REVIEW: Green Lantern Corps Annual #1

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Or – “The Third Army Has Risen!”

The one thing you need to remember if you ever wear a power ring:  TRUST.  NO. ONE.  Things are about to get hot in outer space, laws of physics be damned!  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

GLCAnn1CoverGREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL #1
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Chriscross
Inker(s): Scott Hanna & Marlo Alquiza
Colorist: Wil Quintana
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

Previously, in Green Lantern Corps: The little blue guys from Oa, the Guardians Of The Universe, have been through a lot of madness in the last couple of years, but they’ve figured it all out.  Their Manhunters and Green Lanterns aren’t flawed because the little cerulean midgets are psychotic alien control freaks with no understanding of emotion or reality… No, on the contrary, they have realized that the problem came in allowing their thralls to keep their free will, a problem that they’ve sought to rectify.  How, you ask?  By transforming the Green Lanterns in mindless drones who follow their every command without question, because there is no way that this could go bad…

DOES THIS ALL SEEM LIKE DEJA VU?

I have to admit, I’m a casual fan of Green Lantern at best.  I quite enjoyed the titles relaunch after the resurrection of Hal Jordan, even though I questioned the decision to do so in the first place.  The Sinestro Corps War was well-handled, the Blackest Night was only disappointing in what came after, and the Brightest Day soured me on the title pretty conclusively.  This issue opens with new Earth Green Lantern Simon Baz and fellow Lantern B’dg (an anthropomorphic squirrel, replacing C’hp in the GL canon) meeting with defrocked Lantern Guy Gardner in space.  Guy explains in a couple of pages all that has happened since the New 52 relaunch of Green Lantern, including the “firing” of Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner’s distraction and John Stewart being sentenced to death, all spiraling into the Rise of the Third Army.  Sadly, the story makes the one mistake that Green Lantern stories have been regularly making since Hal’s return, tying ALL the plots together around the four Lanterns of Earth with everyone else taking a backseat.  As much as I understand the impetus here (after all, we have to have Hal Jordan as the greatest Lantern of them all) it weakens the story greatly, in my view, and throws all the galactic eggs in a far-too-small basket.

CAN’T TELL YOUR PLAYERS WITHOUT A SCORECARD!

There’s a lot going on in this issue once the exposition is done, though, with the casts of the four Green Lantern books coalescing into one massive tapestry.  B’dg and Baz confront Black Hand, while John Stewart and Fatality find that the Guardians have reassembled Mogo, Guy Gardner heads back to Oa to find his ring, while Kilowog goes underground (literally) to pull together the remnants of the Green Lantern Corps into a Rebel Alliance.  The crossover assumes that we have been reading all the titles regularly, and gives little quarter to those who missed an issue, throwing the battle into high gear, as the Guardians (even Ganthet, who always seemed to nice) try to kill the very heroes they created.  Atrocitus, the leader of the Red Lanterns, arrives with his own army (having somehow wrested control of the Manhunters) to balance the odds, and blam blam blam multicolored ring beams in space.  From an art perspective, the issue is okay, but Chriscross’ art has lost some of the charm that I remember from his days on ‘Blood Syndicate,’ instead trying to replicate the Ethan Van Sciver/Ivan Reis house style that has become DC’s seeming trademark for Green Lantern stories.  By the time Kyle Rayner and the Rainbow Coalition arrive, we’ve had three quick turnabouts in the story, and I have gotten very frustrated with the tale being told…

THE BOTTOM LINE: FEELS REALLY FAMILIAR…

As the issue ends, the Guardians are forced to draw on another ancient power source, blasting through the armies of Lanterns and Manhunters with a last-page cliffhanger, promising that nothing will ever be the same for the Green Lantern Corps.  The biggest problem with the issue comes with the constant need to top the last big event, while setting up for the next one.  Very little of this issue feels like it has any consequences that will last for the long-term, even with Kyle Rayner transforming into the White Lantern and the advent of the Third Army (all of whom look remarkably like Gil Kane’s version of Doctor Evil from the old ‘Captain Action’ series, which I’m taking as a shout-out.)  The forced benching of Hal Jordan seems like a clear attempt to set him up as the eventual savior of everything, leading to his reinstatement as a Lantern to lead them in their darkest hour, a plot that feels not only disappointing, but predictable.  Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 is kind of a mess, with muddled plot, unremarkable art and an ending that isn’t an ending at all, earning a very frustrating 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.  There’s nothing wrong with another massive war in space, nor with setting up Hal Jordan as the ultimate awesome guy of the whole universe, but this issue feels like it’s spinning its wheels, which doesn’t do justice to either concept…

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

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