The attack on Odym continues in the tenth issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians and with the roster of the team changing over the next few issues and the August solicitations alluding to Invictus' final judgement it seems like writer Tony Bedard has a lot of ground to cover. While this issue doesn't address those priorities directly, it does set the characters up for the final confrontation with whoever the being is that triggered the ring thefts that launched the series.
The Story -
Above Odym, Kyle Rayner is joined by Fatality, Arkillo and the Weaponer as the Reach continue their assault on the Blue Lantern homeworld. Saint Walker leads his Corps in a desperate bid to protect their Central Battery by attempting to purge the Reach soldiers from their captivity by using their rings' ability to heal. Their valiant attempt is cut short when the space armada strikes from above, forcing the Blue Lanterns to fall back and regroup.
|Arkillo certainly knows how to make an entrance|
Fatality, Arikillo and the Weaponer make quite an entrance to join the fray and try to even the odds, but it's Kyle that the Blue Lanterns desperately need to bolster their energies and he's still in space orbiting the planet and defending himself from the encroaching armada. Kyle's perspective allows him to realize that the situation is far more dire than first thought, and when he joins the battle he finds himself persuading Saint Walker to evacuate the planet knowing there is no chance to win the battle.
The issue closes with Saint Walker coming to the conclusion that Larfleeze led the Reach to Odym and that he intends to make sure Agent Orange pays for his crimes.
The Writing -
Tony Bedard continues the frenzied pace from last issue, really reinforcing the urgency of the situation for the reader. Arkillo's arrival on Odym and his neat twist on the Saint Walker's "All will be well" mantra was certainly a high point for the issue and we're almost lulled into thinking that the battle is won until Kyle provides the somber note that brings reality back to the situation.
I'm not sure what makes Saint Walker think that Larfleeze is behind the attack; I think it's more than likely Sayd who pulled the trigger in order to put the Blue Lanterns back on their heels much like the rest of the emotional spectrum as the path is cleared for the arrival of the Third Army.
The Art -
While this issue was a great read, it sure wasn't easy on the eyes in my opinion. Tyler Kirkham is sorely missing from this issue and while the next two issues are his this one suffers for it at the hands of Tomas Giorello. In fact the art team has given readers the finger in this issue, literally. Saint Walker has somehow managed to mutate and grow a fifth finger on each hand, even on Kirkham's cover. Not to mention a missing logo on his chest and rather than the look of calm determination that has come to define him, Saint Walker's face reeks uncharacteristically with emotion and anger that just doesn't look right on him. In fact I think there's just something about Saint Walker's face in much of this issue that doesn't feel right.
|The writing is up to the usual standard, the art not so much|
Saint Walker's not the only one to get poor treatment here, Arkillo has some missing power ring issues as well. And while I understand that Kyle hasn't had a chance to shower and shave in a while it seems overplayed here. I'm not sure who's responsible for the artistic continuity for this series but he or she should be ashamed of how poorly Bedard's script is supported.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians is my second favorite book in the new DC universe, right behind the main Green Lantern title. I've really enjoyed the exploration of the cast and the galactic space adventure and this issue continues to advance the elements that brought the characters together while prepping the series for the upcoming intersection with the rest of the books in the Green Lantern family. Unfortunately the shoddy art makes a great book look like it was done by an amateur and it's much less than a book of this caliber deserves. Perhaps I'm being too harsh but for me it brings this book down to two lanterns out of five.