“Green Lantern: New Guardians” has a slightly thankless task, the more you think about it. In theory, there are a lot of new readers coming on board to the various DC Comics re-launch titles. Depending on how much has been reset, you have a little or a lot of back story to try and serve up. “Green Lantern: New Guardians” is part of the line where virtually no changes at all have happened, which means there’s a lot of exposition needed. And of the three Green Lantern titles, none needs more than “Green Lantern: New Guardians.”
After all, people who might only know Green Lantern from either the recent film or the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon won’t know who Kyle Rayner is, let alone the full spectrum of various Corps that now run around the DC Universe. So, Tony Bedard is clearly rolling up his sleeves and trying to explain it all for new readers. It’s an idea that sounds great in theory but, for long-time readers, getting the first third of the comic being a retelling of Kyle Rayner’s “Emerald Twilight” origin story is bound to be a tiny bit dull.
Unfortunately, once that’s over, Bedard still has to introduce the other Corps, and only then does he finally get to the big plot involving the convergence of Kyle and the (presumed) other members of the New Guardians. And that means we’re in the final third of the comic when the plot begins to kick in. For new readers, this pace is going to be a relief because it’s giving them everything they need to know. But once again, long-time readers? Not quite so interested, I’ll suspect. (It doesn’t help that we’ve got some occasional dialogue clunkers. Fatality’s little speech at the end of her first appearance is so unrealistic that it’s jaw-dropping.)
Tyler Kirkham and Batt’s art is all right in this first issue, but nothing out of the ordinary. We’ve got backgrounds, basic panel progressions, and the occasional funky creation like the Sinestro Corps Member’s lizards. But nothing really jumps out one way or another, and poor Kyle’s hair is just looking bad throughout the issue, be it a flashback or the present day. (Get that guy some conditioner and then a haircut, please.)
When Bedard, Kirkham, and Batt took over “Green Lantern Corps” a little while ago, they had a slightly rough first few issues until they settled into their new title. Hopefully “Green Lantern: New Guardians” is a similar situation. I appreciate that they’re taking the time to help new readers on board (and they do have a thankless task with all of the concepts and characters they need to introduce), but there needs to be a little more pep here, too, to make sure readers (new or old) stick around for #2. Right now, that’s what’s missing.