Finally, we’re arrived at the last Green Lantern (at least, the last one who has had any live-action appearance) who has a cameo in Injustice: Gods Among Us: Guy Gardner, Earth’s third Green Lantern. He has appeared in the awful tv movie Justice League of America, portrayed by Matthew Settle. This version was quite a mix of many Lanterns from the comics: he had Gardner’s name, Kyle Rayner‘s costume and mask (sort of), and Hal Jordan‘s personality. Not much of a portrayal. To this, add the fact that, for flying, he had to materialize a helicopter’s helix like Inspector Gadget, and you’ll have an idea of the overall quality of the movie’s version of the character. Let’s see who Guy Gardner really is.
Guy Darrin Gardner was born in Baltimore, Maryland, son of Roland and Peggy Gardner, and brother to Mace. Roland wasn’t exactly best father of the year, quite the opposite: an alcoholic and a violent man, he often beat Guy, making him feel inadequate in whatever he tried to do to impress him. Guy’s frustration grew the more Roland praised Mace, who, on the opposite, did everything just like his father wanted. Finally, as a teenager, Guy decided he could have never satisfied his dad, and, instead of trying to best Mace, he became exactly the opposite of him. Mace was responsible, Guy became reckless; Mace was perfect, Guy did his best to be the worst imaginable; Mace became a cop, Guy chose the path of criminality. The boy spent most of his time going in and out of juvenile hall, making himself a name as a troublesome delinquent. When he was eighteen, he tried to reach the upper category, and stole a car. A cop caught him on the scene and, instead of taking him to jail, he brought him to his brother: Mace beat the crap out of him, telling him to stop being someone he didn’t want to be and to stop hurting the people who cared for him with his behavior. Surprisingly, the lecture worked, and Guy started studying again, got a real job, and paid his way through college with his own savings. In University of Michigan, he learnt how to discharge his aggressiveness in positive ways, and entered the local football team; he studied Psychology and Education, and got a deserved degree. In the meanwhile, unfortunately, Mace turned out to be a corrupt cop, and, during some “business”, some drug dealers shot him in the back, leaving him paraplegic. The man couldn’t stand the humiliation, and drowned himself in a river; in the same time, Roland’s liver gave up, and Guy had the occasion of making it up with his old man before losing him too. From this events, Guy decided he would have made something of his life, and started working in a prison, helping inmates with anger management problems. One of them was Hal Jordan, in prison because of alcoholism problem. The two became friends, and when Guy had to quit the job, since it risked to worsen his problems with aggressiveness, they kept in touch. Guy became physical education teacher for special education children, a job he loved.
In that time, dying Green Lantern Abin Sur landed on Earth, searching , for a successor. His Power Ring found two possible candidates, Jordan and Gardner, but the first one was nearer to the crashing point and was chosen. In that time, an accident occurred to Gardner and his whole class, and temporarily put him out of commission: a earthquake almost threw the school bus he and his children were in, and they were saved by a new superhero, Green Lantern, actually Hal Jordan, who recognized him as his friend and as the man who was chosen by Abin Sur with him. With his legs broken, forced to stay in bed, and then to use a cane to walk, he returned to a normal life after months, but didn’t feel like coming back to work with the school children, since he felt guilty for the accident. He traveled for a while, and during his trips he met Kari Limbo, a fortune teller with whom he fell in love. The two started travelling together, and, for the first time in his life, Guy was really happy. Everything changed when Hal Jordan, who had problems with his Power Battery and had to leave Earth to reach Oa and investigate, asked him to replace him during his absence. Guy surely was quite shocked, but ended up accepting… until the Battery ended up exploding in his face, seemingly killing him. In reality, he was teleported to the Phantom Zone, where evil Kryptonian General Zod brainwashed him and made him an ally of his: the two together battled and defeated Green Lantern and Superman, and the two heroes barely escaped the dimensional prison. Jordan (who, believing Guy dead, was about to marry Kari) came back to the Phantom Zone to save his friend, but Sinestro, the rogue Lantern, had already kidnapped him and brought him to the Anti-Matter Universe; Jordan managed to save his friend, but Guy had fallen into a comatose state. Gardner would have woken up only years after, with the firm belief that Hal Jordan was the source of all of his problems; plus, he started to believe to be fitter than him to be Earth’s Green Lantern. The two had a harsh confrontation over Abin Sur’s grave, and Gardner discovered that Hal had quit being a Lantern some time before, while John Stewart had become his replacement. The Guardians of the Galaxy, anyway, needed more Lanterns for the battle against the Anti-Monitor, and Guy was enlisted: he would have proved to be quite a troublesome, even if worthy, member of the Corps during the war, and in the future missions.
Guy Gardner is a complex man, whose real character never hits the surface of his behavior: he has quite an indomitable will, but is also insecure and afraid of not being up to the challenges he has to face. He is boastful and arrogant, hot-headed and ill-tempered, but his aggressiveness is often a form of self-defense. He nevertheless possesses a strong moral code and a deep and sincere sense of justice. As a Green Lantern, he uses the Power Ring, which allows him to manipulate many forms of energy and to build mind-construct powered by his will, as well as to survive in open space and to communicate with any known language. Surely not a Lantern who acts by the book, Gardner is still one of the best members the Corps can count upon.