This is it, the last book in the Green Lantern family before next week's Green Lantern Annual #1. With Invictus knocking on Larfleeze's doorstep and Sayd about to spill the beans about her involvement in the theft of the power rings that brought them together, Kyle Rayner and the New Guardians are about the face the greatest challenge in their short time together.
The Story -
Invictus and his massive Orrery arrive on Okaara while below on the planet's surface Kyle Rayner challenges Sayd's actions with the revelation last issue that she was the one behind the theft of the rings that launched the series. But the impending danger Invictus and the Orrery represent takes precedence and Kyle offers a truce of sorts to Larfleeze, knowing that it is better for everyone if Agent Orange is a part of this uneasy alliance rather than another adversary to fend off in the encounter that is about to occur.
|Better to have the devil on your side than against you|
Invictus joins the New Guardians and immediately goes after Larfleeze, but the rest of the "team" stands by while he is pummeled. Kyle rallies the New Guardians and they launch a counter offensive while the Weaponer of Qward urges Kyle to help him get to the Orrery in part so that he can find a way to disable it, but more importantly so he can advance his own agenda and steal it for his own. Munk teleports with the Weaponer and Kyle turns to join the fray and even Sayd enters the battle.
In the control chamber of the Orrery the Weaponer makes quick work of finding what he's looking for, even if it isn't the "kill switch" he told Kyle he'd seek. Seizing the opportunity that lay before him, the Weaopner departs from Okarra after getting rid of Munk, and Invictus begins to panic as he sees his precious creation head off into the stars. With Saint Walker boost Kyle's ring to attack the statue of Invictus the rest of the New Guardians pile on the rapidly de-powering Invictus, who's body grows cold from the distance put between him and his power source.
|New Guardians Assemble!|
Just then all of the rings of the New Guardians cry out with the familiar "Let Me Out!" that has appeared in every Green Lantern family title this month as a precursor to next week's annual. While they call cast a suspicious eye in Sayd's direction, she has nothing to do with the disembodied voices. With the conflict with Invictus over the female Guardian explains how her love for Ganthet and feeling what the Guardians did to him made her desperate and she sent the rings from weak members of the different Corps to Kyle because of his love for Ganthet and reveals that the ring didn't choose Kyle. It was Ganthet who sensed Kyle's ability to command all the emotions in the spectrum and chose him for that reason, and Sayd's actions serve to push Kyle to embrace the potential he has to unite them.
This information doesn't set well with the rest of the New Guardians and one by one they leave, essentially disbanding the team and leaving Kyle on his own just as the Third Army is about to rise.
The Writing -
I've long felt that Sayd was behind the ring thefts and I've been postulating that she and Ganthet left their fellow Guardians because they new what was to come and they sought to provide leadership to those who would stand against the Guardians' plans. However this issue reveals that Sayd was acting more out of desperation than a grand plan, but that doesn't mean that she couldn't be important in the crisis that's about to be unleashed.
This issue's script is pretty dense and does a good job of setting things back to the way they were without upsetting the status quo too much, but of course there's now the new threat of the Weaponer and his new toy that will hopefully come back into the forefront at some point in the near future. Invictus posed too great of a threat to survive this conflict intact and the obvious choice would be to kill him off or send him back to the other dimension he came from. But Bedard does something a little different by de-powering him and leaving him as a character who could be used again later, a decision I appreciate since Invictus is not only a compelling character but he is a key to Larfleeze's mysterious past that could be used to great effect later on.
I think that's Bedard's strategy in the long term - pausing the bigger story he wants to tell in order for the title and the characters to play their role in the Third Army story while giving readers a complete chapter of that story in the twelve issues he had. He's done a good job with it and while the roster of this team may change the exploration of the various colors in the emotional spectrum and the characters who don their rings remains the focal point that make this book the most colorful one in the Green Lantern family.
As to the mysterious voice(s) coming from the ring I'm still thinking that these are the voices of the Guardians, but either they have a great sense of timing or this is one voice coming from all the rings at once. While I'm sticking with my original theory I'm also thinking it could be the fractured essence of Ganthet, split into each emotion when the Guardians did whatever it is they did to him.
|The voices of many, or the cry of one?|
The Art -
Tyler Kirkham says goodbye with this issue and his talent and creativity will be missed. The image of the whole New Guardians team entering the battle stands as one of the greatest images from this title thus far, and that's saying a lot considering how many good art moments Kirkham has blessed us with during his run on this series. Kirkham does a great job as usual and he leaves behind several creations that adds to the Green Lantern mythology. Sayd still looks a little manly, but that's nitpicking. Aaron Kuder will be on board for the next few issues and there's been no word if he will be the new ongoing artist or not.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 brings the first saga to a close, and while the ending is a bit of a letdown it's a necessary component in how this book dovetails into the greater fabric of the Green Lantern universe. Definitely not the book to pick up if you're thinking of jumping on board, but a must read if you've been following this story to any degree. The stage is set for the rise of the Third Army and the major events that will shape these books for months to come. Four out of five lanterns.