Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Green Lantern - New Guardians #1

Here at the 52 Review, all of our writers work together. We're like a family. Albeit one of those creepy families you see on day time talk shows, but still. And one of the things we do is say what book we're going to go over. And before this site even started moving and I was just talking to my friend about it, there was one book I was more excited to review than any other book coming out, this one. I must have reminded the entire group that I called dibs on it once every few days.

See, since I was a kid, I've loved Green Lantern. Especially when Kyle Rayner came around. I was an "artist" so to speak and I loved the idea of another guy who liked to draw getting the ring and throwing around ridiculously detailed and creative constructs. Years later, I swooned when they added the other rings into the mix. Especially the Blue Lanterns. Sure, will power was awesome but I didn't relate to it. If I understood thing one about will power my belly wouldn't look like I was smuggling a sea turtle under my shirt. But hope? Man, I have hope in abundance.

Then this book got announced. A team of all seven rings. And, Rayner, my favorite Lantern, and had Saints Walker, my favorite Blue Lantern. It was like DC had read my non-existent diary. Anyways, let's open this proverbial can of worms up shall we?

Right off the bat, I'm going to admit to this, I have NO IDEA when this book takes place. In Justice League and the Green Lantern books there are other Lanterns running about and we have our normal swarm of little blue Guardians. But at the beginning of THIS book, we join them right as the lot of them have been wiped out. All but Ganthet, which is cool because I would fist bump the hell out of that lovable so-and-so. This is also odd because not only is none of this explained, but later in the book Kyle says there's a ton of Green Lanterns. The only clue that there has been some sort of time progression is there's a scene when they cut to a Yellow Lantern after Kyle's trained a bit and it says "Present Day". And, to be honest, I did NOT notice that on my first read through.

Ignoring that, the main story of the book comes after Kyle gets his ring and learns to use it. He gets very comfortable with being a Green Lantern and seems to love it. Meanwhile, we cut to various Lanterns of different shades around the galaxy as, for some unexplained reason, their rings decide to leave them without warning, leaving the previous owners ringless, which, for the majority of them, is really not a good time for that to happen. Especially if you know your Red Lantern science.

(Spoiler: This guy is screwed)

They all seem to make their way across the galaxy to Kyle Rayner who, for some reason, each ring has chosen to be it's host. Just as the rings swarm about him, a representative from each Corp, from the angry Reds, to the loving Sapphires to the confusing-as-all-get-out Indigo Tribe, show up and blame Kyle for stealing one of their rings.

Not a lot gets explained in this issue, but you can tell it WILL be explained. What the issue does instead of explanations, however, is build a fantastic foundation.

First off, the book paints the people's impression of superheroes in this new world fantastically. There's a scene in which a construction worker is just talking on his phone about seeing Green Lantern flying by while his friend prefers Superman. It's not important to the plot but it really helps get the feel for people. And when a little kid makes fun of Kyle's costume for being different than the other Green Lantern's costumes it really makes you understand how much these characters are celebrities in this new world. In the background you can always see someone calling people excitedly or taking pictures on their phones. It makes you feel like a place you've lived within minutes.

Another well painted brick in this story is the main character, Kyle Rayner. In my opinion, I do not remember a time when this character was so well explained and developed so excellently. He's such a regular guy, he's not an alpha male, he's not big on testosterone, he's cheesy when it comes to girls and he likes the occasional drink. He is exceptionally average and I've never seen that done so well in a book. Even when he encounters Ganthet for the first time (see left) he looks at it like you or I would look at something like that. Like it's something silly. Like someone's pulling our leg. And it's not like a Spider-Man average either, he's likable without having to make constant quips.

Another thing they showed off with Kyle is something I've always loved about this character, his constructs. Hal Jordon has always had stream lined constructs; boxing gloves, heavy weights, things like that. Guy Gardener usually just fired away with green beams of light. And Jon Stewart will always have some sort of clever machine he designed himself. Buy Kyle's preferred construct? Absolutely anything he can come up with. If a bunch of people are falling from something, expect flying monkeys, one per person. Giant mech suits, dragons, ninjas, Pokemon-esque creatures, it's all about huge and off the cuff. For example, in this issue a crane breaks down. Where as Hal Jordan would have a large hand pick it up, Kyle throws this out instead...

Just the scale of that is insane. And you REALLY get a feel for the scale when you finally notice Kyle in the panel. This picture is also a great time to mention the art. While I feel Tony Bedard did a great job with the dialogue and story telling, Tyler Kirkham totally nailed the art style a Lantern book should have. The scope of things happening in single panels would make Perez blush. Everything is clean, clear and not a short cut is taken. While you have artists like Liefeld over on Hawk and Dove that fill every panel with solid color backgrounds, Kirkham fills each backdrop with life. Again, look at the above picture. That crane isn't just falling down. It's falling down in front of an arcade while a billboard over looks the action. Look back at the rings swarming around Kyle. Look what each person in the crowd is doing. That's insane and I love it.

All in all, I think that this book was great. It has a great foundation to really pick up and do a lot and I'm super excited to see a book not try to flood the reader with exposition to get the intro out of the way as soon as possible (Superboy I'm looking at you) and actually move at a comfortable place. Not only that but I think this book introduced a fantastic array of characters that could, potentially, create one of the most creative team dynamics the DC will be privy too. So, definitely snag this book, unless they do something horrible with it in the future this team seems to have willed a fantastic book into being.

P.S.: Speaking of fantastic characters. Let me be one of the first to welcome back one of my favorite Lantern supporting characters. In the original universe you had such a strong start and then were swept to the side where you eventually lost a hand and an ear and then was never talked about again. So, on behalf of the readers, may I not only say "welcome back Fatality", but also point out that the new look is gorgeous.

By Electric Nerd with No comments


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