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Red Lanterns #22 - The King is Red Review

5

Guy Gardner clashes over the right to lead the Red Lanterns, but when the dust clears, does he even WANT the position?

The Good

“Hey Corey, it’s Future Corey, did you know that before the year ends, not only will one of your favorite books on the shelf be Red Lanterns, but it’ll be Red Lanterns starring Guy Gardner?” That was the message that I got from the Future two months ago, and I didn’t believe it. Guy Gardner was one of my most hated characters in comics (not so much for his own characteristics, but for how seriously writers seemed to take him) and Red Lanterns wasn’t even on my radar anymore. But thanks to Charles Soule’s incredible writing and characterization, this is absolutely one the best books on the shelf and one of my favorites over the last two months. Last issue, Guy Gardner was tasked by Hal Jordan to infiltrate the Red Lanterns after their last mole was found out and harshly disposed of, a mission Guy was reticent to accept, but eventually flung himself into with incredible vigor. Now Gardner stands atop the Red Lanterns, but he has other ideas for them, besides being an ersatz leader after vanquishing Atrocitus. Soule has cut out the fat from a title that previously had plenty to spare, and worked it down to a trim, cut book in just two issues. Forget the politicking and scheming, Guy Gardner wants the Red Lanterns to have room to spread their (bony, glowing red) wings and expand. Somebody call Jordan, cause Gardner seems to have gone native in record time.

Alessandro Vitti goes out of his way to render the Red Lanterns in all their hideous, kinetic, raging glory. These Lanterns have always been the most fascinating to me, because they’re clearly the most visceral, and I do mean that literally. While all other Lanterns wear their rings to channel their power, the Red Lanterns wear theirs to stay alive, and that connection to their ring is never better exemplified than in their primary weapon of vomiting their own toxic, acidic blood on opponents. Say what you will about the Indigo Tribe’s teleportation, the Blue’s serene amplifying or even the Yellow’s horrifying constructs, there is nothing that so exemplifies what a spectrum warrior is about more than “they vomit toxic, acidic blood” and Vitti really captures how intensely hideous this act is. Gabe Eltaeb’s colors are, as always, extremely important in a book that focuses on spectrum warriors and various aliens of strange construction.

The Bad

Can’t think of any downside off the top of my head, I absolutely loved this issue.

The Verdict

Red Lanterns has turned on a dime and become an absolutely fantastic book. The idea of wreaking vengeance on a cosmic level seemed to be holding the book back, and while it’s somewhat the point, I like Soule’s solution of Guy leading the Lanterns to villains, then finding reasons to wreak vengeance against them. It makes the book feel far less directionless and had a much more driving and focussed stories which, along with the intense, hard-hitting, kinetic art makes this one of the most intense issues on the shelf.

15 Comments
Posted by darknightspideyfanboy

i love Guy smile at the end also they have a SPACESHIP SWEET!!!!

Posted by The Stegman

Finally, this series earns a spot on my pull!

Posted by theTimeStreamer

the issue was good, but the characters felt off. like they were teens at summer camp.

Posted by jwalser3

Wow! Did the Red Lanterns get a good review?!

Edited by Shieldbearer

<3 Skallox

Posted by dagmar_merrill

So.. Is atrocious dead?

Posted by The_Tree

So.. Is atrocious dead?

Nope, Dex-Starr is taking care of him. He's also being solicited for upcoming issues.

Posted by batmannflash

This and last issue have been getting 5 stars. I might have to check Red lanterns out

Posted by TitanTempest

Totally agree, I loved this and the last issue. Moving Gardner to the Reds was the best idea for the lantern group. This gives each Lantern Book a primary human to follow, and allows for the best characterization of the original Four Lanterns.

Posted by Dayvid3

I love the last 2 issues, but I haven't followed lanterns till the new 52. Is guy really in atrocitus's league to wipe the floor with him like that?

Posted by Hanson724

Good review. I've always liked this book but these last two issues have been great! Finally got a good dose of Zilius Zox and the rest of the lesser used Reds.

Posted by Mezmero

Finally read the previous issue and this one as well. As someone who hasn't read a single issue of Red Lanterns I'm loving this book. Guy is ten times more interesting as a Red. My favorite part in this issue was when he brings democracy to the Reds. So freaking cool that they have a ship to operate from now. My only question is will increasing the morale for the Reds actually decrease their power due to lack of rage? Can't wait to find out.

Posted by Joygirl

I hate all of you.

Posted by LightningTiger2190

Rankorr was a boss

Edited by bennyq

The cover was annoying though. Completely false.