Green Lantern: New Guardians #14 Review

Tony Bedard continues to move Kyle through his journey to master the entire emotional spectrum in the pages of Green Lantern: New Guardians.  This issue Kyle takes on both compassion and fear while Carol Ferris pays a trip to Zamaron and gets some unusual marching orders and Arkillo comes to terms with his own fears.

The Story –
Kyle appears in Sector 538 having just completed his training in using compassion and is joined by his trainer, Indigo-1.  Kyle’s questions about the way that the Indigo Tribe channel all the emotions leads to a discussion about the nature of emotion in general and why Kyle is undergoing his quest to master them all.  This leads to Indigo-1 pointing out to Kyle as did Atrocitus in issue thirteen that Carol Ferris’ role in all of this is not driven by purely altruistic intentions.
Kyle’s mastery of compassion is carried out of panel, but his dialogue with Indigo-1 is intriguing.
Speaking of Carol, she is on a trip to Zamaron where she has a heated exchange with their new Queen.  Called into question for her role in trying to find Hal Jordan, Carol is at once called on the carpet for her actions but then allowed to continue her personal mission, but not before she is given the order to dispatch of Kyle Rayner if she finds that he cannot handle the power he seeks.  Upon her departure the Guardians appear to underscore the alliance forged between the Zamarons  and themselves and that Carol serves a greater purpose to them by allowing the Guardians to track Kyle now that his ring has become “emotionally contaminated”.
Kyle in the meantime has teleported himself to Vorn and confronts a brooding Arkillo.  Kyle uses the colors of the spectrum he wields so far to try to illustrate that Arkillo’s self doubt is what stops his newly forged ring of fear from working to its full capacity.  When confronted by Arkillo Kyle is nearly taken down but somehow manages to embrace his fear and channel it to defeat the alien with his own energy.   
Carol’s conversation on Zamaron and the subsequent arrival of the Guardians adds a new wrinkle to the story.
Carol arrives and her arrival sparks a questioning of her devotion to Hal before she and Kyle head off to find Larfleeze.  As the two depart Arkillo decides to join them in hopes that their ability to find Hal will lead him to Sinestro so that he can get rid of the one thing that stands between him and the ability to be the greatest of the Yellow Lanterns.
The Writing –
I was taken aback when opened this issue to learn that Kyle had completely mastered the power of the Indigo Tribe off panel.  It’s really a shame to see what should be an epic quest to master the emotional spectrum truncated to so few issues to fit it into the “Rise of the Third Army” timeline.  This really should go on for a lot longer and allow Tony Bedard to use this to not only lead to a great bit of development and exploration of Kyle as a character, but to pose some real thought provoking commentary on the emotional spectrum itself.
That aside this issue succeeds in giving readers more about Kyle’s motivations for his journey and it hopefully all builds to his confrontation with Ganthet.  Carol’s appearance on Zamoran seems pointless other than to create the moment when Carol is given her marching orders and to reinforce the connection between the Guardians and the Zamorans. 
Kyle’s mastery of fear is sudden and lacks the power it should have.
The high point of the issue is seeing Kyle deal with Arkillo despite the relative ease with which Kyle is somehow able to just channel fear like turning on a light switch.  Arkillo’s story arc is compelling and his need to get out from under the shadow of Sinestro is in itself a journey that warrants greater exploration. 
The Art –
I continue to be underwhelmed by the art between last issue and this one and I’m looking forward to seeing what Aaron Kuder will bring to the table for us next month.  There’s just so many things wrong here that it’s just hard to look at sometimes.  I laughed out loud at the panel where Carol says, “I wouldn’t even be wearing this power ring if I didn’t need it to rescue Hal” while holding her ringless left hand in front of her face.  The Guardians look all too menacing with evil grins and no irises in their eyes rather than the cold logical beings they should be.  As for Arkillo and Carol, well they are served particularly well, either, with artwork that fluctuates between passable and awful.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians is the book that I think is struggling the most with infusing the Third Army story into its pages.  When left to its own devices this series has been one of my favorites and these past two issues in my opinion have not compared well with what has come before.  Between some really bad art and rushing the plot for the sake of the greater narrative this issue ends up being just and average book when it really deserves so much more.  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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