Friday, January 9, 2015

Green Lantern: New Guardians v3: Love and Death TPB

Whoof. This thing was an absolute bear to get through. It doesn’t help that it seems to have three entirely separate storylines combined into one collection. Let’s handle them individually.

First, we follow Kyle Rayner as the attempts to master all the colors of the DCU as he becomes a White Lantern. This had some interesting artwork from Aaron Kuder, and I liked that Tony Bedard used Atrocitus and Star Sapphire’s as such strong mentors for Kyle. I don’t know how that fits in with old 52 timelines. But this seems to be a pretty newly-minted Kyle appearing in this book.

The second phase of the collection is the weakest. It’s the First Lantern tempting the New Guardians with alternate timelines and lives they could have led. The art is wildly inconsistent through this section, with Carol Ferris’ sections being so tonally different that I found myself skipping some pages. Part of the problem is that the big threat from the Third Army must have been resolved somewhere else. Instead of seeing how the ever-increasing mass of zombies got stopped, the story just sort of hops to a totally different conclusion.

The final third of the collection feels like another chapter in Geoff Johns’ long-time GL opus. It gives each corps a moment or two, and most importantly establishes Hal Jordan as the best Green Lantern ever. Johns has made his feelings on that score very clear, so at least the consistency is nice. The First Lantern is so powerful that the frenetic final battle is essentially a bunch of surprise reveals that he dispatches shortly after arrival. The strongest moments in this storyline don’t come from the First Lantern or any other recurring villain. Instead, it is the fallen Sinestro who captures the best two moments during the closing moments. First, when Sinestro states his feelings on Hal Jordan, it is a nice connection between longstanding rivals and foes. The second, I won’t give away, but maybe Geoff Johns does have a bit of a heart after all.

Aaron Kuder and Doug Mahnke provide the strongest art throughout the book, with Mahnke’s looking more polished and ready for prime time. I’ve seen Kuder’s recent stuff, and he’s much better now than in these earlier works.

This is a FAIR comic that could have been much better if it was more focused and only collected the necessary chapters of the GL storyline. Who said trade paperbacks had to include every issue?

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