The first full month ofThe New 52 has come and gone, and now I’m playing catch-up on reviews! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #1 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. Green Lantern New Guardians #1 is the fourth and final entry in The New 52 set of Green Lantern books, and the one I was anticipating the most. Writer Tony Bedard’s Green Lantern Corps never clicked for me, but I was hoping the inclusion of the other Corps would add the necessary element to spice up Bedard’s writing style and make this a can’t-miss book. Did things work out that way?
This review will contain spoilers.
As I mentioned over in my Green Lantern #1 review, “everything you know is not wrong.” All of the major events of the last decade of Green Lantern stories did happen, and all of the continuity and characters that have been introduced to the mythos are pretty much intact. That’s especially essential to this book, which features the 6 other Lantern Corps that Geoff Johns has worked so hard to establish over the last several years. The new Corps are one of my favorite aspects of the Green Lantern universe, and add a richness and diversity to that universe that were previously lacking. So I am totally thrilled to see those concepts are still complete.
The Lantern chosen to headline this book is Kyle Rayner, the fan-favorite Green Lantern of the 1990’s, whose history is also seemingly untouched. Kyle is written in-character and gets the spotlight of this issue, which should give at least some satisfaction to all the 90’s fans still angry about the seeming non-existence of Wally West in the new DC Universe.
I feel like this book is in much the same vein as Supergirl #1 and OMAC #1–in essence, nothing happens. We see Kyle’s origin as a Green Lantern, and then we see the other Corps’ rings abandon their users and fly across the galaxy to Kyle, infuriating the other Corps. This whole thing could have been accomplished concisely and fully in 10 pages, so it’s irritating that the story gets dragged out to 20 for no real reason other than that the writer wanted this book to have a specific “cliffhanger”.
And speaking of the cliffhanger, I wasn’t a fan at all of the manner in which various members of the other Lanterns Corps freak out and come to Earth, threatening and attacking Kyle. Logically and character-wise, this just does not work. Kyle Rayner is a well-known and famous Green Lantern who has had ample interactions with characters like Arkillo (of the Sinestro Corps) and Munk (Indigo-2 of the Indigo Corps). They’re intelligent characters and clearly smart enough to know that Kyle Rayner is not executing some nefarious scheme to steal a bunch of power rings. I just don’t buy the whole scenario. I can surmise that Tony Bedard wanted to create a “cliffhanger ending” where none was organic for the end of issue 1, so he just had the players act in out-of-character ways to create a nonsensical one.
As far as accessibility goes, this is the weakest of the Lantern books by far. A good number of pages are spent showing how Kyle Rayner became the “last” Green Lantern, but with no context and no exposition box explaining when this took place and the resulting events, it left me pretty confused about whether that event was being moved forward or back in time or what–and I’m knowledgeable about Green Lantern! New readers will be totally lost. Which is unfortunate, because then they’ll get a lot more lost when the perspective switches several times to obscure Lantern Corps’ members with no explanation for how, when, or why there are all of these different Corps.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
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Overall: Although I went into September expecting Green Lantern New Guardians to be my favorite of the Lantern-related books as well as one of my favorite all-around series, I was severely disappointed with the first issue. We see a confusingly-executed flashback, a couple of pages of rings flying away, and that’s pretty much it. The issue flew by way too fast, the actions of the other Corps’ Lanterns don’t necessarily make sense, and the whole issue just left me with a sour look on my face. For these reasons, Green Lantern New Guardians #1 is the lowest-ranked Lantern book in my New 52 Review Round-Up and Report Card. I’m still going to be pre-ordering future issues as I think (well, hope) that things are going to come together and this series will pick up, but this was not an inspiring first issue.