STORY: Tony Bedard
ART: Tyler Kirkham and Batt
In college, there were many times when I would listen to an entire lecture and find that, even though I had taken notes, I really couldn’t remember what was said. I get a similar sensation from Green Lantern: New Guardians, a series that has thrown a lot at readers, none of which seems to result in anything truly meaningful. The first arc was about finding out who brought the team together, but instead led into the “Invictus” arc dealing with the Angel of Vega’s Orrery, the solar system-sized space station intended to replace the Vega System, which Invictus believed to be corrupted by Larfleeze. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any real conclusion to that arc either. Now, in it’s 12th issue, New Guardians needs to be making more strides than it has. It’s time Tony Bedard started connecting all the dots and revealing the bigger picture. What we get instead is a meaningless showdown with Invictus, fluffed up revelations about Sayd the Guardian’s intentions with the various rings, and the team members all going their separate way. I give Bedard points for effort; he has a lot of ideas that could indeed lead to something more in the future. But I was expecting answers this month and none came.
There’s been an alarming amount of indirection in the pages of Green Lantern Family books since the ‘New 52’ relaunch last September. And really, New Guardians now leads the pack with a “conclusion” issue with no resolutions at all. Continued from last month, Kyle confronts Sayd about killing various colored Lanterns to secure rings in her efforts to create the “New Guardians”. In true comic book style, Saint Walker and Fatality force Kyle to back off until the ever-looming Invictus can be dealt with. Most of the issue is spent on the fight with Invictus, who seems to be a lot less powerful than he was four issues ago. Seriously, that’s a huge oversight in this arc – Invictus’ power fluxes from godly down to ‘easy enough to beat in ten pages’ very abruptly. The Weaponer’s move this issue – that’s sure to have ramifications in coming issues – causes Invictus’ downfall, so it wasn’t even really a victory for the Rainbow Brigade.
New Guardians has been lauded as one of the most underrated team books in DC’s current lineup. It’s surprising, really, when you’ve got amazing books like Demon Knights and Red Hood and The Outlaws that really do reinvent the team dynamic for a new age. New Guardians, on the other hand, tends to drift toward the cliche more than the innovative. Sure, Invictus is a cool villain, but he’s done now, without ever really fleshing out his potential as an ongoing villain. It’s frustrating, as the ‘New 52’ is supposed to be about bringing new ideas into the fold. Kyle’s pep talk is a high point of this issue, but it’s definitely not enough to be emotionally impactful, and the fact that the other members leave the team anyway is evidence to that fact.
These days, Green Lantern books are all about the future, which makes sense with “Rise of the Third Army” coming in October and November, but it can be off-putting to continually buy issues that are only leading to something else. I’m all for proper build-up and development, but when actual plot is sacrificed to create a trumped-up prelude, things start getting annoying.