Kyle Rayner, a name that strings both controversy and praise. The only Green Lantern throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s, earning a dedicated fan base along the way. However since the return of Hal Jordan, Kyle as a character has been either shunted to the side or given PHENOMAL COSMIC POWER, but with a bigger living space. Now we join Kyle as master of the emotional spectrum bearing the white lantern power. Does this book deliver the Kyle Rayner book that fans have been craving for? Does this book bring in new readers? More importantly does this book actually give Kyle and a sense of direction? Lets dive right in shall we.
Justin Jordan opens the issue brilliantly and does the best job of condensing the recent events within the Green Lantern Universe, but the it never feels like an info dump. Not only does Jordan bring new readers up to speed, this single page also gives the book it’s mission directive. In a nutshell, the formerly imprisoned Guardians want to know more about the universe ( as repeated in other Green Lantern family books which makes the lines of dialog redundant), despite the repetitive dialog the Guardians wish for Kyle to guide them because of his statuas the White Lantern. Kyle without a second thought says no or rather hell no. With Brad Walkers excellent body language of both Kyle and the Guardians the tone is set for the rest of the issue.
Even though Kyle doesn’t want anything to do with guiding Guardians around, Hal Jordan shows up and through persuasive wordplay and fighting giant space sharks, Hal sorta convinces Kyle to watch the guardians, among fighting space sharks. More writers should follow what Jordan did in these past several pages. Since this is a comic book, the final outcome should be a equal combination of story and art and these few pages excel at this practice. While the reader is given exposition and talking heads between characters, the interest is held not only by the story but Walker paints a visual marvel with giant space sharks and great use of construct creations that are true to Kyle.
Nevertheless, not every issue can be perfect and the following two pages kill all sorts of momentum this book had going for it. For some reason the reader is treated to a retread of Green Lantern #21 discussion of Hal and Carol’s relationship. The reader is given a brief glimpse of Kyle wanting a life outside the Corps, but for the most part the it’s a retread. If the reader hasn’t read Green Lantern 21 then it is a non issue but for those that have read it, it comes off as filler. If the intent of these pages are for Carol and Kyle to form either a friendship or a full blown relationship then it still falls flat and fails to accomplish whatever the purpose of the pages were.
Jordan swings right back though with a thrilling finale sequence surrounding the mysterious “anomaly” that feels like something straight out of mind of Jack Kirby. Jordan follows the classic trope of building up tension and ending with a thrilling cliffhanger and the debut of Relic.
Brad Walker is basically a average artist when it comes to basic conversations. Walker does excel at the spectacle and gives great detail on every dynamic page, the reader will want to look at these pages. Everything is given breathing room and nothing ever feels closed in.
Overall Green Lantern: New Guardians #21 is a pretty good start for this new era of Green Lantern and does a great job for giving a firm direction for our wayward hero, however it’s not really clear on how the White Lantern exactly works or the levels of the wielders power other than it’s apparent switching between emotional powers.
Green Lantern New Guardians #21 receives a 3.5/5
Review by Ben Castruita