Thursday, January 1, 2015

ACTION COMICS #688 - July 1993


An Eye for an Eye
Credits:  Roger Stern (writer), Jackson Guice & Denis Rodier (artists), Bill Oakley (letterer), Glenn Whitmore (colorist)

Summary:  Annoyed by the emergence of four new Supermen, Guy Gardner decides to prove them as frauds.  He first targets the Eradicator, who’s recently broken all of the bones in a thief’s hand.  Guy and the Eradicator fight, and Guy is stunned at Eradicator’s strength.  When Guy witnesses the Eradicator’s ruthless treatment of the Dragon street gang, he decides he supports this Superman.  Guy publicly gives his endorsement of Eradicator, which unnerves him.  Meanwhile, Maggie Sawyer is promoted to Inspector.  At a press conference, she promises to apprehend the new, lethal Superman.

Review:  I assumed the Eradicator stories would focus on him acting like the Punisher in an updated version of Superman’s costume, but Stern is instead going in a more traditional direction.  This issue is largely a slugfest between Guy Gardner and Eradicator with a few brief acknowledgments of the ongoing subplots thrown in.  There’s little here to differentiate this from any other brawl that might occur between Guy and Superman, just a different justification for why they’re fighting for eighteen pages.  It is amusing that Guy Gardner gives his public endorsement to one of the Supermen that turns out to be a villain, but of course the story’s going out of its way to make Guy Gardner look bad.  I’m not familiar enough with DC continuity to know how Guy should be written, if he’s supposed to be a likable grouch like Jonah Jameson or just a caricature of what the creators think a “Joe Six-Pack” hero would be, but I accept that he’s supposed to be the jerk of the DC Universe.  He’s not particularly entertaining in this issue, however, leading me to believe that he either works best within the context of a Justice League story or that Stern doesn’t have the best grasp on the character.  Guy serves his purpose as a punching bag, yes, but I don’t see any real reason for him to be the focus for so much of the issue.

4 comments:

Andrew Brown said...

I've always liked Guy when he's written well. He's like the arrogant, chauvinist jock from high school given a power ring. To get a ring you needed to be honest and without fear, there's nothing stopping you from being an ass

Moose said...

Andrew,

I couldn't agree more! I've developed a soft spot for "real" characters, people who I wouldn't want to have a meal with, but who are still heroic. U.S.Agent is another example of one who, like Guy, can be easily written to be just laughably annoying and stupid, but is immensely three-dimensional and interesting when written well.

wwk5d said...

"It is amusing that Guy Gardner gives his public endorsement to one of the Supermen that turns out to be a villain, but of course the story’s going out of its way to make Guy Gardner look bad"

Well, at least he didn't endorse the Cyborg Superman...

Was the Eradicator ever really a villain though?

G. Kendall said...

He was originally conceived as a living weapon that Superman had to stop. He might not be strictly a villain at this point, but I don't think DC wanted the readers to be rooting for him either.