Each weekday, Tim will take a look at what we know about each of the upcoming 52 new comics from the September DC relaunch, one series at a time. Today: GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS!
The Concept and Characters: If Green Lantern is steering the way for this franchise, and it is, and Green Lantern Corps is the sidecar, and it is, then Green Lantern: The New Guardians is the kid on the scooter, following close behind, doing some tricks to try to impress the grown-ups.
Conceptually, this is the newest, freshest series with “Green Lantern” in the title. It’s Kyle Rayner and a gang of rainbow lanterns. They probably don’t get along very well. It’s not even clear, at this point, if Rayner is going to be leading a true team, of if it’s just a collection of characters who will intersect throughout the series. Because even though the press release labels it a “team,” it’s hard to imagine the Red and Yellow Lanterns taking direction from a Greenie like Kyle Rayner.
If you haven’t been following the multi-year Green Lantern saga, you may not know that Geoff Johns jumped completely into the pool of the Roy G. Biv and introduced six new colors of the Lantern spectrum to the DC Universe. Well, the Yellow Lanterns had been around for decades, technically, in the form of Sinestro, but it wasn’t until Johns came along that the entire mythology of the different color rings was mapped out and explored. Green is the strength of will. Yellow is the color of fear. Red is rage. Orange is avarice. Blue is for hope. Indigo is the color of compassion, and Violet means love. Each color has its own Corps. They’ve fought against each other and joined forces together. It’s been a rough few years for the colors of the rainbow, but now here they are, getting an entire comic to call their own.
Writer Tony Bedard promises that this series will explore the vast universe of all the colors of the Corps, and it will show us things we’ve never seen in a Green Lantern comic before.
The Creative Team: Geoff Johns may have initiated the color scheme, but Tony Bedard writes the plots and scripts for this series while Tyler Kirkham provides the art. Thus, we get the same team from the just-ending Green Lantern Corps series writing and drawing this new series. A bit of musical chairs on team GL, but not much. Because this series is basically a spin-off, of sorts, from Green Lantern Corps. It stars Kyle Rayner, a long-standing member of the Corps. And it looks to tell an ensemble story, just like Bedard has been doing on the Corps comic until now.
Bedard’s a solid writer. Never showy. Not quite in the same league as Johns as far as the scope of his stories or the iconic symbolism. Not quite as good as Tomasi with the character work. But he’s done a nice job at DC in recent years. He gets out of the way and lets the story do its thing.
Kirkham has that David Finch/Tony Daniel approach, coming from a Jim Lee-influenced background, but, quality-wise, he’s in the same category as Bedard. Solid, not showy. Gets the job done. Maybe a bit stiff, but nothing too distracting.
Recommendation: Skip it. Bedard’s fine. Kirkham’s okay. But unless you’re a Green Lantern completist like me, it really doesn’t make sense to buy this series along with Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Those other two comics will give you whatever you need for space-faring, magic-ring adventure. Back when I used to review new releases regularly, I’d call this a safe 2.5 star comic (out of five). That’s what Bedard and Kirkham have produced in the past, with consistency, and that’s what they’re likely to produce in the future. With all the other relaunches out there, and two better Green Lantern books to choose from, you’d have to be a pretty big Blue Lantern enthusiast to pick up this one regularly.
Tim Callahan writes about comics for Tor.com, Comic Book Resources, Back Issue magazine, and his own Geniusboy Firemelon blog.