Green Lantern: New Guardians #5 Review

At the end of issue four of Green Lantern: New Guardians the huge solar system sized ship called the Orrery made its debut after entering our universe through a gigantic white hole, leaving the New Guardians with a huge mystery on their hands.  Guardian Sayd has sensed an ominous presence on the Orrery, but who or what is it becomes the topic of this week’s fifth issue.
The Story –
Reaching the galactic core the New Guardians are confronted with the enormity of the imposing ship, the Orrery.  Kyle’s scans of the ships that preceded Sayd to the white hole reveals them to be completely empty less than a day since the Guardian and the ships’ crews witnessed the arrival of the mammoth vessel.  Arkillo is not impressed with the disappearance of the beings and is instead intent upon wreaking terror on the beings inside the Orrery who caused the power rings to leave their bearers way back in the first issue.  Kyle’s attempt to setting the Sinestro Corps member down backfires and Arkillo’s temper flares as he lashes out at Saint Walker who last issue restored the creature’s tongue in a scene that revealed more than Arkillo was comforatable with.
The planets in the Orrery prove to be unable to be scanned, promptly the uneasy alliance of the New Guardians to be split into teams to explore the vast ship.  Despite Arkillo’s anger towards the Blue Lantern the only thing he opposes more is Kyle’s decision to pair him with Glomulus so Saint Walker offers to team with Arkillo instead, leaving Kyle to work alongside Larfleeze’s minion.  
Despite Arkillo’s seeming hatred of Saint Walker, he’s still a better choice in teammates that Glomulus
Meanwhile Bleez arrive on Ysmault and we now see where to New Guardians and Red Lanterns title interconnect with a scene that dovetails with event that transpire between the second and third issue of Red Lanterns and Bleez being cast into the Blood Ocean.  The scene reveals that Atrocitus chose Bleez to be the one he chooses in part because she cannot articulate what happened to the stolen ring. 
A slave to his desires
On Okarra we see that Sayd is monitoring the actions of the New Guardians for Larfleeze, who is dining.  The conversation between them reveals that this whole endeavor is an attempt by Agent Orange to protect  himself from his past.  Sayd warns that the New Guardians will end up discovering the truth about Larfleeze but the Orange Lantern is prepared to deal with that so long as the New Guardians can stop “him”…..at least so long as they don’t damage the Orrery, Larfleeze’s next prized possession.  
Glomulus and Kyle Rayner breach the hull of one of the planets in the Orrery and we learn a bit more about the nature of the Orange Lanterns.  While it’s been believed that the Orange Lanterns are constructs of the beings that Agent Orange has slain to keep possession of the power battery of avarice, Glomulus reveals to Rayner that his is perhaps a bit more than that and that he possesses his own free will.
Saint Walker and Arkillo have likewise breached the hull of another planet, revealing beings with orange skin and fiery hair who fly up to meet them.  The beings welcome them to Tamaran, the home world of Starfire.  Not much is known about the post-relaunch version of Tamaran, but whether this is really Tamaran or a world that they think is Tamaran remains to be seen.  The beings ask the two New Guardians if they were sent by the “archangel” and so Saint Walker requests that they tell him all they know about their mysterious protector.
Fatality and Munk have likewise entered one of the planets in the Orrery, one which Fatality finds oddly familiar.  Munk finds the dichotomy between her former life and her new role as a Star Sapphire an odd contradiction while she notes that Munk movements reveal a military background that flies in the face of being an agent for compassion.   While Fatality was willing to share information about her transformation, the Indigo Tribesman remains a brick wall through which his story will not pass.
The mystery behind Munk is teased just as the Indigo Tribe is about to be a focal point in the main title.
The two are attacked by the indigenous beings on the planet and their leader recognizes Fatality’s fighting style, inquiring about where she learned it.  When the Star Sapphire mentions Okaara the leader proclaims the planet they are on to be Okaara itself, leading again to the notion that the beings have been transplanted without their knowledge and providing a link between the “archangel” and Larfleeze.
 Kyle Rayner and Glomulus touch down on the surface of the tenth world in the Orrery and the people there run in fear from the little orange being.  The two fly by a statue of an imposing looking man as the planet dwellers call upon the “archangel” to protect them.  A conversation with a hooded figure reveals that Glomulus bears the mark of the “beast”, the archenemy of their protector.  A statue reveals that Larfleeze is the beast in question and as a claxon begins to sound we learn that the “archangel” is being summoned.
The scene shifts to the sun at the center of the Orrery as slowly a figure begins to emerge.  Invictus, the archangel, rises to reveal himself as the issue comes to a close and starting the painful wait until we get to see more about the newest threat to the universe.
The Writing –
I really have to give Tony Bedard a lot of credit for handling a cast so diverse as this and giving each one the subtle nudges they need to explore the emotional spectrum while not developing the characters at the expense of the plot.  A little bit is revealed about the nature of some of the Corps while we also learn about the ring bearers themselves, which is one of the biggest draws to this title for me.  And he pulls back the curtain just enough to whet your appetite and then moves on, leaving you wanting so much more.
Meanwhile we have the mystery of Tamaran and Okaara – are they the real planets or have the populace of those worlds just been transplanted?  Either way it’s clear that the Orrery and Invictus have been to our universe on more than one occasion seemingly unnoticed.  And what of the history between Invictus and Larfleeze?  I’m really looking forward to finding that one out!
Speaking of Larfleeze, while he only has a minor presence in this issue his panel time is used for the maximum effect.  Bedard deftly avoids going too far with the comedy but also uses it to underscore how much Larfleeze is a slave to his own appetites and desires, a tragic figure ruled by his hunger for more so much that he is lost in it.  While on the flipside we learn that there is still so much to him that we don’t yet know.
If I find any fault with the writing in this issue it’s in the Red Lanterns scene.  On one hand as a reader it is great to see the inter-connectivity between this title and Red Lanterns and learning now how the events of that title dovetail with this one.  But where I’m left scratching my head is in seeing Atrocitus being very focused on the loss of the red ring to the point that this leads his decision making on determining who to throw in the Blood Ocean, but yet it’s never referred to in the Red Lantern title once Bleez emerges an enlightened Red Lantern.  So while I’m glad to see that connection it does increase the feelings I have about the fractured nature of the Red Lanterns title.
The Art –
The rise of Invictus!
I love the sense of scale that Tyler Kirkham brings to the design of the Orrery, although I did noticed a coloring error on the opening splashpage where Saint Walker’s energy trail was more orange than blue.    However that’s one small thing in an issue filled with great images that helps bring Bedard’s story to life.
I particularly liked the work on Atrocitus who once again looks best when he’s ferocious and merciless, and likewise the art really punctuates the great sequence between Sayd and Larfleeze who has never looked better than his appearances in this title.  
As for the rise of Invictus – well, I have to say this it’s one of the best moments graphically for me in any of the Green Lantern family of books since the relaunch and the impact of those panels really made me feel like Invictus is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
What Do I Think?
Initially I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the New Guardians title, but five issues in and it’s the book I look the more forward to after the main Green Lantern title.  And that says a lot about the book for someone like me who has never really liked Kyle Rayner to admit.  While it’s the exploration and of the color spectrum and the cosmic science fiction elements that are bringing me to this book month after month, I truly am enjoying this series and this is the best issue yet.  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!

Related

JOIN THE DISCUSSION