In my last post I forgot to mention how the art changed. The art teams appear to change quite a lot over the selection fo issues I've got, but it's most noticeable between issues 4 and 23 when the whole creative team has changed. As I said, issues 1,2 and 4 read like a parody of macho beat 'em up tough guys. It looks like it's poking fun at a lot of the 'typical' fans, judging by the quality of writing in the letter pages. Although the book does indulge in big fights (it is a superhero comic after all) and Guy does like getting his fists dirty, there is an element of subtle parody involved. It's mocking itself and the general culture.
Well, the art in these first issues perfectly complements that, Guy is drawn to resemble a dumb bucktoothed redneck at times, but then again so it everyone. It works really well. By issue 23 the art is more standard and has big hulking male superheroes and nekkid ladies. I could get riled up about this, but the cover to 23 looks like an Indiana Jones piss take, and this is a theme that is continued within the comic (dinosaurs, nazis, secret magic pools and a tribe of jungle ladies). Although later issues aren't always such a direct homage to anything in particular, I think that this prevents it from becoming a simple hur-hur-fights-and-hot-ladies type of comic.
The whole thing appears quite self aware, but I think you need a knowledge of Guy's place in comic history and of comics themselves to appreciate this. I don't think a new reader would view it this way, I imagine they might dismiss it as exactly the sort of bollocks popular thought portrays comics as - testosterone heavy, sexed up fantasies for teenage boys. I don't think that's the case.
What do other GL fans think?
But on to later issues.
Number 26: We open with an attack on the President then jump to Guy's shocked reaction when he's handed the keys to the Warriors bar. He doesn't know what to think about it so Buck and him make a bet on a card game to decide if she keep it or not.
Veronna is back and bows before Guy proclaiming that she is here to protect him and fulfill all his earthly desires. She gets a more rounded character later on, don't worry. Guy, to his credit, doesn't jump into bed with her. So, not such a jerk after all. Not that if he did he would be taking advantage of her, she's more than capable of looking after herself and making her own decisions. She's not been pushed into the role of protector. However, if he did decide to take up her offer of sex then he'd be guilty of treating her disposably and I don't think that's in character for him. Sure he is a jerk and he talks badly about women but from what i've read I get the impression he basically respects them (as much as he does men anyway), and his manner of langauge is all bluster and bravado. I think he's basically old fashioned when it comes to sex - sure he'll have sex quickly but it won't be with complete strangers. Or si this just since the death of Ice? What do other Guy fans think? Do I need to read more?
Guy et al notice the problems with the President and go rescue him. Guy is still getting used to his Warrior/Vuldarian powers. He defeats Black snake, the dude going after the President, and nearly loses complete control over his powers which freaks him out a little.
Number 27: We open with Guy fighting a coupla bad dudes, Supes saying 'that Guy, what a hero!', Bats wishing he was as smart as Guy and Wondy wanting to get in his pants. Methinks something strange may be happening. Turns out he's daydreaming whilst getting awarded a medal for saving the President last issue.
After this, Supes (for real this time) arrives to congratulate Guy and then follows some quick exposition and male bonding.
Guy's thoughts return to his missing brother, mace. Mace's body was stolen at the end of issue 25.
Steel then arrives and they have a more respectful, level conversation than Supes and Guy did. I get the feeling that they regard each other as equals whereas Guy knows that Kal majorly outranks him in he superhero stakes.
A bad guy called Sledge turns up, Guy makes a fart joke and Sledge starts destroying things. He's a simple one, this one.
Cut to a subterranean view and a military faction are discussing Sledge, revealing that he 'is an old prototype predating militia'. they need to get him back.
Back to the surface, the fight continues. Sledge is defeated and the military folks turn up and take him back.
Cut to outer space and some aliens not previously seen (by me at least) comment on a Vuldarian presence. Cue ominous sounds and planning.
Cut back to earth. Guy is visiting his mum for Christmas, when he opens the door he sees Major Force sitting in his kitchen commenting on the tiny fridge. Oh noes, thinks I. A crappy shoehorned in reference to Kyle's experience of fridging.
Number 28: Guy starts hitting Mr Force. Mr Force makes teasing comments about his mum being on ice.
In outer space the aliens from last issue are destroying Khunds.
Back on earth, some veiny dude is eating humans.
Back to Guy, him and Major Force ares till fighting. Kyle then turns up and saves Guy from being smooshed by a truck. They sort of defeat Major Force (working for Quorum) but then Force decides to leave of his own accord.
Kyle and Guy start chatting, and oh phew, the fridge situation is not a shoehorned in reference to Kyle's dead girlfriend, this issue obviously takes place just after Alex has been killed. That's ok then. Kyle rings them back to the apartment and it turns out the house sitter is in the fridge, not Guy's mum. Kyle meanwhile wobbles and nearly collapses due to the horror of everything. Guy doesn't seem too angry about the house sitter being dead.
Guy receives a mysterious phone call from a militia lady who tells them where Force is. Kyle rings them there and he starts breaking Major Force.
The story arc is continued in GL, which I don't have.
Number 29: The opening of Warriors bar! Great cover - I have this alternative edition. Guy is workign behidnthe bar, upes is orderign and Lobo is cracking onto Artemis!Wonder Woman.
Inside we open with Darkseid pondering as to why there is a large gathering of heroes with no battel commencing. Desaad reckons there is a conspiracy occurring. Apokolips must be a lonely place with no bars. Does this mean there are no beers there also?
Next we see the actual opening - lots of heroes gathering and Guy getting nervy about his tie. A moustachiod Superman impostor tries to get in and is thrown out by the real version. Lady Blackhawk arrives!! Shes' a refugee from Zero Hour and this is how she got into our current time. She sees and catches up with Wildcat. Aquaman and Dolphin are there, Arthur is gnarley because no one is mentioning his lack of a hand. Lots of women on hitting on Man Tiger and complimenting his silky fur. Arisia and Kyle discuss Hal's death.
Captain Atom turns up. This leads to a fight as Guy is still sore about the Captain not telling him about Ice's death. Fair enough. Then Lobo turns up and starts on Guy. Meanwhile in Blackgate prison, a demon wishes to feast on the terror.
We close with screams coming from Guy's room.
There's a lot going on in this issue, both in the fore and background. A lot of running gags and a lot of building on past events. Very good.
Number 38: We open with folks discussing the events of what I presume are the last few issues. Guy arrives completely knackered and with long hair and beard. He is diagnosed with super human exhaustion and ordered to rest. Then he gets a haircut and we see a variety of different styles, including 70s porn star and a Wolverien esque approach. A lady with what i'm guessing are pheromone powers turns up and all the men fall in love. Guy and her then leave in a chauffeur driven car.
Meanwhile, Arisia (with a horrible 90s outfit), Veronna and Man-Tiger are in the sewers. They fight the evil white guy and try to rescue the humans. Arisia has a voice activated gun, that can shoot backwards. Sge's right, it is cool. Man-Tiger, or Desmond, adopts his black tiger guise and goes apeshit crazy.
Number 39: we open with Guy being teased about his one nigh stand with Fire. I'm presuming at this moment it is a one night stand.
Then his mum turns up. She's how you'd imagine - big, loud, unapologetic and demanding. I like her!
Then we cut to Grodd who sends his robot monkey minions to warriors bar to nick stuff. Then gang go after them and we get a giant robot monkey fight. Veronna and Guy manage to stave off Grodd's mental mind attack. Grodd gets away and leaves an explosive robot ape behind, which Guy then hurls after his ship to explode on impact.
Number 41: A story told in two halves - the top and bottom half of each page. The top one is the real story and the bottom one is a cartoony, kinda subversive saccharine version of the story. I say subversive because it appears to be all sweet, lightness an suitable for children, but is still violent and sweary.
Quorum turn up and start a fight. Fire arrives and her and Guy get some quality chat time and think about a date.
I won't reveal the reason for the double story, but it's good.
Overall, I've really enjoyed these issues. In some places they are very clever (issue 41) and all are more than the obvious boneheaded Guy smash! type thing that you might expect. The plots are weaved tightly together, there's a lot of humour, a lot of background stuff going on and good character development throughout. Oveall, a good example of what the comic genre can do. I will definitley be picking up the remaining issues at the shop. I just hope they've got number 42, Gal Gardener in on Thursday.