DC's most hated Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, once went through changes that made him more beloved until the universe was once again reset. Gardner went through many changes during the New 52 era, ones that pushed him towards becoming a better person despite his outward persona. While it may not have been obvious to many at first, Guy’s best moments were shown through the relationships he develops with his friends in and out of the Corps. 

One of Guy Gardner’s strongest friendships was with the Green Lantern Simon Baz. While they didn’t have many moments together in comics, the moments they did share showed their deep respect for one another. Guy may have also been Simon’s first friend in the Corps, while Simon was still unsure of himself and his ring, the rookie learned from Guy’s example and broke free of his insecurities. This friendship shows the impact Guy has on others, especially rookies, in the most intense ways. 

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One such instance was in Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion (by Tom Taylor, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Wright, and Dave Sharpe), where the Corps found themselves battling giants trapped in another universe. Guy led the charge, fighting his way through armies and monsters until some hope came in Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion #6 when Simon found a tear in space that could lead through to their universe. Showing his trust in Guy, Simon chooses to send him a goodbye message in case he died, establishing just how much he trusts him. Being the only Lantern to receive the message, Guy realizes just how much he means to the rookie and continues to fight in the name of his friend.  

After watching many of his friends die in Red Lanterns – from Peter Milligan, Ed Benes, and Rob Hunter – Guy isolated himself with his anger and grief, believing he needed to be left alone until Simon Baz came to his aid. In Red Lanterns #36 Simon went searching for Guy to ask for his help but after seeing how much Gardner is suffering, he decides to stay with him. He showed Guy that life is still worth living, talking him through a suicide attempt without anger or judgment, showing him just how much he and many others cared for him. He became Gardner’s guide when no one else was around and showed him he didn’t need to isolate himself because he could use his anger for good. 

Eventually, DC decided to reboot the universe with Rebirth and reset the Green Lanterns. Guy Gardner and Simon Baz were no exception in Green Lanterns: Rebirth (by Geoff Johns, Sam Humphries, and Ethan Van Sciver) Simon met the new Lantern, Jessica Cruz, and said the joke, “when someone dies, they pass on the ring. Please tell me it was Guy Gardner,” which implies that Simon, alongside many others, thought he was just a selfish jerk. This goes against Simon’s original thoughts on Guy during their first meeting in Green Lantern: Rise of the Third Army (by Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Tony Bedard, and Peter Milligan) in which he thought Guy was an inspiring fighter who also happened to be a wildcard. 

Guy Gardner’s friendship with Simon showed that Guy had truly earned the respect of the Lanterns, by the strength of his willpower and the fire in his heart that led him to do good things. He wasn’t a joke or a surface-level jerk to Simon, but instead a good man with a good heart who wants to help the world and its people. When DC rebooted everything, it set his development back and ruined the two’s relationship, effectively setting Guy Gardner back on the path to becoming the most hated Green Lantern again. 

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