The Blue Lanterns have probably been the most highly regarded of the new groups from Geoff Johns' exploration of the emotional spectrum yet they have not been given a lot of page time outside of Saint Walker. With Green Lantern: New Guardians #9 the embodiment of all the Hope in the universe takes center stage as their base of operations comes under attack from the Reach.
The Story -
Before the events of this issue Kyle, Bleez and Glomulus traveled to Earth so that Kyle could recharge his ring. In the pages of Blue Beetle #9 we see the three New Guardians do just that as well as finding out that the Guardians are after Kyle, who nearly falls victim to a bounty hunter they sent to Earth to take him down. This revelation is surprising to see happen in the pages of a non-Green Lantern title, but it effectively puts Kyle on notice that there is something larger at play beyond his recent encounter with Invictus. Before the issue ends Bleez leaves Kyle behind to deal with Atrocitus and Glomulus has disappeared at the hands of the bounty hunter.
As issue nine of New Guardians starts Saint Walker arrives on Odym to a heroes welcome, although Saint Walker seems somewhat perplexed by the reference given to him by his fellow Blue Lanterns. After relaying the current status of Sayd and Ganthet Odym is attacked by the Reach, ancient enemies of the Guardians and the alien race behind the Blue Beetle Scarab, who have somehow managed to find the cloaked planet.
|Clearly the Blue Lanterns have been betrayed by someone they held dear|
The Reach launch an all out attack on the Blue Lanterns who are ill equipped to fend off the invaders. Meanwhile Fatality is examining the portal Invictus used to enter our universe with a skeptical eye and she comes to conclusion that someone or someones are behind the attacks on all the Corps of the spectrum. Before that notion can be explored further the Star Sapphires learn of the attack on Odym and Fatality defies orders to go and aid her comrade.
Saint Walker demonstrates why he is THE Blue Lantern and despite the limitations of his ring he shows the rest of the Blue Lanterns how to channel the defensive abilities of the their rings to augment their physical strength to strike back at the Reach invaders. With Kyle's ring recharged he reaches out to the rest of the New Guardians to summon them to Saint Walker's aide. With the Blue Lanterns seemingly helpless they seek to protect their central battery from harm, but when the shield starts to give way Saint Walker heroically stands defiant as the issue comes to a close.
|Fatality begins to see the big picture...and it ain't pretty|
The Writing -
Tony Bedard succeeds admirably at giving Saint Walker some breathing room with this issue and show just how great of a character he is. I've long thought of the Blue Lanterns and intergalactic Shaolin Monks and I felt like that notion was really reinforced with how Bedard portrays the Blue Lantern Corps - peaceful beings who seek a greater understanding of the universe but capable of demonstrating great physical prowess when pacifism is impossible to maintain. The closing of the issue really gives Saint Walker the opportunity to show how inspiring he can be when put in a dire circumstance.
Likewise I really liked the short but sweet appearance of Fatality here and her being the one to see the bigger picture and clue any reader in who hasn't picked up on what's going on behind the scenes. The more I see the plot unravel the more I believe that Sayd is more in control that Larfleeze would believe and despite the appearances of discord with the rest of the Guardians she's a bigger part of their plan than she'd have us believe. And either Sayd or Ganthet (or both) must have been able to broker an arrangement of sorts with the Reach, offering Odym up as a bargaining chip and putting one more of the Corps in turmoil.
|Saint Walker embraces the mantle he seemed wary of at the issue's start|
The Art -
I love that we get to see Tyler Kirkham unleashed this issue and he's allowed to let his imagination run a little with designing more cool looking alien species for the Blue Lantern Corps. While I enjoyed that I equally found the Reach army suitably menacing and a threat more than equal to the task of dismantling the Blue Lanterns. The sheer look of determination on Saint Walker's face in the closing moments of the book really supported the plot and those few panels completely define who the Blue Lantern is to anyone who might question his resolve.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians #9 is an action packed issue that shines a big bright blue light directly on Saint Walker and gives the beloved Blue Lantern some great character defining moments. Just under the surface are some moments of intrigue as the plans of the Guardians creep ever closer to seeing fruition. With just a few months left before we hit what's being billed as a cornerstone moment for the Green Lantern universe this issue keeps the tempo building. Four out of five lanterns.