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Green Lantern: New Guardians #23 – Review

By: Justin Jordan (story), Bradley Walker & Andrew Hennessy (art)

The Story: Hope burns bright! But is it for the last time?

The Review:  Like many of DC’s august offerings, Green Lantern: New Guardians #23 is a comic in the shadow of Villain’s Month. In this case the dastard in question is Relic, the giant well-spoken remnant of a past universe that’s been wandering space, spouting cryptic ramblings, and generally being a headache for Kyle Rayner since this series’ creative switch-up.

It seems kind of unfair that Green Lantern #23.1: Relic will be written by Green Lantern writer, Robert Venditti as Justin Jordan’s been the one who’s  had to deal with the character this far. The frequent teases as to Relic’s past are growing stale and overused this month, but this is, of course, to encourage people to purchase the aforementioned issue.

Indeed, this issue and the two preceding it are really just filler. I wonder if Jordan asked for this assignment or it came from the top down. Regardless of how it happened, this is just another issue that keeps Relic’s mystique building and the White Lantern from making significant change in the universe.

Luckily for we readers, this definitely falls near the top of event-stalling issues. Before turning his sights on Oa, Relic decides to remove the strongest players from the board  and goes after the Blue Lanterns.

Much like War over in this week’s Wonder Woman, Brother Warth is the star of this show. For such a humble character, Saint Walker has been a bit of a hog when it comes to screen-time and it’s nice to  see the other Blues have their day. Warth’s more direct take on what it means to be a Blue Lantern does a nice job of showing the variety in the corps.

“Unfortunately, Jordan misses a big opportunity in regard to the battle. Especially with a White Lantern around, each of the Blues should be colossal powerhouses. One of them in the presence of a single Green Lantern can reverse the age of a sun! A battle between a small corps of Blues and non-sentient opponents should be epic. I know that Jordan wanted to paint a picture of hopelessness, but imagine how much scarier Relic would be if he spent this issue slapping around several Ion-level Lanterns. Instead we get a somewhat generic battle scene leading up to a beautiful conclusion.

Brad Walker’s pencils are, as ever, lovely, if not without their small glitches. He still hasn’t mastered Kyle’s mask and, though he does a fine job with Brother Warth’s elephantine features for most of the comic, Warth is one of a handful of characters who occasionally look off.

One thing that Walker excels at is drawing Relic. A giant yellow man doesn’t sound terribly intimidating but Relic comes through with a weight and emotion that really sells the concept. The curious, dutiful villain is written rather differently from other GL foes and the deep crags of his face hold fast to his story, releasing it in brief bursts. It’s a far cry from Walker’s other faces but it doesn’t seem out-of-place at all.

The art has highs and lows and moments of perfect neutrality but the final page deserves special mention. Though it doesn’t come through on every page, Relic is attempting an invasion and it seems that this is a specialty of Walker’s. From the ship, to the fireworks to the Lanterns, the last page is hauntingly beautiful sci-fi artwork.

The Conclusion: Jordan continues to stall until Lights Out begins, but finds some interesting wrinkles in the presence of the Blue Lantern Corps. Both art and writing have moments of strength and weakness that generally even out, but the final pages of the tale succeed in drawing out the emotion and leaving New Guardians ready for Villain’s Month and Lights Out.

Grade: C+

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