DC’s ‘Rise of the Third Army’ crossover has been quite the non-event. However, the threads of the various Green Lantern books come together in this latest Annual issue, as the arc (finally) comes to head.
Written by Peter Tomasi
Illustrated by ChrisCross
•“RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY” ends here!
• Thanks to the Third Army, the Guardians have shut down the Green Lantern Corps!
• Everything from the GREEN LANTERN comics from the past few months has been building to this.
• Get ready for a go-for-broke ending, which sets up the next great GREEN LANTERN event
Peter Tomasi’s initial run “Green Lantern Corps” was among the most entertaining books published by DC at the time. Since the New 52 relaunch, the series has suffered from a dull cast, bland art, and severely decompressed story telling. This annual issue is not high art by any means, but for the first time in a while, “Green Lantern Corps” is a whole lot of fun.
As mentioned earlier, Tomasi uses this annual to tie together all the threads running through the Green Lantern line. This is a large part of what makes this issue so fun, as the Green Lantern universe (under Geoff Johns’ guidance) excels when all the pieces are under the same roof. While this issue is essentially a book end to last year’s “Green Lantern” Annual #1, story threads stretching all the way back to the ‘War of the Green Lanterns’ are referenced and payed off. It’s great to see that these plot points haven’t been fallen to the wayside due to New 52.
While characters from all Green Lantern books are featured in this issue, the focus is still set squarely on Guy Gardner and his assault on Guardian controlled Oa. This gives the issue a strong through line from which all the other story threads branch off. This issue makes the most of its extra pages, with a trip into the Chamber of Shadows, the return of a deceased Lantern, a White Lantern, and a group of fan-favorite Lanterns from earlier in Tomasi’s run. Since DC insists we pay an extra dollar for these annual issues, it’s nice to see them deliver such a jam-packed issue.
However, this issue has its share of faults as well. The overarching plot is starting to feel like a broken record, retreading elements from recent Green Lantern stories. Nearly every major story has featured a cavalry of rainbow lanterns, and it was just over a year ago that we saw Guy Gardner on Oa trying to get use of his ring back. Of course, all of that pales in comparison to the “Guardians are the villains” plot line that has been running since ‘Sinestro Corps War.’ Recurring themes and and plot lines are inevitable in mainstream super hero comics, but it’s unfortunate when they occur so close together. Also, if you haven’t been following all of the Green Lantern books under the ‘Third Army’ banner, several events in this issue will come with little or no explanation, leaving you scouring the internet or back issues for insight. The biggest disappointment of all is that none of the disparate threads are resolved by issues end. This is obviously a set up for “Wrath of the First Lantern,” the next big Green Lantern story, but it would have been nice to have a little resolution, rather than just the next cog in the machine.
On the art side, artist ChrisCross does a really good job at making this book interesting to look at. Cross plays it fairly safe in regard to style and panel layout, with the most noteworthy design being a two page spread broken up by the figure of a Third Army soldier. His style is very cartoony, so your enjoyment of the issue will likely be directly proportional to how fondly you recall the days of watching super hero shows on Saturday mornings. While this style is great for depicting all of these strange and colorful characters and locales, it leaves something to be desired. For instance, his depiction of Kilowog at one point in the issue looks like something straight out of Marvel’s Super Hero Squad. Also, there are a number of times when he depicts Gardner moving his arms with numerous ghostly appendages, making it look like he has two or three extra arms, which is very confusing at first glance. Still, ChrisCross’ work is fun and full of energy, and is a welcome addition to “Green Lantern Corps”
If you’re a fan of the “Green Lantern” line, there are a lot things to geek out over in this issue. Otherwise, it’s a fairly run of the mill reminder that, “hey, sometimes comics can just be big, fun, and bombastic, and that’s OK.” Just don’t expect much else.
Final Verdict: 7.0- A lot of bang for your $4.99, though somewhat on the sloppy side.