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Green Lantern: New Guardians #20 - Reunion Review

3

The tale of the First Lantern is at an end, but what is left for Kyle to pick up?

The Good

I have loved Tony Bedard’s run on this book. Kyle Rayner is such an interesting idea for a Green Lantern and sure, he’s got the willpower, but he’s also got a boundless imagination that makes him a force to be reckoned with. That ability has been downplayed somewhat since becoming the White Lantern, but it’s been interesting to see the character taken in a drastically different direction, but I’m ready to see the old fast-talking, goofy construct-making Rayner make a return. There are some shades of that in this issue, as Kyle creates a giant firefighter construct to put out a rampaging blaze as he and Saint Walker reminisce and tour Earth. Bedard really lets us know how hard the last few weeks (months?) have been on the two Lanterns and just seeing them getting some downtime is something of a relief. It would’ve been interesting to see how Kyle would have reacted to this alone because the dialog plays almost like narration in the context that it’s presented, but it’s good to have a character as strange as Walker. He’s had a fantastic “outsider’s perspective” on so many of the events in Kyle’s life.

Andres Guinaldo, Raul Fenandez and Wil Quintana handle pencils, inks and colors respectively with Dave Sharpe on lettering and it’s a great looking issue. Kyle and Walker’s journey takes them all over Earth with a few windows beyond and the artists are always up to the task of illustrating each, individual place as an individual place. It’s always great to see a book that uses almost no “filler” backgrounds, but always has something going on. Sci-fi books can be tricky to draw as too little definition leaves the art muddy and indistinct, but too much makes things appear too rigid and not fantastical enough, but there’s just the right balance here to be visually interesting. The characters are all well-defined, but the constructs and powers are a bit murkier and that feels right. There are also several portraits in the first few pages that look great and I’m always impressed by art within art that looks distinct enough to not blend into the background.

The Bad

As great as it is that the book really indulges in getting a bit whimsical and the book doesn’t really have a direction. Something major happens at the end, and it’s left very open-ended for Justin Jordan to take over, but the entire thing feels like more of an exercise in telling us “Here’s everything Kyle’s learnt and here’s how he’s changed as a person” rather than genuinely feeling like two old friends (or at least war buddies) finally relaxing after too long being gone. That part could have been done better, and it looks like it’s going to go down the list and show how Kyle’s mastery over the spectrum has changed, but it really only illustrates him using his powers in a novel way once or twice. I enjoyed seeing the two get some downtime and just chat, but this feels especially aimless and meandering.. I almost wish it had just been a conversation between the two rather than having them tour the Earth solving random problems as they went. I get that they’re trying to show Rayner’s innate nobility and compassion, but since his conversation has little to do with what he’s engaged with, he winds up coming off as detached and going through the motions. It's been fun watching the character interact with the rest of the Corps through these cross-overs, but I wonder what the book, and more importantly the characters, would have looked like if it had stuck to its own tales.

The Verdict

This is still a good book and well worth reading, particularly for fans of the character and the series in general, but it rang just a little too hollow in the end to fully recommend to without reservation. Still, this creative team has been great to read, and they leave plenty for the next team to either pick up or ignore as they see fit and at it’s best it gave us some truly memorable and unique moments with a character I love.

8 Comments
Posted by Beserkerfury

Sounds like a Superman fanboy reviewed this comic. I GIVE IT A 11/10

Posted by LifePool

Sounds like a Superman fanboy reviewed this comic. I GIVE IT A 11/10

I have to agree, this issue was great.

Posted by ComicKing7

shouldn't this story be White Lantern: New Guardians?

Posted by UltimateSMfan

@beserkerfury: I don't get the superman fanboy thing, I am one and was really surprised this got a three,I loved it.was easily the best aftermath issue after GL #20

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Posted by Undeadpool

Sounds like a Superman fanboy reviewed this comic. I GIVE IT A 11/10

So I'm a Superman fanboy because I thought a book starring one of my favorite characters (who has nothing to do with the Big Blue Boyscout) was good, not great? Makes sense...

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Posted by LordRequiem

I like Kyle Rayner as White Lantern. He was great as Ion. And I think since that instance he should always be a grade of power above the rest of the Green Lanterns.

Posted by ehaggard82

I really enjoyed this issue, I am a big fan of Saint Walker and Kyle has been my favorite Lantern since he was introduced. Can't wait to keep reading and enjoying this series.

Edited by Juandicimo_Magnifico45

I am a huge KR fan, but I agree on the rating. It was very refreshing seeing them reflect and "take a break", but it felt forced and Kyle did feel emotionless and disconnected while channeling the emotion spectrum.