If you’ve been following the various GL books lately, don’t skip out on this Annual, it’s not some throwaway cash-grab, but a vital part of the ongoing story that Robert Venditti, Van Jensen and the other writers are telling.
The issue begins with the various villains who escaped from the Sciencells during Lights Out attacking Mogo, but through the course of the battle, and with a lot of flashbacks, it turns out that these villains aren’t here to attack the Lanterns as a part of the Durlan master-plan, but instead have turned against the shape-shifters and want to help Hal and the Corps. We see them turn against the Durlan who was attempting to make a deal with them, and we also see them rescue John Stewart and his crew of Lanterns from the hands of the Khunds. So basically, the whole fight was Hal Jordan’s fault as he leapt in without thinking. I’ve said this a lot about Venditti’s run, but it is refreshing to see him have Hal fuck up and not immediately absolve him of any blame like Johns would. The fact that Hal is a head-strong idiot makes him seem more like a real person, and strangely, more likeable.
Thanks to John’s level-headed persuasion, Hal agrees to work alongside former enemies like Kanjar Ro, Bolphunga and Evil Star, but even with them, they are still up against it when it comes to the Durlans. In this issue, we see the Khunds and Prixiam Nol-Ang visit the Durlan homeworld to visit the Durlan elders (a disgusting ball of pulsating, gooey flesh) and hash out their plans for how to defeat the Lanterns, and who will get what after the Corps are gone. The last few pages here were very interesting, as both Hal and John, and the Durlan elders bring up a character I had actually forgotten about in Von Daggle, the Durlan Green Lantern and leader of the Green Lantern Corpse, the top-secret, black ops division of the Corps introduced back in Dave Gibbons’ run on GLC. These guys haven’t appeared in a long while, so it’s cool to have them back, and Von Daggle looks to be a big player in this upcoming storyline, as the Durlans believe he feels betrayed and abandoned by the Corps and could be willing to turn to their side. I doubt he will, given that he seems to be an ancestor of Chameleon Boy of the Legion Of Superheroes, but still, his choice will be very decisive.
The art from Neil Edwards in these main story segments was very strong, and I think he’s a good fit for the Lantern books.
Throughout this issue, Tom Derenick draws one-page origin stories for each of the various villains who ally with the Corps, and this was very useful back-story to me, because most of these villains are unknowns for me, or at least different in the New 52. It was a little odd to have Bolphunga The Unrelenting treated seriously, but it worked. I was most intrigued by ‘Hunger Dog’, is he from Apokolips? It didn’t look like it, but as we all know, the final Jack Kirby New Gods story was entitled ‘The Hunger Dogs’.
This was a very good comic, and just continues the great run of Green Lantern comics lately. I know a lot of people skip annuals (I myself do if it’s not the regular writer), but this one is a must-read for any GL fans.