19 Jun 2013

Cover To Cover: GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #21

GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #21
Writer: Justin Jordan
Art: Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy & Wil Quintana
DC $2.99


Stewart R: My review of Green Lantern #21, the first new chapter in the post-Geoff Johns era of Lantern books was not a particularly positive one in respect of the new start and fresh direction. Having completed my read throughs and analysis I had some concerns that I may struggle to find a Lantern title in the new collection that would latch hooks into my attention and hold strong. Well good readers, I can tell you right this minute that with Green Lantern New Guardians #21 I believe we have a bona fide expert angler in comic book form as this has hooked, landed, cooked and served me with the opening chapter.

I never invested in New Guardians coming into the New 52 and only know what vaguely transpired thanks to the occasional flick through in Paradox Comics to make sure I had made the correct decision to not follow the trials of Kyle Rayner as he attempted to master all of the aspects necessary to become the White Lantern. He played a bit-part in the Wrath of The First Lantern saga and it’s been fairly clear that he struck up some pretty strong and fairly uneasy alliances in that time and it’s the ease with which Rayner manages to connect with other beings that always makes him an appealing character to learn about and follow. My hope coming into this would be that Justin Jordan (Deathstroke, T7 and Valiant’s Shadowman) would be able to tap into all of the facets that have made Rayner a fan favourite and give him a full bodied story worthy of his new powers.

From this debut it seems that Jordan may well be able to do this and then some!

With the status quo shift that has come from Geoff Johns’ 'Wrath of The First Lantern' story, we’ve now, somewhat conveniently, ended up with another set of blue-skinned Guardians who have been separated from the chaos of the whirring cogs of the Universe for untold millennia and who now face the prospect of wandering out into the reaches stacked with ancient power yet oh so naive. Jordan sets out the stall quite early and tells us that there’s no better chaperone for this expedition that the competent and pretty angry White Lantern who was - quite literally - stabbed in the back by these new Guardians emotionless brethren. This immediately brings a neat level of mistrust and tension to the story as Kyle initially rebukes the idea and then reluctantly accepts a mission which should hopefully prevent any reoccurrence of some of the darkest days that the various Corps have ever faced.

What particularly stood out for me in this instalment was how Jordan makes Kyle’s interactions with other Lanterns such as Hal and Carol feel so gosh darn natural. There’s a fluidity to the dialogue, and the scripting that initiates it, that instantly had me at ease and captivated by where things may head next. Back and forths, disagreements, tone and the great misunderstandings that come as part of the New Guardians’ previous voluntary isolation all work tremendously well and promise great things for the months ahead. The premise is also exciting and has me instantly thinking back to those glorious days of Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians Of The Galaxy run as Jordan invests in the idea that universal life runs in cycles and our universe is just one link in the chain of many. If you’re going to rock up to the party with such science fiction ideas it’s always a good idea to bring along one heck of a trusty art team and that GOTG link raises its hand once more with the inclusion of Walker, Hennessey and Quintana who all previously worked together on that book.

I’m really not kidding when I say that this is Walker delivering pages at the very top of his game with a terrific demonstration of his broad skills. From Carol and Kyle’s frank apartment packing conversation on Earth, filled as it is with a range of expressive panels, to the bonkers deep space encounter that the White and Green Lanterns’ have to deal with - no spoilers here as it’s just too bonkers a concept to ruin for you all - Walker busts out his best line work complemented by the trusty inker and colourist respectively. There’s something about this combination that screams ‘premium quality comic book experience’ from every page and I don’t believe it harsh to state that that is an element of DC’s game that they have struggled with from time to time recently.

While I went into Green Lantern #21 full of hope and ended up a little disappointed, I went into Green Lantern New Guardians #21 with lower expectations and have actually come out the other side utterly convinced that this is one Lantern title not to be missed. With a writer showing so much promise early on with a character he has captured the voice for instantly and a story that has ‘engrossing’ rubber stamped all over it, not to mention an art team that is clearly working in pure harmony, this looks to be one exciting corner of the DC universe that requires your time and attention. A triumphant start. 9/10

No comments: