The war between the Green Lantern Corps and the alliance between the Khund and the Durlans has just begun and Hal, John and the rest of the Green Lanterns need allies of their own as the story continues to unfold in Green Lantern Corps Annual #2. Written by Van Jensen and co-plotted by Robert Venditti, the annual continues the ongoing saga the two writers have been weaving in the two ongoing monthlies, taking advantage of the extra page count to provide some extra narrative.
Hal Jordan has been looking for something to hit, and the arrival of the band of inmates that were released in Oa’s dying moments prove to be suitable punching bags. Chun Yull, Evil Star, Hunger Dog, Kanjar Ro, Starbreaker, Zuree and Bolphunga provide the catalyst for some fun action sequences which are woven between flashbacks to show how they came to arrive on Mogo. While the non-linear storytelling would normally be a great way to provide background detail as needed to the reader the sheer amount of jumping around the timeline in this book takes the reader out of the story. Between the flashbacks to the villains, the flashback to the fate of John Stewart’s team before they also arrive on Mogo and the still further flashbacks of the backgrounds of several of the villains and this issue has more time travel that the entire Back to the Future trilogy.
Hal’s looking for a fight and Evil Star’s new wardrobe is more than enough motivation to earn him a pounding.
While the time jumping adversely affects the pacing and hampers the readers’ ability to get invested in the story, the overall narrative is well served as we find that the old adage that war makes for strange bedfellows rings true when John convinces Hal that the once locked up scourge of the Corps would make for good allies against this new threat to the Corps. I like that Jensen and Venditti chose to use a mix of classic villains and sprinkle some new characters among them as it adds to the thought that this is a long running cosmic history and there is some mileage left to often discarded characters.
Neil Edwards provides most of the artwork for the annual, with Tom Derenick providing the pencils for the villain origins pages. The artwork is pretty good for the most part, however I was nonplussed with his rendition of the Durlans who looked far too humanoid for me.
John convinces Hal that sometimes the best ally is an enemy
The annual is a little unusual in that it doesn’t wrap up a storyline or serve as a turning point or major event as most annuals have seemed to in the past. Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 seems more like a regular issue with extra pages in that regard. What might have served the story better would have been pulling the villain history pieces out of the main story and provided them as backup stories so they would not affect the flow anymore that the rest of the time jumping did. While the book isn’t bad, the nearly constant shifting of time and space hinder the book from achieving anything more substantial than setting the stage for the hunt for the Durlan Green Lantern, Von Daggle. Three out of five lanterns.