Well fellow Lantern readers, the time has come for the penultimate issue of Lights Out and for the first time on this site, a Red Lanterns issue will actually be reviewed. The Green Lantern Corps are on the last lags and with no other option, Hal suggest to ask The Red Lanterns for help since Guy Gardner is there as a “spy” since the new creative teams take over. Now this will an interesting review as the three Green Lantern titles all had some form of proper build up towards Lights Out, Red Lanterns has kept to itself. So it’s going to be interesting to see how the creative team of Charles Soule and Alessandro Vitti handle this brief crossover. Well let’s open page one and find out shall we?
So we open our issue with a sorta recap discussion between now leader of The Red Lanterns and former Green Lantern staple Guy Gardner and Red Lantern Bleeze over the reveal of Guy’s status. Now this reviewer isn’t sure whether or not this was revealed at the end of issue 23, but the fact that Charles Soule just drops the reader in right as the scene is just great. It follows a simple rule of coming into a scene just at the right time and gives any new reader to this series enough information. It’s a excellent way to open this issue. Alessandro Vitti’s art has a hars line to it and that’s not a bad thing and rather fits for a book like this.
We are then treated to a scene that can only be described as two alpha males laying down the law against each other. It’s reminiscent of an 80’s action movie where the two characters try to out tough each other and a reader is either going to enjoy it or not. What this scene does add though (especially for people who haven’t been reading Green Lanterns) is a breath of fresh air from the normal Green Lantern books, outside of the name being different.
Alessandro Vitti’s art as stated earlier has a harsh line to each, but his characters are wonderfully expressive. These “talking scenes” could easily be simple character A and character B talk but they are stiff as cardboard. Vitti on the other hand actually makes the character feels alive by using the illusion of movement. Two examples being Guy “pointing” at Bleeze and Bleeze screeching at Guy. It’s not something that mos people will pick but it should be noted. Vitt’s talents don’t end there as his facial expressions are simply superb and add more depth to his artwork.
Guy along with Bleeze rejoin the rest of the Red Lantern Corps in their cafeteria to reveal why Guy was really there. Charles Soule uses the less is more approach as he gives readers snippets of what some of the other Red Lanterns are like but again no enough dump. In excellent comedic timing as Guy reveals that his done being a Green and is with the Reds for good, Hal Jordan shows up. It’s a bit cliche but the story has to progress somehow so why not progress it with a bit some humor.
A small note on Vitti’s depiction of The Green Lantern corps is that they all look weary and tired. Even the small tears in their uniforms is a nice touch.
However since The Red Lanterns came onto the scene back in 2008 the one Red Lantern that hasn’t shown up yet is Atrocitus himself. He has apparantly joined with The Red Entity known as The Butcher and has become The Atrocity Butcher. A bit silly but then again aren’t most things in comics. It’s an interesting place to see Atrocitus, but this small sequence fills like a plot device to get The Red Entity to eventually join up with Kyle and his host of entities.
We come back to our obligatory fight between The Reds and The Greens. One particular panel though had me cringe is where Guy Gardner sucker punches Hal and it looks like Hal has his lowered jaw broken along with his teeth, It’s a tad excessive but still fits with what has been established before in terms of artistic tone so it’s okay. As the fighting cools down Guy and Hal agree to stop fighting to talk about a compromise.
After a brief encounter of Kyle gaining The Butcher from Atrocitus we finally join our good old friend Relic at the source wall. This is where the problem of the issue surfaces. While it’s been fun and technically good, the past two issue have barely progressed the story. Which for an event that started out with a bang is a bit of a problem. One issue is okay, but to focus half this issue on The Red Lantern alliance with the Green Lanterns is a bit of momentum killer. Now that we rejoin Relic who is now trying to break the source wall down and his on his fourty seventh try Kyle joins Relic and as was established in last issue wants to “help” Relic. This is the real interesting part to see why Kyle is doing this and adds that extra bit of spice for the finale.
So finally we rejoin Hal and Guy where the terms are laid out for The Reds. With The Red Lanterns now helping, Hal and his excellent decision long term thinking skills have agreed to let Guy and his crew have an entire sector for themselves. It’s going to be real interesting to see the fallout of Hal’s recent choices once this madness is over, as he’s both stood strong as a leader but has made some questionable decisions in his brief tenure as leader.
Overall Red Lanterns was a good issue on the technical side, but fails to move the plot that much farther than the previous issue did. Hopefully Robert Venditti and Sean Chen have an explosive finale planned for next week.
Red Lanterns receives a 3.5/5
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