New Guardians is the final Green Lantern book of the first month of the relaunch and with that comes a daunting task for writer Tony Bedard. He needs to give new readers back story on not only the main protagonist but of seven different corps that will be featured. That’s what happens when your book includes a team that took years to flesh out.
But to his credit, Bedard does what he can with the space alotted and gives an enjoyable first issue for new and old fans alike.
As long-time readers know, the Green Lantern continuity is mostly unscathed by the relaunch, but that doesn’t mean Bedard doesn’t make an attempt to bring in new readers. However, this approach makes the first issue a bit underwhelming for readers already familiar with Green Lantern.
The issue kicks off with a retelling of Kyle Rayner’s origin. From the fall of the Green Lantern Corps (presumably by Hal Jordan/Parallax) to his life as a struggling artist. That takes up almost a third of the issue. If not for the relaunch, those pages could have been used to introduce some of the supporting cast and get them together sooner. Now what follows is a great example of story-telling, as Bedard bounces around the universe peeking into various ring bearers from different corps in action. Each one however, loses their ring unexpectedly before they head to sector 2814. We then get to see Kyle in New York saving a construction worker and chatting it up with the crowd before the climax. All the rings go to him as representatives from the different corps accuse him of stealing them. (minus the Blue Lanterns and Larfleeze)
Bedard effectively uses the space he has to give readers a rousing climax that left me wanting more. After the origin, I couldn’t believe how fast the issue read. What happens to Kyle? Why is this happening? These are just some of the questions raised, and hopefully it made more readers (not just me) begging for the next issue.
If you have followed Bedard’s run on Green Lantern Corps then you should be familiar with Tyler Kirkham and Batt’s art. It’s very sharp and the use of shadows is spot-on. The few action scenes in this issue seemed a little clunky and abrupt but I have confidence that when we move forward with the story the action scenes will be more streamlined.
Overall the issue is a good start to a book with tons of potential. Out of the all the GL books, this issue is the most reader-friendly, but that’s also its biggest flaw. Not much happens in the pages, but with the “origin” issue out of the way the plot should move forward. New Guardians sets up a great mystery as to why Kyle is chosen and it will be interesting to see the different team members interact in the issues to come. The hook is there, now it’s Bedard’s job to execute.
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