By: Justin Jordan (writer), Brad Walker (penciller), Drew Hennessy with Marc Deering & Ryan Winn (inkers), Wil Quintana (colors)

The Story: Remember when Kyle Rayner became Ion and had access to nearly god-like power? Well, if so you’ll appreciate the irony when he has to take on Ion and five of his business associates. Have fun there, fella…

The Review: You know what I’ve been aching to see in my Green Lantern comics? Heroes arguing reasonably. With five Lanterns representing one gender of one species of one continent of one planet, you’d think that there’d be more of an attempt to distinguish them from one another. Though Hal’s thick-headedness definitely outweighs his heroism in this issue, it’s really nice to see reasonable disagreement among the corps.

Justin Jordan does a fine job of writing a tense and exhilarating aftermath moment. Though it’s pretty much just a bunch of Lanterns and rocks floating in space, the first three pages of this issue feel suitably meaningful.

While he does fascinating work here that suggests to me that he should really be handling the politics of the Corps more often, Jordan can’t afford to dally; there’re crossovers to advance and some shiny toys to play with.

Ever since it was revealed that Parallax and Ion were alive, fans have been desperate to know more about these emotional entities. With all seven revealed some years ago, it feels like it’s been a long time to still know so little about them. While this issue doesn’t shed too much light on the mysteries surrounding these powerful creatures, they do get to be active participants for the first time in years.

But while their role in the plot is great, the Entities’ dialogue is nothing special. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Jordan’s take on them, their habit of dropping their emotion into conversation and the ultimate irrelevance of much of their dialogue leaves them feeling better characterized in their silence.

That may sound harsh, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Jordan really does succeed in bringing some of the majesty back to DC’s cosmic flagship. I say that because it’s not only the Entities but the Guardians who benefit. “Lights Out” is an event that spans from the present day all the way back to before the big bang; this is an issue where you can actually feel the weight of that history. It reminds you that Lanterns are more than just space cops; they’re an elite force that has existed for countless centuries.

Justin’s pacing on this series has always felt a bit off to me and, sadly, this issue is no exception. Though I’ve done the math to see how the issue is laid out and it seems solid, I can’t help but think that the story feels front-loaded. I expect that denser panels with more dialogue are partially to blame, but there’s that there’s a lot in this issue. Honestly there just isn’t enough time to move the pieces into position, establish the power of the Entities and Guardians, and set up and execute Kyle’s struggles. It all plays into ideas that have been building for a while, but it needed to fit into 20 pages, so it ends up rushed.

The book is lovely to look at. Walker’s art looks better than it did before last month’s gap, possibly due to the contributions of Drew Hennessy, Marc Deering, and Ryan Winn, whose inking skill is more than apparent any time Hal Jordan appears. Though the book has a higher contrast for their efforts, at its heart it’s still Walker’s show.  That means that the Guardians still look great but that Kyle’s mask still looks wonky.

But for all the fine work being done on the art, the most interesting visual element of the book is its layouts. It’s hard to say who brought that particular element to the table, but the final product uses divided images across multiple panels to accomplish a number of clever things. Likewise, the strong colors of the book are offset by the thick white gutters to great effect. From a gorgeous representation of power to simply clarifying crowded images, these techniques are expertly utilized and add a lot to the issue.

The Conclusion: New Guardians #24 does a pretty great job of naturally setting up the end of this event and provides a lovely Kyle Rayner story in the process. Though certain characters’ voices are notably stronger than others, artistic innovation and a sense of scope that’s been sorely missing make this far more than the standard tie-in.

Grade: B

-Noah Sharma

Some Thoughts:

  • Is anyone else curious why The Entity remains ambiguously silent throughout this issue. While it does continue to appear throughout the issue, it never takes any actions and cannot be definitively attributed any dialogue. Curious…
  • So who else saw that ending coming as soon as Relic appeared?
  • I just realized that my habit of referring to creators exclusively by their last name makes it seem like this series is some sort of joint Blue/Green Lantern propaganda program.