For all my complaints about the new 52, there are books that are trucking along MOSTLY ignoring the reboot and just telling stories. Most importantly, the better DC comics are telling NEW stories, not retelling old continuity tales with an R-rating and pretending it is genius.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a fantastic story. But Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham do present a nice, compact story featuring a DC guest-star (Blue Beetle), a good, powerful villain (the Reach) and a likable protagonist (Kyle Rayner). I’m actually a bit surprised at how well the New Guardians works as a concept.
I didn’t read everything in the first trade, but if one comes in to this collection with the understanding that the team sort of likes each other, this really works. It’s hardest to buy from Arkillo, the yellow lantern, but even his loyalty to the team makes him a more interesting character.
Fatality benefits from this too. She’s running all over trying to help out here team. Seeing her in this neutral-almost-good role is pretty entertaining. It also shows how short the memory of comic book characters have to be. She killed a lot of GL’s back in the day!
Of course, Bleez is there partially as eye candy. And of course, I’m already rooting for Kyle’s influence to maybe turn her a bit towards the light. I’m not sure it will happen, but it adds a nice interpersonal relationship to the team dynamics. Kirkham has fun with Blue Beetle’s encounter with Bleez, too. What teenage boy wouldn’t have that reaction to getting pinned? Bleez’s disgusted reaction is perfect too.
So this ties in to the formation of the Blue Lanterns, the corruption of Ganthet, and Sayd’s agreement with Larfleeze. I know at least some of those things happened in the old continuity. It is just so confusing trying to figure out what counts and what doesn’t! We saw Alex’s “fridging” in a flashback, so we know that stuck, but man, not everything else could have happened. The Weaponer of Qward shows up too, also pointing back to the older stories (he’s an amusing hanger-on for the New Guardians).
Kirkham does a decent job with the pencils. He has a tendency to have the female characters falling out of their tops, but that is pretty common. Kyle’s hair looks even sillier than normal, I have to say. The crab-mask isn’t quite right either; it’s a bit too short. But the Reach look good, the Blue Lanterns look fantastic, and Kirkham really gets “acting” out of even the most alien figures.
This is a FAIR comic. I’m a huge Kyle Rayner fan and I didn’t love it, but it is certainly an adequate storyline.