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The Monster from the Id Returns

Justin Jordan has been doing a wonderful job with Kyle Rayner and the Green Lantern: New Guardians title, weaving cerebral science fiction adventure yarns in the classic Star Trek fashion while developing the personalities of the Templar Guardians and building towards something major for our main characters.  This weeks Annual #2 shifts its balance towards the latter by making the first real steps towards exploring what happened to Kyle Rayner when he crossed the source wall during the conflict with Relic back in last October’s Green Lantern Annual #2.  

The opening sequence with Kyle sets the tone for the annual well, prompting the reader to question how Rayner got on Earth before opening a can of creepy when Kyle’s art subject is revealed and subsequent equally creepy things begin to happen. Abruptly the scene shifts to Coast City where Carol Ferris discovers that you really can’t go home again and perhaps for the first time realizes whey Hal Jordan always found it difficult to adjust to Earthbound existence once he experience what lies beyond our atmosphere.  Events throw Carol and Kyle together and it’s then that the strangeness that began the issue becomes clear.

While Carol is dealing with the Kyle Rayner doppelganger the real White Lantern is out in space with the New Guardians and, sensing Carol’s danger, he rushes off to Earth despite warnings from the Guardians. The narrative slips here when the writer fails to explain why the Guardians simply don’t accompany Kyle seeing as to how they are so concerned about his state of being following his recent power surge. Perhaps there’s a story drive reason for it, that they want him to go alone, but it seems at this point like a glaring plot hole to me.  
When Kyle does return to Earth he is drawn to Arizona where his father’s service station is located and it’s there that he is reunited with his father and Carol.  The tension that Justin Jordan has been building between Kyle and Carol is broken when she kisses Kyle, bringing to the surface the unspoken emotions between them. I’m no fan of the Carol/Kyle relationship idea so it’s no surprise that I find this scene to be the culmination of a bad idea and while Jordan displayed a good understanding of Carol when she was dealing with Ferris air, I really have a hard time believing that either Carol or Kyle would find anything in each other for a number of reasons. Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve found to accept is the doe-eyed presentation of Carol Ferris, previously one of the biggest ball breakers in the DC Universe who’s sudden emotional about face since the end of the Geoff Johns’ era has left many a Green Lantern fan scratching their head. 
So, um ,yeah, this happened
The doppelganger turns out to be a new 52 version of Oblivion, a powerful manifestation of Kyle’s darker side which came into being while Kyle was on the other side of the source wall.  Jordan’s take on Oblivion is more interesting to me than the original concept and while I’m interested in seeing how it resolves I don’t find myself emotionally invested enough in the story or Kyle himself to get the most out of the story. Everyone’s mileage will vary depending on the connection to Kyle Rayner and I can imagine that for a good number of fans who rate Kyle as their favorite Green Lantern their reactions will contrast my opinions greatly.
Whether you connect with the story or not there’s definitely something big on the horizon for Kyle Rayner and it’s now clear why the Godkiller’s story got a bookmark placed in it so that this larger story can unfold. The New Guardians narrative will likely come a little closer to the flagship Green Lantern titles in the near future and it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the Earth Green Lanterns will be aware of Kyle’s return. This should lead to some interesting interactions when all is said and done.
The mystery of what Kyle experienced on the other side of the Source Wall takes center stage.
Artistically the annual is pretty stable despite having three different pencillers, two different inkers and two different colorists on the issue. The styles work pretty well together although towards the back end of the issue the transition between artists is a little more noticeable.  
Overall this annual succeeded in its main objective of bringing the mystery of Kyle’s time on the other side of the Source Wall to the forefront. There are a couple of what I’d consider major narrative issues in terms of the Guardians’ actions and Kyle’s out of the blue understanding of what’s going on that brings it down a peg for me.  I would give this book three out of five lanterns for someone who is okay with the Carol/Kyle thing. But for me personally I find it such a stretch and I cannot get behind it, so I’m dropping it down to two out of five lanterns for readers like me who don’t buy into it.  

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