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“Holy Hell, it’s alive!”

While Hal Jordan and John Stewart face a galactic uprising in one corner of the universe, Carol Ferris, Kyle Rayner and the New Guardians are encountering some of the darker places in another and Green Lantern: New Guardians #32 takes the series on a horrific turn as writer Justin Jordan re-introduces the Psions to the New 52 DC Universe.  Unlike their reptilian humanoid appearance from days gone by, Jordan’s Psions are shudder inducing creatures who appear to have little regard for warm blooded lifeforms.

The issue’s opening sequence, showing us what happened to Quaros, is at first disorienting but the feeling doesn’t last long as you quickly realize that it’s either a flashback sequence or memories left behind that Zalla is picking up on.  I found Zalla’s reaction to Carol’s physical contact interesting, especially when Zalla has an about face a few pages later.  I’m unsure if Zalla’s initial cold should was more out of not wanting Carol to interfere with what she was trying to ascertain, a sudden reaction to getting too close, or concern that Carol might gain some insight through physical contact of information that the New Guardians would prefer she didn’t know.  Carol’s insistence that the Guardians focus more on Kyle than Quaros was, for me, another indicator that Carol is in over her head here and her lack of experience, clouded by her “feelings” for Kyle, has pushed her well beyond her comfort zone.

Carol Ferris is used to being in control, and clearly she’s not anymore without someone to anchor herself to in an unfamiliar and hostile universe where she not only doesn’t know the answers, she’s not quite even sure of the questions. As a long time reader I think this puts Carol in a position to perhaps finally understand what Hal Jordan was really going through all those times he left Earth beyond what little she was actually able to get a first hand experience with. There’s a good opportunity for some character growth with Carol should she find the chance for some self reflection, but there’s clearly too much happening around her right now for that to happen.

Carol Ferris finds herself way out of her element

Each one of the New Guardians likewise seem to have their own unique personalities emerging since our introduction to them and I’m glad that we are seeing each one develop their own voice.  They would simply be interchangeable characters that the reader would have no empathy for when they are placed in harm’s way, and as this issue got further along I felt some genuine concern for Quaros as the Psions’ cold hearted treatment of the Guardian became more brutal.  I liked how Jordan uses Quaros’ disappearance to show the impact it has on the rest of the New Guardians, with Carol hypocritically blaming their priority to focus on Quaros as their inability to handle their emotions while her desire to focus on Kyle is driven by the very same issue.

Brad Walker does a superb job with handling this issue’s tonal shift from pure science fiction to a David Cronenberg inspired horror vibe.  The issue’s second half is filled with creepy off-putting imagery which is reflected handily by the reactions of Carol and the New Guardians as the Psions’ ship quickly turns into a trap that they find themselves a prisoner in.  Kyle’s surprise return in the closing panel brings an abrupt end to the issue and I’m not sure I was ready to see him at that point.  I think I personally would have liked to see the horror story become much more dire before the White Lantern appeared, but that’s my own preference.

The new version of the Psions are nothing at all like their pre-Flashpoint counterparts

I imagine we’ll get more background information about the Psions as this story unfolds, but Yekop’s discovery of Oan inspired technology signals to me that the Psions’ origins still lie with the past actions of the Guardians and it will be interesting to see how the New Guardians respond to the experimentation that their brothers conducted while they were sealed away with Volthoom.  Jordan may have some new twists to their history and I’m looking forward to what he has in store for us.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #32 is largely a setup issue and what it may lack in a driving plot it more than makes up for with atmosphere thanks in large part to some spectacular work by the art team.  While we know very little about the Psions from this issue alone it appears that they are much more ruthless than their previous incarnation and they clearly have some sort of motivation for wanting the New Guardians in their presence.  Four out of five lanterns.

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