For this Weekend Spotlight, I’m looking at another 2011 figure that didn’t get their spot in the regular rotation: Red Lantern Guy Gardner from DC Direct. A year ago, many of us would’ve been happy to see a slew of Green Lantern figures. Well, what a difference a year makes, huh?
Once upon a time, Green Lantern was one of my favorite franchises at DC. I loved reading about Alan & Hal in the JLA/JSA team-ups. I enjoyed John Stewart & Guy Gardner. I loved the menagerie of aliens. After a couple years, Kyle Rayner became one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved Green Lantern. Not everything was great though, the generational fan debate between Hal & Kyle sucked some of the fun out of the franchise. That and the fact that I couldn’t get Kyle AND that menagerie of aliens was never cool.
When DC made the call to reinvest in GL and bring back Hal – I was somewhat skeptical, but I bought it. For the most part, it was pretty good. I never quite enjoyed how Geoff Johns writes Hal with such hero worship, ensuring that he’s the coolest, kickass, center of the universe, but I happily picked up all the GL titles (though I may have favored Corps a bit more than the main book). I read all of Sinestro War, I spent a small fortune on all of Blackest Night.
And then the figures started pouring in to match! Hal Jordan in every minor costume variation courtesy of Toy Guru (but not some of the major ones sadly, I want my Parallax…)! A Green Lantern 5pk! An entire GL sub-line! A whole wave of themed Rainbow Lanterns in the main line! DC Direct went right along too with three Green Lantern Waves and 8 Blackest Night waves in a little under three years.
I bought up everything from Mattel for DCClassics.Com. I picked up DC Direct figures to match in whenever they tossed out a cool non-buck-shaped alien (or something cool like Guy here). Things were really rolling there for awhile, but then… somewhere in there, “Green Lantern Fatigue” set in.
The Relaunch in the comics doesn’t help even the slightest, but I’m kinda over Green Lantern. I didn’t go see the movie (I still haven’t seen the movie). I’m down to reading the comics in two or three-month batches instead of monthly. And I kinda didn’t even open the last handful of DC Direct figures I’d bought in 2011 until just a week or two ago.
It’s a long way to fall for me, because once upon a time I would’ve loved to build the Green Lantern Corps on my shelves. It’s partially the comics, but it’s also the toy companies. Whatever the reality of the marketplace is aside, it’s just not the same armybuilding your Corps with non-Lantern characters in one-off costumes, made-up characters, out-of-scale or inaccurate repaints, etc. I say I’m ready for a break from buying GL merchandise (and we’ve more or less gotten just that since the movie bombed), but I guess I’m not – I’m just ready for Green Man, Hannu, Chaselon, Voz, Cary Ren, Ganthet, Charlie Vicker, Raker Quarigat, Boodikka, or Galius Zed… I’ll stop. Basically, bring on the diverse cast that makes the franchise cool.
That said, this review (and my purchase of the figure) indicates there is still a market for those one-off costumes that I’d so like to decry. So, I cannot tell a lie, I did enjoy the idea of Guy Gardner as a Red Lantern. Yes, it’s barely more than creatively bankrupt comic soap opera. And yes, it lost its appeal quickly when Johns revisited the well and made him a Red Lantern again just months later. I don’t even remember how many times he’s not been cured of his red affliction at this point, but that first time it happened, that initial story with Guy being a masterful sonuvabitch and Kyle intent on saving him? That I enjoyed. And for that, at least, I wanted this figure. Continue to Page 2…