Writer: Judd Winick
Artists: Dale Eaglesham (p), Rodney Ramos (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
The book opens by showing us the first stop on Kyle & Jade's outer space voyage is Oa, where we see Ganthet expresses his concern over Kyle's decision to leave Earth. However, when Kyle brings up the idea that there must be several sectors of space that could stand a visit from a Green Lantern, we see Ganthet is quick to jump at this offer. We then see Jade & Kyle arrive at an alien settlement, which is currently being subjected to seemingly unwarranted attacks by an army of rock monsters who rise up out of the planet surface. However, while Kyle & Jade are able to drive off a small group of attacking rock creatures, an ensuing conversation with the victimized aliens has Jade raising her eyebrows, as it's clear these aliens travel from planet to planet stripping a targeted planet of its natural resources before they move on to the next one. As Jade suggests that the attacking rock creatures may simply be trying to save their planet from the ravages of an alien invasion, we see Kyle is not exactly willing to concede this point. However, when the two decide to track down the rock creatures we see them discover this problem is far larger than they were prepared to handle.
I should start off by saying that I like the idea of this book moving into outer space, as Green Lantern has always struck me as a character who is suited for more cosmic adventures, I can't think of another DC title that is currently operating off planet, so this move should have this title standing out from the crowd. On the other hand I find myself a bit disillusioned with this opening adventure, as unless Judd Winick has an unexpected twist ready to spring upon the readers in the next issue, this first foray into the great unknown feels a bit too familiar. Now I was somewhat comforted by the idea that this plot is so well known that Judd Winick has Jade instantly cue into the idea that the victims of the rock monster attacks are not as innocent as they claim, and this in turn has left me hopeful that Judd Winick has plans to take the material in an unexpected direction. However, while I can cross my fingers & hope for the best, the reality of the situation is that Judd Winick has never really shown much interest in taking unexpected paths, and I'd be surprised if this time out turned out any different. Now it's an interesting problem, and I'm curious to see how it'll be resolved, but at the moment I'm concerned by this well worn plot that Judd Winick has dug up.
I also have to say that I'm sure I join many fans when I ask the question of why doesn't Kyle use his time in space to start rebuilding the Green Lantern Corps? I mean I'll admit I joined this title when Kyle Rayner took over as the sole Green Lantern, and as such I don't really hold any affinity toward bringing back the Corps. However, since Judd Winick & others have gone ahead & resurrected the planet Oa, it's main power battery, and restored the ability to create new power rings, there seems to be precious little standing in the way of bringing back the Corps. The question becomes even more apparent when Kyle is discussing the current state of several sectors with Ganthet, and the end of this conversation makes it clear that there are several sectors that could really use a Green Lantern to keep the peace. Now I realize that Kyle is the star of this title, and as such it makes more sense that Judd Winick would want Kyle & Jade cast into the role of the primary heroes in this adventure. However, I'm sure I can't be the only reader who went into the outer space arc expecting it to result in the return of the Corps, but I'll hold my tongue until next issue, as Judd Winick might very well resolve this conflict by having Kyle recruit his first member of the Corps.
The news of Dale Eaglesham's impending departure to CrossGen comics doesn't leave me all that upset, as while he's a very solid artist, roughly one out of every four issues of his run have been handled by guest-artists, and truth be told he simply hasn't been on this title long enough for me to have become overly attached to his work. Now I will give him full marks for this issue, as it stands up as one of his most impressive looking efforts yet, with the rock monsters coming across as the towering engines of destruction that they need to be. He also does some wonderful work on the ring constructs, with Kyle's train being the highlight of the issue. The credit page shot where Kyle is playing with the Guardians is also a lovely bit of work, and the last page of this issue does a wonderful job of delivering its big, impressive cliffhanger moment. The art also does some strong work on its quieter moments, like the scene on the balcony where Jade raises the question of whether they are fighting for the wrong side in this battle, or the sense of looming danger that is created when Jade & Kyle descend into the pitch black tunnel. I also have to make mention of the cover to this issue, as it's a strong "in-your-face" visual that nicely hints at the story inside.
Based on this opening issue the move into outer space doesn't look to have gotten the creative juices flowing, as Judd Winick is covering some rather familiar terrain. Basically the plot has Kyle & Jade come across a group of alien colonists who are being attacked by the native population, and the issue strongly suggests that the victims of these attacks are resource hungry developers, while their attackers are only acting to keep their planet from being exploited. Now perhaps this story won't seem quite so plot-by-numbers to newer readers, but I've seen it play out dozens of times before, and as such I find myself a bit unimpressed by this book's adherence to the staple plot elements that one can expect to find on a story like this. My only real consolation is that Jade is quick to point out that she recognizes the pattern set before her, and while Kyle is uncharacteristically unwilling to listen to her concerns, it is nice to see that Judd Winick isn't going to try to surprise us with the big revelation that the rock monsters are the real victims of this battle.
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