Green Lantern Annual #1 – Last year the fifth week of August brought us Flashpoint #5, Justice League #1, and the beginning of a new DC Universe. While DC didn’t make as momentous a change at the end of summer 2012, August’s last Wednesday was still a day for kicking off some big story lines. This annual acts a prologue to the Third Army event that will occupy all four Lantern books for the next four months and will likely result in some big changes. There are a number of revelations that take place, many of which have been hinted throughout the last year. I’ll send you over to the Podcast of Oa for a more in-depth analysis, but let me put a few predictions on record: the Guardians will be defeated (duh); Ganthet will be saved and get his personality back, Kyle Rayner playing a significant role in in this occurring; Ganthet and Sayd will retire with the Oans (Maltusians?) revealed to be concealed in the Chamber of Shadows, allowing Kyle Rayner and representatives from the other Corps to become the new Guardians (just as the title of Rayner’s book has telegraphed since it was revealed); the First Lantern won’t make it out of the cross-over intact/alive; the First Lantern was the Guardians original attempt at policing the universe and/or they discovered the First Lantern and made use of him/her, a being who had power over all colors; Hal Jordan and Sinestro will be Black Lanterns during the cross-over, but Hal, at least will prove to be able to use the powers for good. Whew.
Justice League #12 – The Superman and Wonder Woman make-out issue. While that isn’t a selling point for me, ironically it was probably the best part of this installment of Justice League. While this title receives marquee billing for DC Comics, it has consistently remained at the “bottom of my pile.” In other words, among those comics I purchase, it’s one of my least favorite. That I’m not a big Jim Lee fan doesn’t help (I recognize his talent, but his style does not appeal to me), but the main problem with Justice League, for me, has been the writing. I’ve good things to say about both of Geoff Johns other “New 52” books, Aquaman and Green Lantern, however, his first year on the big team of the DC Universe has left me a bit unimpressed. In particular, “The Villain’s Journey,” which wraps up here, has seemed a bit rote. We have a villain blaming the League for deaths ultimately caused by Darkseid (the antagonist of the first storyline) who eventually causes our heroes to face spirits that seem to be lost loved ones; none of this seemed terribly original or interesting. Fortunately, the issue ends on a promising note. The much ballyhooed hook-up between the Man of Steel and the Amazonian Princess was believable: they are both outsiders and are seeking solace in one of the few people that can understand what they are going through. We also get a few pages that essentially amounts to a preview of things to come for the title in 2013 and most of it seems more intriguing than what we’ve gotten so far so it seems I’ll be continuing to pick up Justice League.
Justice League International Annual #1 – Along with Green Lantern Annual #1 and Justice League #12, this book looks forward to the future of the DC “New 52” Universe. I suppose, then, it’s no coincidence that they are all written by Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Add in Aquaman and, boy, what a Johns-heavy week! Pencils on this issue are by Jason Fabok who will be joining Chew writer John Layman on Detective Comics (I’m a big fan of Chew; add in Fabok whose work I like and I’m excited about Detective Comics like I haven’t been since Snyder left for Batman). We’ve know for a while that this book would be ending. Unfortunately, it never really got going. It launched with the “New 52,” but never established a stasis quo before the team was shuffled and changed. One wonders whether a clear vision for the title was ever formed. Even in this issue, new members are brought in only to suffer more violent upheavals. It might sound like I am down on Justice League International, but despite all the fluctuation, there has been a lot to enjoy about the series, including several issues of Aaron Lopresti pencils. Much of this issue concerns OMAC (explaining to some extent the Dan Didio co-writer credit, perhaps) and Booster Gold, a Johns favorite. If any characters remain important to the DC Universe after this issue it is likely to be these two. Ultimately, this annual reads like a long prologue of things to come next year and your enjoyment will likely hinge upon how interested you are in the DC Universe overall.