Red Lanterns #34
And so, we come to the finale of Guy's little Adventure with the Cranky Corps. And it's one Heckuva Finale! As we all recall, Hal sent Guy over to spy on the Red Corps, because it probably wasn't a bad idea to have an idea about what Atrocitus and Company was up to, but more important, it got Guy out of his hair, as he was trying to wrangle what was left of the Green Lantern Corps. Guy wasn't happy...but he did it. And just as he predicted to Hal, it cost him.
He defeated Atrocitus, and ended up more or less leading the ragtag bunch of misfits in the Red Lanterns, and lo and behold, he managed to mould them into a pretty decent bunch! They fought some pretty nasty bad guys, helped some helpless people, and fought with the Green Lanterns, and Guy even conned Hal into giving him section 2814! I grew to really really like the Reds, my favorite being Zilius Zox, but heck, I liked Rankorr, Bleez and Skallox too. I didn't even mind when Supergirl showed up, because it was one of the few times that I actually ended up liking her too! They may have been angry a lot, but they came to actually care about one another, and it was my favorite book.
Then Atrocitus decided that he was really going to hit his former flunkies where it hurt, and destroyed the Blood lake on Ysmault, and went after Earth, seeding it with more rings, and doing everything in his power to destroy Guy and his merry band. And he was well on his way...
...which is more or less where we pick up, as Atrocitus has recruited scads of humans, by destroying a number of earth landmarks, and making people really mad. And then he is using them against Guy. He doesn't like Guy all that much, it seems. Last Issue, Zox was killed, but he took out the second blood lake, and managed to go out in a spectacular blaze of glory, which is appropriate, because he may have been a testicle with teeth, but he was MY testicle with teeth!
Skallox, it seemed had gone over to Atrocitus's side, but that was actually a ruse cooked up by he and Guy, and he was also trying to save Shadow Thief, who ended up with a red ring too. And Rankorr, wasn't really nuts, but was infected with a rather nasty parasite, who was controlling him, so he was aware of what the rest of them...especially Bleez...were trying to do to save him.
So it is down at the moment to Guy and Bleez. who have drawn Atrocitus away from Earth, and back to Ysmault, where they can make their last stand. Guy hopes that Zox, Skallox and Rankorr, not to mention Supergirl will be able to make their escapes, not knowing what has happened. He's even trying to make Bleez get out, while he holds off Atrocitus and his hordes, but she just tells him that he's an idiot. The Judge is still hanging around, although she's not doing too much.
He only has a few minutes before Atrocitus shows up, so he contacts John Stewart, and asks him to tell Hal not to feel guilty about sending him to the Reds, he stayed because he wanted to. He even has a moment of introspection about his rivalry with Hal, which is more than Hal ever has. But mainly he's just trying his very best to do the Right Thing.
The Reds of Atrocitus show up...and they aren't attacking, which surprises Guy and Bleez, but it turns out that Rankorr and Skallox have showed up in the nick of time. Poor Skallox was true to Guy and his buds, but Atrocitus breaks his neck, which made me sad, and it also drives Shadow Thief into a berserker rage. Guy and Bleez are glad to see Rankorr, but once again, Guy is trying to get them all to get out and be safe, when he finally learns that Zox and Skallox are now dead. He's pretty devastated, but he can't do anything about it for the moment, and just then, the Judge decides to judge HIM! And finds Guy Gardner...Not Guilty.
She can't say the same for the rest of the newly minted Red Lanterns, nor for herself, and in a final burst of Red Energy takes out everyone! Rankorr manages to shield Bleez and Guy, and Guy is trying to make sure that the human Reds are safe,when Atrocitus finally starts pummelling him personally.
This is actually pretty fabulous. Atrocitus HATES Guy, and Guy isn't too fond of him either. And in typical Gardner fashion, he taunts him quite nicely, telling him that he is more or less a whiner, and not even worthy of the ring. And to prove it...he takes it off.
So Guy is crouched there, in a t-shirt and jeans, clutching his heart, which is about to explode probably without his ring, while Atrocitus gloats. Except...that Guy is still pretty angry, and his eyes start to glow red, and ALL THE RINGS, including Atrocitus's come flying onto his fingers! And then all of the rings of the other Red Lanterns, with the exceptions of Bleez and Rankorr come to him as well, and he recreates the Blood lake on Ysmault!
Rankorr is gobsmacked, and even Bleez is impressed! Guy is a bit...tired, and tells them that they need to get everyone back to earth, and the baddies over to Mogo and Hal, who will know what to do with them. And then he more or less turns over the Red Lanterns to Bleez and Rankorr, or at least the rest of Sector 2814. He's going to make sure that Earth is ok personally.
And so he goes home.
This...was fantastic. I'm going to miss the Red Lanterns terribly, especially Zox and even Skallox. I'm glad that Bleez has grown and that she and Rankorr seem to have something going together, which is nice. I'm really glad that Atrocitus is down. He's not dead, because Guy doesn't really like killing people all that much, so he can be put back into play later by someone else, because you should never wreck all the toys. But Guy has done an amazing job of running his own Corps. It was probably a doomed effort, considering what they were all up against, but still...he took something horrible and made something good out of it.