Green Lantern: New Guardians #40 Review

“The only way to fight nothing is to create something”

Green Lantern: New Guardians #40 is the end of the line for the series and since the revelation that Kyle Rayner’s days might be numbered Justin Jordan has focused his creative energies to build towards this issue.  We know from the June solicitations that the post-Convergence future doesn’t sound too bright for Kyle, but anyone who’s read comics for a while is well aware that the solicitations are written to elicit interest in the books and are often misleading.  Just as this issue promised that “the fate of the White Lantern will be revealed” it’s not quite what we get.

Now that the Saint Walker, Exeter, Saysoran and the Guardians have joined Kyle and Carol in the fray against Oblivion things really heat up as Kyle’s dark half puts and even greater effort into destroying the White Lantern.  While the confrontation is on a larger than life scale Jordan does an admirable job of keeping the narrative personal and keenly focused on Kyle’s journey.  Fans of the character have to be happy that Jordan has held the title on target with that overall story and that Jordan is given the extra pages to finish what he started.
The script has Rayner on what seems like a collision course but what prevents Kyle from following his self-sacrificing agenda are the people he has surrounded himself with.  In the end it’s Carol who acts as the muse that sparks the idea of how to address the burden that the Life Equation has created for Kyle.  It’s not a novel idea considering that the Guardians themselves broadcast how Kyle could survive during GodHead.  That’s perhaps the one thing about how Kyle’s situation is resolved that weakens what is otherwise a strong plot.  The Guardians knew the answer lie in sharing the burden but yet somehow the way to execute that solution eluded their brilliant minds while being quite obvious to anyone paying attention.  Going into this final issue I had it firmly in my mind that there were only two outcomes for this series, that Kyle dies to save everyone or that he create more White Lanterns, and in the end I never found myself emotionally invested in the story enough to really have a strong feeling for which way Jordan was going to take the story. 
It is a little curious that DC allowed Jordan to create a whole new Corps when they’ve seemed so intent on paring the Green Lantern universe down since the end of the Johns era.  Especially given that they are cancelling three Lantern books and there seems to be little place for Kyle in the DC Universe post-Convergence.  (I expect Guy to show up in the Lost Army series)  While I’m not for killing characters is almost seems that DC’s perceived agenda to shrink the Green Lantern presence would mandate “culling the herd” a little more – and perhaps that idea and the feeling of foreboding created an expectation that this series would end on a sad note.
Instead we get a resolution that, as Kyle says, feels like a beginning after he and Carol share the last few pages together.  It’s no secret that I find the whole Kyle and Carol romance forced and a detriment to both characters, but for readers who are liking the relationship the way that Jordan closes the series will no doubt be something they enjoy.  
Kyle’s observations help make the Guardians more sympathetic charaters
Diogenes Neves and Roge Antonio do a nice job this issue and I felt like they really did well went it came to conveying Kyle’s physical state as Oblivion sapped the life out of  him.  Oblivion is also portrayed well as a menacing, near omnipotent threat and the visit to the Guardians’ telepathic plane was delightfully trippy.  
Green Lantern: New Guardians #40 ends its run on a triumphant but very predictable note in a tale where Kyle Rayner’s personal journey heavily trumps the plot.  What is essentially the end of a chapter in the White Lantern’s life is also the start of another, but a new beginning which has no future in DC’s publishing plans.  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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