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“I cannot promise that this will be comfortable”

Green Lantern: New Guardians #36 serves as the exact midpoint to GodHead so it’s fitting that in this issue we get what may be the turning point of this sprawling three month long event as we pick up the story on New Genesis and the arrival of Highfather, Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris.  Writer Justin Jordan plays with our perceptions of the leader of the New Gods as we see once more a darker side which convolutes any notion we have that Highfather is ultimately a benevolent being, something which may server to alienate long time New Gods fans.

Things of course go sour when Highfather reveals his hand to be a full house and Kyle and Carol are caught holding no more than a pair despite Carol’s vain but valiant attempt to gain the upper hand.  Banished to the surface of New Genesis Highfather gets to experiment with his new found power on the closing pages of the issue, closing with the ominous declaration of the New Guardians that “we are already too late.”

Carol makes a poor word choice
If this sounds like a fast read, it is, although I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing here.  This issue is really about creating that “oh, crap” moment and setting the stage for the second half of the story so there’s a sense that this issue is important to the overall narrative, however the issue is rather skimpy when it comes to everything else.  Kyle Rayner falls victim to his altruistic side and is easily duped by Highfather, whom Kyle desperately wanted to trust.  Carol finds herself also a victim of her emotions and with her ring gone we do see a bit more of her character shine through.  But despite that both Carol and Kyle end up looking like a couple of rank amateurs which doesn’t server either of them particularly well.
An interesting side note to this issue is the city where Highfather chooses to test out his new power, Muz.  It’s the third time that the new creative teams have used this designation, the first being Van Jensen over in Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 where Muz was the name of the planet that Von Daggle appeared on and served as a focal point for the Durlan driven plot Uprising.  The second was Cullen Bunn’s use of the same planet for the location where Sinestro would rescue some of his fellow Korugarians and first encounter The Paling in Sinestro #3.  In this issue Muz is referred to as a city so it’s unclear if this Muz is the same as the other Muz or not, but I thought it was interesting.
Sinestro’s ploy to establish himself as a leader comes undone thanks to Highfather’s success on New Genesis
With artist Brad Walker shifting over to the Sinestro series, Diogenes Neves takes over and the work this issue is a little hit or miss.  Neves does a great job with conveying Highfather’s emotional state and he certainly has his Kirby Krackle down when it’s appropriate.  However some things look rushed and lacking in detail, such as his underwhelming portrayal of New Genesis and some of the anatomy doesn’t quite look right.  Overall, much like the issue itself, the art serves its purpose and not much more.
What Green Lantern: New Guardians #36 may lack as a standalone issue it exceeds in being a vital chapter of GodHead by substantially propelling the overall narrative forward and setting the stage for the second half of this family-wide event.  The art quality isn’t quite up to par with previous issues of the series despite some nice character work.  In the end the issue feel rather average overall, getting three out of five lanterns.

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