Green Lantern: New Guardians #4 Review

In last month’s third issue we saw the return of Larfleeze and his “pet Guardian”, Sayd.  With the recent change in the status of Ganthet the reunion is not what we’d hoped for, but it’s certainly an explosive one!  As promised    we witness what may be Kyle Rayner’s last act as a member of the Green Lantern Corps and we get our first glimpse of a new cosmic-level threat that may tear apart the alliance of the New Guardians….or unite them.
The Story – 
Larfleeze’s entrance isn’t lost on Ganthet and as he tries to take Agent Orange to task for his intrusion Sayd comments on the Guardian’s lack of emotion before lashing out at him and the rest of the Oans.  Kyle and the New Guardians start to stir and as Saint Walker recharges the Green Lantern’s ring Sayd and appeals to his curiosity about why he was chosen by all the rings.  
Sayd and Ganthet’s reunion doesn’t go exactly as one would’ve imagined.
Ganthet lashes back at Sayd and Kyle inserts himself between them to prevent Ganthet from finishing her off and he reminds Kyle that there is something unique about him that not allowed him to momentarily harness all the rings of the emotional spectrum.  The act has somehow changed him and Ganthet urges Kyle to remain on Oa so that they can study what has happened to him and tries to use their unique history to keep the human from going rogue.  
Kyle is put in a tenuous position of having to choose between Ganthet and the Corps and the unknown quantity of Sayd and the promise to get Ganthet back and discover the mystery behind his ability.  Forced to make a decision Kyle makes a difficult choice to deny the Guardian who has meant so much to him and lashes out with a multicolored blast, renouncing the rule of the Guardians.  Kyle calls on Munk to transport the New Guardians away from Oa and he expends a tremendous effect as the group appears moments later on Okaara.
Kyle makes a fateful decision.
The retreat doesn’t sit well with Bleez and Arkillo who launches himself at the helpless Indigo Lantern.  Saint Walker gets in the Sinestro Corpsman’s path and uses the power of Hope to help Arkillo confront some of his pain.  A blue image of Sinestro appears and helps Arkillo by restoring the tongue he lost in the fight with Mongul for the leadership of the Sinestro Corps in the lead up to Blackest Night.  
Before the Blue Lantern can give Bleez the same treatment she flies away rather than see what the light of Hope shows her what she needs most.  The remaining New Guardians enter Larfleeze’s palace and Sayd reveals to them that a force tried to remove the ring of Avarice from Agent Orange and he was barely able to maintain possession of it.  Sayd’s ability to sense similar actions happening with other rings that we witnessed in the first issue led Lafleeze to send Glomulus disguised as a power ring to spy on where the rings were being redirected.
The aptly titled Orrery vessel is the latest cosmic threat
Meanwhile Sayd traced the source of the power that was causing the rings to find Kyle to the center of Okaara’s galaxy where a massive white hole had formed and was acting as a gateway to another universe and leaking matter from it into ours.  The issue closes with Sayd’s recollection of seeing a ship emerge from the white hole that was a large as a solar system and her sensing of a new antagonist the likes of which has never been seen before.  This ship, aptly dubbed the Orrery, is where Kyle and the New Guardians will need to focus their attention if they want to know who stole the power rings and why.
The Writing – 
Tony Bedard really ramps up the story with this issue by bringing a number of the elements together.  Larfleeze is a welcome addition to the book and Bedard does a great job of balancing the humor that comes with the Orange Lantern with his more menacing tendencies.  Moving Bleez out of the picture is also a good move considering her major role in the Red Lanterns series and her appearances here do cause some issues with reconciling the new DCU continuity and trying to imagine the books all occurring in a shared universe on a roughly concurrent timeline.  
While I was looking forward to the reunion of Sayd and Ganthet, the realization of those wishes isn’t what I’d hoped it would be, not that I was disappointed because it was still very satisfying.  Given all that’s happened since Blackest Night and the changes that both Ganthet and Sayd have endured it would be hard to see them just pick up where they left off.  I found it both humorous and curious when Sayd began to speak up against Larfleeze and a part of me wonders how much of her actions are of her own free will and how much are forced upon her.  Like so much of the Orange Lantern Corps there’s more unknown than known about them.  
I think that’s one of the main attractions of the this book for me, the exploration of the various aspects of the emotional spectrum and how they interact with each other.  More than anything else that’s why I get excited when I open the book and the potential for learning more is what makes me look forward to each issue.
As for Kyle’s decision to defy Ganthet I’m sure it will have some ramifications when the dust settles but I’m not sure how permanent it will be.  It was certainly unexpected to see all the colors but green emerge from his ring when he lashed out at the Guardian and I am looking forward to seeing what happens in his journey.  I’m not sure if he can ever go back to being just a Green Lantern when all is said and done, and to be honest I’m not sure I want him to.  Not that I don’t want him in a book or wearing a ring, but it would seem like a step backwards for the character to make him a Green Lantern if he is indeed something more than that.
There is a soul in there somewhere!
Bedard handled the scene between Saint Walker and Arkillo perfectly and those few pages are my favorite of the whole series so far.  To see that there is much more behind the monster we see when we look at him was much needed in my opinion and the character has been one of my favorite new characters in the Johns’ era of Green Lantern.  
The Art –
I was really glad to hear that Tyler Kirkham was handling all the pencil work starting with this issue since there were times recently where the art looked uneven.  I just think it’s better to have one artistic vision for a book and I’m glad Kirkham is at the helm for New Guardians.  Larfleeze looks the best he has in recent appearances and Glomulus continues to look awesomely funny as a cosmic version of Spongebob Orangepants!
Kirkham’s art also drove home the power in the moment between Saint Walker and Arkillo with the contrast between his normally fierce exterior and the calm face we see once his tongue has been restored, showing that there is a soul in there somewhere even if it is buried down there really deep.  
I wasn’t very impressed by the appearance of the Orrery, but we only get this one image and until I see more I’m not going to rush to judgement.  And with a stellar issue like this on it’s not hard to find a lot more to be positive about.
What Do I Think?
If I have one concern for the Green Lantern family it’s that there are three major plots running through them that seem to be on such a scale that it’s hard to see how they will all play with each other in this new universe.  On one hand you have the appearance of the Orrery in this title, but you’ve got the Keepers as a major new threat in the Corps title and the Guardians’ plan to dismantle the Corps lurking in the background.  While it doesn’t spoil my appreciation for this title I do wonder how it will all come together and I’m placing my faith in the writers of all three books to make sure all their stories fit together in the greater fabric of their share universe.  For now I choose to just enjoy the ride.
This issue does a lot to move the plot along without giving up action or character development.  This is my favorite issue of the series yet and I for one can’t wait for issue five.  Five out of five lanterns.

About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I'm a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

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