Release Date: January 9, 2013
Cover Date: March 2013
Story: Keith Giffen
Art: Scott Kolins and Andrei Bressan
Cover: Scott Kolins
While Arkillo and Saint Walker investigate the remains of a Third Army attack, Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris travel to Zamaron to seek the counsel of the Star Sapphires. Kyle is brushed aside to train with a hulking Star Sapphire, and their queen sends the other Lanterns to the Tenebrian Dominion to break the Guardians’ nonaggression treaty with Lady Styx. They figure her reprisal will help push back against the Third Army, and they’ll need deep cover Green Lantern Jediah Caul to get the Lanterns in. Jediah hooks them up with smugglers, but the seedy group sells out Carol to a game show called The Hunted once they arrive in Dominion space. Saint Walker and Arkillo threaten Jediah into helping her, but it’s of no use; they’re forced to flee Dominion territory while Jediah himself is captured and thrown into The Hunted.
I had high hopes for this book, but as with a lot of recent Lantern comics, I was let down. As a science fiction story, Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1 was okay. As a Green Lantern story, it was terrible. The title character was only there for a few pages, and even then, he was quite literally brushed aside and ignored! (Which is exactly how many DC Comics powers-that-be have treated Kyle in general over the past decade.) I understand that the whole point of this annual was to set up the storyline in the upcoming series Threshold, but this was a piss-poor way to do it, especially at the expense of Kyle’s story. He’s supposed to be learning to master the violet light; is that shit actually going to be handled off-panel?!
Even the other Lanterns don’t get off easy. Carol’s got some fight in her, but she was taken out far too easily. Saint Walker and Arkillo seemed like a forced pair of buddy cops, and the disguises they wore with nothing short of ridiculous. What about the new guy? Instead of a mysterious deep cover Green Lantern, Jediah just comes off as an unrepentant asshole. (The finest scene in the book was when Arkillo rightfully knocked him on his ass for being worthless.) I’m assuming that will change in Threshold, but his introduction was still terrible. And how the hell did the Zamarons even know about him if he was off the Guardians’ radar?
The art for this annual was split right the middle. Most of Scott Kolins’ pages were great, with only a few missteps. Andrei Bressan’s work just wasn’t up to snuff, and Arkillo in particular just looked awful.
It’s a shame that this double-sized issue turned out so badly. It could’ve been a great stepping stone, but it ended up being a total waste of the Lantern characters, not to mention a blatant insult to Kyle.