Hal drops in on John Stewart at his apartment.  I’d forgotten that they didn’t really know one another all that well at this point.  Hal reveals to John that he was his predecessor, and that he’s come to warn him about the man they call Guy Gardner.  They exchange a number of pleasantries as they chat, including John being surprised that Hal left his Lanternhood behind to shack up with the Star Sapphire.

John asks Hal about the energy barrier, and he’s advised that it’s no big thing, and if he’s so worried he should just use his “energy twin” to check it out.  The energy twin thing looks kinda like when Professor X does his astral planing… just more green than pink.  John cannot finish his investigation, however, as the shark man has found it’s desired meal… and it’s his current house guest!

John tosses Hal in a bubble and readies himself for war.  This is what’s so great about John.  He’s always planning… always thinking.  Rather than wait for the shark to turn yellow (via it’s… mental powers!), he surrounds it with a bubble and waits for it to pass out from lack of oxygen.  Even though this beastie lives underwater, it still needs to breathe!

With the slumbering shark still in it’s bubble, Guy arrives on the scene.  He reveals that he’s taking the shark with him… because he’s putting together a crew (at the behest of the last living “true” Guardian) to head off to the Anti-Monitor’s home base on the Moon of Qward… to destroy it.

John won’t go for that (no can do), so he tells Guy to cool his jets… after all the Anti-Monitor’s dead!  We wrap up with Guy and John going nose to nose… ring versus ring…

I really enjoyed this one.  Amazingly dense, while at the same time smoothly flowing.  I was shocked that it took me a decent clip of time to read through it.  Surprised that this one didn’t get the Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in banner, as this bugger had a lot to do with it.  Much more than most of the red-sky tie-ins.

I made mention of the cover during the preamble.  This is one hell of a striking cover.  Guy looks like such a scumbag!  Great work from Howard Chaykin.

I like the idea that the Guardians are split on how to face the Crisis.  It would make sense that there could be an ideological split among the group, with some just accepting their fate, and others fighting until their dying breath.  It also makes sense that the fighters would see Guy as something of a willing savior.  He doesn’t give a damn… he’ll destroy a planet, if you let him.

John being the yin to that yang is great to see as well.  He should be the more reserved and collected Lantern.  These two characters work wonderfully well off one another regardless of the dynamic… buddies, rivals, whatever.

Hal felt wildly out of place throughout this one.  With all the spoo he’s talking about being retired, and happily retired at that… you get the distinct impression he’s more trying to convince himself rather than those around him.

All in all, a good time.  A really fun era for Green Lantern… worthy of a read.

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4 thoughts on “Green Lantern (vol.2) #196 (1986)

  • marksweeneyjr

    This was part of a really great period of GL history – I'd say from issue 172-200 is one of my favorite runs in all super-hero comics. Time is spent developing all 3 earth GLs, and Guy in this issue, particularly, is at his nasty best!

    • This was an awesome time in GL lore, I agree! I really like how special attention is paid to expanding the Corps, and really fleshing out some of the soon-to-be terrestrial heavy-hitters. Even moving forward into the Green Lantern Corps (201-end), lots of neat and interesting stuff there too!

  • I think DC really dropped the ball here during this time period when it came to developing Guy Gardner. There are so many great stories they could have told about him. In my opinion, he's probably the most interesting of all the lanterns due to the fact that he is so flawed and conflicted. So yeah, he's my favorite Green Lantern of all time. Great review!

    • I really like that they did focus on Guy's conflict (and bullheadedness) during this time. A few issues after this there's a huge battle among the Lanterns that Guy loses… and kinda comes around to the fact that he was in the wrong. I love that about Guy… he can be a jerk, but at the end of the day he's *our* jerk… and more often than not he'll do what's "right".


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