In the last couple weeks, DC Comics‘ Green Lantern titles have been nothing but awesome, well-written, action-packed mini-epics that have been creatively tying up storylines in preparation for the supposedly game-changing Green Lantern Annual #1 that hits shelves next week. Green Lantern #12 hit readers with a reveal nobody saw coming, and Green Lantern Corps #12 finished up the awesome Alpha-War arc with some ridiculously cinematic action scenes and some truly deep character moments. And this week’s Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 is no exception.
The archangel Invictus and his Orrery – an awesome starship that is actually a “traveling artificial solar system” – have finally closed in on Planet Okarra, the home of Larfleeze and his Orange Lanterns. It just so happens that Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and his “New Guardians” are also on the planet, in the midst of a heated argument with the Guardian Sayd, who revealed in Green Lantern: New Guardians #11 that she was the one who had been killing members from every Lantern Corps, using their power rings to create this new group of Lanterns under Kyle’s leadership. Kyle and the New Guardians feel betrayed, of course, and the future of the group does not look too bright. However, before any action can be taken, the Weaponer informs everyone that if they do not do anything about Invictus’ impending invasion, the Orrery’s gravity will soon “tear the world apart.” It is here that this issue – nay, the New Guardians series – shines: this team of drastically different individuals, consisting of some we would not dare to call “good guys,” put aside their differences to stand together and ensure the survival of the cosmos. It speaks volumes of Kyle’s character when his response to Star Sapphire Fatality’s “What are you doing?” he simply says, “Trying to stay alive…We’ll settle things with Larfleeze and Sayd after we deal with the man upstairs.” This is something, sadly, that is missing from Geoff Johns’ “New 52″ Justice League – the clashing off different personalities and the willingness to put them aside to serve the common good, which makes not only for interesting stories, but more so for interesting characters. But I digress…
What follows is an awesome team-up against Invictus, with each New Guardian using their individual power – will, love, rage, hope, fear, etc. – to beat the near-invincible archangel down. While the Lanterns battle Invictus below, Indigo Tribesman Munk teleports himself and the Weaponer onto the Orrery. There, the wily and wickedly cool Weaponer takes control of the artificial solar system and moves it out Okarra’s orbit, weakening Invictus in the process. The archangel, when separated from his Orrery, rapidly loses power and turns to stone – much to the happy surprise of the greedy Larfleeze who then takes the statue of his enemy as a trophy. As everyone stands over the stone husk of their defeated foe, a strange voice screams “Let me out!” from everyone’s rings (this also happened in Green Lantern #12 and Green Lantern Corps #12) – which is noted by a message from the editor: “See Green Lantern Annual #1 for more! On sale next week.” As the issue comes to a close, Sayd fills the New Guardians in on why she went to such violent lengths to assemble the group, and why she lied to them about it. In the end, the other Lanterns are still so disgusted by her actions and her betrayal, that they disband, leaving Kyle, once again, to be the torchbearer on his own.
Before closing, there are a few things in Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 that are worth noting. Writer Tony Bedard does a great job of juggling the different personalities in the group – their dialogue, especially, is very realistic, snappy, and fun to read. He also does a great job of giving each character time to shine. The Weaponer is just one of those characters, and he truly does shine in this issue. He’s cool, edgy, and acts as a great, mysterious foil to all the colorful Lanterns running around. And the villain, Invictus, is downright awesome. DC Comics should take note – this is how you write a bad guy. He is a menacing character that’s incredibly hard to beat, which means that our heroes are actually going to have to sweat to take him down. He also has something that we can relate to – in this case, his overwhelming desire to cleanse the Vega system of Larfleeze’s filthy and greed-driven dive into chaos. Invictus also is a deadly foe who is around for a few issues – he isn’t a one issue villain who is easily dispatched, which is something some of DC’s other titles have been guilty of (see: Superman). But perhaps the best part of this issue is the moment when Sayd reveals that it was Ganthet and not the power ring that chose Kyle Rayner as a Green Lantern. “He sensed your potential to command every shade of the emotional spectrum,” Sayd tells Kyle. “I sent those rings that you might fulfill your potential to unite the Corps.” In revealing the true reasons behind Kyle’s becoming a Lantern, Sayd reminds us why Kyle is such an interesting and important character in the Green Lantern mythos, and why the kid truly is the torchbearer of the Corps.