By Justin Jordan, Brad Walker, and Andrew Hennessy
For several issues now, since the end of the Lights Out crossover, Green Lantern: New Guardians has been off in its own corner of the DC Universe. This can be a double-edged sword of sorts. To some, they crave those stories closely connected to continuity stories. Others prefer these isolated stories that allow characters to breathe a little and develop. If ever a comic needed to be off on its own, this book is it. For starters, we have an entire new set of Guardians that still need some nuance and depth to them. Additionally, we have yet to see Kyle Rayner truly explore his powers as the White Lantern.
Luckily, this issue starts to make payment on both of those fronts. We pick up in the middle of the battle between X’Hal, the slave turned fire goddess, and those trying to kill her, the Godkillers. The outcome of their battle is almost irrelevant. In its place, we are presented with a much bigger issue with how Kyle disrupts the battle. Justin Jordan finally hints at just how powerful Kyle might be. In doing so, Kyle uses just about every color of the emotional spectrum. Sadly, yellow is the one we don’t get to see. As this mini-arc comes to a conclusion, the New Guardians pose a question to Kyle that readers have been wondering about since issue #1. How powerful might he actually be?
Furthermore, Jordan starts to offer some characterization of the New Guardians. To begin, we continue to get the names of some of them. Furthermore, we get a glimpse of one of them seemingly enjoying the fight with the Godkillers. That being said, the Godkillers are presented in a way that seemed jarringly inconsistent from the first two issues of this arc. They refer to themselves as the Freemen, who want to free people from oppressive religions. Fine, that’s good motivation. Yet we see them do something quite the opposite in this issue. They change into pitiful bad guys with a heart only for revenge. Their goals are revealed to be entirely personal, rather than for the greater good we were led to believe. This inconsistency, along with the abrupt stop and start and stop of the fighting, holds this issue back just a bit.
Artistically, Brad Walker and Diogenes Neves share pencil duties on this issue. Andrew Hennessy also shares coloring responsibilities with Mark Deering. All involved do a solid job, as usual. In fact, I didn’t even realize Walker had not drawn the whole thing until the last page of the book. The design of the Godkillers armor, especially when they’re in action, continues to impress. It’s the perfect combination of alien technology and barbarian warlord. Hennessy’s colors with X’Hal while she’s in combat are also a highlight of this issue. Fire in comics can be hit or miss, but Hennessy goes a great job with it here, considering it’s not just fire, but fire brought to life.
As a whole, this was a decent story, without much of a conclusion. Kyle has put the battle on pause, but in doing so, has set up future foes left and right. The pacing of this story was a bit inconsistent, but it looks like we are finally heading in the direction we’ve all been wanting. It’s time for Kyle to truly inspect himself as the White Lantern.