When the New 52 was released, the Green Lantern family of titles seemed to be largely unaffected by the sweeping changes that occurred across the rest of DC’s newly launched titles. As the months drag on, I find myself wishing that it had been more affected, because the titles don’t feel like they’re making use of the opportunites the New 52 could have provided, and the stories being told are relatively generic and uninspired. It’s hard to even decide which of the three Green Lantern books is the most uninspired and uninteresting. This book has a lot of potential, which makes the fact that it is such a tepid read all the more disappointing. Kyle Rayner used to be a much more interesting and enjoyable character to read about, but sadly ever since Hal Jordan returned to the Green Lantern uniform in Green Lantern Rebirth, despite his having a fairly consistent role in the books, he hasn’t had the same level of development that he used to have in the past. This book was a new chance for the character to delve into new and interesting territory, having him interact with various members of the other Lantern Corps, and yet it feels like that potential is still untapped and unfulfilled.
Part of what seems to hold back the Green Lantern books, not just now but over the past few years, is that writers keep trying to present these big new threats to the entire universe, instead of telling smaller, more focused stories on the various members of the Green Lantern Corps like the Green Lantern Corps was doing a few years ago. The Green Lantern Corps is an interstellar police force, and there’s so much potential in the stories that could be told using them in that role, but instead writers keep trying to foist new bad guys on readers, and they all get the same kind of hype, that they’re this giant new threat, with some mysterious connection to the Guardians, or a history with them. There’s been so many of them pumped out over the past few years, and yet none of them have any staying power, or have received much characterization to help ground the characters in the GL status quo and make them enduring threats to the Corps.
The villain of this arc is the mysterious Archangel Invictus, as he tries to fight off the various Corps members who have travelled to the homeworlds of his followers. In the middle of the fight, there are hints dropped that Invictus has a history with Larfleeze, and a decidedly negative one at that.
Tony Bedard is better than what he’s writing in this arc, and he has a pedigree which definitely bears this out. But for whatever reason he isn’t gelling all that well on this book, and I can’t quite figure out why that is. There are definitely brief flashes of true talent in the characterization of some of the characters on this team, particularly his characterization of Saint Walker and Atrocitus, but the storyline itself is lacking a bit. The story feels like it’s suffering from attention-deficit disorder, as it flits from here to there, without truly exploring any particular direction. With the first six issues of this title now in the can, it just feels like despite there being so much going on, not much has actually been accomplished because of how the story has leapt from element to element, without taking the time to really flesh out and explore each story element that is introduced.
Tyler Kirkman’s artwork is an interesting fit for this book, and not necessarily one that makes sense or fits all that well. His artistic style has a major ‘90s sensibility to it, which both works for and against his work on this title and these characters. The action-oriented beats work so well because of how well he handles action over quieter moments. But where the artwork falls apart a bit is in some of the character aesthetics which feel intensely ‘90s-esque, with the long hair and stubble that Kyle is sporting, to some other minor visual quirks that have been present throughout.
What I really want to stress about this book is that it is almost frustratingly NOT a bad book. It’s just not a good book either. It’s a boring book, which makes me feel very indifferent, and prevents it from being at the top of my to-read list. It could be so much more than it is right now, but it just hasn’t been able to do so. The characters deserve more than this, and to be frank Tony Bedard is better than this.