Review by Ian Keogh
Several writers contribute to Rise of the Third Army, which is one monster of a collection, but the guiding force is Geoff Johns, his work on Green Lantern leading the plots into which other writers feed. It starts fascinatingly, with the introduction of another human Green Lantern, Simon Baz, as ever chosen by a Green Lantern ring as a worthy recipient, but suspected of being a terrorist by US government agencies. He rapidly becomes involved in the bigger picture of the Guardians of the Universe corrupted and their new mindless agents being dispatched to assimilate Green Lanterns.
That promising start, however, is rapidly dissipated, and the question needs to be asked whether this is a crossover too far for Green Lantern. Does every plot have to be Earth-shattering and encompass all associated titles? The result here is constant detours accompanied by a page or two that have a bearing on the primary plot plus the repetition of the Guardians’ new catspaws attacking assorted ring bearers in numerous scenes. Peter Milligan patently has little interest, so his Red Lanterns chapters are cursory, and Tony Bedard having Kyle Rayner reliving his past to access emotions delivers its point in a few pages, but continues to an inevitable result for so many more. Peter J. Tomasi’s works best with what lands on his plate, giving purpose to Green Lantern Corps members Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Salaak. To a greater or lesser extent they all become involved in the bigger picture, but crucially what they’re occupied with in the meantime is interesting.
There are a few duff pages, but almost all the artists pull their weight, with some doing considerably more than that, providers of the sample art Doug Mahke and Fernando Pasarin leading the way. Mahnke and the colourists also provide a neat effect for Baz as Green Lantern, rendering him brighter than others.
Hal Jordan and Sinestro have been crucial to almost every crossover Johns has initiated, yet they’re almost absent here, kept out of harm’s way as seen in Revenge of Black Hand, but eventually discovering something important. One aspect of the ending is neat, something Johns probably had in mind when a beloved Green Lantern Corps member was seemingly destroyed, but overall too much is hnaging fire. The actual ending is something most readers will have seen coming for a long time, unusually obvious for Johns, and it confirms a feeling prevalent since early on. This has been a much blood and thunder, but really nothing but a prelude for yet another massive crossover, The Wrath of the First Lantern.