One of the biggest complaints about Kyle Rayner faking his own death at the end of ‘Lights Out’ was that, it won’t work, Carol Ferris will be able to find him easily with her ‘Love Tether’ (man, comics can be dumb), don’t these writers know anything? Well, it turns out they do, as in this issue, Carol finds Kyle, and she becomes the only person he can trust to know he’s alive.
The issue begins with Carol telling the Zamarons about Hal Jordan’s dumb plans to police ring use, before she jets off to where the Guardians reveal to her that Kyle is alive. She’s understandably pissed off, but she soon forgives him, as he explains why he needs to be kept secret. Now that they know that the ‘reservoir’ of ring energy isn’t infinite, he and the Guardians need to find alternate solutions of protecting the universe.
For that reason, they’ve come to Exuras, a planet that is pretty much a Utopia, a place where nothing goes wrong and where if you jump off of a building, nanites will stop your fall. The reasons for why Exuras became all utopian are a mystery, and the Guardians need to find out if there’s some kind of dark side to it or not, and if there isn’t, they can take these ideas and apply them to the whole universe, negating the need for the Power Rings. I like that Justin Jordan goes straight to the ‘Utopia actually has a dark side’ trope right away, and that nobody is fooled. I get the feeling that Jordan is only just now being allowed to stretch his legs away from the crossover, and the inventive idea behind Exuras is part of that.
Kyle and Carol search for ‘the one place they aren’t allowed to go’, which seems to be a mysterious facility that teenagers are being lead to. But it turns out that they are allowed to go in there, and the head Exurian, a spindly looking purple frog dude called Nias Den Throden, lets him in, and shows him what’s up. Inside the building is a strange cracked mirror. A wizened old guy tells Kyle that, Exuras is a planet where everything goes right, where people who in one reality did great things always live to do them, and where people destined to be evil don’t. How do they achieve this? By swapping out the original bad moments with good ones from alternate realities. Kyle and this guy go through the portal, and see a dystopian hell-hole that is the result of this Exuras stealing all of the things that go right. All Exurians are shown this, shown the price, and have to decide whether or not to accept it. Kyle doesn’t accept it, but before he can really get into that, the old sage guy is killed, and uh-oh, an alternate reality Nias Den Throden is through the barrier, wanting revenge for having his future stolen in the name of utopia.
This was a pretty strange issue, and the ideas behind Exuras are kind of hard to wrap my head around, but I think it’s definitely interesting, and it’s a great way to set up Kyle’s new mission, of how he’s looking for another option. The character interaction between Kyle and Carol is still well-written, and overall, this is a good book.
I was a bit disappointed that the excellent Brad Walker wasn’t drawing the entire issue, but Geraldo Borges is solid as a fill-in. All 3 Green Lantern titles I read feel energised after the crossover, which is fitting, since their rings have literally been reenergised. But, as this book shows, this might not be a good thing.