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Tuesday, January 28, 2014 

Guy Gardner is still a Red Lantern, and Supergirl will become one too

USA Today tells that Guy Gardner is still being depicted as a member of the gross group of intergalactics called Red Lanterns whom Geoff Johns introduced several years ago in Green Lantern, and now, he's going the revenge route:
Writer Charles Soule joined the title with issue 21 and a pitch to essentially make them an outer-space biker gang full of loose cannons — an intergalactic SAMCRO from Sons of Anarchy, if you will — and Guy seemed like a great fit since he was already an angry Lantern.

"He comes with decades of great stories behind him, so some of the heavy lifting has already been done for me because there's already a lot of goodwill toward that guy," says Soule, a fan of antiheroes who's been using Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen as archetypes for his characters' mind-set.

"At its heart, Red Lanterns is going to be a really hard-boiled revenge story about finding yourself."
I think that's another way of saying it's dead serious with little or no humor. I've also never quite been certain what they mean by "finding oneself" when they're already lost in a sea of bad writing. "Decades" isn't clear, because Guy first debuted in 1968, and until 1985, he hadn't been used much. When he finally got time in the spotlight, it was as a comedy relief co-star in Justice League International, and there he was put to pretty good use. But afterwards, when Emerald Twilight came about, that's when everything fell apart, taking his 1992-96 solo series along with it, so I'm not sure you can say at ease he had decades worth of great stories. His time in comedy is not mentioned here, and as for the Red Lanterns' power of belching out blood, that, by sharp contrast, is not funny.

Guy's not the only hero who's being victimized as a member of a poorly structured cosmic team. Supergirl is being added to the cast:
The Red Lanterns will be spending three issues on Earth, including No. 28, a flipbook with Robert Venditti's Green Lantern series that introduces the newest Red, Supergirl.

Soule isn't spilling any details yet on how she gets her red ring, but he thinks bringing in new blood will mix up the dynamics of the Red Lanterns significantly. While Kryptionian teenager is still young and looking for a place to belong, it remains to be seen if her new team will want her around for the long haul.

"Some teenagers might go through a goth phase — this is Supergirl's Red Lantern phase. How long it lasts, what happens to her, we'll have to see," Soule says.
I hope it doesn't last long, but even one issue will be too many.
One of the aspects that Soule has enjoyed tackling with his take on Guy Gardner is that for the longest time, the character couldn't have his own identity because of the glut of Earth-based Green Lanterns and he was never able to just be himself.

"He thought that being part of the Reds would be his chance to not be so directly responsible, he could make his own choices and define himself a little more thoroughly," Soule says.
This is ridiculous. If Kyle Rayner and Simon Baz are allowed to be Earth-based GLs, why can't Guy be one? He had his own self-titled solo book for 4 years too, so how couldn't he just be himself?

Here's an interview with Tony Bedard from nearly two months ago about their plans to make Kara Zor-El a Red Lantern, and the cover illustration they show there is predictably one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. How is that supposed to amount to an appealing story with the Maiden of Might? Here's a sample of what Bedard says:
Thus far in "Supergirl," readers have seen Kara struggle to find her place on Earth and then struggle with her Kryptonian background and outlook. Are you looking to continue this tone, or does your Kara have a bit more of a handle and sympathy for Earth and its cultures now?

I actually want to change that tone a bit, but in a way that makes sense and isn't too abrupt. Basically, Kara Zor-El has had a very rough life. Everyone she grew up with on Krypton is dead. Her only surviving relative has "gone native" on an alien planet. Her first love turned out to be a monster and she had to kill him. She's met an alternate version of herself (Power Girl) who is better than her. Her father has turned into Cyborg Superman. And her current "Krypton Returns" exploits aren't going to have a terribly happy ending, either. So if she's filled with teen angst and resentment, that's only natural. But a pouty teenager can also be a little off-putting, and I'd like to arc her character toward something a little more positive and proactive. So that's the long-term plan: to make her more likable and have her embrace her mission in life while respecting the stories that have led up to this point.
Once again, we have a picture perfect demonstration of what's gone wrong with how Supergirl's been reintroduced. In 2004, the argument was that her depiction was too sexed up, but that was only part of the problem: there wasn't much story to accompany her in the solo book that followed almost immediately after, which first relied on too many guest appearances by other heroes, and a company that was going miles out of its way to restore Wally West's secret ID as the Flash did nothing to establish a civilian ID for Supergirl. Now, the problem is that she's too stuffed with angst.
According to DC's solicitations, your story begins after "Krypton Returns" and brings Lobo into Supergirl's orbit. What can you tell us about your first "Supergirl" arc?

In issues #26-28, Kara returns to Earth and seeks help from Shay Veritas, the super-scientist who operates The Block, a research facility at the Earth's core. Shay is sort of the New 52 equivalent of Professor Hamilton, only with much better hair. She's the science genius who Superman trusts with his deepest secrets. Kara needs to figure out if she can trust Shay, too. But there's more to her and the Block than meets the eye. While Supergirl is there, Lobo shows up -- massive property damage ensues.

All of this leads to a major development that was recently announced -- Supergirl joins the Red Lantern Corps! This may seem like an odd choice at first, but considering how much pent up anger and resentment Kara has in her heart, it actually makes perfect sense.
No, it does not. He's only using the dreadful characterization set up 2 years ago as an excuse to keep it up without giving her room to develop believably. But then, that's never been Dan DiDio's interest anyway.
Is becoming a Red Lantern a permanent move for Kara? After this first arc will her grappling with being a Red Lantern be a driving force in the comic?

I definitely want to use this change to explore her character and to bring about a more positive direction for Supergirl in the long term, but I think it's safe to say she won't be a Red Lantern forever. On the other hand, this isn't change for change's sake, nor is it a throwaway storyline. This is a big deal and a turning point for her. If you care at all about Supergirl, you won't want to miss this storyline.
I care about Supergirl, that's why I will miss this insult to the intellect. As a matter of fact, the New 52 setup from 2 years ago was throwaway change for the sake of it, and he's merely going along with it, using too much sci-fi instead of simple character drama. I don't think it's going to be a big deal or a turning point at all, and they certainly didn't need to turn her into a red blood-flooder to bring about the "change" they're all so excited about. The only "character" he's exploring is what editorial mandated when the New 52 began, not the optimistic kind Otto Binder and Al Plastino worked on in 1959.

Making Supergirl into a Red Lantern and keeping Guy Gardner part of the mess does not make them appealing characters.

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"I think that's another way of saying it's dead serious with little or no humor"

That's completely incorrect. Red Lanterns is one of the wittiest books DC has out now. Give it a try this month (#27) and you'll see.

Hayes: I don't see what's so funny about a book featuring a bunch of aliens and other people with the power to cough out blood. So, even if the story isn't serious per se, it's still gross based on the scriptwriter's flaccid idea of what makes for great comedy. Which means that one of my misgivings about Red Lanterns, if not the other, still stands. I gave up on modern DC/Marvel output nearly a decade ago, and this series gives me no reason to try again.

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