Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green Lantern:
New Guardians #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Tyler Kirkham
Inker: Batt
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

There are superhero comics that are fresh and inventive and strive to deviate from the formula at every turn, and then there’s Green Lantern: New Guardians. First, a generic yellow ring bearer is abandoned by his ring in action and dies as a result. Then a generic red ring bearer is abandoned by his ring in action and dies as a result. Then a generic purple ring bearer is abandoned by her ring in action and almost dies as a result—which is as imaginative as the story gets.

And, before you know it, that’s four pages down for the dazzlingly inventive creative team.

That’s not the only thing that’s sub-par here. For maximum confusion, the book starts with a scene in which all the little blue alien guys from Green Lantern except one are dead, but it’s not marked as a flashback sequence for some reason. Also, with the fourth new Green Lantern book—after Green Lantern, Red Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps—now out of the gate, the defining requirements for the franchise are starting to emerge: genocide, liberal amounts of blood and gore and a general approach to storytelling that’s about as imaginative as throwing bricks at a wall.

And, of course, there are protagonists Hal Jordan (over in Green Lantern) and Kyle Rayner (over here) who seem to be in a fierce competition for the biggest socially retarded troglodyte. “Sorry, Mike,” Rayner, out of the blue, tells his buddy at the pub. “Two more minutes, and then I’ll explain why you won’t get past first base with this nice girl you brought.” He says this while the young woman in question is sitting right next to them at the table.

Kyle Rayner is not actually meant to be a sociopath, though, I’m afraid. Rather, somewhat terrifyingly, this seems to be Mr. Bedard’s idea of witty banter. Tyler Kirkham’s art tells the story, in the most basic sense, but it’s appropriately bland for the cookie-cutter story at hand.

New Guardians isn’t as startlingly terrible as Green Lantern or Red Lanterns, granted, but it’s certainly the dullest of the four franchise books.

Grade: D

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