While the other comic company has forgotten the art of the “annual” DC comics since the inception of the New 52 has become a stalwart champion of the annual. While I’ve reviewed two Green Lantern annuals prior to this one, this is the first one that actually isn’t tied down to a crossover. Despite that Venditti has done a fantastic job of establishing Hal’s new status quo, however filling the gap between leader to renegade would be nice for fans who might be curious on how the rest of the corps dealt with Hal’s criminal actions. After all betraying a friend can be the worst pain of all.
As I finished this issue, there was only one real question that churned in my side. Why was an annual? Similar to anniversary issues, annuals can either be the beginning of a story line or the conclusion of one. While one can argue that Venditti has set certain board pieces that will become Hal Jordan’s foil in the coming months, if Venditti hadn’t already introduced them in a previous issue of Green Lantern. I did enjoy that this new group was given a reason for their existence (plus a cool nod to The Omega Men), but that only doesn’t answer my question of “why was this a annual?”
What makes up the bulk of this issue is the idea of “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” in reference to Hal Jordan’s current status as a once again renegade. Given Hal’s relationship with Batman I can’t help but think that Hal acknowledging the need for reputation within the underbelly of the universe. All amazing ideas but the only problem is that for the most part, we as a reader know all this information. Either through context given in previous material or just how Hal acted when in a public setting. There was no startling revelation between Hal and the corps squadron that pursued him after the events of Green Lantern issue 40.
This wasn’t a bad story by any means and did enjoy the idea of the legend vs. reality theme that Venditti was going for, I just wanted a bit more of a punch given that this was an annual. Honestly if this was a normal issue I might have enjoyed this one a bit more.
On a depressing note the art for this annual was inconsistent from start to finish. Some pages looked dynamic and brimming with life, namely when Hal was battling against the corps, but during other panels Hal’s own face will change from panel to panel, which jarred me enough to take out the story. Other panels just looked unfinished, as if the inkers didn’t have enough time to finish before DC needed this to hit the printers. The inconsistent art didn’t help a story that retreaded already established beats.
The problems I had with this issue namely had to due with the fact that this was an annual, which I’m sure isn’t up to Robert Venditti when DC comics needs an annual. The contents of the story did not meet my expectations for an annual, again due to retreading plot points and no real advancements between Hal and his crew. Some interesting ideas of legends vs. truth but not well executed.The art didn’t help this issues story.
Green Lantern Annual #4 earns a 2/5