GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS #34 (Justin Jordan, Brad Walker, Rooney Buchemi) is a heartbreaking conclusion to a horrifying arc.
The third and final part of the Psions arc, NEW GUARDIANS #34 is rather heavily focused on the old Guardians, to great effect. Rife with body horror and grotesque imagery, this issue is definitely a difficult read, but the emotional tenor and impact is excellent.
As skeptical as I was about the Psions initially, they’ve quickly become one of my favorite villain concepts. While I feel like they were slightly better executed in the previous issue, their confused reactions to the Guardian’s horror and Quaros’s “betrayal” is very well done.
Quaros’s arc, too, was brought home in a very poignant fashion. His treatment at the hands of those he created brings genuine horror and fear to the reader, and though his ultimate decision was not particularly shocking, the moment itself – and the others’ reaction to it – was heartwrenching.
Indeed, the emotional highs and lows of this issue serve as its real strength. From Carol’s triumphant elation at the release of the Psions’ prisoners to the shared horror and grief at the climax, the reader is with not just Kyle and Carol, but the Guardians themselves, every step of the way. There are few writers who manage such personal connection when the stakes are so alien and high-risk, and Justin Jordan deserves a great deal of credit for the talent, as does the art team who juggles both quiet interpersonal moments and sweeping cosmic horror masterfully.
Jordan is very, very good at capturing poignant scenes of mass death and destruction. Which is why I find it baffling that, in the aftermath of the destruction of so many of their victims, he completely ruins it with a terrible line about Kyle finishing Carol’s sentences. I enjoy the Carol and Kyle romantic relationship. But there’s a time and a place, and this was not it.
Though not quite as gripping as the previous issue, this was an excellent conclusion to the arc, and despite the sour note listed above, the finale was genuinely affecting. If you’re a new reader, do not start with this issue, but if you’ve been following this story, you won’t be disappointed.