In Review: Green Lantern: New Guardians #36

I expect better, especially in a major crossover series.

The cover: Highfather and Kyle are going at each other with all the energy they’ve got. Highfather has got his magical mace that contains several different rings from several different light spectrums at Kyle’s throat, while our favorite white lantern has got his ring under Highfather’s bearded chin. It’s a good idea for a cover but there’s no place to find a focus. Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, and Wil Quintana created this cover. I wanted the image to be pulled back a little so that I could focus on the figures and not just their heads. The coloring is pretty blobby with the yellow and white not being a good contrast for each other, though those are the colors they’re wielding. Overall grade: C+

The story: Godhead: Act 2, Part 3, “Best Laid Plans” by Justin Jordan doesn’t waste any time getting going. Highfather has brought Kyle and Carol to New Genesis because Kyle is willing going to give up his power ring. He found out last month that the ring was slowly consuming/killing him, so he’s ready to let it go. This delights Highfather because he believes that the white ring will be the one source that will push his plans into creating the life equation into reality. There’s a nice, dramatic farewell in the final panel on Page 4 before Kyle steps into the New God’s machine. As readers have Godhead have suspected, Highfather’s twisted vision of what he should do with the rings is not exactly in line with what the Lanterns, or anyone else, had in mind. I was pleased to see one character’s reaction to Highfather’s revelation on Page 10, but based on what’s been shown in previous issues the outcome is never really in doubt. Page 14 changes up the setting, and this has me very interested. What will these characters do in this location? There’s a lot of trouble they could get themselves into and I’m hoping this environment is explored for an issue or two. Pages 18 and 19 solidify that Highfather is definitely not the Highfather of the pre-New 52, and the final page has a minor teaser as to who will have to rescue Kyle. An average installment of the Godhead saga that didn’t go anywhere unexpected or do anything unexpected. Overall grade: B-

The art: There are lot of big panels in this issue. They are used to play up the emotional scenes. With such space comes an artist’s obligation to fill them. Diogenes Neves on pencils and Marc Deering on inks don’t really do that in this book. There are a few moments of spectacle that aren’t very spectacular (Pages 2, 4, and 18 & 19). This should have been an epic looking book, considering the setting and what occurs with Kyle, but the fine details are missing. Page 2 introduces New Genesis and it’s rendered as some soft shapes with a few lines. Talk about disappointing. The climax of the book is the double-spread of 18 and 19 and the multitudes shown are just suggestions of characters. This is not what a reader should be picking up on while reading this storyline. Is this book all bad? Not at all. Kyle and Carol look great (4 and 12 – 15). In fact, the background looks the best when the story focuses on this pair on Pages 14 and 15. Highfather is a mixed bag: terrific on 6 – 8, but that’s a completely different character at the bottom of 9. His face has even lost weight between the top and bottom panels. This was a real letdown this month. Overall grade: C-

The colors: Wil Quintana does a decent job on this issue. The opening effect of the Boom Tube is well done, and the pastels on the characters’ clothing look pretty sharp at the bottom of the same page. He does what he can to create depth to the art on Page 2, but coloring can’t save that page. The work with teal and grey on Page 4 was good, creating a technological environment with his contributions. Pages 10 and 11 were my favorite pages for coloring because one ring is used to tremendous effect. Things also looked sharp on Pages 14 and 15. The story limits the biggest power in the issue to white, which is probably the worst color for Quintana to work with. Because of this, other colors have to be used as highlights, such as at the bottom of Page 16. Quintana is a pro, but he can only do so much with what he’s given. Overall grade: B

The letters: Dialogue, the reveal of New Genesis, title and credits, a weakened Kyle, scene setting, and next issue’s tease are created by Taylor Esposito. They look fine, but the art distracted me from reading my comic. Overall grade: B+

The final line: A story with no surprises and visuals that below average for this book make for a substandard outing. I expect better, especially in a major crossover series. Overall grade: B-

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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