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DC Direct Red Lantern
Guy Gardner Review

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…

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18 comments to DC Direct Red Lantern
Guy Gardner Review

  • Bonus Pic! I made this accidentally in photoshop when I hit the hue slider. It landed square on these colors.

  • Brainlock

    aw man, those color altered Lanterns look cool! Now I wish I HAD picked up another Warth the other week at my shop’s anniversary sale! After balking initially on Soranik, I did snag her then for cheap. I’m still waiting for SinCorps Moose, Slush, and Tekik, myself.

    That said, I’ve been following the same arcs and there seemed to be a point during the last couple issues of Blackest Night that Johns hit the wall and the whole GL line hasn’t really recovered. (About same time he was named Chief Creative Officer?) Considering not much of the GL mythos was affected by the nu52 reboot, there shouldn’t be too many problems, but they are evident, from minor things like Ganthet finding Kyle in NYC as opposed to LA, to how Guy knows J’onn while J’onn is practically first introduced to the GLC just a few months ago, and where JLI fits into Guy’s timeline.

    Aside from that, Guy has only worn the ring twice, during BN for two issues and later in the War for Oa arc, where Kyle also wore the Blue (not counting the recent New Guardians issue where he wears all the rings at once). SinCorps Hal and Blue Kyle are about the only upcoming Lanterns I’m looking forward to, btw.

    I have gotten the trio you mentioned (Guy, Soranik, Warth), but haven’t opened Guy yet. I’m not sure why? I know there is at least one seller on ebay who had some loose Munk’s and other figures from the 4pk, but it’s been a month since I’ve checked in and I’m not sure how many he had. Some figures seem unlimited, others he appears to only have a handful, total crapshoot.

  • redddevil

    Your GL figure buying habits are very much in line with mine. I only want alien Corps members/occasional derivative characters that make sense, i.e. no more blue Barry Allens. I did find a single Munnk (no staff) and picked up Warth and Natu, but a scale Galius Zed, non-movie tie-in figure or even a Mattel version of Arisia would be figures I would actually LOVE to own. Unfortunately, 2012 bring us more one-offs and fewer aliens with the Larfleeze seemingly being scrapped.

  • I’m stuck pretty much pre-Crisis in my knowledge of the goings-on in re. anything Green Lantern (well, there’s that whole Parallax thing)so much of this is just colors to me. 🙂

    OTOH, have to say, don’t watch the Green Lantern movie. Just don’t. I made my mom very upset because I kept throwing up my hands and going “but THAT shouldn’t happen! And why did he do this? In the comic he would have just thought of a giant baseball bat, not a complicated trailer mounted 4-barrel .50 cal WW II Anti-Aircraft gun!” and such things. And there’s ZERO motivation for what Sinestro does during the end credits!

    It was tiring enough to me, it would probably make your head explode. 🙂

    And yet they’re gonna do another one. *sigh*

    • I gotta expand on this because I’m an idiot. See, I’m used to Hal having his usual go-to ring constructs. The Giant Baseball Bat. The Giant Hand. The Giant Mallet. The Giant Mousetrap. Just a good solid dose of BURNING HARD GREEN LIGHT. Dig?

      But the movie? Guns? Makes no sense. I mean, we see Hal conjure up an Anti-aircraft gun from scratch. EVERY SINGLE PART of a .50 cal Browning M2 machine gun x4, slapslapslapclick and THEN it starts shooting green light belts of ammo, with shells ejecting and everything. WHY? WHY use up all that willpower when a giant baseball bat would have done as well? Why would Movie Hal WANT to think of a super intricate mental weapon?

      See, that nonsense took me completely out of the movie. It may do the same to you. STAY AWAY! 🙂

      • Brainlock

        If it was the constructs that drove you crazy and not the lack of plot, even in the :extended” version, which did include a couple explanatory scenes, then I don’t know what to say. This is Hollywood, who bungled rebooting Superman a few years back and are working on rebooting him AGAIN, just like Marvel’s Hulk.

        Sure, it was “Hal”, who worked for Ferris Aircraft, etc, but the constructs were pure Kyle and “ex-Marine” John, who was supposed to have an unidentified barfight cameo, but it was cut? As for Sinestro, people who read the novelisation say it made sense there , but NOT so much onscreen.

        Personally, I’m still annoyed over the current retcon, where Johns has a mixed group of Guardians, as opposed to the all-male group we had before GL:Rebirth.

        • Oh, the rest of it made me bonkers too, rest assured! It’s just easier to hit that point on the constructs because it’s instant and visual and wouldn’t take lots more writing to dissect.

          It’s kind of like the very first Punisher movie, where the director didn’t want the big skull on Frank’s chest because it was way too ‘comic book-y’, yet did this make-up thing with Dolph to create the visual cue of a skull on his face. It’s a complete mis-understanding of what works about the I.P. they’re trying to monetize in a motion picture paradigm. 🙂

          (Does The Punisher need that big-a** skull on his chest? No. But he doesn’t need the white make-up skull and the instruction to try not to move his face at all because he’s like, dead,dead inside, right? Man, he’s not the ’30s pulp hero ‘The Avenger’ ya know. 🙂 )

  • j1h15233

    I have to agree about the movie being subpar, but I suggest you still watch it because it does actually set up the next movie and that’s a story I’d like to see play out. It’s also a pretty fun watch if you don’t have your hopes too high. The worst part of the movie for me was that Johns was so heavily involved in it and kept touting it’s greatness but the whole story was such a mess and Reynolds (who does the best with what he’s given) is not Hal Jordan. That was a bad casting choice. The choice of villains was also pretty bad. Parallax was not properly done and reminded me of the Cloud Galactus that threatened the Fantastic 4 and Hammond was over the top cheesy and annoying at points which really took me out of the movie. If they had just followed a simple story of Hal discovering that Sinestro was a tyrant, imprisoning him within the battery (where he would of course find Parallax) and then have him break out in the end with a Yellow ring and his blue suit then they could have moved on to a 2-part Sinestro Corps war movie that would have been epic.

  • da man

    Movie had a few cool moments,but squandered the chance to have some cool constructs that made sense in the moment or even make Hal likable. The race track construct scene was juts awful and over-complicated way to save those people.

    Topless robot did a pretty funny breakdown of some of key scenes in GL (profanity laced so be warned) http://www.toplessrobot.com/2011/06/topless_robot_presents_the_best_scenes_from_the_gr.php

    Back to GG, love this figure(Wraal is awesome too), just not happy I broke the handle of the chainsaw about 2 seconds into trying to get it out of the package! Not sure why they went with such fragile plastic for it.

    • j1h15233

      Sadly, that was a pretty accurate take on the plot of the movie. How could Johns have read that script and endorsed it in any way?

      • How? Paycheck, maybe? Name attached to movie maybe? I dunno, Ego can make poor choices. 🙂

        • j1h15233

          Paycheck I could see but after the work he did bringing Hal back and creating the SC war you would think he wouldn’t want his name attached to that movie.

          • Well, it’s just my perspective, but I think it helps to remember just how powerful the desire to have a name on a BIG HOLLYWOOD MOVIE can be. People to this day still have dreams of fame FAME F A M E that would be attached to simply having one’s name in the credits in any capacity.

            Doesn’t matter if the movie was bad, because we fanboys are just stupid nitpickers who really don’t UNDERSTAND things. We’re not in the ‘INDUSTRY’, dig?

            I mean, there’s a reason why the comics world has let Hollywood totally take over SDCC. Money, fame, hot chicks for booth babes. Money Money Money.

            Mattel, I don’t believe that they go to SDCC because of the comic fans, I believe they go to be seen by Hollywood suits, see the frantic cattlecall of fans lining up to snatch at eBay fodder. “Look! toys are still relevant! Look at that crowd!”

            ahhh, I need to take some anti-cynicism pills or something. 🙂

            • Brainlock

              Johns got his big break working for Richard Donner LONG before he ever took a side gig writing comics. You’d think he’d be used to all the Hollywood BS by now.

              • redddevil

                As for Johns’ involvement in the film, I just gotta say: it was probably minimal. That’s why he was reduced to a cheerleader when it came out. He may have started in movies, but once Hollywood got ahold of GREEN LANTERN they no doubt muscled him and the rest of the DC crew out of the picture. This happened with BATMAN and SUPERMAN too.

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  • j1h15233

    You guys are probably right about Johns but he tweeted about it so much, it made it sound like he was on the set most of the time.