A Green Lantern story written by Andy Diggle. A Green Lantern story drawn by Mike Perkins. A self contained Green Lantern comic by Diggle and Perkins? Why, that all sounds like a recipe for a great read now doesn’t it? Let us venture on yonder to see if my excitement for the credits matched the actual publication. Potential spoilers ahoy.
I have to come clean to you good people. I am a fully functional biased comic fan. I wear it on my sleeve like a badge of honor. If a creator does me good, I will sing their praises until they do me wrong. Grant Morrison is one of those few creators who’s track record is so impressive that you no longer have to sing their praise, the sheer dropping of the name is quite enough. Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl has me singing praises til this day and that was about ten years ago. I say all that to say, Andy Diggle is one of those creators whose work I have been enamored by for quite some time. I won’t take this time to go back into his bibliography and break it down, but I will say, go read up. Become a fan. I am. And so with that biased view, I came into this annual with semi-high expectations.
My expectations would have been higher if I had ever seen Diggle tackle space before. Diggle doesn’t disappoint. Period. He grasps onto Jessica Cruz so smoothly its as if he has been writing her alongside Tim Seeley and Sam Humphries. Diggle crafts a story that starts off as bland as can be (OMG Lanterns show up and see nothing but rocks everywhere. OMG those rocks used to be a planet) but he quickly moves on from it and twists it into a surprisingly simple yet thoughtful tale. Certainly a story that couldn’t be told in a single issue or two. Maybe two. Though I imagine that would be dragging out scenes that were perfectly paced throughout this issue.
Are there flaws in the story? Sure. But all of them are nitpicks and this reviewer is certainly above reaching that low to knock a comic down. Diggle even finds a way to make Hal Jordan and John Stewart cameos work. Nothing in this annual issue steps on the toes of what’s going on now or what has come before. It just works. My only gripe is that while Diggle’s handling of Jessica was impressive, he pretty much pushed Simon to the curb to play comedic relief. That sucks. Even if you’re not a Simon Baz fan, no co-star should be regulated to the sideline like that. Not in an annual issue.
I’ve gone too long without discussing the art in this issue. Mike Perkins is on the pencils and inks, Andy Troy on the colors and Dave Sharpe handled the lettering. Mike Perkins draws some creepy aliens. For sure. For sure. I’m pretty convinced that Perkins and Troy could easily turn this Green Lantern story to a Nightmare on Elm Street sequel worthy of the original. It’s not just the aliens either. The tone of the scenery was almost chilling. When Jessica is alone is space, I could sense the danger coming a mile away, not because it was cliched or telegraphed poorly, but because the colors painted an eerily view of space. It’s a rare thing when backgrounds help tell the story, but boy is it a treat when they do.
The difference between Simon and Jessica heading down to this planet and Jessica being pulled into its core, is a perfect yin/yang contrast. I still have my doubts that Mike Perkins will be a great fit for the ongoing series (when he takes over with Dan Jurgens post Seeley run), but this definitely helped ease that concern. Facial expressions are on point, but the (granted limited) action feels stiff and the body language suffers from the typical superhero pose that makes you question why your body can’t contort like that.
All in all, this was a good smooth fast paced read. We really had a three act story that was well constructed and was climaxed with a Karaoke invitation. How could I not praise this issue with a moment like that?
Green Lanterns Annual #1 (2018) earns a 3.5/5