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“You Were Supposed to be Better”

After last week’s action packed Green Lantern Corps #35 writer Justin Jordan dials the fisticuffs down a little bit to provide some needed plot development.  Green Lantern: New Guardians #35 provides the reader with the first encounter between Highfather and Kyle Rayner, but not until after Kyle and Carol learn that the New Guardians aren’t so different from their brothers when it comes to holding back information to steer others in the direction they feel serves the greater good. 

One of the difficulties with the GodHead event thus far has been a lack of definition in the characterization of Highfather and the New Gods, making it difficult for readers to find a connection to them.  Jordan does a great job with the characterization of Highfather, providing him with the opportunity to explain his agenda to Kyle and Carol without talking down to them or appearing as if he finds them too insignificant to wast his words on.  He even goes so far to admit that he might have been a little too eager to get the rings and chose a harsher strategy than what might have been necessary.  Between his admission and his seemingly honest attempt to aid Kyle Rayner the reader is left with a far better understanding of what’s going on in Highfather’s head and underscoring that there really aren’t any “bad guys” in this story….yet.
Kyle’s reaction, and Carol’s, to the perceived indiscretion by the New Guardians plays out as a nice dramatic scene on the surface, but it also illustrates the greater perspective that the New Guardians possess despite the humans’ protests.  Given what the Guardians understand it makes a great deal of sense why they would want to isolate Kyle from everyone else so that they can keep an eye on him should he start to lose his ability to control himself, something we’ve already seen happen and what last month’s Futures End issue showed to be a possible future.  While I can understand the indignation that Kyle and Carol express here, I frankly think the Guardians were justified in their decision, especially once Kyle’s inability to handle his power nearly kills them all.

Kyle learns that in some ways the New Guardians aren’t so different from the old ones.

What’s really interesting for me with this issue is the understanding I get about the New Gods, that as far advanced as the Guardians might be from us, the New Gods are just as far removed from the Guardians.  For me as a reader I found that this helped me establish an “evolutionary scale” for myself and left me with a better perspective on just how far beyond mere mortals Highfather and the rest of the beings from New Genesis are.
Something which has nagged at me a little bit since this event started has been the unwillingness of the New Gods to simply state what their mission is to the Lanterns.  I honestly feel that if Highfather explained to Hal what his mission is that, contrary to what Kyle and Carol say here, he would have cooperated as he is painfully aware of the potential of Darkseid through his role in fending him off in the New 52 relaunch of the Justice League.  Of course then we wouldn’t have a seventeen issue story, however!  So I’ve decided to chalk it up to the New Gods being embarrassed that the puny mortals did something they weren’t able to and their egos wouldn’t let them ask for help.
Another interesting note I took from this issue is Kyle’s potentially unconscious ability to shape the universe how he might want it to be.  I like how Kyle is grounded enough to question himself and is genuinely concerned what he might do that changes the natural order of things.  I also wonder if, in some way, this is part of the explanation for Carol’s infatuation with Kyle as he may have on a subconscious level changed some things to make her want to stay by his side for fear that not having an emotional anchor to help him keep his humanity as he faces the enormity of the power he possesses.  Jordan has said that there is something more at work with their relationship and I sincerely hope that once this event is over perhaps we can get some sort of resolution as I continue to find it my least favorite thing about this run.

Highfather’s altruistic intentions provide much needed perspective and character 

Brad Walker really turns in some wonderful work this issue, really putting his talents to good use when it comes to his ability to portray emotion.  It really elevates Jordan’s script to the point that I didn’t mind the fact that the lion’s share of this issue was devoted to narrative and character.  There’s a brilliant transition in page layout that takes place once Kyle becomes overwhelmed by his power where the orderly panel design suddenly skews and becomes chaotic, perfectly representing the pandemonium that it causes for the characters.  Sadly, this is Walker’s last issue on this series.

I fully expect that the numbers on all the Lantern family books are going to spike a little by this event as many fully expect that GodHead is an important step building up to the return of Darkseid and a future line-wide event.  For New Guardians this is an important opportunity as it is the lowest selling title in the family and something that I think all of the books are guilty of so far is not doing a great job of being new reader friendly in terms of establishing some basic background details.  I fully expect that anyone who hasn’t been following the Lantern titles is more than likely a little confused as to certain things like Hal leading the Corps, the events of Lights Out and certainly the Kyle/Carol romance.  I think it would have been beneficial for all the Act 1 books to have had some narrative to provide a little background for someone who might be picking up the books for the first time, or the first time in a while, in order to encourage them to stick around after it’s over.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #35 provides GodHead with the needed perspective that there really are no true villains in this story.  Highfather is portrayed much more, well, human and it goes a long way to establish the New 52 version of his character and provide insight on the New Gods that this event has been lacking up until now.  This issue serves as a parting of the ways between Kyle, Carol and the New Guardians in more ways than one while pushing the overall arc of GodHead forward considerably.  Four out of five lanterns.

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