A Temporary New Beginning
I want to like this cover... but I can't. It feels like its trying too hard to capture the spirit of Blackest Night, when I think most people would groan at any near future return of the Black Lanterns. And that pun is almost groan worthy. 'Dead Lantern Corps?'
And it seems like the universe is conspiring to spite me with irony. I'v complained so much about Ed Benes 'functional yet shamefully sexualized' artwork on this series, and after the excellent previous issue, we get Tomas Giorello; whom I've never heard of or been exposed to, but, at least in comparison to the previous artists, has a style that's far too lumpy and awkward. it's not... 'terrible,' but after going from normal Ed Benes to a smooth Jorge Jimenez; going lumpy seems like a step in the opposite direction.
Bleez's opening monologue feels a little forced. I understand the need to accommodate potential new readers coming in at this point, but that doesn't excuse dialogue that feels this unnatural. But after that, ironically, its once the fighting begins that Milligan finds his voice again. Jack Moore, the Red Lantern who can contemplate, is reading the feel of rage, the music of battle. Some readers might find this a little like redundant description, but it's not. It describes thoughts and concepts that can't be displayed by artwork, finding a synch in the script between the words and the pictures, each one doing what the other cannot. Oh wait, I think I finally have to call Jack Moore Rankorr, despite the fact that it was one of many slips of the tongue he made, so his decision to suddenly be Rankorr comes from absolutely nowhere; but I think plenty of readers will be fine with it because they just accepted the ludicrous notion that he was 'Rankorr' the instant he put his ring on, simply because the cover said so. That whole time he was Jack Moore, even to himself. The sudden choosing of the name Rankorr has absolutely no justification.
Then the rest of the issue plays out more or less good enough. There's some awkwardness as the three main plotlines FINALLY collide into a new beginning, but the logic of who goes in what direction, as well as the suspicion of the puppet master behind Abysmus, all pose some interesting threads for the upcoming rebirth of the Red Lantern Corps.
In Conclusion: 3.5/5
I was going to give this a 4, but then I remembered how much the lumpy artwork bothered me, plus the general inconsistency from the past 3 issues. But this is still, overall, a better issue than a lot of the early ones; as Milligan's vision is more clear, and no longer cluttered by unnecessary padding. It's not that 'looking back it all makes sense,' all the old stuff is necessary, it's that a lot of it dragged on too long with pointlessly redundant scenes.