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Kyle Rayner and the New Guardians survived their first run in with Invictus and now, free from the Orrery but burdened with the task of taking down Larfleeze, the group of unlikely allies literally need to recharge before going after Agent Orange.  Of course things don’t go as planned since quite a bit has changed in the universe since the New Guardians had contact with the outside universe and how each member reacts drives the events in issue eight.

The Story –
This issue opens with the return of the Weaponer of Qward who we last saw in issue 57 of the pre-relaunch Green Lantern Corps series.  We find the Weaponer on Korugar in a stockade and on trial for his role in the formation of the Sinestro Corps, but before justice can be handed down Arkillo arrives and busts him free, demanding to know what’s happened since he left.

Jumping back an hour we see the New Guardians emerge from the Orrery and Arkillo discovers that the Sinestro Corps has gone offline as a result of Sinestro’s efforts to bring down his former Corps for their actions on Korugar.  Discovering that nearly all of his Corps are dead sends Arkillo off the deep end and after going after Kyle he leaves the New Guardians behind to head off to Korugar.

Arkillo doesn’t accept the bad news about the Sinestro Corps too well

The remaining New Guardians realize that they need to recharge their rings and Bleeze questions how Kyle even has a functioning ring at this point, but before the conversation gets much further Munk receives a transmission from Indigo-1 which summons him away to deal with the events unfolding over in the main Green Lantern title.  The remaining members of the New Guardians go their separate ways in order to power up their respective rings with Bleez choosing to accompany Kyle to Earth.  Back on Korugar Arkillo and the Weaponer fight their way to freedom as the Sinestro power ring runs out of power just after they head underground and evade their pursuers. 

Switching to Zamoran Fatality has arrived and recharges her ring with her fellow Star Sapphires.  Reporting on her failed attempt to recover the stolen ring Fatality mentions the Orrery and we learn that the leaders of the Star Sapphires not only know of Invictus but bring forth the notion that someone on this side of the portal had to have worked to help Invictus return to the galaxy.  They charge Fatality with discovering who helped the last Angel of Vega bring the Orrery through the portal.

One of several questions I hope we see answered soon
Desparate times call for desparate deals

On Korugar the Weaponer recounts Sinestro and Hal Jordan’s assault on the Sinestro Corps and how he removed his ring to escape detection and went into hiding and Arkillo explains where he was that kept him unaware.  The visage of the Orrery makes the Weaponer’s mouth water at the possibility to turn it into a weapon as Arkillo’s ring finally dies.  The Weaponer unveils a new yellow power batter and ring which functions outside of Sinestro’s control and he offers it to Arkillo in exchange for his help in acquiring the Orrery.  The issue comes to an end when Arkillo, brandishing his new ring, bursts forth on the encroaching Korugarian forces.

The Writing –
Tony Bedard does a great job of moving the pieces around and getting characters to where they need to be in the larger Green Lantern universe without making it appear forced.  Likewise something had to happen for Arkillo to continue to function as one of the New Guardians and with Sinestro no longer a part of his own Corps their clearly needs to be a new status quo set up for that part of the emotional spectrum.  The notion of Arkillo creating his own army is a chilling notion and I can’t help but think of the time when he encounters Sinestro again.

I do however wonder how the current events unfolding in the Red Lanterns title ties into this knowing that the series starts after Bleez bathed in the Blood Ocean in the third issue of that title.  But knowing what’s going on over their now makes me wonder if these events take place before the creation of Rankorr in issue five.  It’s a little confusing seeing Bleez in both books and trying to rectify the continuity but it’s not too big of a problem.

I like Bedard has the characters ask some questions that readers may be thinking but doesn’t provide any answers!  Geoff Johns must be coaching him!  Many of us are wondering why Kyle’s ring works and who’s behind the stolen rings – and now there’s the new mystery of someone helping Invictus.  My hunch is that this is Sayd’s doing but it’s just a gut feeling I have and only time will hopefully provide us with the answers.

I think the feeling that all of the Green Lantern books are individual yet have events which do connect togehter is what I really like about the GL universe.  Not that this is something new to the Green Lantern books but for some reason I just have this feeling that there’s a larger story lurking out there and what’s going on in each title is a part of that whole experience.  I’m really enjoying stepping back and trying to look at the bigger picture and wonder at some of the possibilities of what might be lurking on the horizon in terms of story potential.

The Art –
Tyler Kirkham is really providing readers with great imagery and I’ve been loving some of the creative page layouts that we’ve been seeing.  I also think he’s giving us very consistent quality work and it’s added a great deal to my enjoyment of the series.  With next issue jumping over to Odym and the crisis that befalls Saint Walker and the Blue Lanterns I’m interested in seeing Kirkham’s design work on any new characters that show up.

What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians has been a consistently good book and while I was content to think of it as the third best Green Lantern title it continues to exceed my expectations.  Issue eight is another winner with great artwork and a well balanced narrative.  Four out of five lanterns.

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