GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL is a game changer. If you're a GREEN LANTERN fan this is a must read. A lot of insanity happens in this issue, and it turns the GL Universe on its head.
This issue is chalk full of Black Hand. It seemed like he was almost getting through to Hal Jordan in this issue as well. He's become quite the creepy villain, and I loved seeing him try to manipulate Hal here. Black Hand has truly come into his own this volume, and finally, he's not someone else's puppet for once.
Get ready because there's a lot of new ideas and things thrown at you. It's almost like you're reading a brand new series in a brand new universe. It's an incredibly refreshing take on this series. I loved the idea of the Chamber of Shadows and the Guardians of the Chamber of Shadows for one big reason: it makes the Guardians of the Universe look even worse. These guys (Guardians of the Universe) are failures but not for the reasons they think they are. This all leads to a team-up you will not believe.
The idea of the Third Army is very cool. It feels like a plague more than anything else which fits into the scheme, in a sense. The Manhunters were robotic. The Lanterns were an actual living, breathing, life-form, and the Third Army comes off as this mindless disease that just infects. Brilliant.
The ending of this issue is what really had me though. I loved that it leaves so many questions open-ended about what will happen later on down the road with these characters and these concepts. I do not want to spoil anything big here, but it gets pretty crazy in this issue.
My biggest problem is that this annual issue ties directly into the main GREEN LANTERN story line. To me, annual issues should be stand-alone or separate enough from the main story (BATMAN ANNUAL 1) to seem like it's a stand-alone issue. The only people who can truly pick this up and enjoy it are those who are already reading the main book. This shouldn't be an annual issue. It should be part of the main series.
The first page we see a member of the Third Army, it looks pretty cool, but in the pages that follow, it just looks a tad silly to me. I like the Third Army idea, but not so much the design.
Although I feel this should have been a stand-alone issue (as an annual) and not a tie-in to everything else in the GLU, which you really need to read to understand everything else going on in this book, I was incredibly satisfied with this issue. So much happens here and I loved every second of it. There's some great moments with the Guardians of the Universe and the Guardians of the Chamber of Shadows, and also with Black Hand facing off against Hal and Sinestro. We get some cool new concepts in this issue and a great set-up for the next story line. The only other part I didn't like was that at times, members of the Third Army looked a bit dopey.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue.