You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
Last time round, Tony mentioned the Guardians, who I think are the little blue guys who are ordering people around in the first issue of Infinite Crisis. Shaun Manning, can you give us a little more insight into who they are and what they’re all about?
Shaun! Who are the little blue guys?
Shaun Manning: The Guardians… ok, let’s see how much of this I can do from memory. So the Guardians of the Universe are these immortal little blue dudes (mostly they’re all dudes, sometimes they’re not) who, at some point millennia ago, decided they were in charge of bringing order to everything. They’re based on a planet called Oa, which is allegedly the center of the universe, from which they divide all of space into 3600 sectors. There is a ridiculous amount of lore surrounding these beings, as you would expect. But, um, where to begin?
Oh, at some point in ancient history, a Guardian called Krona tried to peer into the origins of the universe — he saw a hand reaching out of the nothingness, and this released entropy into the cosmos. Krona is typically portrayed as a Promethean or Faustian/Satanic character, like he shouldn’t have gone after that forbidden knowledge, that he is literally evil because he did it — idk, I kind of sympathize with him? You’re a being of near-infinite knowledge, who is going to live forever, and you have the technology to basically do anything — what, you’re not at some point going to try and see how it all began?
Other things: oh, the reason that historically the Guardians have tended to be all male.
They originally come from a planet called Maltus, which was also home to a race called the Zamorans, which were all women. Weird path for evolution to take, but okay. Anyway, at some point there was a big fight and, being immortal and not needing each other for reproduction, the Zamorans and the Guardians just, uh, went their separate ways. This is just kind of the way things were for millions of years, until Hal Jordan came along and murdered all the Guardians some time ago — mid-’90s here on Earth Prime, probably about five years ago in the sliding scale of DC continuity. Since then, they’ve been reborn a couple times, now with multiple genders.
The Guardians are best known as the masterminds behind the Green Lantern Corps. But before the Lanterns, they founded the Manhunters, which turned out to be just a bit too fascy.
So they’re the ones who are in charge of the Green Lanterns? What’re they like as leaders – super trustworthy and always on the right side of things?
Manning: For most of time, the Guardians have been shown as kind of cold and logical — they represent “Order,” hard. This has led Hal Jordan to flamboyantly quit the Green Lantern Corps several times, most famously when he murdered everybody in “Emerald Twilight.” Some of them got better, and everyone forgave him because he was possessed by a yellow dinosaur. There have been a few rogue Guardians, like one who just stole a bunch of cities from different planets and relocated them to a world he controlled. This led to the excellent Green Lantern Mosaic series which, sadly, was the product of a truly horrible person.
But! Yes, there have been some evil Guardians. There’s Scar, a corrupted Guardian. And then the Guardians have led some not-great initiatives out of their cold, logical approach to problems. Around the time of the New 52, they got real shady, brainwashing Ganthet the Emo Guardian to make him more like them and deciding to replace the Green Lanterns with “The Third Army.” I don’t know, I wasn’t reading Green Lantern books for a bit during that era. But the Guardians also get up to some wild stuff in Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s current series, sending their old buddy Hal Jordan on some deeply suspicious black ops.
Am I right that one of them is called “Ganthet”? Which one is he, and why is he different to the others?
Manning: Ganthet is the emo Guardian. When Hal went wild during “Emerald Twilight,” the Guardians decided it was time for a new path forward and gave Ganthet all their power, withering to husks and dying in the process. Ganthet recruited Kyle Rayner to be the last Green Lantern while Kyle was pissing in an alley behind a bar, saying essentially “lol why not.” So for a while it was just Ganthet and Kyle, often vs. Hal.
When the Corps and the Guardians were restored, Ganthet was often shown as kind of the moral compass — basically, the only one with morals at all. His sort of “first among equals” status made him a solid choice to join the Quintessence, a club of five gods that hover about doing god things. Ganthet and his similarly-emotional paramour Sayd eventually reveal the power of the “emotional spectrum,” each with its own power ring, ushering one of the most popular and unequivocably dumb eras of Green Lantern.
So, yes. Eventually Ganthet is brainwashed and fights the Corps with the Third Army, but soon he comes to his senses and puts on his eyeliner once again.
DISCLAIMER: Do not cite this for your book report on the Guardians, this is essentially how I would describe them if you asked me in the pub. It is bound to be full of inaccuracies and oversimplifications. But, broad strokes, yes, this is what the Guardians of the Universe are about.
Thanks Shaun! Okay, so we should definitely catch back up with these other Green Lanterns. Did somebody mention somebody called “Jessica” at some point?
Shaun Manning is the writer and co-creator of the historical fiction graphic novel “Macbeth: The Red King” and has contributed to both “Star Wars Adventures” and “Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood”. He also has bylines at CBR and SYFY Wire, and writes for the University of Michigan School of Education. For more, you can find him on Twitter here!