Release Date: January 23, 2013
Cover Date: March 2013
Story: Tony Bedard
Art: Aaron Kuder
Cover: Aaron Kuder
The Star Sapphires are trying to teach Kyle to understand love by making him remember those he truly cared about, but it’s not working fast enough. Ganthet is coming to Zamaron personally to dispatch Kyle, and even though the Star Sapphires entered into a pact with the Guardians, they secretly plot to stop them. Ganthet and Kyle’s battle royale begins, and though Kyle’s new emotional powers are staggering, they’re no match for the Guardian. The Star Sapphires and the newly arrived Carol Ferris, Arkillo, and Saint Walker start to wear their opponent down, but it’s still not enough. Ganthet summons some allies of his own: the Third Army! The Star Sapphires want to kill Ganthet, but Kyle insists that he can still be saved. For his trouble, Kyle gets blasted through the back by Ganthet. The Guardian scoffs that everyone’s pointless emotions, especially caring for others, will be their undoing, but a dying Kyle disagrees. He never gave up on Ganthet, and he’s not planning on doing it now, as the Guardian was like a father to him. Thus, having mastered the final emotion of love, Kyle becomes a White Lantern. Ganthet flees, Kyle effortlessly destroys the Third Army soldiers, and his group heads to Oa for the final battle.
This issue was a huge improvement over that awful annual, but it still had some head-scratching moments. For example, Kyle becomes a White Lantern, and somehow the white light is able to destroy the Third Army. But they’re not dead, so why would the power of life have any effect on them? Furthermore, the retcon to Kyle’s origin from issue #15 is reinforced here with a flashback, but later on, Ganthet reiterates the updated origin from the first issue! Which one is right?!
Sadly, the art was mostly subpar, especially in the flashback to Ganthet’s “birthday.” Kyle looked nothing like himself, and once again, why was he in a classic Green Lantern Corps costume at this point? The splash page of White Lantern Kyle was pretty good, even though he didn’t wear the masks or costumes seen for the Orange or Blue Lanterns, or the Indigo Tribe. (I still think those were planned, but just cut for time.)
On to the good, and there was plenty of that! Kyle finally shines as a White Lantern, which we all saw coming. The emotional spectrum mastery arc was rushed, sure, but this was a fine conclusion. Kyle’s character was well developed, and the way the Star Sapphires tried to teach him to master the violet light was clever. Instead of sappy romantic stuff, they cut right to the heart of the matter: a strong emotional bond with another person or idea. The three examples with Kyle were all different, too, which helped to further explain the concept.
Meanwhile, you almost thought Ganthet was going to come back to the good side a few times, but I guess that’ll just have to wait. I’m sure a redemption of some sort is still coming; I just hope Ganthet doesn’t get killed as a result. At any rate, the dialogue between Ganthet and Kyle was excellent, as well as the latter’s explanations as to what love really means. (That sentence sounded really lame, but trust me, the actual scene reads better in the actual comic book.)
Green Lantern Annual #1, due out later this week, will close out the “Rise of the Third Army” story, but I think we all know what’s going to happen: Kyle will use his White Lantern powers to help stop the Third Army and the Guardians, but then Volthoom will get loose. When Kyle tries the white light against the First Lantern, he’ll get his ass sorely kicked. There’s no way Kyle will remain an ultra-powerful White Lantern, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him eventually lose all of the extra emotional abilities, thus rendering this entire story arc moot…but here’s hoping that the powers-that-be don’t screw Kyle over too hard. We’ve had enough of that.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #16 was the best Green Lantern comic we’ve had in a while, so let’s hope it doesn’t go to waste!