Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Comics: Green Lantern: The New Guardians #0

Kyle Rayner is my favorite Green Lantern.

I didn’t like him at first. I was very upset at what they did to Hal Jordan during "Emerald Twilight," but writer Ron Marz made Kyle so incredibly likable. It wasn’t that he was necessarily a nice guy. But he was the guy that became a super hero late and always worked his butt off to be worthy of the mantle.

For the new DC 52, while Hal starred in the main title and Guy Gardner and John Stewart were leading Green Lantern Corps., Kyle starred in his own book: Green Lantern: New Guardians. The series started off with Kyle mysteriously receiving a ring from each of the main lantern corps. He was then joined by supporting characters from each corps: Bleez (red), Glommulous (Orange), Armadillo (Sinestro), Saint Walker (Blue), Monk (Indigo), and Fatality (Star Sapphire). Together they investigated the mystery of the disappearing rings and fought a common enemy together.

With that story arc over, writer Tony Bedard looks to take the book in a new direction and shuffle up the cast. I like this a lot. Even though I would have liked to explore a few more of the characters, it felt like time for a change in this book. And based on issue #0, the changes are for the better.

The story begins focusing on Carol Ferris, longtime love of Hal Jordan and leader in the Star Sapphire Corps. We haven't heard much from her in the main Green Lantern book, where she played and important supporting role. Kyle shows up looking for Hal and the two of them begin a search.

I have to say, this new start feels as much Carol's book as it does Kyle's, and that's a good thing. The two of them have never really interacted in an important way until this story. Together they fight the remnants of Black Hand's army. Carol, having more experience than Kyle with things cosmic begins to take the lead. It is good to see her have adventures apart from simply being Hal's helpful girlfriend. I also like that they gave her a less revealing (though still form-fitting) costume. I've been waiting for them to explore the powers and limits of the Star Sapphire ring, and this looks like just the book to do it. But that does not diminish this Green Lantern's importance. In fact, Bedard hints at even bigger plans for Kyle as the months unfold. Without giving anything away, Carol can foresee that Kyle is more important than he or the Guardians ever dreamed.

I've really enjoyed Bedard's run on this and his previous time on Green Lantern Corps. He understands the need for cosmic size events with intricate plots all the while making the characters enjoyable to read. Artist Aaron Kuder is reminiscent of Frank Quietly and gives the book a bit of a moodier tone than it had before.

Based on the cover, we will see the return of Arkillo and Saint Walker. I especially like this duo because of the sort-of friendship they've developed. Walker desperately wants to save Armadillo from his evil ways. Armadillo wants to use his evil ways to protect the only person he cares about: Saint Walker. They are such opposites, Bedard makes us feel a real friendship brewing. Also based on the cover the heads of the Red and Orange Lantern Corps (Attrocitus and Larfleeze) will be joining the story. The Indigo Lantern representative is conspicuously missing.

All of this is still a prelude to the Third Army story line that is about to explode into the Green Lantern universe. The book ends with some very ominous tidings regarding the Star Sapphires.

Because Geoff Johns' Green Lantern is the best DC book around today, I think that the other Lantern books can be a bit overlooked. That would be a shame since Green Lantern: New Guardians is a fun read and looks like it will only get better.

4 out of 5 stars.

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