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    Honest and Fearless

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    mindspike
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    Honest and Fearless

    Post  mindspike on June 18th 2011, 12:41 pm

    I started this in reply to Paeter's movie review, but it quickly got out of hand and off-topic. Oops....

    You know, the entry requirements for the Corps used to be "utterly honest and utterly fearless," even as late as the mid-80's "Emerald Dawn". This seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent interpretations of the mythos, focusing on the "utterly fearless" part of the equation.

    When Sinestro's fall is told in the movie "First Flight", and when it is retconned in Geoff Johns comic issues, Sinestro was a corrupt person driven by a lust for power and control. By contrast, when Giffen and Jones retold Sinestro's fall in Emerald Dawn 2, he was a good man, doing what he honestly felt was best for his sector. His fall from grace came not from personal moral failing, but was literally the fault of the Guardians' arbitrary definition and enforcement of "moral right" based on a majority opinion of other lanterns. Acting upon this reasoning, Sinestro's actions as villain become based on a desire to do what's right - as he defines it.

    I always found it curious that the Guardians were unable to wield the rings themselves. Appa Ali Apsa boasted that it was because their own personal power was already greater than that of the rings, but Ganthet confided to Hal Jordan that the rings were designed to seek out wielders based on abilities that the Guardians did not possess - meaning no Guardian was utterly fearless, or utterly honest - a curious group to set themselves in a position to decide what is best for the universe!

    Guy Gardner was always my favorite example of this ideal (pre-Johns). As a ring-wielder, Gardner was not only utterly fearless and self-sacrificing, he was also utterly honest, and it was this trait which Giffen and Jones played upon as Gardner's chief character trait in the 90's Green Lantern and Justice League International/America. Although abrasive, although never really liked, the League, including Batman (portrayed as generally distrustful in this series), always trusted Guy to do what was right and not to betray them or act against their best interests.

    Even more than the ring constructs and unlimited potential of the emerald energy, this concept of honest and fearless was always my favorite thing about the Green Lantern character, because it defined them in very specific ways that should make for some fantastic super-hero action. For example, "utterly fearless" means not only that he is not personally afraid of harm, but also that his worldview is unshakable (no fear of moral compromise), that new tasks are met as challenges to be overcome (no fear of failure), and that the safety of others is not a leverage point against him (no fear of being unable to protect them). "Utterly honest" means the character is completely trustworthy, abides by the law where it applies to him, and acts out of moral certitude. With these parameters absolutely defined, we have great potential for character-driven stories. Some of the best in this stripe were done by Dennis O'Neil in the 70's and by Gerard Jones in the 90's at complete opposite ends of the storytelling spectrum. O'Neil's stories were hard-bitten social commentary. Jones wrote light-hearted adventure. I like it.


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    Paeter
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    Re: Honest and Fearless

    Post  Paeter on June 18th 2011, 2:23 pm

    Don't know if you were writing in response to the written or podcasted review. In the latter I mentioned as an aside that the requirements USED to contain honesty as well as fearlessness, but I don't think I mentioned that in the written version.

    It would be good for Johns to be reminded of this. I agree that if GLs are truly known for their honesty it would make for some very interesting stories.

    And your perspective on the 90s Guy Gardner was enlightening. I kept him at a distance because I was annoyed by his obnoxious attitude and never got the sense that the other leaguers felt about him the way you described. But if his rude behavior was the result of honesty I may have been missing something hugely interesting!

    I still don't think I could stomach reading the old league stuff, but if they brought that side of his character back without him being so immature along with it, I might really find his character fascinating!

    Thanks for your perspective!


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    mindspike
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    Re: Honest and Fearless

    Post  mindspike on June 18th 2011, 7:59 pm

    I haven't listened to this week's podcast yet, buddy. Sorry. I was replying to the written review.

    Guy's frat boy immaturity was largely an invention of Giffen and Jones (the collaborators on JLI) in the post-Crisis world. Before that, he was actually a PE teacher, and one of the most straight-laced jocks you could find. After Crisis, they put more emphasis on the "jock" part of his character, and Gerard Jones' writing catered to the same crowd that enjoyed "Lobo" (a Keith Giffen book) and the stuff Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane were doing over at Image.

    My favorite Guy stories were always the ones where he was part of a team - the Corps/JLI/JLA, and so forth. In my absolute favorite Guy Gardner moment, he chews Wonder Woman a new ::dainty expression:: because her character judgement of him was based solely on the way she desired him to behave, and not an evaluation of his past deeds. (Justice League America #83 / Guy Gardner #15 crossover) I guess it's no surprise that Chuck Dixon was writing the book by this time, and the "experienced and mature jock" version carried over well into the Ron Marz --> Judd Winick run on Green Lantern. Dixon (and later, Beau Smith) did some absolutely heroic things with the character that Johns has apparently chosen to completely ignore in favor of stunts like Guy mooning Batman.


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Honest and Fearless

    Post  Nathan James Norman on June 28th 2011, 1:25 am

    mindspike wrote:... Gardner was not only utterly fearless and self-sacrificing, he was also utterly honest, and it was this trait which Giffen and Jones played upon as Gardner's chief character trait in the 90's Green Lantern and Justice League International/America. Although abrasive, although never really liked, the League, including Batman (portrayed as generally distrustful in this series), always trusted Guy to do what was right and not to betray them or act against their best interests.

    I never really liked Guy Gardner until you posted this. I know people liek this who are abrasive, yet utterly honest.

    You've completely changed my mind about a character I actively avoided!

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    Re: Honest and Fearless

    Post  WhiteBoy on June 28th 2011, 10:40 am

    It warms my heart to see Nathan growing as a person. Razz


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