Monday, 14 April 2014

Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 2: Beyond Hope (The New 52) Review

Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 2: Beyond Hope (The New 52)

"And you know what? Your mask is
stupid!"
Writer: Tony Bedard

Artist: Tyler Kirkham and Batt

Collects: Green Lantern New Guadians #8-12  and Blue Beetle #9

Background Information:

In the last volume of New Guardians, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner received rings from Lantern Corps of all of the emotional colours. It got him on the bad side of the Guardians of the universe and allowed him to inadvertently put a team together consisting of Blue Lantern Saint Walker, Red Lantern Bleez, Star Sapphire Fatality, Sinestro Corpsman Arkillo, Orange Lantern Glomulus and Indigo Tribesman Munk. They raided a giant floating and encountered the archangel Invictus, who charged them with killing Orange Lantern leader Larfleeze.

If you want more information, please refer to my review of Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 1: The Ring Bearers.

Review:

Beyond Hope does a far better job than its predecessor at tying into the rest of the Green Lantern books, which really helps New Guardians to feel like it’s part of the bigger picture. That said, this collection still reads like it’s about to be cancelled which makes it hard to believe that this title is leading into a crossover event.

So the New Guardians have been charged with killing Larfleeze in order to save a bunch of planets from being destroyed by Invictus. But first they have to charge their rings. This leads to the New Guardians separating to recharge their rings, and get into their own kinds of trouble by extension. For Kyle and Bleez, going to earth means getting into a fight with an assassin sent by the Guardians and meeting Blue Beetle. For Saint Walker, it means fending off an invasion of the Reach from the blue lanterns’ homeworld. For Arkillo, it means returning to the Sinestro Corps’ homeworld of Korugar, only to find that his corps has been decimated by Sinestro himself. Finally, Fatality goes to investigate where the archangel Invictus came from.

In the last volume, Writer Tony Bedard spent most of his time with Kyle Rayner. It was essentially Kyle’s book, and the other lanterns were just in it. Thanks to this different story structure, though, all of the New Guardians get some time in the sun, and you come out liking these other lanterns a lot more. Each lantern here does something cool and that’s pretty refreshing after reading a lot of team books from both DC and Marvel that really only focus on one or two characters.

By far the high point of this book, though is Saint Walkers defence of the blue lantern world against the Reach. Blue Lanterns have limited attack power without a green lantern nearby. Without their green friends, they can only hope to heal and defend. Bedard though, shows that their lack of attack power is hardly a weakness. The Reach’s army is made of beings from other planets who have been possessed by scarabs- small bug like devices that control whoever they latch on to, while giving them a tech-suit with different weapons and abilities. Healing them means disconnecting them from the scarab. It’s nice to see characters without a lethal ability hold their own against a foe that formidable and if anything, this volume made me desperate to see a Blue Lantern series in the future.

My only real problem with this story was that the end of this collection feels like a series cancellation. The decision is ultimately made that a team like the New Guardians cannot possibly succeed, and the team breaks up. That would be fine if the series were to actually be cancelled, but New Guardians is on its 27th issue by now- it seems strange that the team would break up now. What’s more, that breaking up doesn’t feel all that justified, the one responsible for Kyle getting the rings is revealed, and that causes everyone to leave- it doesn’t quite make sense.

Art here is fairly consistent with the first volume. As a slight improvement, the penchant Tyler Kirkham had for showing Fatality’s cleavage instead of her face is gone, but now he has one panel where only Bleez’s backside does more or less the same job. It happens less than the previous volume, but it still feels kinda tacky.

Beyond Hope is an enjoyable showcase for the non-green lanterns, but does leave you feeling a little deflated. It gets a three out of five replacement backsides.

***

+ Feels like it’s part of the bigger picture.

+ Good showcase of all the lanterns.

+ Feels like a cancelation.

+ Bleez is the new sexualised character.

Alternate Option: Green Lantern Corps: Fearsome

If you read one Green Lantern Book, you have to read them all.