Green Lantern Annual #2 Review
on October 31, 2013
Robert Venditti has written a good Green Lantern story. Not okay, not passable, but good!
Even so, Venditti is going to shed some Green Lantern readers for multiple reasons. First and foremost, he’s not Geoff Johns. A decent percentage of Green Lantern readers are probably only reading the title because Johns was writing it. Such people are more Geoff Johns fans than they are Green Lantern fans. Admittedly, Johns brought a lot of new people to the Green Lantern franchise, and most of what they know of it is of his design, so they may not like the changes Venditti is bringing. There’s really not much that can be done for these people, as they’d be dissatisfied no matter what.
Another point is how Hal Jordan is being depicted. Venditti is writing a much more fallible Hal than Johns did. Geoff Johns’ Hal Jordan certainly wasn’t perfect, but Venditti lingers on the affects of Hal Jordan’s mistakes more, and brings out the consequences of his rash behavior. That makes sense. If you’re going to go around being reckless, dumb, and inconsiderate, all of that’s going to come back to bite you eventually. Some people like their Hal Jordan infallibly awesome, though, and those sorts may very well leave, too.
Then there are the people who will not like the idea of Carol Ferris leaving Hal Jordan for Kyle Rayner, which is what is looking like will happen.
In a daring move, Venditti seemingly shifts Carol Ferris’ affections from Hal Jordan to Kyle Rayner.
I don’t have a problem with what Venditti is doing with the characters. My only concern about the Green Lantern title is that it has been boring, but it was bad before Venditti even arrived.
Green Lantern Annual #2, however, is the most exciting issue of Green Lantern Venditti has written, and the most exciting issue of Green Lantern released since I don’t know when. It has a big space fight, interesting interaction between characters, and a status quo changing resolution. Venditti cleans up the remnants of Johns’ run and boldly opens a new path for each Green Lantern title.
He uses the characters way better than Geoff Johns did, in that there is clearly much less ridiculous bias and fanboy wanking in his writing. In fact, Venditti tears down several mainstay notions and concepts of the Johns run, and I find it incredibly refreshing!
What I applaud the most is getting rid of the idea that Hal Jordan is “The Main Green Lantern.” It was specifically said at a convention panel that the Lanterns would be developed evenly, and that seems to be what is happening. From the looks of things, gone are the days when John Stewart hid way in the background, while Hal Jordan, in all his “awesomeness,” saved the day (for the most recent example of this, see Johns’ final issue, Green Lantern #20).
Green Lantern Annual #2 has me eagerly awaiting Green Lantern Corps #25 to discover where things go from here. Though some readers will leave, there are also many like myself, who walked away from Green Lantern during Johns’ run. I urge those people to look into the franchise again, because it’s made clear that Green Lantern has not only taken a real new direction, but much of the damage caused by Geoff Johns is being reversed.
Getting into the story, this issue picks up from Red Lanterns #24 on Ysmault, the headquarters of the Red Lanterns, where Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps have struck a deal with Guy Gardner and the Red Lanterns. As they’re all getting ready to attack Relic, Hal Jordan informs Guy that Oa is destroyed and John didn’t survive its destruction. Guy Gardner is really mad about John’s death. The new creative teams are building a strong, believable bond between Guy Gardner and John Stewart, which is very nice.
There are a number of instances when Relic gets this funny expression on his face.
Hal Jordan wants to go after Relic, but they don’t know where he is. They believe Kyle Rayner, The White Lantern, is with him, though. Things get interesting when Star Sapphire Carol Ferris chimes in, saying she knows where Kyle is. Her power is based on love, and she can feel where one she loves is at and zoom over to them using a tether. In other words, Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan’s long time love interest, loves Kyle Rayner. This sets off Hal Jordan, who causes a scene, but Carol points out how inappropriate it is to go through hashing all of that out given the current dire circumstances.
Hal is right about one thing, though. Kyle is with Relic. In New Guardians #24, we learned that Kyle has taken up Relic’s cause. Both of them are at the Source Wall, which lies at the edge of the universe. Relic is using probes infused with spectrum energy to try and analyze the monolithic structure, but when they attempt to make contact with it, they turn into some kind of stone and become part of the wall.
Relic believes that he needs more light to break through the wall. The Guardians, who are also there, tell Relic that the wall is impassable. Anything that tries to get past it becomes calcified. Relic is convinced the emotional reservoir is on the other side, and to save the universe, they must reach it and pour the energy that Relic has collected back in. Kyle Rayner confirms that the Entities, which he absorbed in New Guardians #24, agree with Relic’s theory.
Kyle Rayner brings up the possibility that the Entities could be wrong, and that perhaps the reservoir is someplace else. Relic suddenly freaks out at that notion and uses his machines to detain Kyle Rayner and the Guardians. He decides to drain Kyle Rayner’s energy, believing that might give him the light needed to breach the cosmic barrier. Before Rayner, Relic had never encountered a White Lantern, and doesn’t know what makes him what he is, but Relic knows that he has precious light.
Relic’s draining causes the Entities to leave Kyle’s body. Relic had never seen such a thing as the Entities before, and hopes the light beasts will give him the power he needs. The Guardians warn him that harming the Entities jeopardizes reality itself.
Suddenly, the Green Lanterns, Red Lanterns, and Carol Ferris arrive via Carol’s tether to Kyle. They launch a massive attack against Relic using the last bits of energy they have. Relic’s gargantuan ship and energy collecting drones return fire.
Meanwhile, On planet Nok, home of the Indigo Tribe, John Stewart prepares to rejoin the Green Lantern Corps after dropping the new recruits he fought with in Green Lantern Corps #24 to safety.
John Stewart continues to shine in Green Lantern, being showcased as a strong leader for the Green Lantern recruits.
The recruits, brave as ever, decide they want to keep fighting at John’s side. John, the recruits, and the Indigo Tribe set off to their cause. Also, Jruk and Feska seem to be getting closer together. Just thought I’d throw that out there, so I can say I called it when something does happen.
The coalition continues the assualt against Relic, and we see more of the same thing we saw in previous fights. Relic releases his energy collecting disks, which sends the spectrum energy the Lanterns blast at him right back at them, thus making him a difficult opponent for any Lantern to face. They do manage to free Kyle Rayner, though. Hal continues to make spiteful remarks about the romantic situation between Kyle and Carol.
John Stewart arrives on the battlefield to suddenly knock Guy Gardner out the way of an energy blast. Guy is happy to see John again, but John Stewart sucker punches Guy, which seems to be a ritual among them. John does it because he’s mad at Guy for quitting the Corps and becoming a Red Lantern.
Guy Gardner orders the Red Lanterns to attack Relic’s ship, but not to use any light, since they’re low on power and Relic knows how to use their light against them. John Stewart commands his recruits to defend the Reds as they attack.
The Red Lanterns manage to knock Relic’s ship into the wall, thus calcifying it, and causing Relic to lose all the light he collected.
Upon seeing that the wall traps whatever comes in contact with it, Hal Jordan gets a plan. He asks Indigo-1 of the Indigo Tribe if she can teleport himself, John, Kyle, and Guy between Relic and his disk reflectors. She says she can.
Indigo-1 gets the four Lanterns past the disks and they launch a physical attack on Relic’s head. Guy Gardner gets in some particularly good shots when he vomits red acid all over Relic’s face. The Lanterns keep pushing Relic back with the intent of driving him into the Source Wall. Once they get him close, Hal Jordan calls for them to bail out, but Guy keeps fighting, yelling that he doesn’t work for Hal Jordan anymore. Jordan grabs Guy and pulls him away, but Kyle stays and keeps pulling Relic toward the wall. Kyle Rayner’s energy level rises ever higher. He says that the more he embraces life, and the more he fights for it, the stronger he gets. Just as the Source Wall begins to crumble, due to the reservoir being depleted, expelling a deluge of black energy, Kyle and Relic go through the wall.
In a brilliant flash of white light, an elated Relic emerges from the wall, claiming he’s found The Source at last. He says the reservoir has been replenished, and that the White Lantern was the key. He tells the Lanterns to respect the opportunity they’ve been given and that his work is done. Suddenly, he begins to calcify and becomes one with The Source Wall.
John Stewart saves the Corps from death in space, secures their new home on Mogo, and plays a crucial role in getting them a new Central Power Battery.
The aftermath leaves John completely out of power, with Hal and Guy in an emerald bubble. Carol is almost drained, too. Guy says that the Green Lanterns can’t depend on the Red Lanterns for help getting home. If they know the Greens are so low on juice, the Reds are liable to take advantage and attack them. Carol doesn’t have enough energy to help, either, leaving the Lanterns stranded with almost no power at the edge of the universe. Hal tells Carol to find an atmosphere, and begins having a touching goodbye with her. Funnily, John Stewart interrupts the whole thing and says he already made arrangements for a ticket home with the Indigo Tribe.
The Guardians decide to stay at the Source Wall to mourn Kyle Rayner’s passing.
The Lantern Corps is teleported to their new home at the center of the universe; Mogo, the sentient planet, where a brand new Central Power Battery is presented to them. Off panel, John worked with Natromo of the Indigo Tribe to build a new battery and ignite it again. All Natromo needed were remnants of the old battery, and a spark of emerald energy, which Mogo provided.
John is concerned about Guy, and the Indigo Tribe say they teleported him back to Ysmault with the other Red Lanterns. Hal admits that it’s all his fault that Guy is a Red Lantern, and that he’ll get Guy back. Afterward, Hal delivers a rousing speech commemorating the Corps’ victory, proclaiming how they will be even stronger now, except… not all the Green Lanterns are roused. Several of them no longer wish to use their power, since Relic was right and using their energy speeds up the death of the universe.
Back at the Source Wall, Kyle Rayner breaks back through and is met with the Guardians. He reveals that the Entities sacrificed themselves to refill the reservoir. They are dead. Paalko of the Guardians wants to know everything Kyle witnessed and experienced on the other side, but Kyle can’t remember. Paalko uses his power in an attempt to aid Kyle in remembering, but he’s hurt by some sort of feedback. When asked what Paalko saw by his Guardians brethren, he mysteriously says that no one can know. He goes on about how Kyle’s return must be kept a secret, and it is time for Kyle’s journey to truly begin, ending the “Lights Out” event.
This is a good book that leaves me wanting to see where things will go from here.
Robert Venditti is definitely taking things in his own direction, and as mentioned, not everyone who is a fan of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern will be on board.
As for them, I guess sometimes it’s just time to move on, just like how Green Lantern has moved on. Green Lantern does not equal Geoff Johns. His vision is not the be-all-end-all for Green Lantern. Personally, I think Johns was terrible. Many of his ideas (like the Entities) were ridiculous, his immense love for Hal Jordan got to the point where it worked against him, and he beat the same ideas (like color corps and light wars) into the ground for years. I hope that the new creative teams saw how many people were getting tired of Johns’ Green Lantern and are making efforts to get past it. It certainly seems so, and I am incredibly happy they’re cleaning things up. Sending the Lanterns back to policing space (as we saw in Green Lantern Corps #21-23), focusing on John Stewart more, and destroying the Blue Lanterns and the Entities make for a great start.
Kyle Rayner is about to embark on a new quest exploring the unknown.
Interestingly, Hal Jordan doesn’t single-handily save the day in this. Everyone plays a very important role. As mentioned, Venditti’s more even view is much, much appreciated.
An issue of concern, which actually does become an issue in the story, is though the reservoir was replenished, it seems using light is a dangerous thing to do. Do it enough, and the universe will be destroyed! This will clearly be addressed soon, but it’s still a concern. I don’t think any fans like the idea of Lanterns destroying the universe by using their powers. Whatever the solution is, I hope they come up with it quick and set that entire problem to rest, because if they drag it out, it has the potential of severely damaging Venditti’s run, which is far from spotless as is. I’m sure some interesting stories can come out of it, but I don’t believe most of us came to Green Lantern to read about environmentalist messages and energy conservation.
The art by Sean Chen is not that great. It’s somewhere around Billy Tan’s level, I suppose… or maybe worse. I would not want to see him as a regular artist on the title.
It’s bad right from the start. The stances of Carol Ferris, Bleez, and Guy on the second page look unnatural and silly. The way he draws faces isn’t that good. For instance, Hal Jordan’s forehead seems a bit too big at times. There’s nothing from Chen in this comic that is especially cool. The best thing I can say about his art is that it pretty much stays out of the way. It’s not horrible, and anyone should be able to enjoy the comic okay, and he gets across his ideas and emotions well enough. He’s a competent artist, but he doesn’t have a particularly noteworthy or attractive style. That said, I do like how he draws the Lantern recruit Two-Six. I hope she hops from Green Lantern to Green Lantern Corps, because I’m quite a fan of her character. It looks like it might happen, since she’s hanging around John and his gang now. It’s a bit strange seeing the other recruits from Green Lantern Corps drawn by people other than Bernard Chang, especially Maro and Jruk.
The coloring of Andrew Dalhouse and Wil Quintana is very nice. The issue opens up with a beautiful page depicting sights of the old universe. The pretty coloring makes these scenes shine. It’s vibrant and attractive all throughout the issue, and better than Alex Sinclair’s work (the regular colorist on Green Lantern), which I don’t care for.
On the whole, “Lights Out” is not a particularly incredible event, but it’s alright. The best part is certainly Green Lantern Corps #24, written by Van Jensen and illustrated by Bernard Chang. The momentum for the event slowed greatly in Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 and Red Lanterns #24. Neither of which were terrible issues, but both of which didn’t do much to move the plot. Things close out nicely with this annual, though, which gives the Lanterns new paths, new perspectives, new homes, and new missions. I look forward to seeing what’s ahead for John Stewart and this franchise!
4 out of 5 stars.