This article (read: RANT) includes spoilers for Red Lanterns #16. If you haven't read it yet, and actually care about it, go read it before moving onward. If you don't care about it, or have already read it, read on.
So, people who know me and follow my posts know that I am a Red Lantern fan – a big Red Lantern fan.
Maybe the biggest Red Lantern fan.
Or the only Red Lantern fan, it's hard to tell sometimes.
I have defended the title from the very beginning against overwhelmingly negative reviews. Cast aside accusations about the title being wayward and poorly written. I have genuinely enjoyed it since #1, I love Atrocitus and Dex-Starr, and I ADORE Bleez. I have (as far as I can tell) read her every single significant appearance. As can be seen in my lists, she is my second-favorite character, behind only Harley Quinn (who has seen enough abuse in the last two years).
So what if the title is wayward? It's using some very new characters, and has up until this point been doing so nicely. Atrocitus is the brooding, sullen, tortured, savage mastermind. Bleez is the cold, haughty, imperious, sarcastic second-in-command. Rankorr is the privileged nancy-boy.
But, more and more, I am starting to suspect that Peter Milligan's first dog's name was “Jack”, and that his mother's maiden name is “Moore”, because Rankorr has become the biggest Mary Sue I have ever seen in my life.
Reasonings? I have many.
Intelligence: Rankorr became the first human Red Lantern a while back, Milligan's only actual addition to the roster. Now, generally, the instant a RL gains the ring, they lose their mind. Become mindless, raging maniacs – or at least, until they get dipped into the Blood Ocean. The only character besides Atrocitus to show sentience before the Blood Ocean dip was Bleez, who, while still borderline-mindless, had enough intelligence left over to retain her ambition and arrogance.
Rankorr, on the other hand, has none of these problems. He attracts a red ring but pretends he doesn't have it, he retains full human intelligence without assistance from Atrocitus or anyone else. He's just better, because why not?
No reason has ever been given for him retaining his intelligence.
Constructs: Rankorr can make constructs. Magically.
Now, he isn't the first RL to make constructs – before the reboot, Bleez was clearly shown being able to make simple constructs and use them to great effect.
But not anymore. Milligan has specifically retconned that because nobody is allowed to make constructs besides Rankorr. Only he can, because he's the best, and if anyone else could do things Rankorr can he wouldn't be as super-duper-special as he obviously has to be.
This has also led to him being 'special' among Atrocitus and the corps. Big Red offers him special tasks because of his constructs, which are strange, foreign things to him, apparently. He gets to be the golden boy... just because.
No reason has ever been given for Rankorr being able to create constructs. Apparently, the secret is in his blood, however. Or at least Bleez guesses.
Too Sexy For His Ring: Rankorr's sexiness and coveted constructs are so powerful that they can easily destroy years of character development and personality. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, here – he has been acting like a Mary Sue since he first appeared, and I found it distasteful but I tolerated it. Now, he is bringing other characters down so that he can look better than them.
Most recently, in Red Lanterns #16, Bleez utterly subjugates herself before him, willing to desperately whore herself out to him in order to get some of Rankorr's blood, which will magically give her the ability to make the constructs she could already make before the reboot.
This was a moment I was waiting for as Jack Moore became a more and more insufferable author avatar who was perfect at everything. The moment when Milligan uses one of my favorite characters to become his personal sex-pet.
It was worse than I had even expected.
I was waiting for Bleez and Rankorr to bump uglies --- it was an absolute inevitability that I knew was coming. But it was worse. So much worse. Bleez tries to buddy up to Jack, saying she knows he wants “what she's selling” and doing a few sexy poses to entice him.
A little history on Bleez first, for those who are unfamiliar with her. Bleez's backstory involves being savagely (and really creepily) gangraped and tortured. Before that, she refused to take a suitor, being too proud to be itemized purely for her beauty. After becoming a Red Lantern, she was sensual – but not sexual. The mask she uses is to hide her face, and her sensuality is more closely tied with her intense, sadistic bloodlust. The closest she has come to a meaningful relationship was with the Star Sapphire Fatality, who offered to convert her to the Violet Corps and show her the way of Love. Despite being close to Fatality, Bleez ultimately declined in a violent fashion, showing that she is still tortured after her subjugation by the Sinestro Corps. She is an interesting character because she is both cold and fiery at once – this inaccessibility is part of her charm.
However, it did nothing to prevent her from trying to spread her legs for Rankorr.
Instead of taking her up on the deal, however, Rankorr says he “can't trust her with constructs” and flies off in disgust, leaving her screaming out in spite like a spoiled child.
This entire affair is nauseatingly out of character for her, and cements firmly in my mind that the writer of this title is willing to do anything – ANYTHING – to make Rankorr the best ever, even if it means destroying the characters Milligan didn't create.
And the more he does it, the more I hate Rankorr.
I'll keep reading until #18, which the solicits claim will have a “fight to the death between Bleez and Rankorr”. After that, we'll see if I keep reading this, now that my favorite character has become a spoiled sex-doll with no shame. I'm sure Rankorr will be leading the Red Lantern Corps by #20 at this rate.
Unless either Milligan gets a clue, or we get a new writer on the Red Lanterns title.