[20 August 2012]
PopMatters Comics Editor
Some of the most endearing New 52 reboots (I can say this safely now that we’re on the cusp of rounding out the first year of the New 52), has been the older properties.
Take the New Guardians. In there original ideation, they were the evolutionary precursors of a new kind of humanity—what humans would be one millennium from today when were more fully evolved and could join the cosmic-scale entities, the Guardians of the Universe, as equals.
The original ideation of the New Guardians played out around 1988/89, in the wake of the Millennium event that followed on from the highly successful Crisis on Infinite Earths and Legends. Back then, just before the ‘90s, a highly creative, deeply thought-provoking, critically entertaining book like New Guardians failed to find its audience, and ultimately proved non-viable, commercially.
But what New Guardians proved, in the twilight-world before DC/Vertigo and before Dark Horse and before Image Comics and before the first viable platform for creator-owned works, was that the comics fan-base itself was deeply secessionist from the cultural mainstream. That the comics brands that could be trusted (Superman, Batman, Captain America, Iron Man) would perhaps be the only brands we’d ever want to trust. That expanding beyond the known, the established, the familiar, might just be too much to ask.
The first New Guardians seem, and it saddens me still, to have been martyred on the very last of altars of the Cold War—lost to a world where that essential inner newness might have been fought for, but would seldom live on after that battle.
Tony Bedard’s New Guardians is simply a revolution. It lays to rest the ghosts of not only the unclaimed newness of the original New Guardians, but lays to rest the ghosts of the last days of the Cold War itself.
Rather than a story about igniting the next phase of human evolution, Tony’s New Guardians deals with protracting the story of the Emotional Spectrum developed by Geoff Johns over the course of the last five or so years. This time round, the Guardians aren’t just ideologically split about evolving human consciousness, but they’re actively involved in wiping out sentient life across the universe (“read all about it”, as they say in Geoff’s own, Green Lantern).
But some mysterious force has drawn together Lanterns from each of the seven separate Corps, and has the emotional energies of Rage, Avarice, Fear, Will, Hope, Compassion and Love all working together towards a single, as-yet-unrevealed objective.
Tony’s New Guardians, with its year-long overarching storyarc about who brought together the “New Guardians” and why, and its monthly episodic, skirmish-style encounter stories, has proven wholly engaging. But more than that, it’s reclaimed the psychic territory that the original New Guardians had hoped to claim, way back in 1988—to prove that even among the grand old, iconic stories about the classic superheroes (heroes invented long before our own lifetimes in the 30s and 40s and later in the 50s and 60s), something new can emerge.
At a conceptual level then, Tony’s New Guardians traces very much the same path as Linkin Park’s second album Re:Animation, wherein the band edit and mix and tireless experiment with the original magic of their debut album, Hybrid Theory. It’s that tirelessness that lies at the heart of the New 52, and that same tirelessness that flourishes on every page of New Guardians.
Oh and, if you were wondering about who brought together these new New Guardians and why… answers are to be found right here in this preview. But wait till you read the rest of the issue…
Please, enjoy your exclusive preview of the next issue of Green Lantern: New Guardians, available for your downloading pleasure.