Green Lantern: New Guardians #13 Review

With the revelations of Kyle’s potential future in last month’s zero issue, the thirteenth issue plunges headlong into Kyle Rayner learning to master all of the emotions in the spectrum.  This time around Tony Bedard explores what it takes to motivate Kyle to turn on the red power of rage while using the opportunity to flesh out a little bit of Kyle’s post “New 52” continuity.

The Story –
The issue starts out with Atrocitus trying to provoke Kyle and bringing out his inner Red Lantern, but getting Kyle to relive his early days with a power ring and the loss of Alex DeWitt proves ineffectual, especially when Carol Ferris objects with the methods.  Tired of Carol’s interjections Atrocitus takes to the sky with Kyle in tow so he can find “train” him without having to deal with her meddling.
While the perpetrator is unknown, Alex DeWitt’s death still figures prominently figures into Kyle’s past.
Meanwhile in Sector 2819 two Red Lanterns sense another presence and fly away before it’s reveled that the Third Army are lurking nearby.  While the Third Army miss their opportunity to assimilate their first Red Lanterns, and approaching ship presents an opportunity for them to increase their ranks.
We find that Atrocitus has taken Kyle to the Middle East where he is forced to observe a man being senselessly killed in front of his son.  This is enough to push Kyle over the edge and he is transformed into a Red Lantern who takes out the thugs before turning his rage squarely on Atrocitus.  With his mission accomplished the leader of the Red Lantern Corps leaves Earth while Kyle channels Hope to heal the wounded.
A peeved Kyle Rayner returns to the cemetery where Carol is repairing the damage to Alex’s grave marker. Feeling a mixture of the residual effects of the power of rage and the sense that he’s being used by Carol solely to get Hal back Kyle heads off to find Arkillo so he can take on the next emotion with Carol following behind.
Kyle’s transformation into a Red Lantern is the issues highlight.
As the issue comes to a close the unfortunate crew of the ship encountering the Third Army is assimilated while the ship’s on-board computer predicts a universal pandemic.
The Writing –
Tony Bedard uses this issue to give readers a sense of some of things that have changed for Kyle since Flashpoint.  Here we learn that his father wasn’t in the picture at all, and while Alex DeWitt was still killed and stuffed in a refrigerator the person responsible remains unknown.  The scenes Bedard calls on are used to help anyone new to the character learn quite a bit about Kyle’s nature and he comes off very relateable.  
While Kyle’s backstory was one of the issue’s high points I think the retelling of Atrocitus’ background was superfluous and would have been better served simply using an editor’s box referring to Red Lanterns #0 than spending a whole page retreading all too familiar territory.  The story of Kyle’s mastery of the entire spectrum is being rushed to fit into the timeline for the Third Army story as far as I’m concerned.  We know that he deals with Arkillo next month and Larfleeze the next and this compressed storytelling is being done to a degree that I think, in my opinion, downplays the scale of what this part of the narrative should be.  This should really be an epic journey of discovery for Kyle and I fear this rushed Cliff Notes version we seem to be getting is not doing justice to what it should be.
Kyle’s journey seems less epic than it should be.
The Art –
The art this issue is all over the place as we have two different artists with two inconsistent styles filling in while we await Aaron Kuder’s return to the title in issue fifteen. Kyle’s transformation sequence stands out as the issue’s high point for me and I think that the Red Lantern design is pretty cool, especially the helmet design which evokes the whole notion of being blinded by rage.  However there are panels in this issue which are cringe worthy and the major victim is Atrocitus who frankly looks, well, atrocious.  Kyle and Carol both suffer their fair share of goofs as well, ranging from Kyle’s head looking a bit out of shape to Carol’s new uniform suffering from major inconsistencies.  It’s a shame that their appears to be such a lack of quality control because it creates unneeded distractions throughout the book and brings down the overall quality of the issue.
What Do I Think?
Kyle’s journey through the emotional spectrum takes center stage as it should and writer Tony Bedard smartly shrinks the cast of the book to maximize the amount of panel time that can be spent on a story which is being rushed to fit into the greater Green Lantern universe’s time-frame.  What results is something that feels rushed rather than being an interesting dialogue about how people learn to control the emotions we all have brewing underneath our skin.  The largely lackluster art doesn’t serve the story for the most part and hinders the book more than helps it.  Three 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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