Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 Review

on October 17, 2013

“Lights Out” continues in Green Lantern: New Guardians #24, and I’m sad to say this is a rather humdrum outing. Its direct predecessor, Green Lantern Corps #24, raised the bar surprisingly high, and this story doesn’t come close to meeting it.

It begins with Kyle Rayner, Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, the Templar Guardians, and the rest of the Corps that was on Oa watching as their home base is destroyed. They’re understandably shaken by the event.

Hal Jordan’s plan is to go back and attack Relic, but he’s undermined for, like, the fifteenth time. Paalko, one of the Guardians, cannot bear to lose the Corps. For without them, and without Oa, he hasn’t much left. It’s really nice to see despair and sadness from the Guardians here, believably portrayed by Brad Walker on pencils.

The beginning of this issue features the Corps dealing with the cataclysmic events of Green Lantern Corps #24.

Jordan decides to give the Guardian lip, but no one agrees with him, because his plan would wind up getting the Green Lantern Corps wiped out.

Hal Jordan continues to be a difficult character for me to like or sympathize with. It seems the writers are purposefully taking his negative attributes and showcasing them. Yet, they are writing him completely in character, so it’s not as though they’re doing a big disservice to Hal Jordan.

He typically has the worst plans possible. They usually include nothing more than brainless frontal assaults, which will obviously get the Corps obliterated. Hidden underneath the pile of vices, I guess there is a glimmer of positive attributes, and I guess this is what his fans are drawn to. I suppose he could be congratulated for his determination and fearlessness, but he has no brains, and manages to be a serious jerk to boot. He comes off as a very insufferable character, especially since we’re so often told this super jock-like buffoon is “The Best,” and since he gets so many “favors” from Editorial… but, I’m straying off course here.

Hal eventually comes around to their thinking and is wondering what to do next, as he’s worried about Relic coming for them. Paalko reasons that if Relic was coming, he would have done so immediately, so they must be a secondary concern. Without asking for anyone’s opinion or advise, Hal Jordan decides to take the Corps to Ysmault, the headquarters of the Red Lanterns. He believes they could use the Reds’ help to fight Relic. Hal’s putting his trust in Guy Gardner, who he sent to the Red Lanterns as a spy. At first, Paalko disagrees with the plan, but then, considering how the Red Lanterns derive their power from a mixture of technology and magic, believes that there is a chance Relic may not know how to deal with that combination.

Hal Jordan continues making questionable decisions as the leader of the Green Lantern Corps.

Suddenly, the Emotional Entities appear and literally fly into Kyle Rayner, thus possessing him, turning his hair white and giving him a horrendous costume. Kyle suddenly zooms away. Hal, in typical troglodyte form, attempts a frontal confrontation, but thankfully, Carol Ferris tries a more delicate approach, and attempts to talk to Kyle. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and Predator, the Love Entity, talks to Carol, seals her in a violet crystal construct, and says the Lanterns are no longer required and the Entities know what they must do.

Hal tries to contain the possessed Kyle with the help of the rest of the Corps. It’s nice that the Guardians warn Hal Jordan about leading the Corps to ruin with his bad plans. He’s determined to get the Entities’ help to defeat Relic, though. The Entities say that Relic is not the problem. He is not the one who weakened them. They break free of the Lanterns’ hold and teleport the Lanterns to Ysmault, since that’s where they wanted to go.

Suddenly, the tale goes to John Stewart and the Green Lantern recruits, who are apparently believed to be dead by the other Lanterns, since John and company did not link up with them after the destruction of Oa.

John is at the home planet of the Indigo Tribe, which is cloaked from sight. John says the words “Nok Nok,” and the planet suddenly appears. The Lanterns swoop down to the planet’s surface and are met with the Indigo Tribe. John asks to see Indigo-1 or Natromo, who is the keeper of the Indigo light… and that’s it.

I’m a huge fan of John Stewart and appreciate his inclusion in this story, but it was really unnecessary. Plot-wise, it amounted to nothing. It benefited the story by bringing some levity. After seeing Hal yelling, freaking out, and being rude, and Kyle being possessed, it’s nice to see how chilled out and assured John Stewart is, especially after the destruction of Oa. One of the recruits is losing it, and John settles him and even cracks a few jokes. Still… it’s pretty much a waste of two pages.

While it’s nice to see John Stewart, his inclusion in this issue amounts to nothing.

The possessed Kyle continues zooming across space, while the Entities within him talk to themselves. They note that two of them are missing; The Butcher, the red Entity of Rage, and Parallax, the yellow Entity of Fear. Parallax can’t come because he is trapped by Sinestro, but The Butcher is near and wishes to join the other Entities. Kyle begins resisting the hold of the Entities, but they’re too strong and he loses control again.

The Guardians somehow avoided being teleported and they confront the Entities, demanding that they relinquish control of Kyle Rayner. The Guardians say they tamed the Entities once, and they can do it again. The Entities try to destroy the Guardians, since they won’t get out of the way, but something stops their blast.

With the Guardians’ aid, Kyle’s consciousness awakens, and he fights back against the Entities.

Kyle heard the Guardians, and through their message, he knew that he wasn’t alone and that he could tame his possessors. We’re then shown images depicting Kyle’s internal struggle, as he tries to get hold again. He knows that you master one emotion by mastering all of them and attaining balance. He eventually gets control, and it comes out that not even the Guardians could have tamed all the Entities at once.

With Kyle himself again and back to his regular costume, the Guardians propose linking up with the Corps at Ysmault, but Kyle says that’s not the way to go. The Entities are still inside him, and he now knows what they do.

The big revelation of this story, which Kyle reveals at the end, is that Relic is right. Kyle says they must help him in his task.

Some fans have been hoping that Relic is somehow wrong and that the universe has an infinite amount of emotional energy to draw from. If things get to the point where the Green Lanterns have some kind of “Spawn Meter” or whatnot, I will be greatly disappointed. I don’t believe having the Lanterns regulate themselves in that manner is a very compelling concept.

This story showcases some stuff that we already know, like that Kyle is the master of the Emotional Spectrum. He was able to tame all the Entities aside from the two that he’s missing. That’s nice, but it’s rather unsatisfying, because we’re left not really knowing what is going on. I don’t know how the creative teams have all this plotted out, but I’m thinking giving the reveal about what is happening would have made this story considerably meatier.

Kyle Rayner gets yet another uncool costume.

I’ve read every single issue of New Guardians since the new creative team took over at #21 and… it’s been a fairly decent book. It seems to be the Lantern title that focuses on “weird sci-fi,” and it’s carved out a good niche with that. It’s interesting that they’re using the Kyle Rayner character for such a thing, since the heyday of his stories take place primarily on Earth, whereas a Lantern like John Stewart is known for “weird sci-fi” with a series like Mosaic. Not that I’m complaining. It fits, seeing as Kyle is currently in god-mode as the White Lantern.

Writer Justin Jordan knows Kyle Rayner’s voice, and for the first time since Green Lantern Volume 3, it seems like the creative team has a clear vision of what they want to do with the character. You know a character has little in the way of solid direction when their costume is changing every couple years and they go from being normal, to a god, to normal, to a god, to normal to god, and so on.

What I don’t like about New Guardians is that it’s all about this emotional stuff. I mean, it makes sense. Kyle Rayner is the White Lantern and the White Lantern has everything to do with the Emotional Spectrum. I don’t fault the creative team for that, because that’s the hand they’ve been dealt, but it just highlights the “being sensitive and in touch with his feelings,” and “emo” tropes people accuse the character of in unflattering ways.

I’m not really for Green Lantern revolving around emotions. People complain about midi-chlorians in Star Wars, but I feel this Spectrum business is way worse, and especially considering how out of hand it has gotten. Green Lantern was never meant to revolve around emotions.

I’m really not particularly the overly masculine and macho type, and I know I’m setting myself up to take heat for this one, but in New Guardians, in which the Emotional Spectrum is so prominently showcased, it just comes across as cheesily and weirdly effeminate. Some things can be effeminate and be awesome (I’m a huge fan of the J-Rock band Malice Mizer… look’em up), but this… just isn’t. This could work for something, presented in the proper way, like perhaps “Care Bears in Space.” For Green Lantern, however, I’m left with a strange feeling.

The book’s greatest boon is that it does Kyle Rayner justice, firmly capturing qualities of his personality that drew his fans to him, giving him his own distinct niche that stays true enough to his original inception, and giving him the first solid direction he’s had since, perhaps the ’90s.

The art by Brad Walker on pencils with Drew Hennesy’s inking is really nice. This book has a very distinctive look. Excellent shading is seen all through this issue, and, as much as I don’t like the concept, Brad Walker draws grand shots of the giant Entities. The energy that the Lanterns use looks nice and fluid, and Walker gets across that Kyle is younger and less stereotypically super heroic than characters like Hal Jordan and John Stewart. For instance, Kyle has a typically fresher look and is smaller in stature with a slimmer build. Walker draws a particularly good Hal Jordan, and is great at drawing hair… but, I’m not really liking the “faux hawk” hair style given to Kyle Rayner. I guess it’s kinda’ sorta’ fitting for the character, though, since he’s supposed to be “the hip one,” or whatever.

Kyle Rayner’s costume when possessed is rather uninspired and lame, but we’ll probably never see it again, so I guess it’s not so bad, if that’s the case. On the page where the Entities are discussing how two of their number are trapped, Walker employs a nice effect when he portrays the Parallax Entity within the silhouette of Sinestro, and The Butcher Entity within the silhouette of Atrocitus.

It might sound a little funny, but I think the prettiest things in the book are the Entities and… space in general. Walker draws planets and moons really effectively, giving space a wondrous and foreign feeling, which bestows an interesting atmosphere to New Guardians. That said, a downfall I’ve found in New Guardians is that it is often greatly lacking in scenery, and the same circles against black backdrops and white dots can get tiring to the eye. I know it’s space and everything, but certain things can be done to vary the look. Some of it is even done on the page where John Stewart is introduced. In the upper left hand corner, there is a nice gradient of colors with some neat inking strokes. Little things like that, or changing the tint of the backdrop here and there, or adding in nebula and such can go a long way in keeping the look stimulating despite the same-ish settings. I know Walker is good at drawing scenery, but the story so often has the characters in free space.

This particular inclusion in New Guardians and the “Lights Out” crossover is not terrible, but leaves a lot to be desired as its own story, but especially after the stupendous Green Lantern Corps #24. It leaves us wondering how Relic is right, and what that means for the future, and what exactly this greater threat is. It fails in that not that much great stuff happens, and we haven’t learned all that much, other than Relic is right. It is, however, done with a little more panache than Green Lantern #24, despite more interesting things taking place in that book.

The highlights are the artwork and that Justin Jordan has a firm grip on Kyle Rayner’s personality.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Read Green Lantern Corps #24 Review.

  • Hudson Faber

    I think the John Stewart pages were included to set up the conclusion of Light’s Out in Red Lanterns, so it may be too early to call those pages pointless.

    I like the idea of Relic being right because I can see two good outcomes out of it:

    1) The disappearance of some of the lamer, more extraneous Lantern Corps–like the Blues, Purples, Oranges, etc. The only interesting Corps are Will, Love, Fear, and Rage. None of those Corps necessarily even needs an emotional element–just an emotional mission statement. I think this could get away from some of the emotional cheese in the franchise right now.
    -The Yellows are all about utilitarian punishment–to an extreme. The whole fear things didn’t make much sense. Were they powered by their fears? Are they powerless if their opponents don’t feel fear? If so, lame.
    -The Reds are purely about punishment regarding culpability and revenge.
    -The Green fall in the middle–using a balanced mixture of punishment in which the utility of punishment does not exceed culpability. Will was never an emotion anyway.
    -The Pinks are not about punishment at all, but about promoting love.

    2) Like the Turbine storyline in the Flash, this opens up new storytelling opportunities in which we figure out there may be a big bad who is the reason for why emotions are depleted from usage. Just a minor thought.

    I also like how Sinestro was mentioned as having the most powerful will in the universe.

    Nice review.

  • Maggie

    ^ Sinestro has the most powerful will in the universe? Now that’s crazy. They’ve really bigged him up over the years.

    Say, is it a good idea to wait for the trade for Lights Out? I really want to read GLC but I don’t want to get stuck if I don’t have the other books too.

    • Desh

      I think you’ll be just fine reading GLC on its own. : )

      I know someone who does that and they’ve been really enjoying the story.

  • Maggie

    Also, that costume Kyle’s wearing is awful. I hope this emotional spectrum crap goes away but it sells toys so I dunno. I don’t know why some fans hated on the Darkstars and yet give this a pass.

    • Desh

      I’m tired of it, too. It’s redundant, it’s out of control, and it’s been beaten into the ground like nobody’s business. And it’s really not even a great idea, nor was it ever. Protection Status