Monday, April 20, 2015

Green Lantern v4: Gods and Monsters TPB

I sort of wish I was writing more of these Green Lantern reviews. I’d be able to do what DC does with these trades; just reprint the same content over and over! Seriously, how many trades have included the Relic storyline? At least three, I think. And when the most interesting thing about your villain is his size, that isn’t a good thing.

Writer Justin Jordan is really trapped here, with a huge chunk of this trade filled up with crossovers with the other GL titles. Only in the final few issues is Jordan able to focus on Kyle Rayner and his role as the White Lantern.

I really dig the romantic subplot that is developing here. Carol Ferris has always been Hal Jordan’s long-suffering girlfriend, but maybe she’s finally getting over that. Instead, Carol’s teaming up with Kyle has started some feelings between the two of them. It’s a neat twist and a pleasant surprise in an otherwise predictable series of crossovers.

To be honest, this is barely Kyle Rayner that has been my favorite GL for years. As a White Lantern, Kyle is able to channel all the colors of the emotional spectrum. That is integral to his new heroic role. However, it is also pretty far away from the Green Lantern for my generation thing that he had going on for so long. Taking Kyle and planting him firmly in space hurts too. I always like seeing Kyle interacting with the DCU. But now the drive for his title is to play tour guide for the new hippy Guardians of Oa. That is an OK high concept, but I don’t love it for Kyle.

That said, as a sci-fi story, the closing chapters work well. Kyle is brought in to help (and then clean up) a “perfect world.” A planet where every choice is maximized to go the right way. Unfortunately, each poor choice has been brushed off to other versions of the planet throughout the multiverse. This doesn’t last, of course, and Kyle ends up having to play peacemaker between these alternate worlds. As a sci-fi and GL story, it is very fun; something I’d expect to read about in an old, pre-Crisis GL story.

Brad Walker is the strongest of the artists involved in this collection, but I have a soft spot for his art ever since his run on Guardians of the Galaxy. He draws the most pleasing version of the White Lantern Kyle, with an amusing, bubbly version of Kyle’s mask. I will say that Carol Ferris has transitioned into her super-heroic role nicely. She looks great as Star Sapphire and her look at attitude make her the best supporting character Kyle has to interact with.

This is an AVERAGE book with some neat narrative seeds. Depending on how they pay off, I think the next trade could end up being a lot of fun. But constant crossovers and a lack of focus on the main character makes this trade pale in comparison to Kyle’s old 52 adventures.

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