In Review: Green Lanterns Annual #1

If one is looking for a Lantern adventure, this will do, but it won't be one that's remembered in a few months.

The cover: Mike Perkins and Andy Troy created this frontpiece that has three lanterns looking spooky. In the foreground center is Jessica, holding her ring hand up, which is emitting some eerie green smoke that’s writhing about. To her back left is Hal Jordan, whose ring is doing the same thing, but he’s much more in the dark, giving him a very creepy look. Behind Jessica’s left is Simon Baz, who’s as darkly colored as Hal and his ring is producing the same smoky effect. The characters look good and the coloring makes this ominous. I like this, but prefer to see my characters a little more brightly colored on covers. Overall grade: A-

The story: Andy Diggle’s “The Lost Lantern” begins in the Space Sector 0004 in the Vaiker System, which is comprised of dead rock and dust, the residue of an alien empire. The pair have been asked to attend the commemoration of the Lost Lantern who “stood against the forces of Chaos. When all seemed lost, he gave his life to hold the line…” The planet was destroyed. Thankfully not all the people were on the planet when it went kablooey. The pair arrive on the world, entering through the Tomb of the Last Lantern and are greeted by Yli’Laatua, the Green Lantern of the Vaikeans. He’s quick to point out what the lanterns do is inappropriate, such as attempt to shake hands, generally coming off as an uptight rules follower. Once in their quarters, and free from Yli’Laatua’s judgment, Jessica goes over the speech she’s prepared to read before the Vaikeans and other lanterns that have assembled. She’s nervous, as her character always is, and becomes even more concerned upon learning that Simon is going to wing it. Both make their presentations, and it’s Jessica’s speech that leads the story to the conflict of the issue. Simon, Hal Jordan, and John Stewart get drawn into Jessica’s dangers, and it’s this trio that provides the humor of the issue. If this threesome and had been focused on more, it would have lightened the story considerably. Instead, the story becomes a long drawn out reveal of what happened to the Lost Lantern and how others react to this reveal. It’s okay, but it’s neither earth shaking or surprising. There’s an attempt toward the end of the issue, Page 34, to have some justice done to the character, but its never really in doubt how things will go. The final page is attempt to end the story on a light note, but it’s too drastic a turn after all the somber emotion that preceded it. Overall grade: C+

The art: The visuals on this book are a little better than the story, though there are still times where artist Mike Perkins made choices that are odd. The opening splash page is how most people picture lanterns: flying through space. This is a good way to introduce the readers to these characters and it’s great. Their close-ups on the next page establish an issue: Simon’s mask is incredible tight on his face, so much so that every muscle in his face is illustrated. On later pages, such as 5, his costume is just as tight, with it so tight around his neck that I thought he was being strangled. Simon is also inconsistently rendered: case is point, Page 8 — the first panel has his head round and hair short, resembling Michael Keaton, but in the third panel it’s become a flat head of hair, and in the sixth panel he’s become Jon Bernthal. Each drawing is great, but do not resemble the same character. Much better is Jessica, who looks great in every panel. She emotes fantastically throughout the issue, which makes Simon’s flaws stand out every time he appears. The design of the Vaikeans is good. Multi-armed characters can be a bugaboo for artists, but Perkins has the characters shown many times, each time looking slick, with even some differentiations for age. And these are not smooth creatures, instead looking like insects with plenty of bumps and projections. Really nice. The backgrounds are also solid, though they do become very simplistic by the book’s conclusion; that room on 34 is too Earth-like, even if it is a Lantern site. I’m liking most of the book, but if one of the leads, who appears often, changes visually, sometimes on the same page, it does take me out of the reading experience. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Andy Troy provides the colors for this issue. There are a lot of greens, as one would expect in a Lantern book, but Troy never has them overwhelm the art or the reader. There’s a scene where even the backgrounds go emerald, but they are blended well so they don’t look like a blanket coloring. Often lantern constructs are given bright colorings, but Troy gives them a much more sedate green, making their use otherworldly rather than the magic flavor they normally have. I was also impressed with what was done with the skin of the Vaikeans. A good job throughout. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Go-to Green Lantern letterer Dave Sharpe creates scene settings, ring speech, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, AI speech, the unique speech of the Vaikeans, yells, and sounds. Sharpe’s work is always great, but his design for the Vaikeans’ speech really adds to the alien-ness of these characters. It looks as ancient and foreign as its people. Really well done. Overall grade: A 

The final line: This was okay, but doesn’t really add to the Lantern mythos, nor change the characters. If one is looking for a Lantern adventure, this will do, but it won’t be one that’s remembered in a few months. The visuals are slightly better than the story, but are not as good as those in the twice monthly series. Overall grade: B

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Green-Lanterns-2016-Annual-1/digital-comic/679521?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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