This issue is exactly what I've been waiting for. It's been years in the making. Ever since Johns took over the GREEN LANTERN book, pre-52, I've wanted to see the Guardians get the snot kicked out of them, and over the years, we've seen them become the enemy. This annual issue let's the reader see what they deserve to see: justice... space justice.
This is more than just an annual issue for the GREEN LANTERN CORPS series. It's an annual for all the Lantern books. The best part about that is that you don't have to be caught up on all the books to really enjoy this issue. I haven't been reading CORPS or RED LANTERNS, and I feel completely comfortable with this issue, and while I may have some small questions here and there about some of the things going on, it's not enough to deter my enjoyment of the overall issue.
Overall, what I enjoyed most about this issue was the page layouts for these fight scenes. I know that may sound a little weird, but the way artist CrissCross puts together these fight scenes is very creative with a dash of epic, cinematic elements. There's a fantastic scene, where a bunch of the Lanterns come together, where the panels, width-wise, are shorter but the length goes from the top to the bottom of the page as a mass message goes out to them. It's a very cool scene and the way it's laid out reminds me of the "call to arms" scene in every great action film.
Seeing all the lanterns, from all the different books, brings a big, dumb smile to my face. It really worked out well, and I liked how the other GL stories weaved together here, from Simon Baz and B'Dg with the Book of Black, to John Stewart and Fatality dealing with Mogo's core, to Kyle Rayner leading his own fight. Writer Peter Tomasi does a great job here with connecting all the pieces into one epic issue. It's nerdtastic.
The ending to the issue is fantastic and a great lead in to Wrath of the First Lantern, which will hopefully be a great companion peace to the Third Army story line. We get a small glimpse into the First Lantern's power, which we have been seeing all along, since it's his power that the Guardians used to create the Third Army. I have a feeling things are only going to get worse, and I'm very excited for this next arc.
I don't like the redesign of the Manhunters. I guess I'm a Manhunter purist.
I'm not reading RED LANTERNS, and I'm not the biggest fan of it, but I really would have liked to see a bit more inclusion of the Red Lanterns. Sure, it's not truly their battle, but I would have liked to see at least a little bit of blood vomit on these pages.
Again, I don't like the Third Army, mainly the design. The idea of them being a tool for the Guardians is cool, but I don't think I was ever truly sold on the threat of the Third Army.
This was a fantastic Annual issue, and I love the fact it's not a stand-alone issue and that it ties into a bigger story arc. This really is the issue we've been waiting for as the Guardians and the Green Lanterns go head-to-head. The battle is fun and fulfilling, and the page layouts for the actual battle were pure eye candy. Lastly, the lead up to the next story arc is pretty darn good and it got me very excited to see where this series is going and how it will end.. On the down side, I wasn't a big fan of the Manhunter redesigns, and I would have liked to see more from the Red Lanterns.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue.