Ladieeeeeeeeees and gentlemen! Step right up for the fight of the century! (Don’t look, Sally!)
In ONE corner, Guy Gardner -- all-around scrapper and badass Green Lantern.
In the OTHER corner, Metamorpho (Rex Mason), the Element Man -- meaning he can transform into just about any element and use the properties of that element. (It’s an ability that also, technically, makes Rex one of the most powerful super-heroes anywhere; but he never seems to get credit for that for some reason.)
Okay, the fanfare aside, here’s the lowdown on this fight and where, why, and how it occurred:
Justice League Europe issues 11 and 12 (1989) present a situation where Rex finds out that his ditzy ex-wife, Sapphire Stagg, has had a baby boy -- Rex’s baby boy. The baby is being kept at the Akron, Ohio industrial complex of Sapphire’s daddy and Rex’s enemy, the ruthless, greedy businessman Simon Stagg.
The baby, it seems, has powers that are the opposite of Rex’s -- while Rex can turn his body into different elements, the baby turns everything around him into different elements. Simon Stagg has figured out a way to get the baby to consistently produce a new fuel alternative that Stagg is preparing to distribute.
Rex is determined to rescue his son and put a halt to Stagg’s exploitation. He goes storming off to Akron to confront Stagg, with Buddy Baker (Animal Man) and Dimitri Pushkin (Rocket Red) along for the ride, to (theoretically) keep Rex from getting into TOO much trouble.
Even with Animal Man and Rocket Red keeping an eye on Rex, the current leader of Rex’s Justice League Europe team, Captain Atom, is still a bit worried about what Rex will do. He contacts Oberon of Justice League International to see about recruiting additional protection for Stagg.
Overhearing Oberon’s conversation is Guy Gardner, who is a HUGE fan of Simon Stagg’s (“My HERO! Mr. CAPITALISM! The classiest cut-throat I’ve ever met!”) As a member of Justice League International, Guy at this point has suffered the indignities of being punched out by Batman and recovering from a temporary personality change (sickeningly SWEET and SENTIMENTAL) resulting from a blow to the head. Despite it all, though, Guy has remained a real gung-ho scrapper and super-hero, and he LOVES being a Green Lantern.
Before Oberon can offer a solution to the Metamorpho-vs.-Simon Stagg situation, Guy butts in and volunteers to protect Stagg.
(Meanwhile, there’s stuff going on in a side story about Blue Jay and the Silver Sorceress -- but that's a story for another time.)
So, now we have Metamorpho, Animal Man, Rocket Red, and Guy Gardner, all with different agendas and all about to converge on Simon Stagg’s location. Throw the Metal Men into the mix, too, because it turns out that Doc Magnus is on Stagg’s payroll (and apparently blissfully unaware of Stagg’s underhanded schemes). Yep, there’s a real mess in the making here.
When Rex, Buddy, and Dimitri arrive at Stagg Industries, Rex immediately barges in, pushes his way past his ex-wife and her current husband (Java, Simon Stagg’s brutish bodyguard), and makes his way to the baby’s room. He’s a little shocked by what he sees.
Due to the baby having no control over his powers, he’s a danger to everyone around him. So, Doc Magnus has rigged up a sort-of robotic room to care for the baby while also keeping him isolated.
At the same time, Guy Gardner arrives and pushes HIS way to Simon Stagg.
Back at the baby’s room, Metamorpho flies into a rage over how his son is being treated. Rex knocks out both Buddy and Dimitri and breaks into the baby’s isolation chamber.
Before he can reach the baby, though, GUY shows up:
The fight is on!
Yeah. Metamorpho has turned to gold. Green Lantern power rings, at this point, don’t work against anything yellow, including GOLD. Guy really should have thought about that one before tangling with Metamorpho. (‘Course, Hal Jordan made the same mistake years earlier in a fight with the Metal Men. Gold took him out rather easily. But, that’s a story for another time.)
Things really start to get ugly.
But Guy’s never been one to give up if he can help it. No, sir.
Unbelievably, the baby sleeps all through the ruckus between Rex and Guy. With Guy now down for the count, Rex finally gets to see his baby son for the first time -- and, awwwww, he gets all teary eyed. Before he can pick up the kid, though, MORE trouble shows up.
So NOW we have Metamorpho vs. the Metal Men (Gold, Platinum, Iron, Lead, Mercury, and Tin) -- while Guy just lays there on the floor, unconscious and bleeding all over the place (including all over a rather angry-looking rubber ducky). I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the fight with the Metal Men, ‘cause this article is primarily about Rex vs. Guy. Suffice it to say, Rex defeats the Metal Men rather handily -- primarily because he has ALL of their abilities and then some.
During the fight, though, the robotic room becomes damaged, and a robotic arm ends up flinging the baby across the room. “My son!” Metamorpho yells -- which stops the Metal Men in their tracks, because they hadn’t known exactly WHY Metamorpho was there. The robots just don’t think it's right to keep a daddy away from his son.
Before Metamorpho can try to catch his son, though, Java dives into the room and saves the baby -- and then immediately gets his arms melted off due to the baby’s powers. (Doc Magnus immediately sets to work making Java a pair of prosthetics.)
It turns out, though, that Sapphire can hold the baby without any trouble, and so can Rex.
(Meanwhile, Guy is still unconscious on the floor.)
Then Simon Stagg steps into the room and starts haranguing Rex. Rex’s response is to hand the baby to Stagg.
Yep, turns out that Grandpa is immune to the baby’s powers, too. Surprise, surprise, Stagg immediately has a change of heart about his grandson and decides right there and then to treat him better and to stop using him to produce fuel.
Problem solved, Rex, Buddy, and Dimitri head back to Europe, with Rex expressing some disappointment.
And, back at Justice League International headquarters, “after a long, long nap ...”
Yup. Ya just can’t keep Guy down for long.
Story = Keith Giffen and Bill Loebs. Art = Bart Sears