Like the rest of the epilogue issues, Green Lantern: New Guardians #20 is a bit of an extended ending to the Wrath of the First Lantern storyline. With the Guardians gone and the Corps of the emotional spectrum scattered among the stars the focus of this issue remains on former Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, who is now in a position familiar to long time readers – the receiver of a power ring with no instruction manual and the weight of the universe on his mind.
The Story –
Following the conclusion of the Wrath of the First Lantern over in Green Lantern #20, Kyle is hard at work creating paintings inspired by his life since Ganthet first gave him a Green Lantern ring and changed his life forever. Unaware that he’s being watched, Kyle is struggling to come to grips with recent events, finding himself empty.
|The aftermath of Volthoom’s wrath has left Kyle rudderless|
Flashing back in time we witness Kyle’s arrival back on Earth just as Saint Walker is departing after helping Guy Gardner make a speeding journey to save his family in Green Lantern Corps #20. Walker expresses concern for how Kyle will forward knowing that he failed in his mission to save Ganthet, but Rayner changes the subject and the two allies peek in on the rest of the New Guardians, noting that Arkillo is undetectable by Kyle’s White Lantern ring.
The two comrades continue to talk about how Kyle’s universe-view has change as they travel around the globe making pit stops to right wrongs and help people in distress and eventually land on the subject of Kyle’s father and the symbolic nature of his relationship to Ganthet. Saint Walker tries to help Kyle see that his father is just as human and Kyle himself before leaving to help the rest of the Blue Lanterns rebuild their home.
|Kyle’s voyage has granted him a greater vision of the universe|
Returning to the present Kyle decides to face the situation with his father head on, heading off to Rayner’s Service Station in Arizona where he takes the first step in building a relationship with the man he hasn’t know other than through Volthoom’s alternate reality back in issue seventeen. As the issue comes to a close the camera pulls back and the two voices heard at the start of the issue are revealed to be Ganthet and Sayd, watching from far away in deep space like parents who have sent their son off to be a man and must now face the rest of their lives as a couple.
The Writing –
Like Green Lantern Corps #20 this issue gives Tony Bedard an opportunity to wrap up his run on Kyle Rayner’s journey. The positive side of this issue is that it’s a nice character piece which puts Kyle in a good place for Justin Jordan to start off with while providing a satisfying end for Bedard’s story. The downside is that if you’re not reading the main Green Lantern book all of these epilogue issues would be a little disappointing, with this issue falling flat without anything really happening beyond some soul searching. That affects the minority of readers I’m sure so it’s not really much of a criticism other than trying to review this issue on its own merits.
|For all of Kyle’s adventures, it’s the human one that matters most|
Bedard has done a great job on New Guardians and finding a place for Kyle, who I honestly felt got a little lost in the shuffle there for a while when he was co-starring in the Green Lantern Corps title. What has always set Kyle apart was the fact that he was unique and once the Corps returned the character seemed to fade into the background, so it’s a great credit to the creative teams to have seen this and found a way to provide him with a role that clearly sets him apart from everyone else.
I know I’ve struggled a little bit with the change in continuity with regards to Rayner’s father, who originally was depicted as a government agent. Auto mechanic is a huge jump but it does serve Kyle’s story better so I’ve decided to chalk it up to one of those things that Flashpoint changed and move on.
The Art –
Raul Fernandez steps in for this issue and does a satisfactory job for the most part. Some of the visuals, such as Kyle’s fireman construct during the oil rig fire, look great, but those moments are overshadowed much of his facial work on Kyle and other members of the recurring cast.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern: New Guardians #20 is a fitting end to Tony Bedard’s tenure as the guiding hand of the series. While the issue lacks a driving plot to wrap around the great character exploration it is a fitting bookend for the title as part of the Johns era. Four out of five lanterns.