Guy Gardner: Warrior Annual #2: Once Upon a Time

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TGH: Welcome back, those who have somehow not yet run away screaming, to what I swear is the for-real, actual last issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior! Beau Smith must have had some dirt on someone at DC, because despite his series being cancelled, he still gets another, longer issue. Since there were so many loose ends in the last one, what with him murdering anyone who ever looked at him funny, I’m sure this post-ending issue will bring plenty to the table!

DN: OR, it’ll be 3 terrible stories about Guy’s “legacy”.

QP: I bet it definitely compelled some people to run to their comic shop the following week to pick up issue #45.

TGH: Seriously, why even bother? Were they expecting some sort of AOL renewal campaign?

DN: A campaign of sociopaths. That murder cats.

QP: “Save Guy Gardner or I’ll kill this bag of puppies.”

TGH: The cover uses the title “Guy Gardner: Warrior Forever,” cashing in on that 2-year-old Batman hype.

DN: Starring Jim Carrey as Dementor

TGH: Val Kilmer would probably make as good a Guy as a Batman. For some reason Guy has a tiny weathervane sticking out of one of his guns.

QP: And Wolverine claws.

BW: I like that the Wolverine claws have laser guidance.

DN: The cover also stars the shit characters that only appear in this annual.

QP: Classic characters like “yet another stacked Amazon with a ponytail” and “toga party attendee.”

TGH: And Claptrap. This cover appears to tell the tale of an ancient evil sealed in a green diamond, and accidentally unleashed centuries later. The dude on the left looks like he’s prepared to send him back violently. Sadly, this is not what this issue is about at all.

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TGH: The issue starts with a Star Wars crawl, and for fuck’s sake, Beau, don’t fucking flatter yourself. You’re Episode 1 at best.

DN: Nope. Holiday Special.

TGH: He’s that shitty music video in Jabba’s palace.

QP: He’s either setting up the last issue of Warrior or a shitty Doctor Who episode. A dollar says Guy starts spinning around waxing poetic about humanity.

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TGH: For some reason, Warrior’s is floating on a asteroid in space after the earth was apparently ruined. I guarantee this is Guy’s fault.

QP: Guy punched a big red button to see what happened, not knowing it was Buck Wargo’s emergency IRS escape route button, launching half a block of New York into space.

TGH: We get another reminder that Guy is the greatest warrior ever, which is why this book was so beloved and not cancelled.

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QP: Guy was nice enough to hire Artemis as a waitress, figuring an Amazon might be a little hard to kill than an alien teen.

TGH: Instead of the hard liquor they’ll eventually need, she instead hooks customers up to virtual reality versions of this shitty comic.

DN: Not seeing any “Arisia died here” plaques.

TGH: It’s inside the fridge.

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QP: The virtual reality Guy tour starts with a completely fabricated version of Guy’s origin.

TGH: It’s actually the exact same origin, only they left out the fact that he was a giant dick. You could’ve taken the opportunity to at least make his imaginary origin interesting, Beau. Make him be born by climbing out of the center of the earth or something.

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DN: That is a baby punching a doctor.

TGH: Okay, in fairness, that is pretty metal.

BW: I do appreciate, however, the General Glory poster in the background.

TGH: I feel like that panel was borrowed from another issue, like they just got rid of the “parents arguing outside” lines.

QP: I’m honestly not sure if that’s supposed ot be some future space-extrapolation of a football uniform, or what this artist actually thinks they look like.

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TGH: The next page jumps to the actual span of this comic: the dark age of Guy Gardner. I’m assuming the backwards flag is some kind of anti-America statement. Also we lost 2 colonies. And it looks like a lot of states.

QP: Alaska voluntarily went back to Canada after Guy became president. And of course, New York ceased to exist after he hit the button.

DN: The flag has about enough stars and stripes to be the united states of RICA. We also get a send up of Guy’s utterly horrible rogues gallery. Not pictured: THE ENFORCER.

TGH: They needed the room for more tentacles.

QP: It’d be a little too confusing for all the new readers this is sure to bring in to have two Guy Gardners in the panel.

BW: Dementor isn’t wearing his cardigan. Which is a huge loss, in my opinion.

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TGH: And THEN, we jump to a story about a mailman! Well okay!

QP: Our first Tales of the Warriors is written and drawn by our favorite dinosaur fan, Mitch Byrd. I’ve gotta say though, the art looks pretty nice for a change.

TGH: I get the feeling that this is the “throw every idea you can at the wall in case someone wants to offer us another comic” issue.

DN: Spoiler: Nope.

BW: A DC Try Out Book that we all paid for. Genius!

TGH: Oh wait, this is related to Gardner because everything is named after Gardner. Lovely.

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TGH: So after reading a page and a half a few times, I believe the story is that a postal worker went to a shitty post office.

QP: And some people are dead, and there are shape-shifting monsters.

DN: And dinosaurs.

QP: Yes, of course, dinosaurs.

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TGH: Meanwhile, a dude with a gun is hunting a thing. Probably whatever is killing everyone.

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TGH: Then the postal worker finds Butt Lady and The Kid, which is my new crime drama this fall on Fox.

DN: “Hey Mitch, you can have 8 pages. What do you think you’ll do with it?”
“Dinosaurs and asses, I guess.”

BW: “SOLD!”

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TGH: The trio gets attacked by a talking alligator. I know it seems like I’m rushing through this, but I’m really not.

QP: People on this planet say “oh my Guy” instead of “oh my God,” so I’m down with the talking alligator eating them.

DN: Yeah, any place culturally affected by Guy Gardner should probably just be nuked from orbit.

TGH: They keep referring to changers, so it’s probably Tiger-Man’s descendant, which makes no sense, because that tribe of non-white people that he appropriated was solely tigers.

QP: I think it’s more likely that Guy has been pulling a Genghis Khan and has a million descendants, so all of these morphing persons and monsters are his fault.

TGH: I guess if this is all some kind of fable that’s completely off-base from anything that really happened, it would make some degree of sense.

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TGH: Meanwhile, the hunter person turns into a werebunny and rushes to help.

DN: Mitch Byrd is apparently a big fan of Tank Girl.

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TGH: The talking gator apparently just wants to eat everyone’s clothes. Oh you guys. Never change.

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TGH: Despite having his head shot off, the changer is still alive, I guess because his head was actually the tail, and the tail was a mud ghost or something? Changers are stupid.

DN: I kinda stopped trying to parse this one. Good fucking luck.

QP: T-1000 genes.

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TGH: Then several pages of Changer Wars.

QP: The one changer that’s supposed to be Guy’s descendant just turns into a rhinoceros and rips the other changer apart, because if cutting his head off didn’t kill him, tearing him into little bitty bits definitely will.

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TGH: I guess it worked enough, because the evil changer turns into a little talking turd and tries to run, only to be stomped by the good changer.

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QP: And then there’s some dumb denouement about how the postal worker was bringing some device that lets you talk to Guy to him, but we never see the device and it just ends there, that’s that.

TGH: It turns out Rhino-Bunny-Tiger-Man was the One True Descendant of Guy, because Guy and Tiger-Man had sex.

DN: BRB writing a fanfic.

QP: Its probably already out there.

TGH: And that’s the actual end of that story.

DN: Thank God, let’s move on to Guy Gardner: Babies.

QP: Sadly, not written by Skottie Young.

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BW: Oh look! Baby versions of the main cast!

DN: Set in Alphalphaville. Boooooooo.

TGH: Beau had this comic planned out for years. Issue 75 would’ve been the Baby Issue, but we’ll have to make do with this story instead.

DN: Well, at least baby Arisia isn’t dead.

BW: Give it time.

TGH: Minor Force will do it soon enough.

QP: This first panel is super natural, with them all just standing in a room talking at us like a 4th grade school pageant.

BW: Or con costume contest. Your call.

TGH: The Gardner Babies have that stupid warrior artifact for some reason. I’m sure hijinx are about to ensue.

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TGH: I guess some robots want that artifact, so there’s the driving force for this one. Is Andrew Pepoy black? C-can you call yourself Buckwheat?

DN: So wait, baby Guy is named Gunner? Fuck this story.

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TGH: Baby Guy and Actual Guy touch the artifact at the same time (well actually hundreds of years apart so there is actually no timing involved here) and Baby Guy becomes Baby Warrior.

QP: It doesn’t need to be logically consistent so long as it lets us blow things up.

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TGH: Baby Warrior starts beating the shit out of those robots, like you do.

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TGH: Baby Buck and Baby Tiger-Man help out. Baby Arisia cries for her teddy bear because she’s a girl.

QP: She does throw a rock at one of them once they’re down. Stupid girls.

BW: Does that mean she likes the robots? I’m confused.

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TGH: I do like that Baby Warrior swears in the middle of the fight and Baby Arisia is shocked.

QP: She’ll be shocked if she sees the kind of shit she goes out in public wearing in a few years, too.

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TGH: With the robots defeated, Guy matter-of-factly explains that he magically changed places with Baby Guy and all of the kids just accept it. Then Guy touches the thing and everything is back to normal.

DN: So this is the Arisia Hal falls for, right?

TGH: They’re celebrating their 5th anniversary next month.

BW: She’s ACTUALLY like 16 here or something. #halsplain

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TGH: Just in case you weren’t sure, this takes place before Arisia is murdered. In case you were wondering if there’s an Arisia clone.

BW: You mean before the bird of paradise made a nest of something something?

TGH: The robots go away because the kids are too dangerous. The End!

QP: Robots are dumb. This is what we’ve learned.

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TGH: And now, biker ladies.

QP: We learn where Kate Beaton got the idea for Strong Female Characters.

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TGH: I guess these ladies are also supposed to be related to Guy. Their names are Manzo, Crocker and Buxton. Did Suzanne Collins name these guys?

DN: The one named Manzo is also built as fuck and 10 feet tall. Thanks, Beau.

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TGH: The ladies are in town because Lizzie Jordan has stolen that stupid heirloom. I like where this is going.

QP: At least it’s Lizzie and not Lezzie.

TGH: Honestly, I’d probably pay for a well-written post-apocalyptic Gardners vs Jordans space opera. Out of all three stories, this one at least has some potential.

DN: And the Rick Mays art is more competent than the non-Jimenez parts of this annual.

QP: This looks like it could be a fun story if it wasn’t written by Beau Smith or in a Guy Gardner comic. Which is to say, we’re boned. But since it is written by Beau Smith and not, like, Kelly Sue or someone, the whole thing is the lesbian feminist half of that Toy Fair comic, but on steroids. It’s not *quite* all blustering machismo. It’s just whatever Beau Smith’s idea of girl power is supposed to be.

TGH: Just women talking like cowboys instead of guys talking like cowboys.

DN: Girl power is having your thong so far out of your pants it’s mid-ribcage.

QP: Strong! Female! Characters!

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TGH: Meanwhile, at the Busted Lantern Saloon, Lizzie Jordan is hanging out with a bunch of goons and looks like a legit DC villain.

QP: Then there’s a shootout at the saloon that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense? Some people appear out of nowhere to snark on the Gardner gals and then get batted through the roof, and I guess I”m supposed to know or care who they are, but I don’t.

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TGH: Lizzie’s green blasts are powered by wires running from her belt to her gloves. That is a legitimately great level of detail that makes we wonder how things are in this era.

BW: I’ll admit I could do with a lot fewer ass shots than we’re getting, but the art really is pretty great.

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TGH: That one lady standing by the window thinking shitty things but not actually posing a threat really gets the worst of it. She gets punched in the back of the head by Manzo, and then, even though she still hasn’t done anything, gets maced through the fucking roof. Dude, if she had the device, she can’t give it to you. She’s dead now.

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QP: Crocker and Lizzie finally have a duel and Crocker I guess channels Guy so she wins.

BW: She is the Warrior (a whoa whoa).

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DN: And they give the mechanic some money I guess and it turns out she a Wargo. Yay.

QP: Never let a good story get in the way of punching something on the nose.

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TGH: Back on Planet Guy, the ankylosaurs are losing their shit about how great this issue was.

QP: It’s just too bad some dumb idiots didn’t read more of this comic back in the day, so they could have more bullshit made up stories about how great Guy is.

BW: Man, too bad no one showed them the Toy Fair issue.

DN: The ankylosaur race actually want to buy more Guy stories, so that’s a genocide that needs to happen.

QP: The ankylosaurs send their regards to the owner, so fake-Artemis goes on up to speak to him.

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TGH: You’re not going to believe it, but the owner is Guy Gardner, trapped in the eternal hell of his alien DNA! Forced to watch everyone he ever loved wither away and die. And football.

QP: In a shitty La-Z-Boy. And fake-Artemis turns out to be his daughter!

TGH: She too will die, like his 200 other daughters.

QP: It looks like Guy has picked up Parallax at some point, too.

TGH: I guess they considered that an exciting enough revelation to end on, because that’s it! The end of an “era!”

DN: Finally, we can stick a stake in the heart of this thing, dismember it, bury it around the globe and send the head into the heart of the sun.

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TGH: Before the book is tossed in the fire, we’re treated to another Wikipedia entry on Guy Gardner, as written by Eddie Berganza this time. It is literally a retelling of everything that’s been retold to us 100 times before. This is the last shot at making anyone give a shit.

BW: Highlights include Hal Jordan being his Hal Jordan-iest: getting a DUI and chasing Guy’s fiancee.

DN: “Hey Eddie, we need you to say some nice things about this book for the last issue!”
“Ok!” And then he does a fuck load of drugs.

TGH: What an extremely boring note to go out on!

QP: This book died as it lived.

TGH: Luckily, Beau Smith was right, and the character of Guy Gardner: Warrior lives on to this very day.

DN: Well, sadly, Geoff Johns had something to say about that.

TGH: Guy somehow kept the Warrior title until 2004(!) when Geoff Johns decided to rewrite the entire Green Lantern mythos to revolve around Hal “Space Jesus” Jordan.

QP: Ain’t no Jesus like Space Jesus.

TGH: This included the minor housekeeping item of just violently removing all of Guy’s Vuldarian DNA for Important Reasons, thereby making this issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior where he exists in the future a TIME PARADOX, which just doesn’t happen in comic books ever!

QP: Geoff Johns was rolling his eyes at this series as hard as the rest of us.

TGH: And with the utter obliteration of Beau Smith’s career at DC Comics, we come to the end of this project.

QP: Thank God.

DN: We survived.

BW: Did we?

TGH: The wounds will forever remain.

QP: I might be a ghost now.

DN: Is this a Lost situation?

QP: If by that you mean that reading this entire series is like surviving a horrific plane crash and trying to live on a deserted jungle island, then yes.

BW: We were exposed to the greatest obituary of all time, so there’s that. And we’ll always have Fashion Cafe Dude. Always.

TGH: Thanks to anyone out there who is still reading this. Hopefully we saved you the pain of having to read these things yourselves. We’ll be back with out next project after a much-needed break and therapy regimen.

DN: So, TGH, we’re totally doing a good comic next time, right?

TGH: Of course! We’re doing the Eisner-nominated run of Extreme Justice.

DN: …oh.

QP: Jesus wept.

BW: You mean the book that made Ted Kord look like Venom?

QP: Well he is part spider, you know.

TGH: He does whatever a Beetle does. Can he swing from a web? No he can’t; he’s a Ted.

DN: Well, I’m going to go get a big old bottle of anti-depressants, see y’all soonish.

Next Time:

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