By: Peter J. Tomasi (Writer), Chriscross, Scott Hanna, Marlo Alquiza (Artists), Wil Quintana (Colorist)
The Story: Guy Gardner gets in gear to bring the fight to the guardians after being saved by Simon Baz and B’dg.
The Review: This is a big comic in nearly every aspect of the word. It is a long read, jam-packed full of action and intense development touted as the final chapter of Rise of the Third Army, bringing all the meticulous planning from all Green Lantern titles to a head. It is big, it is important, but is it any good?
From the very first page, one must not forget that it is a continuation of Green Lantern Corps, even though it incorporates many plot points from the other books. As such, most of the focus is on Guy Gardner, John Stewart and the other Lanterns. Considering the fact that it is a vital chapter, the final one in the storyline going on in the other books, does it make it kind of inaccessible to those who haven’t followed Green Lantern Corps?
Thankfully, it does not. As someone who only read the first six issues of that series when it got rebooted thanks to the New 52, I could follow what was going on fairly well even though I had only read the main Green Lantern series by Geoff Johns. Thanks to the small tidbits of information here and there and the recap conversation by B’dg, Guy and Simon Baz on the moon, I knew everything that mattered to properly enjoy this comic, something that is commendable for Peter Tomasi.
It is fortunate that I had been brought up to speed, for there is quite a lot happening in this annual. This is not a single tale celebrating what the title is all about by presenting us a longer one-shot, but rather an incredibly important piece of the ongoing Green Lantern mythos that had been in play since Rebirth. From the very moment when we get to Guy arriving on Oa, the annual gives us plenty of action, important developments and some great character moments for Guy Gardner and the whole Green Lantern Corps. This is a dense and tense reading, creating a thoroughly enjoyable experience for those invested in the current conflict between the key players in the story and the guardians. Most of the setup and the action work really well.
What does not work as well would be the actual confrontation and the conclusion. The fight between the various forces and characters against the guardians starts rather well, putting some emphasis on various plots from other books, like Kyle Rainer gaining the white lantern power in New Guardians or Atrocitus with his Manhunter army in Red Lantern charging in right in the battle. All of these moments add quite a lot to the main conflict in the book, yet it does not amount to much. Indeed, the anti-climactic ending comes in and makes short work of all those storylines rather abruptly. Sure, it leads up to the next big storyline that is supposed to give us more insight in Volthoom, the first lantern, yet it makes short work of all the buildup to the confrontation between all the various forces lead up against the guardians, resulting in them not amounting to much from what we can see. This kind of twist is both smart, yet disappointing, considering that we could never have been properly prepared for it. It comes as a surprise, yet it stops the action right there. It is a little bit disappointing to say the least.
Something that does not deserve anything less than praise, however, would be Chriscross on the art, who does a good job here. The panelling is actually quite ingenious in several places, most notably on the second and third page with a spread that is plain gorgeous to look at. Most of his outer-space environments are also very beautiful, making the scenes with John Stewart very cool-looking as well. What makes the art work quite well could also be attributed to Wil Quintana, who manages to rock the story with all those shades of green and the multitude of colors required for a proper lantern titles now that Johns has instituted all those colorful lantern corps to the mythos. All those blasts and beams are really popping out of those pages thanks to him.
The Conclusion: This annual is a surprisingly dense read jam-packed with action, development and great character moments with some good art and colorization. It is a little bit brought down by the abrupt ending, but it is still vital to the Green Lantern experience and I do recommend reading it.
Hugo Robberts Larivière