Review Shooter: Red Lanterns 1

Writer: Peter Milligan 
Artist: Ed Benes

DC was really careful not to call this a reboot. While a lot of books are really resetting the clock, there are a handful of titles that really aren’t changing much. One such thing is the Green Lantern line so while Red Lanterns is a completely new series for the relaunch, it builds on the history/continuity of the last few years in the Green-verse.

The idea of turning one of your villains, especially a major villain/threat, into the center-piece of their own story/comic is a difficult one to balance. On one hand, you want to retain the elements that made the character popular (you would assume popular if giving a spin-off) in the book. On the other hand, it is really hard to keep a book going if your main lead doesn’t have any redeeming qualities.

The story spends a good chunk of time humazing Atrocitus. We are given his back-story in full for the first time, or at least as much as I can remember. We are told how the mad Guardian, Krona, re-programmed the Manhunters to destroy a sector which included Astros’ home planet. We see how his wife and kid are killed in front of him. We know understand why he is full of rage and hatred.

At the same time, we see that vengeance was taken from Atrocitus (sometime during the War of the Green Lantern, continuity!), and now his thirst for vengeance which has driven his rage is in decline. He spends the majority of the issue lamenting this fact, trying to find his new purpose in life. In the end, he is able to look into the future, and define his new mission, which is to carry out vengeance across the universe for those who need it. Think of him as a hate-filled and red Spectre.

While Atrocitus’ story is the lead in the book, we are also treated to two subplots. The first deals with a member of the Red Lantern Corps who is showing some disobedience towards her leader. We aren’t really clear on the details, but the comic wraps up with a cliffhanger leading us all to know that more is to come.

Meanwhile on Earth, we witness an old war vet being mugged in the streets of London. He is knocked out with a brick, and dies before his second grandson can say goodbye. This obviously doesn’t play well with his brother who decks him. I’m not really sure which one, but I’m certain one of these two brothers will become our human lead in the book eventually.

The art in the book is pretty cool. Some truly nice panel work, I love the introduction of Dex-starr is a truly nice panel. And we get an even cooler one just a few pages later when Atrocitus  makes his way onto the scene. The Rad Lanterns are visually an interesting look because they are just boiling over with blood in their mouth.

Survival Rating: Life Support- Like I said, the problem with making a villain the center-piece of your book is making him likable while still making him a threat. So far, the first issue went too far into making him a nice character, but we know he has a dark side, which they do show, but only at the beginning. I’m curious to see how much mileage DC can get out of this book.

Recommendation: Borrow It I think its worth a read. Has some fun visual moments, but at the end of the day doesn’t need to be in your collection.

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Earl Rufus

The owner of this little chunk of the internet. Enjoys having a good time and being rather snarky!

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