The other new title added to the Green Lantern stable with the new 52, replacing Emerald Knights, is The New Guardians. Providing a spotlight to the other Lantern Corps, and starring Kyle Rayner, this to me made a lot of sense for a new book.
I’ve talked before about how I didn’t really understand the decision to launch the Red Lanterns over the other Corps into their own book. Instead here, we get a member of each of the other Corps getting involved. I really like the idea that this book will allow a spotlight across the different Lanterns. What’s happened with the Blue Lanterns since they lost their Guardians? Likewise the Star Sapphires since their power source went kaboom? That’s the kind of thing this book will hopefully address. I’ve also talked about how the Corps have slowly become less distinct in their powers since their introduction, and that’s also something Tony Bedard has talked about wanting to address here. There’s already a hint of it in the first issue, as Fatality’s constructs always appear to be made out of crystal rather than just energy.
And, of course, I think its great that Kyle’s the main star and Green Lantern of the title. To be honest, I’ve never particularly felt Kyle was left by the side once Hal came back, as many suggested (he’s never been close to the way Wally’s been airbrushed out of the Flash franchise) and enjoyed the Rann-Thanagar appearances, the Ion series and finally him being in Green Lantern Corps.
Now granted, I wasn’t necessarily a massive fan of how Kyle was used in Tony Bedard’s Green Lantern run. The combination of him and John Stewart was never one I particularly felt Bedard had a handle on, up until the final Aftermath issues, in which I really thought he did a great job on the characters. This series gets off a great start, with a nice recap of Kyle’s origin, showing long term readers how its been tweaked to compensate for the removal of the JSA from continuity. Rather than Alan appearing after Alex’s death to tell Kyle about the Corps, Ganthet is the one who gives Kyle a brief background to the ring and the Corps before he vanishes off. Its a nice, logical tweak that I imagine will play in later to the run, as it establishes the relationship between Kyle and Ganthet nicely (one thing that I think has been ignored since Hal came back – so nice to see its use here).
The various Lanterns picked to fill out the cast work well too. Bleez makes a lot of sense, as one of the most prominent Red Lanterns, and likewise Saint Walker is an obvious pick (although personally I prefer the character of Warth for Blue Lanterns). I did really like in issue 2 how Tony Bedard started building up the relationship between Kyle and Walker, based on their mutual respect for Ganthet. That was a really nice touch. Arkillo is again, a good choice as possibly second only to Sinestro in terms of prominence in his Corps, and I loved the trick Tony Bedard uses with Arkillo’s ring having to speak for him. Its nice to see his tongue being removed wasn’t forgotten or undone in the reboot. Something I was really pleased to see, was Fatality being the Star Sapphire who turns up. Characters introduced in Kyle’s run on GL have slowly been wiped out since Hal came back, whereas Fatality managed to hang around thanks to the John Stewart/Xanshi connection (although to be honest, that went kind’ve nowhere). So the fact that a recurring foe from Kyle’s GL run is being used here is a great back nod to Kyle’s 10 years in the main role.
Tony Bedard’s direction for Kyle seems interesting as well, with him speaking in interviews about how he’s wanting to try and carve out a more unique role for Kyle within the franchise. Hal is often held up as the best GL ever (as is common for whoever happens to be leading the book at the time – see The Flash and whoever is best with the Speedforce), Guy has his role as the premier troubleshooter in the GLC (and probably the main rival to Hal’s position). How John fits into things is perhaps less distinct since his more thoughtful, introspective Mosiac-era persona has given way to his new Marine background, but the focus here is on Kyle. And building on what Tony Bedard tried to do during War of the Green Lanterns, it seems the idea is for Kyle to be more generally adept across the emotional spectrum, rather than being an uber-GL or anything like that. Its an interesting idea, and I’m keen to see how it works out. Presumably we’re going to see Kyle using the other Corps rings more throughout the book.
There’s also the mystery of why all these rings are suddenly targetting Kyle. And my guess is that this is where his relationship with Ganthet may come into play. That background is being bigged up again, and the rings have just targetted Kyle, as the Guardians have forceably stripped Ganthet of his emotions and his personality (see my previous complaints about the Guardians being borderline villains in the franchise these days – and this act seems stunningly unforgivable even by their standards). It would make sense to me that this is some sort of backup plan of Ganthet’s, although as to why, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Overall, despite my burnout on the other Corps towards the end of the last volume, I think having them in their own focused book is the right idea, and I look forward to Tony Bedard hopefully starting to play more with the differences between their powers, and how their rings affect them (I loved the out-of-control Miri stuff towards the end of his GLC run). The Kyle focus was always going to be a big win for me, and so far Tony Bedard seems to be getting on better, with a singular main character as his focus.