Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

One of the hardest things DC’s relaunch has had to deal with is the issue of past continuity.  Some books have just thrown you into already-running storylines (Green Lantern) or expected you to pick up twenty or thirty characters you’ve never heard of without much of an introduction at all (Legion Lost), while others (Superboy) have given you whole new origin stories, essentially resetting the entire character.  And, at least for me, it’s always been better to err on the side of the reset – pretending we know the character in question is presumptuous enough when you’re relaunching 52 titles, but pretending like your entire audience will know the storyline you’re continuing?  Well that just seems like arrogance.  Green Lantern: New Guardians, which stars Kyle Rayner, hedges its bets, opening with an extended origin story for Rayner, but don’t be fooled – it’s very much a continuation of the ongoing plot from the last few years of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comics.

Writer Tony Bedard opens with a 7 page origin for Rayner – an origin that is sure to confuse new readers who saw that the Guardians are alive and well in Green Lantern – before jumping into his stor — oh, wait, sorry, before jumping into a five-page prequel to his story that introduces the main idea: for whatever reason, rings from every lantern corps all over the galaxy have decided that Green Lantern Kyle Rayner should be wearing them, abandoning their current bearers in often fatal situations and rushing to Earth.

It’s a neat concept, and one that artist Tyler Kirkham – who gets to draw some of the truly bizarre alien races common in the DC Universe – seems to have fun with.  But it’s also a concept that requires a great deal of explanation beforehand, and I don’t think Bedard does a great job setting it up.  New readers have reason to be confused at almost every turn, while experienced readers are sure to be put off by the extended, clumsy reintroduction of Kyle.

While flawed, the book has its memorable moments.  The detailed, cartoonish creations of Kyle’s ring – from the caricature of Ganthet to the burly, giant green construction workers who help save some pedestrians on the streets of NYC – are joyously drawn, and Bedard seems to have a good handle on Kyle’s character.  With a little time to grow, Bedard and Kirkham could move past their missteps in this opening issue and have a genuinely fun book on their hands.  They have a solid hook, an interesting lead and an enjoyable artist: now they need to work on the rest of it.

Cal Cleary

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4 thoughts on “Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

  1. I did enjoy the issue, Kyle is my favorite GL, but i felt that the issue was too short. It was something that could have been told in 5 pages but was extended to 20. what we have out of this is something that didnt require 3 dollars from me or your or anyone. The entire issue can be summed up in a quick recap.

    “Kyle rayner once chosen as the last green lantern, now has deal with why rings of the different corps are leaving their owners and choosing him as their new bearer. “

  2. I don’t know, some surprising things can trip up new readers. I’ve been giving my girlfriend some comics lately, and I’m always surprised by what takes her out of the story vs. what she can handle. And Kyle’s backstory here gives JUST enough information to tell you there’s a ton of information here, but it never actually tells you what that information is or why none of it applies anymore. I think it would have been a better issue completely ignoring Kyle’s origin, or doing it in a single page.

    As it is, dedicating that much space to something that doesn’t matter at all just cuts into the already slight plot.

    Bedard has Kyle’s voice down, and that makes me hopeful, but this was not a great debut.

  3. I was weirded out that they didn’t establish that the start of the issue was set in the past (yet established “present day” when it switched).

    Otherwise, I really, really enjoyed this issue. I had low expectations and it surprised me.

    • I wonder just how that happened for I was confused too with that. Did they not know just when they wanted that arc of Kyle being the only GL to go on yet and so they didn’t give it a date or did they just not think about it, which means the editor also never thought about it? Either way though they could easily have gone “The past” or something to let us know it wasn’t a recent event if they didn’t know where in the new timeline to put it.

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