Hal Jordan vs. Guy Gardner: first bloodPosted: 04/24/2014 Filed under: DC, Fights 5 Comments
My wonderful friend furyoffirestorm78 mentioned another fight between the two in the comments of Wednesday’s article. So I went to check it out and — holy crap — it’s amazing. Together we’re going to read this crazy, way higher stakes, way more action-packed brawl from Green Lantern #25, written by Gerard Jones and drawn by Tim Hamilton, Joe Staton, & M.D. Bright.
We go back to 1992. Hal Jordan spends a while in space recruiting for the Green Lantern Corps, which I assume means hanging out with a sign up sheet outside alien grocery stores or whatever. Guy Gardner, totally rocking his bowl cut, protects Earth and the surrounding sector in his place. Y’know, until Jordan finishes his mission and goes back to claim what’s rightfully his. You read the title of this article — it doesn’t go well.
Notice the gray streaks in Jordan’s hair? Originally, it represented his actual aging in the DC universe. He wasn’t a young man anymore, and comics like to show that with a single gray streak above the ear. Later, Geoff Johns retconned it as the cosmic being Parallax’s influence, but this time Jordan’ll be facing a younger, stronger, and faster opponent (which he actually says later in the issue). Commence round one, where the two fight using their imaginations.
I know Gardner’s wildly irritating this issue. He’s mellowed out slightly and eased coolly into his likability in the modern comic age, but for the sake of this issue, he’s the bad guy. So much so that all the other superheroes and Green Lanterns who show up to watch the fight cheer openly and unashamedly for Jordan to win. In Gardner’s face.
Round two: fist fight. Check out the celebrity spectators watching their battle. Even Superman has shown up (in panels I’ve skipped). But because of apparent tradition — Green Lanterns punch each into unconsciousness to determine who keeps their jewelry — no one’ll dare intervene. Plus, Gardner holds a serious advantage when it comes to normal dude fighting. Sometimes.
You know that famous one punch story, right? Gardner challenged Batman’s leadership of the Justice League International by provoking and belittling Batman, so the Dark Knight knocked him out in a single punch. Even the bowl cut can’t contain Gardner’s ego, especially when he has to relive that embarrassing moment. That and Gardner’s strength seems to go mother’s-child-trapped-under-a-minivan strong when he reaches a certain rage level. Oh, if you want to know just how long this fight goes on for, I’m skipping four pages between the first and second pages shown below:
You see that look on Jordan’s face. That’s the half-smile and raised eyebrow of a champion. It’s too bad Gardner doesn’t know MMA, or else he would just straddle Jordan like a perverted merry-go-round and bash him in the ears until the pity gets overwhelming. But instead, he figures he’ll play the numbers game on his former partner. He loses the bet. Sleep tight, Guy Gardner.
I do feel bad for Gardner, despite his obvious personality faults. Jordan arrives at Gardner’s dingy apartment, tells him that he’s out of a job, and bids him adieu. And to make this whole ordeal even more humiliating for poor Gardner? Besides him teaming up with Lobo in issues after this?
Within a year, Jordan’s hometown of Coast City explodes causing the Green Lantern to go full supervillain, get possessed by Parallax, and wipe out the entire Green Lantern Corps. So, Gardner kind of has the last laugh. Though after this depressing defeat, it’s probably more of a subdued chuckle.
I love the Batman picture Guy hung over his dartboard. He’s still steaming over that ONE PUNCH!
Hahaha- and then later on: “One punch AGAIN!” “NO ONE PUNCH!!!” ~Ohhhhh, that’s golden…
Jordan was a bit of a dick at the end there, though. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. But at least Guy has Ice.
[…] Arousing Grammar Hal Jordan vs. Guy Gardner: first blood […]
Awesome to read this story again after 20 years (Holy crap, I am old), and double awesome that you’re bringing it out of cobwebs for a whole new generation, Jason!
I have never, ever, eeeever liked Hal Jordan. For me he has always been a flat, bland and when he wasn’t just plain boring, the writers made him a jerk. Always. It was like he was still suffering from the same “I’m better than everyone so just do what I say and be glad you get to bask in my perfection” syndrome that Silver Age Superman and Batman (and modern Reed Rechards) had. Guy at least had personality, even when it was cartoonish and ridiculous after the late 80s and 90s “sitcom” JLA run. I had a similar problem with Barry Allen as the Flash. Both of them were terrible, and boring characters. I will never understand how DC would even want to resurrect those versions of heroes in place of Wally West and scores of other Lanterns like Kilowog, John Stewart, and my personal choice of Kyle Rayner.
As much as I like Geoff Johns (his runs on JSA and The Flash are amazing), his hard-on for the Silver Age sometimes clouds his judgement. Since Barry was “his” Flash, and Hal was “his” GL, Johns decided that bringing them back was perfectly worth dumping all the awesome built around Kyle and Wally for the past 20 years and flushing it down the toilet BECAUSE NOSTALGIA!
Barry was bland, and going out like a boss in Crisis was the apex of his career. Bringing him back completely negated that, and it was even more pointless since Wally was doing so, so well. Same goes for Hal and Kyle. Hal wasn’t as bland as Barry, but Kyle was a much more well-rounded and interesting character, and he utilized his ring way more creatively than Hal ever did.
Hopefully, when DC comes it’s senses and undoes Nu52, they do the same thing that Marvel did with Heroes Return and undo all the crap that occurred before Heroes Reborn (like young Tony Stark, Invisible Woman’s stripper outfit, and insect hybrid Wasp).