The grand scale of the Green Lantern space opera might be a little tapped out.
The Green Lantern Corps constantly pushes the boundaries of epic. At times, it is difficult to fathom the full magnitude of what the stories affect in the Universe. When I saw the premise of Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 1, I was concerned it would follow the Captain Planet format, as they’ve done since the introduction of the rainbow-colored rings of multiple power ring corps. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner takes the lead in this adventure. With past writers’ propensity to dump special abilities into the character, the chances for a “with your powers combined” scene are quite high. All we can really hope for is that they do it in an entertaining way.
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 1: The Ring Bearer was published October, 2012. It is written by Tony Bedard (Green Lantern Corps, Blue Beetle, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter) and the pencils were done by Tyler Kirkham (Witchblade Takeru Manga, Green Lantern Corps, Ultimate Fantastic Four). The inks were handled by Matt ‘Batt” Banning (The Darkness, Green Lantern Corps, Cyber Force).
I didn’t find this publication to be particularly strong, story-wise. While the tale is engaging and action-packed, I couldn’t shake the feeling this has all been done before. The grand scale of the Green Lantern space opera might be a little tapped out and the feeling of unoriginality may not be the fault of the author. With GL tales shooting for the heights of an epic every time, it runs the risk of subsequent storytelling turning mundane and redundant. The attempt at witty banter seemed forced and didn’t have a natural flow to it. This left the actual storytelling mainly to the exposition and art of the comic book. Bedard showed he’s capable of better work back in the 90’s with Valiant Comics’ richly developed characters. The plot itself is decent, with several twists and surprises including a major one as to the identity of the ultimate antagonist. Especially enjoyable were the antics of “Agent Orange” Larfreeze and his constructs. These characters provided a lot of genuine comic relief just by sheer virtue of them sticking true-to-form.
The art is the saving grace of this book, practically telling the story on its own. The artists demonstrate a level of maturity with respect to the subject matter. The primary colors of each Lantern Corps are showcased in vivid detail as each is introduced. There is tremendous, intimate detail in facial expressions. Kyle Rayner’s constructs show up with the the imagination of a comic book artist (Rayner’s day job). Panel placement makes the action easy to follow. Illustrating and arranging this piece involved incredible talent, resulting in pages that are very attractive while remaining useful to the plot. They really know how to imagine a diverse universe. The presentation of alien cityscapes (especially of that of Oa) and their varied inhabitants demonstrates keen attention to detail and the amount of pride behind this work.
While this comic was worth at least a couple of reads, the real fun in reviewing this was flipping through its pages to admire the pretty pictures. They are bright and colorful and I found this absolutely fitting for a Green Lantern story. In fact, one of the joys of being a GL fan is the treatment to the sharp coloration of their books. This one certainly didn’t disappoint in that department. I’d pick up an extra copy to keep on the coffee table and share it with friends.