There’s so much to love about Green Lantern: New Guardians. It’s ability to establish an entirely new world with such an incredible economy of time and scope is commendable and should be lauded. And it’s more than just new worlds, there’s a joyous tone that permeates this book that’s hard to find elsewhere in the New 52, but it’s not precisely a lightness of tone necessarily as the book can, and does become very serious. This issue, in particular, with its heavy themes of the believers of a the religion of X’hal cordoned to their own, lower-class section of the city, not allowed to venture out for ANY reason, even to find food. Amidst all of this, we’re introduced to a group of beings who are apparently murdering gods across different worlds, also pretty grim stuff, but amidst it all is more amazing banter between Kyle and Carol, even the Guardians show a surprisingly humorous side that helps set them apart from their stoic predecessors. I’d be hard-pressed to call this a funny book, but it’s certainly a FUN one.
A huge part of the credit for that has to go to Brad Walker’s pencils as well as Andrew Hennessy and Ryan Winn’s inks, but especially Wil Quintana’s colors. The action and pacing of this issue is top-notch with the cuts back and forth between our protagonists and the Godkillers happening seamlessly and at appropriate parts, the panel layout is clear and distinct while maintaining great kinetic force. But the colors are the real treat this time around. The book takes place primarily during the day in most cases and every panel, even the ones in space, are bursting at the seams with crisp, clear, distinct colors. The illusion of motion in this book, and this is thanks to all of the artists, is stunning.
As religious conflicts go, especially in modern writing, this one seems a little clear-cut for my tastes. There are times when it approaches some very trenchant, topical commentary on what’s going on in the world today, but by making both sides so completely polarizing, it’s VERY clear that one is right and one is wrong. I’m hoping this gets developed next issue.
An occasional panel has an awkward looking face. There’s a particularly expression that’s common to Brad Walker’s art where a character will look like they’re biting their lip, but it’s not an expression that matches the situation. It more suits a look of embarrassment and pensiveness.
This issue is a great jumping-on point and a great example of why this book needs to exist. The DCU is so much cheerier and more expansive with exploratory titles like this that don’t have to tie into giant, megalithic continuities and has some space to breathe and establish itself and its tone. This book does that well and this issue shows exactly how it does what it does. I’ve also loved the shorter two-issue arcs as they help the book stay fresh while enticing new readers.