Green Lanterns Annual #1 – Andy Diggle, Writer; Mike Perkins, Artist; Andy Troy, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Most annuals either play a role in the core run or feature a preview of an upcoming creative team (like in the other annual this week). Green Lanterns Annual #1, however, seems to play no larger role and is solely a stand-alone tale by writer Andy Diggle, who doesn’t seem to have any future Green Lantern work planned (Dan Jurgens is taking over the title shortly). However, its overall irrelevance doesn’t matter, because this is actually one of my favorite issues of the Green Lanterns run, featuring pitch-perfect takes on the main characters amid a compelling plot with several surprising twists. Simon and Jessica, now fully-fledged Lanterns, are en route to an important Green Lantern Corps ceremony – the memorial for the Lost Lantern, a Vaikean who disappeared along with much of his own species in a mysterious cataclysm. As soon as they arrive, it’s clear that they’re not exactly welcome – not only are the Vaikeans a strict, protocol-driven species, but these long-lived space bugs view the Earthlings as newcomer upstarts.
After Jessica and Simon have embarrassing failures on the memorial dais much to the annoyance of their Vaikean hosts, Jessica flies off to blow off some steam – and is promptly sucked into a mysterious trap that seems to be based around Lantern energy and doesn’t recognize her ring as authentic. Simon, along with guest-stars Hal Jordan and John Stewart, is soon sucked into a massive conspiracy going back to the roots of the Lost Lantern’s mission, as it becomes clear how the Vaikean species’ modus operandi left this young Lantern trapped in a box from which he saw no escape. The concept of what the Lost Lantern did is surprisingly dark, but the issue manages to finesse a happy ending with a positive message of forgiveness out of it. It’s a clever issue with a lot of good twists, but it wouldn’t work nearly as well if Diggle’s take on Jessica Cruz wasn’t as strong as it is. I’m not sure if he has any work planned for the DCU after this, but I would be happy to see it. It’s been a while since we saw Andy Diggle on a mainstream property, and he still has it.
Corrina: Sometimes, when a creative team gets a single chance at a character, they hit a home run. That’s what Diggle and Mike Perkins have done with this annual. I’m not sure why Diggle has so little DC work planned (he did, after all, have a well-received Green Arrow run) but, based on this, that’s a loss for DC readers.
Jess and Simon have been the most interesting when they’ve been separated from the rest of the Lantern Corps and based on Earth. It’s not that the stories of their training with the Corps in the series were bad, it’s that they simply weren’t as good as the others. And yet, Diggle takes the idea of the pair as newbie Lanterns, allows them to fail, at least initially, and uses the result of that failure to illustrate what makes Simon and Jess unique among the rest of the many Earth-based Green Lanterns.
No doubt it helps that Diggle is essentially telling a ghost story, peeling back the mystery of the Lost Lantern bit by bit, until, like all great ghost stories, the lost spirit is redeemed. Perkins draws the reveal of what the Lost Lantern is beautifully, in all its cosmic scale.
If you’ve not been reading Green Lanterns, this annual is a good place to start.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.