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A Green Lantern Elseworlds

Not Close Enough

Featuring Guy Gardner

by David R. Black

Welcome to Brainstorm's Corner, a monthly springboard showcase. A springboard, basically a one-page prose summary of a comic book story, is the format used for submitting stories to companies such as DC Comics. In one page, a writer must describe the plot while also trying to make it as intriguing as possible. It's quite a challenge!

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In Elseworlds, heroes are taken from their usual settings and put into strange times and places - some that have existed or might have existed, and others that can't, couldn't, or shouldn't exist.

"I was first. I was picked by Abin Sur as he died. Picked by his power ring because it saw in me the potential for fearlessness and absolute devotion to…."

"It picked you because you were closer! It saw the same stuff in me, Jordan! But I got picked as a backup because I was farther away. "

---Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner, Green Lantern #25 (3rd series)

Background

There's an ongoing controversy regarding who is the better Green Lantern; Hal or Kyle? Both are OK in my book, but to me, the one true Green Lantern has always been Guy Gardner. As a teenager reading the Gerard Jones run on GL and the Keith Giffen run on JLA, I could identify with Guy - his angst, his never quite being able to fit in with the other heroes, and his seemingly never ending quest to get people to treat him seriously. Guy even loved to read old comic books, just like me.

I followed Guy through the yellow ring business (that was cool!) and Emerald Fallout, but I just didn't like his change to Warrior. Heck, I had changed and matured by then too, and I no longer identified with Guy as much as before. Vuldarian genes? C'mon! So I've been thinking…..

What if Guy would've been closer to Abin Sur than Hal? What if Green Lanterns were Earth's only superheroes? What if the GL Corps allowed its members to have deputies, like the Darkstars had? And how the heck would Alan Scott, John Stewart, and the other Lanterns and supporting characters fit into this Elseworlds earth?

Well, read on……

The Proposal

Since the days of the Old West, Abin Sur had always been Earth's - and Sector 2814's - Green Lantern. The ring wielder from Ungara might not have been the first Green lantern to serve as Earth's guardian, but he was the first to make himself known to the population. And he became a celebrity for it, especially after the war. On an Earth with no JSA, no All Star Squadron, no meta humans whatsoever, the peace loving Abin was instrumental in bringing World War II to an early end. He and his deputies, Earthers Alan Scott and Frank Rock, appeared in countless newsreels, photographs, and magazines both during the war and in the decades following. In addition to being a philosopher and celebrity, Abin was a part time scientist, working on developing a power ring with a vulnerability to something other than yellow. Sure, Abin had his faults (he was a notorious womanizer), but those were forgotten the day he died. The day Earth got its first homegrown Green Lantern.

As Abin lay dying in the Gotham City home of his deputy Alan Scott, he willed his ring to find a replacement. The ring found two - Guy Gardner of Baltimore, Maryland, and Hal Jordan of Coast City, California. Gardner, being the closer of the two, was chosen, but Abin instructed his ring to make sure that Gardner chose Jordan as one of his deputies. And on that fateful day, the lives of both the social worker and the test pilot would change forever.

As was the custom, both of Abin Sur's deputies gave up their active status, but they were permitted to keep less powerful versions of their rings. The new GL was allowed to pick his own deputies, but the old ones still needed a means of protection against Abin's old foes, should they decide to seek revenge. Alan Scott became a scientist, at one point he had his own kiddie science TV show as "The Scientific Scott-aroonie," but Alan's main love was tinkering with Abin's designs for new power rings. He would, someday, remove that blasted yellow vulnerability that his foes exploited to no end. Frank Rock decided to go into the movie business as an actor, and later, as a director. Frank's long lived series of "General Glory" movies became instant classics.

In his first act as Earth's new Green Lantern, Guy Gardner did indeed choose Hal Jordan as one of his two deputies. After all, thought Guy, just because he was closer didn't make it fair. Poor Guy. He knew an awful lot about life being unfair. His father was a raging alcoholic, and his brother Mace was the perfect son, always stealing away attention and parental love from Guy as they were growing up. Guy developed a quick wit and sharp tongue to deal with his early troubles, but as Green Lantern, he vowed not to be unfair to others as they had done to him.

In time, Guy became just as much of a celebrity as his predecessor was. He, Hal, and Guy's second deputy - a young Gypsy woman named Kari Limbo - fought off all kinds of menaces. Alien invasions, mad space sectors, and the like. They also fought their share of supervillains - yellow based or otherwise - including the Golden Bat, the superstrong Ultraman, and the yellow costumed speedster known as the Flash.

Guy's love affair with the media was less subdued than Abin Sur's, but nonetheless, the wedding of Guy and Kari Limbo was the highest rated television event ever. The couple moved into a class above royalty. Gossip columnists were soon talking about babies and heroic dynasties (Abin Sur was thought to father one or two children, but no one knew for sure).

Then disaster struck.

While fighting a computerized menace known as Kil%owog, Hal Jordan was caught in an explosion of yellow, sulfuric gas and presumed killed. In reality, the blast hurled Hal into the anti-matter world of Qward. Hal survived, but the inherent evil and backwardness of Qward began to change him. Hal blamed Guy for the injuries he sustained in the explosion, and in time, Hal overthrew the chief Thunderer of Qward, a being named Sinestro, and became Qward's new ruler. His Qwardian scientists constructed for him a ring of power similar to his former GL ring, yet more powerful - and with a yellow beam. Hal, now calling himself Power Ring, began to plot his revenge on Guy and Kari.

Unknown to Hal, Guy had searched high and low for his friend. Only after two years did he give up and appoint a new deputy - Thomas Kalmaku. Still grief stricken over his friend's apparent demise, Guy reduced his role as Green Lantern following the birth of his daughter, Jennie-Lynn. The young girl was nicknamed "Jade" by the press because of her green skin, a side effect of her parents' two emerald rings. Guy played the role of stay at home Dad well and was, for a time, content to care for Jennie-Lynn while Tom and Kari protected Earth.

Then disaster came calling once again.

Power Ring's first act of revenge against Guy involved the kidnapping of his wife. Kari was abducted by Qwardian Thunderers, her power ring ineffective against their yellow weaponry, and taken to the anti matter universe. There, Power Ring brainwashed her and controlled her via a purple sapphire imbedded in her abdomen. Kari had been transformed into Star Sapphire, Qwardian Queen and Power Ring's consort.

After another fruitless search, Guy coped with his wife's apparent demise by throwing himself into his work. He, Tom Kalmaku, and Kari's replacement - a young African architect named John Stewart - helped usher in an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in those few years. Presenting a calm exterior front to the media, Guy was anything but calm inside. He was wracked with inner turmoil, and not being able to face his daughter, in whom he saw his wife and her mother - Guy left Jade to be raised by Alan Scott, who was by now very old. Alan provided for the girl as best he could, and so little Jennie wouldn't be lonely, he bought her a puppy. A puppy Jennie named G'nort.

All this happened in the past dear reader.

Now, Power Ring has devised a plot that will not only grant him his ultimate revenge on Guy, but will also give him revenge on all of Earth as well. With the combined powers of himself, Star Sapphire, and the Qwardian mystic Myrwhydden, Power Ring has succeeded in sucking the Earth into the anti-matter universe! With no help available from other members of the GL Corps, Guy and his deputies must prevent Power Ring and his followers from destroying the Earth!

Guy will recruit a veritable Green Lantern Corps of Earth to aid him in his battle. John Stewart and Tom Kalmaku are already on his side. Alan Scott will come out of retirement. Charlie Rock-Vickers, the actor and son of Frank Rock, will wield an emerald ring for the first time.

And what role will Katma Tui, the illegitimate daughter of Abin Sur, play in the final conflict? Found living amongst aborigines in Australia by John Stewart, does she have the same legendary level of will power as her beloved father?

And what of the ring without a vulnerability to yellow designed by Alan Scott? Only one other person besides Alan knows of its existence - a young artist Alan befriended by the name of Kyle Rayner. Like the heroic legacy before him, Kyle too will rise to the challenge during Power Ring's final assault.

And Guy Gardner? Will he be able to save the Earth from Power Ring? Will he be able to rescue the woman he loves? Will he lead his Green Lantern Corps of Earth to victory? Will Guy be able to prove, once and for all, that he is truly Earth's greatest Green Lantern?

Find out the answers to all these questions and more in "Green Lantern: Not Close Enough," a two issue miniseries in prestige format shipping in November!

David R. Black is Fanzing.com's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....

 
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