Green Lantern Annual #4 opens in the shadows of night, as Hal Jordan seeks assistance in hiding from his powerful but mysterious pursuers. Most of the denizens of this world are criminals, and are afraid that they are going to be arrested by Jordan and flee from him. Luckily for Jordan, he has a friend of sorts in the bounty hunter, Lobo.
It isn’t long before Hal Jordan’s pursuers are revealed. They’re his fellow Green Lanterns. After this startling revelation, Green Lantern Annual #4 transitions to the present where Hal tells his story to Virgo and Trapper. After a brief intrusion by Trapper, Hal continues his tale, recounting how he used the Gauntlet to fight off multiple Lanterns, ultimately – and brutally – defeating them. The story silences Trapper, who now realizes that his current host may not be the safest being in the galaxy to call friend.
Virgo, however, sees through the ruse, and – one Trapper has left – calls Hal’s bluff. Virgo recognizes that while Hal may have fought the Lanterns, he is too kind a being to have annihilated his friends. Unfortunately for Virgo and Hal, there are other beings in the universe, ones that may very well be that cruel.
The art in Green Lantern Annual #4 is handled by Pascal Alixe and Martin Coccolo, along with a trio of colorists in Pete Pantazis, Hi-Fi, and Tony Avina. With that large a roster, one might expect either the art to be disjointed or there to be distinct sections handled by different artists. With this issue, however, the art is woven into a cohesive look. The colorists do a good job of melding their palettes so that, while the changes are noticeable to one looking for it, they aren’t distracting. Alixe’s linework is gorgeous to look at, and in addition some great character work with the tormented Hal Jordan, there’s also some good action beats.
The plot here is serviceable, answering a few questions about Hal’s past, but it still leaves some bits unanswered for future issues to explore. What really makes this issue’s story pop is the way that Venditti uses Hal’s recounting of the story to signal an attitude shift in the character. This is a Hal Jordan that’s willing to use deception in order to manipulate those around him.
The art, while very strong, does have some minor faults. Early on in the book, there are moments where Hal appears extremely feminine due to the way his facial features and hair are rendered. That isn’t in itself a problem, but the character didn’t jump out at me as being Hal, other than the fact that this character was in Hal’s clothing. It ultimately results in a distraction that may remove the reader from the story.
As stated before, the plot here is serviceable. While Venditti is able to get some great character changes, it would have been nice to see a bit more of what caused Jordan to be fleeing the Corps. The introduction to Marshal Rankk and his crew falls a bit flat. The characters have interesting designs, but they fall so easily into bounty hunter tropes that they don’t land when their moment arrives.
Green Lantern Annual #4 is an entertaining book, but its plot seems hesitant to offer real developments outside of the main run of issues. Luckily, the character work, both in the artwork and in Venditti’s script makes up for it. Pascal Alixe’s rendition of Jordan is a little unrecognizable at times, but otherwise he and the entire art team really nail a story about a man on the run and finding new aspects of himself.