A slow, deliberate start of the new era in “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #21 turns into a fun, action-packed adventure before the cliffhanger final page. Justin Jordan takes great pains to establish Kyle Rayner as being worldly-wise and world-weary in the early portion of this comic book. Among the points he uses to back up that claim is Rayner giving Hal Jordan background info on space sharks. Hal exclaims, “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a ‘space shark’…” to which Rayner all but replies, “Duh!”
That interchange makes Rayner out to be rather pompous while it also undermines Hal Jordan’s seniority and experience. Luckily, Justin Jordan is able to add clarity and depth to Rayner through the rest of the issue so that by the end of “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #21, readers have no choice but to cheer for Rayner as he is stuck between the “New” Guardians; Exeter, guardian of the boundary; and that which Exeter is guarding. Justin Jordan sells this new adventure to me by the time I reach the final page of the issue. Rayner may not be the deepest or most relatable character at DC right now, but Justin Jordan knows just how to balance that with enough action and novelty to hook me.
Brad Walker joins Justin Jordan to handle the art chores for “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #21. Inked by Andrew Hennessy, Walker crafts some dynamic pages filled with detail and uses starfield-filled sections of space to emphasize the scope of the universe awaiting Rayner and his new charges. Wil Quintana’s suitable colors add depth and detail to Walker’s drawings, helping really sell the ferocity and power of Exeter — making this new character one I look forward to more of.
Of the refreshed Green Lantern family of books, “Green Lantern: New Guardians” was the one of the main triad I had the least amount of interest in. “Red Lanterns” and “Larfleeze” are exempt as I have less than no interest in either of those books at this juncture. That said, “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #21 might hit a high note due to the low-hanging expectations, or it might simply be enjoyable. I do know that I liked it considerably more than “Green Lantern” #21, but that’s not really much of a comparison right now. At the very least, this comic book has given me enough reason to check back in with the next issue, even if it is more for the characters and circumstances surrounding the main character than for the character himself.