(a) Bradley Walker
** SPOILERS AHEAD!! **
** NO SERIOUSLY…MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW **
Since Green Lantern: New Guardians #21, Justin Jordan has been making the title his own. Where before it existed as almost a side-story to the main going-ons of the GL universe, Jordan has integrated major plot points into the series that puts it on par with Green Lantern proper. The introduction of Relic in issue 21 set the ball rolling towards “Lights Out”, the month-long GL crossover that finds the scientist from the previous universe attempting to extinguish all the emotional light from the current universe. Relic is a bad ass villain and Jordan has already cemented him as a true force to be reckoned with; he’s not evil, he’s extremely intelligent, and his only desire is to see the “lightsmiths” eradicated from existence. Green Lantern: New Guardians #23 brings the hammer down as Relic takes the first big step in his quest by attacking the new homeworld of the Blue Lanterns, Elpis.
The last time we saw the Blue Lanterns, their first homeworld, Odym, was being attacked by the Reach, a parasitic alien cult bent on universal conquest. Basically, the Blues just can’t catch a break even though they’re the least aggressive and least violent of the various colored Corps. But perhaps that’s exactly why they keep getting attacked. One of Relic’s best elements is how little he speaks — all the words that come out of his mouth are important. At the same time, Relic doesn’t wax poetic and explain everything in detail to every opposition that stands in his way. No, Relic is a pragmatic scientist who doesn’t have the same tendencies as most of the maniacal villains that populate the DCnU. Perhaps it’s a symptom of originating from a universe that preceded our own or maybe Relic’s just stoic and understated. Either way, he’s much more menacing than many of the other new villains introduced in the ‘New 52’. But his most heinous crime happens on the final page of Green Lantern: New Guardians #23.
Justin Jordan killed Warth.
Warth was a Blue Lantern introduced by Geoff Johns during the era in between “Sinestro Corps War” and Blackest Night where the various Corps of different colors were explored in depth. Warth was the second Blue Lantern to be recruited after Saint Walker was chosen by Ganthet and Sayd, the two Guardians of the Universe who decided existence needed more hope. He was a big elephant who had Buddhist tendencies and he was a fantastic, fantastic character all around. Warth sacrifices himself to save Kyle Rayner, Saint Walker, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris, and the Templar Guardians as Relic drained the Blue Lantern central battery and destroyed the planet. It’s an incredibly touching scene that made me tear up more than I’d care to admit. But the fact that I became emotional at all is a testament to how well Jordan is handling this series.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #23 is my favorite issue of the entire series, hands down. Justin Jordan has set up an amazing prelude to “Lights Out” that can stand on it’s own as well as serve as a jumping-off point for future stories. It was painful reading Warth’s death, but in the end, it shows how much Jordan cares for these characters that he’s not simply forgetting about them on Elpis just to use them when the story deems it necessary. Though he killed off Warth, Jordan shows he respects the character much more than previous writers.