Review: Green Lantern Annual #1

Even after 7 years of fantastic Green Lantern stories, Geoff Johns, a.k.a. the Wizard of Oa, still has curtains left to pull back.

Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver and Pete Woods

• The conclusion of “THE REVENGE OF BLACK HAND”!
• Everything changes here! EVERYTHING!

(Warning, some plot points will be discussed so SPOILER WARNING is in effect)

For once, that solicitation tagline isn’t hyperbole. This annual issue of Green Lantern picks up from where issue #12 left and blows the current status quo out of the water. Geoff Johns brings in frequent collaborator Ethan Van Sciver, the man responsible for redefining the look of Hal Jordan for a new generation, to pencil this issue. Because of this, it’s very easy to try and compare this issue to 2007’s Sinestro Corps Special. Both issues were oversized, were drawn by Van Sciver, and act as the opening shot to the next major GL storyline. Only time will tell if Rise of the Third Army stacks up against Sinestro Corps War, but it is a very promising start.

This prologue builds heavily on plot threads carried over from Blackest Night, Brightest Day, and War of the Green Lanterns. Johns has had the Guardians of the Universe, the creators of the Green Lantern Corps, on one way descent into madness and despotism and this is where the crap hits the fan. The Guardians decide that the only way to rid the universe of chaos is to eliminate free will. This, first and foremost, requires the destruction of the universe’s greatest embodiment of will, the Green Lantern Corps. The ends that the Guardians are prepared to go to meet this goal are disturbing, the means by which they achieve it are shocking, and the overall implications are terribly exciting. Oh, and yeah, that cover isn’t just for show.

I can’t get to far into a plot discussion without spoiling the issue, but here’s a few things that this issue brings to the table: the resolution of the Revenge of Black Hand arc (for now), the first glimpse of the Chamber of Shadows and the First Lantern that have been teased since War of the Green Lanterns, the fates of Hal Jordan and Sinestro, and the Guardians going all out crazy.

There’s not much more that I can say about the art other than it is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Ethan Van Sciver on Green Lantern. The epilogue, drawn by Pete Woods, was suitably disturbing and executed extremely well.

There’s a sense that Geoff Johns is nearing the close of his epic Green Lantern saga. The desperate tone, the escalation of the Guardian’s tactics, the twinge of hope in the form of (Highlight for Spoliers!!!) Hal and Sinestro’s rings, all give an “Empire Strikes Back” feel that can only lead to a third act upheaval where the good guy triumphs. Then again, I thought that Johns would leave after Blackest Night ended and here he is, over two years later, still plugging away. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what Johns has up his sleeve with the borg-like Third Army and the new Green Lantern Baz. This is an exciting time to be a Green Lantern fan and a great time to jump in.

Rating: 9.5- This is consistently one of the best super-hero comics out there. Read it.

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