Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1 by Keith Giffen, Scott Kolins & Andrei Bressan
by Joe Smith on January 12, 2013

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Review:  Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1

“The Show Must Go On”              

Published by DC Comics

Written by Keith Giffen

Art by Scott Kolins and Andrei Bressan

Coloured by David Curiel

The Plot

There is an obsession in the Tenebrian Dominion with a hunting game, which includes Crimson Thrust who are a hunt club that kills people.  Over in Yaru Prime, Arkillo and Saint Walker find the wreckage caused by the Third Army and they leave to find Carol and Kyle at Zamaron.  Carol is arguing with the Zamarons while Kyle is whisked off to continue his training to master the spectrum.  Carol, Arkillo, and Saint Walker go the far fringe of the Tenebrian Dominion to begin their mission of getting Lady Styx to break her treaty with the Guardians.  They encounter Jediah Caul, a Green Lantern deep undercover, who leads them to the Star Rovers.  They are a group of smugglers that agree to sneak the Ring Bearers into the Tenebrian Dominion.  Once inside, Carol is quickly betrayed and sent to take part in the contest where she will be hunted.  Arkillo and Saint Walker finds out what happened to her and get Jediah Caul to help them.  While in the game, Lady Styx finds Carol who will not engage in a war with the Guardians.  Carol is then found by Arkillo, Saint Walker, and Caul.  They are all discovered as they are fleeing with the help of a man named Rokko.  Arkillo finally has enough of Caul whose fate will become known in the upcoming series, Threshold.  The Ring Bearers and Rokko depart for Zamaron.

The Breakdown

The intercourse between Arkillo and Saint Walker throughout this issue is what I enjoyed the most.  They don’t see eye to eye on anything, but they are still forced to work with one another.  Arkillo is somewhat humorous in this issue, but he’s still has his brutal nature.  His thoughts about the decimation over at Yaru Prime were harsh, but true.  He believed that the presence of more corpses would’ve been better because a lack thereof meant mass assimilation.  They are both unable to confirm whether or not they feel fear or hope with relation to the Third Army.  Their disguises towards the end of the book were pretty funny as well.  I’m enjoying seeing Arkillo evolving from just being Sinestro’s big mean Corps member.  His personality is portrayed well in this issue.  So basically nothing happened with relation to Lady Styx in this issue.  However, just her mention and partial appearance in this story does mean that she most likely will become involved later on at some point.  She stated that she doesn’t know about the Third Army and perhaps when she does then she will become involved.  I’m not huge a Lady Styx fan or anything, but her involvement will provide an additional factor in the upcoming battle.  I liked how this annual shifted the focus from Kyle because I enjoyed Carol, Arkillo, and Saint Walker getting more screen time.  Initially I was not into the Jediah Caul character at all.  However, I’ll read his story next week to see what he’ll do in some of the upcoming situations that he’ll be placed in.  He’s been deep undercover in a bad sector and he’s all about survival.  Do I like him as much as the other new Green Lantern Baz? Not even close.  But his attitude is not Green Lantern-like at all and I want to find out what his mission is.  He’s not a bad person, but he is self-serving.  I’m not a fan, but I am interested enough to pick up the first issue of Threshold (mostly because I want to see what Giffen does with it).

BUT…

I’ve come to the conclusion that Kyle’s mask needs to change.  It’s always hit or miss that the artist does a good job of it or not.  In this particular comic it has an awkward look to it.  It is an odd design and it hides so much of his face.  I almost prefer the full-face Ion mask to this one…okay, that’s probably an exaggeration.  Gah, the slang in this book was kind of brutal.  I didn’t know some of the words being spoken were slang, I thought they were the names of people or something.  I don’t know why Arkillo was getting beaked at so much in this issue, he’s pretty menacing looking and he has a yellow ring.  Carol took a beating in this issue, I would think that she would have a broken bone or at least a noticeable limp with her power ring being dampered and all.  She is a human being and doesn’t have any more physical resilience or anything that I’m aware of.  So this is basically a lead-off for the upcoming series Threshold.  I thought the introduction of Jediah Caul was hampered by the fact that so much was crammed into this comic.  There was a lot of dialogue and words to get through and I had trouble remembering some things as I was reading it.  The book also seemed kind of choppy and it lacked a cohesive flow.  I also didn’t care for some of the character designs.  Crimson Thrust looked kind of goofy and (this probably sounds like a stupid complaint, but) Jediah Caul’s hairstyle was really bad.  It distracted me initially.  He’s supposed to be a tough character and his initial appearance didn’t sell me on that.  Also, he’s supposed to be undercover and right at the beginning of the book he’s flashing his ring while the Crimson Thrust are nearby.  I know that it’s supposed to be established that he’s a Green Lantern, but from a logical standpoint in the story it didn’t make sense.  My biggest issue though was with how everything felt so crammed and rushed.  There’s 38 pages to work with and it didn’t do a great job of selling the upcoming Threshold series because Caul seemed one-dimensional, the planet wasn’t that engaging, and the possible supporting cast (Rokko, the Star Rovers) were unlikeable.  I hope that this will change, but like I said this wasn’t the best introduction.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Borrow It.  When I first read this I checked out about half way through, but I re-read it and didn’t mind it so much.  I’ve always liked Carol Ferris’ character so I enjoyed seeing her getting a lot of face time.   One problem I had with her this issue was that it didn’t really feel like I was reading Carol.  It seemed like any character could’ve been inserted into her role and I might not have been able to tell the difference.  This wasn’t a bad issue, but there was so much going on in it that some things could’ve been expanded upon more and others could’ve been reduced.  The price tag is five bucks and there isn’t enough here for me to recommend buying it.  However, there is some stuff in here that was good.  This issue was a little bit of everything from the Third Army storyline to the introduction of Threshold, but it lacked substance.



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