Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 (2011)
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1 (November, 2011)
“New Guardians, Part One”
Writer – Tony Bedard
Penciller – Tyler Kirkham
Inker – Batt
Colorist – Nei Ruffino
Letterer – Dave Sharpe
Assistant Editor – Sean Mackiewicz
Editor – Pat McCallum
Cover Price: $2.99
Still on a bit of a New-52 kick. Going to discuss something I’m reading for the first time today. I saw the big 2011 reboot as an opportunity to drop books that I had kind of been on the fence with. I’d long collected the Green Lantern family of titles… however, with the post-Flashpoint launch consisting of four Lantern books, I was pretty okay with dropping the line cold.
I eventually got over my tantrum, and began filling in holes… like I normally do. New Guardians was a title that I felt had very little urgency. I didn’t really need to track this one down. In fact, I was just fine reading the “main” title. Of course my comics compulsion got the better of me, and I started snagging issues from this run when I came across them… and so, here we are. Haven’t started actually reading it yet… gonna rectify that today.
We open on a decimated Oa… the foreground is littered with the corpses of Guardians, which to be honest, is just fine with me… always hated them. Anyhoo, it seems as though one of these little buggers is still alive. Judging by the hairdo, it’s our old friend Ganthet. He uses the collective willpower of his fallen comrades and just barely manifests a Green Lantern ring. Hmm… that seems familiar.
We then flash to New York City where struggling cartoonist Kyle Rayner is out drinking with his… pretty annoying… friends. They razz him about his inability to sell his art. Nice folks. At this point he decides it’s time to hit the restroom. Seeing that the line to the loo is pretty long, he decides to relieve himself in the back alley. Just as he exits the bar, he finds himself standing before… Ganthet. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s like deja vu all over again… but where in the hell is his Nine Inch Nails shirt?
Kyle is informed that he is the last… wait… no, he’s not the last Green Lantern… in fact, he is now part of the Green Lantern Corps! They fly off, and it’s clear that Kyle is going to be a quick study on his road to superheroism.
We shift scenes to “the present day”, which tells me that the proceeding scene was sometime in the past. There’s nothing to indicate that, but it just hadta be. Anyway… we’re in Space Sector 422 and a member of the Sinestro Corps becomes “decommissioned”. His ring leaves his finger and heads to Sector 2814. Hmm… Powerless, this Sinestroid is murdered by a horde of purple-skinned baddies… or goodies, depending on your mileage as it pertains to dem Yellow Lanterns.
Next up, Sector 1009… where a Red Lantern is causing a bunch of havoc. In the midst of a blood-vomitous tantrum, his ring leaves his finger… and heads to… Sector 2814. He “thumps” to the ground… probably dead.
Now we shift to Sector 22, where a Star Sapphire is protecting a cosmic Winnebago from a massive starship. You’re never gonna guess what happens! Her ring flies off and heads to… you guessed it, Sector 2814. Luckily before she dies… another Star Sapphire, Fatality, arrives and encases her in a protective crystal.
Back on Earth, we see a construction site by Times Square. The crane begins to fall off the roof of a nearby building… luckily, Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner is in the vicinity, and saves the day.
Our man jaws with some of his “fans” for a bit, when suddenly six Lantern rings arrive to inform him that he had been “chosen” to wield them!
Pretty cool, right? Well… not so much. Ya see, the rings only arrive moments before a whole lotta color-coded representatives from the Lantern Corps’s’s’s… er, Cores(?) show up… and they don’t seem to be here to talk.
Pretty cool issue here!
I think the creative team here actually “got it”, as it pertains to just what the New-52 initiative should’ve been… at least, as I see it. We get a familiar, yet updated, origin story for Kyle Rayner. No harm, no foul. We are introduced to the emotional spectrum… and we get our first big conflict. All told, just about as good a “first issue” as I could want.
If we look at the opening as having occurred in the wake of Hal Jordan doing his Parallaxing… that also fills we confused and concerned readers in with a fair amount of Green Lantern lore. The scenes are familiar enough that we are able to place them in (nebulous comic book) time. I dig that. If there are things we wanna forget about… we can simply, ya know… not address them. I mean, I’m not sure anyone knows whether or not the New-52 Superman was killed by Doomsday or not… and if he did, was there a Reign of the Supermen? Because, there would sorta have to be, if Hal was to become Parallax, right? Hal only turned to the dark side because Mongul and the Cyborg Superman turned Coast City to dust… Parallax is why the Guardians were killed… and why Ganthet had to manifest that one final ring, which would ultimately be worn by Kyle. If we don’t wanna think about all that spoo… we shouldn’t feel obligated to address whether or not any of it happened. With the five-year deal in play here, we gotta be careful how much graham we cram, right?
To the story… Kyle is presented as pretty likable, and somewhat self-depreciating. That helps give him his own identity, and I think that’s pretty cool. The other Lantern Corps? Well, I’m not sure how, ahem “New Reader Friendly” this would’ve been. I mean, that was the whole point, right? I think introducing so many different types of Lanterns right away may be a bit much for someone whose never read a Green Lantern book before. For me, I think it’s fine… but, they already had me. The art is really nice, although there are a few panels I didn’t dig… particularly toward the end. Lotsa dead-eyes… nothing I can’t get past, but worth mentioning.
Overall… yeah, this was a great “opening issue”. Perhaps not terribly new-reader friendly, but that’s not something I can rightly hold against it. Perhaps the greatest indictment for this book’s quality is the fact that I am actually interested in what’s to come. I am curious how this all pans out. To me, that’s about as good as it gets. Worth your time for sure. It’s been collected, and is… of course… available digitally (at 99 cents).