Another enjoyable issue of New Guardians, but considering how good and well-connected the other Lantern books have been lately, it was a little odd to read a standalone story that had nothing to do with the ongoing Durlan conflict. But it does make sense, Kyle is supposed to be dead after all. I can’t wait to see what happens when he sees DurlanHal’s broadcast.
The plot here picks up from before Lights Out, with Kyle helping out Exeter, the alien who was guarding the Anomaly at the edge of the universe that turned out to be Relic. Exeter has returned home to find his fellow Kalimawans at war with a peaceful race of anthropomorphic mushrooms that are physically incapable of violence. The other Kalimawans remember the Mushroom dudes attacking them, but it can’t have happened, so what’s the deal? Well, it turns out that the Kalimawans use an electronic device to enhance their intelligence and memories, and that it’s been hacked by someone into making them think they should be involved in a Mushroom War (Adventure Time reference, yes!).
Kyle, Carol and Exeter make their way to the planet to find out that the person behind this hack is the person selling weaponry to the Kalimawans. He engineered a fake war to make money, basically, which is pretty damn evil, and allows Justin Jordan to apply a little bit of social commentary, but wrap it up in crazy sci-fi concepts like exocortex memories. This Warmonger, who has taken over a body meant to be the next Exeter is pretty damn strong (I thought Jordan was going to reveal him as a Durlan here, but no, he’s actually some kind of artificial intelligence), and given that he’s an arms dealer, is pretty interested in taking Kyle’s ring away from him. In the end though, he’s defeated by a combination of Kyle and Exeter’s strength, as well as The Guardians’ fixing the rest of the Kalimawan’s memories, causing them to turn on him.
So it’s all wrapped up pretty cleanly, or is it? The Warmonger is connected to a larger organisation, he’s only a copy, and it looks like he, as well as Exeter will return in time.
In amongst all this, Jordan continues to do a good job at slowly developing the romance between Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris. This relationship doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but love doesn’t in general, so it’s good to take a slow burn approach.
Andrei Bressan fills in for Brad Walker on pencils, and does a good job, he’s not as detailed as Walker, but they have similar styles, so everything looked good. As I’ve said before, the Lantern books are in a really good place at the moment, and whilst New Guardians isn’t quite as vital to the larger story, Justin Jordan is still doing a great job and exploring some cool new sci-fi concepts and introducing a lot of interesting alien races and characters, he really is putting the ‘New’ in New Guardians.