Justice League International: Volume 4 (aka: I Hate Guy Gardner)

There are some villains that we all love to hate. Given a few minutes, I’m sure we could all come up with at least half a dozen supposed villains who we’re secretly fascinated by, and whom we may even prefer than the heroes in their respective stories.  It’s not an uncommon occurrence.  It’s far more rare to have a hero that is so easily despised that he seems to walk the line between good and evil, and yet that’s exactly what Guy Gardner does.

He is easily the most vacuous, ego-centric, misogynistic character I have read about in comics, and I’m including the heroes and the villains.

Every  time he’s in a scene, I tighten my fists, wanting nothing more than to punch him in his smug little face.  I can’t express how much I miss sweet, innocent Guy, happily trailing along after Batman and looking out for his fellow members of JLI.  The normal version of Guy brings nothing good to the table, and honestly feels a bit more like a supervillain than a hero.

His outlandish behavior goes beyond the extreme; it’s downright absurd how much of a jerk he is.  Never is this more obvious than when he coerces Ice into going out on a date with him, by playing the “you don’t know the real me” card.  The date quickly spirals downward when he takes her to the movies to see a porn film.

Clearly, there’s no misunderstanding his personality. He’s just a jerk.

Plus, there’s the ever-classy moment when he makes the ultimate jerk comment to Ice:

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First off, Guy, how dare you.  Secondly, HOW DARE YOU.

This panel cemented Guy as my least favorite character of all time.  It angers me beyond words that he is a member of the JLI.  Are his powers really all that great that he needs to be included? Half the time he doesn’t follow orders, and he ends up causing more problems than he solves.

Still, I can see the point of having such a character in the trade.  Guy is essentially the foil to every single other member of the group, and is constantly getting into altercations with various people, heroes and villains alike.  Most of the villains in the JLI trade disappear after one or two issues, but Guy lingers, generating an ever-growing sense of contempt that is otherwise lacking from the story.  Guy Gardner makes all of the other heroes look good by comparison, simply because they’re not him.  Plus, there’s the added bonus that every time he spews some obnoxious, offensive sexual comment, there’s an awesome rebuttal from whichever female character he’s insulted.  I must admit, I enjoy watching these women put Guy in his place.  He had better watch out though; if he doesn’t mind his manners, he’s liable to get punched into the next century.

Please, oh please, let this happen.

This Justice League International trade continues in much the same vein as the previous volumes, but Guy really stuck out to me this time.  I really just couldn’t get past all of his obnoxious comments and general poor behavior.  He’s not even an anti-hero, for which I could at least respect him.  He’s an annoying little twerp who flaunts his powers for all the wrong reasons.  Still, I suppose it keeps the comic realistic; after all, if super powers were a normal occurrence, there would certainly be one or two instances of people using those powers, if not for outright evil, at least for selfish personal gains.

Guy is a jerk, but I suppose he has a part to play in the overall story.  He creates real conflict within the group, moreso than the standard bickering occasionally seen between other characters.  His role may just end up being that of most annoying super hero ever, but it’s one that I suppose has to be filled by someone.  He’s a terrible, horrible person, but even I must admit, he’s awfully good at being despicable.

I still want to punch him in his stupid face though.

-Jess

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