Cover Date: 1986
Story: Steve Englehart, Mindy Newell, Paul Kupperberg, and Alan Moore
Pencils: Bill Willingham, George Freeman, Trevor Von Eden, Kevin O’Neill, and Gil Kane
Inks: Joe Rubinstein, George Freeman, Trevor Von Eden, Kevin O’Neill, and Gil Kane
Cover: Gil Kane, Joe Staton, and Bruce Patterson
Imprisoned deep within Oa, Sinestro tells the other captives many tales. First, he speaks of the MadGod Sector 3600, whom he believes is stuck in the “empty” cell beside him. The sentient sector once destroyed all life within it, and the Guardians themselves had to intervene to stop its spread. Next, mercenary Penn Maricc is hired by the Guardians to rescue an arrogant prince. He’s inducted into the Green Lantern Corps when he succeeds, but Maricc is none too pleased about being lied to. On the planet Naktos, Green Lantern Ghrelk’s senility is adversely affecting his job. Commander Varix tries to tell him this, but Ghrelk will hear nothing of it. After Ghrelk accidentally attacks allied ships and fails to stop an alien mining operation, Varix takes over as a new Green Lantern. Finally, as the sentient sector seems to stir in the neighboring cell, Sinestro tells his last tale: that of Abin Sur. Well before his untimely death, Abin was investigating a crashed ship on the world of Ysmault, where Qull of the Five Inversions told him of his fate and the eventual fall of the Green Lantern Corps. With this last story, the MadGod awakens long enough for Sinestro to escape his cell and seek vengeance against Hal Jordan and the Corps.
Unlike the previous year’s annual, this issue is an anthology. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 has gotten a lot of press in recent years, because Alan Moore’s story “Tygers” within was the blueprint for “The Sinestro Corps War” and Blackest Night. Geoff Johns took the basic story, heavily modified and retconned it for use in those massive crossovers, and their ensuing popularity has driven quite a bit of interest in this old book from 1986.
This is with good reason: “Tygers” is indeed great, but the other stories hold up just as well. We’ve got a history lesson, a hero for hire, an interesting twist on the coming-of-age cliché, and a look at things to come. Note that this annual very specifically started with the past, and ended with the future. In fact, “Tygers” contains the past, present, and future — all in the same story! The wide variety of art styles given to each tale suits them well; Sinestro and the other criminals are stuck in clean, perfect Sciencells, Maricc’s story recalls classic adventure comics, Ghrelk’s tale is grimy and spotted, and the demons on Ysmault are truly horrifying.
Also notable is the original cover, included as a pinup at the end of the issue. The piece was drawn by Gil Kane quite some time ago, but many of the Green Lanterns within it had been killed or changed in appearance before this annual was published. So, Joe Staton reworked it a bit for the new cover. Both pieces are fantastic, and kudos to DC for including the unaltered original.