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Red Lanterns #24 - Lights Out, Part Four: Blood Brothers Review

4

Hal Jordan has no choice but to pull his undercover agent out of hiding to enlist the Red Lanterns in stopping Relic. But has Guy’s cover worked too well?

The Good

When he took over Red Lanterns, it sounded like Charles Soule was initiating my own personal comics apocalypse. He was taking a book I cared little about and slotting in a character I actively disliked. However, he seemed to get at the heart of who Guy Gardner is, an eternal second-fiddle with the ego of a headliner, and not only acknowledge that, but use it to fuel a massive amount of character development. He also finally revealed Gardner's over-the-top machismo as the laughingstock it should be, rather than having everyone excuse, or even respect, it. Make no mistake: Red Lanterns is now Guy Gardner’s book, and I for one have been overjoyed to be wrong about my initial worries. But now with Lights Out and Relic carving a swath of pure terror across the galaxy, the Red Lanterns may ALSO be the only hope to stop the mad cosmic being as he can drain both rings and central batteries dry. The Red Lanterns' connection to Ysmault’s blood lake as well as spectrum energy being their greatest advantage against him. But when Hal Jordan shows up and demands Gardner fall in line, the undercover agent discards his previous ties and asserts himself a Red Lantern through-and-through. This leads to Jordan and Gardner going a couple of rounds (at this point, I’m starting to think it’s Hal’s fault for getting into all these fights…) before settling down and talking it out. Soule has taken a bunch of characters that I wouldn’t be able to tell you one thing about and, in absolute record time, given them personalities and even hobbies of their own. He writes Guy Gardner so well that I, a dyed-in-the-wool hater of all things Gardner (except when he was being written as a jingoistic parody), have grown to tolerate, even LIKE, the character. This guy knows his stuff.

The linework of Alessandro Vitti makes a welcome appearance here with his jagged outlines and harsh shadowing giving every character an air of understated viciousness, even the non-Red Lanterns. And while I was ready to take Bleez’s pantless costume to task for its cheesecakiness, there’s a shot of Hal Jordan that...well, I’ll just say Hal certainly has nothing to be shy about under his skintight costume either. It’s even front-and-center, saucily framed in the panel, so I’m going to call this one a wash and say well done, Alessandro! That aside, the characters have that same perma-scowl that’s made this book so consistently hostile in its tone, which works for a bunch of freaks powered by rage. Colors by the omnipresent Gabe Eltaeb are, of course, a delight alongside these sharp lines, as I’ve said before, color in these books is paramount as it’s always a central theme. So it’s a great thing having a veteran like Eltaeb because every page and panel looks gorgeous and springs off the page.

The Bad

This issue is highly entertaining, but it feels like its spinning its wheels a great deal. We see Atrocitus and Dex-Starr lose the Red Entity they only gained in the last issue, which makes the whole thing feel like it was something of a waste last time around. All it’s served to do is put Atrocitus’ sights on Kyle Rayner, a person he already wasn’t terribly fond of. We get some good development in the beginning and at the end, but the rest of the issue feels like it could’ve been resolved in a few pages. I also wasn’t kidding about Hal flying off the handle a little too easily lately. I get that he’s under a great deal of pressure, but he’s now started brawls with both Kyle and Guy when he needed their help, and it’s a fine line to walk between him being headstrong and being a jerk.

The Verdict

Red Lanterns actually stands fairly well on its own, despite being a part of (yet another) Green Lantern cross-over. Soule has done a great job of having the Reds strike out on their own in very few issues, and the end of this issue makes it clear that, after the dust has settled, that may be truer than its ever been. I’m intrigued to see what this means for the future of the series, and this issue still stands up well enough, even if not terribly much happens and it cancels one of the most interesting developments from the previous issues, I’m still invested, and impressed, enough to highly recommend it.

12 Comments
Edited by RedhoodFlashLantern

5 stars for me loved it

Posted by Wilbertus

Only picked up Red Lanterns after some of the corssover events, but this is one helluva book! I am loving the Lights Out event too. Thus, this was a great comic for me :)

Posted by lifeboy

Skin tight on women? Yes, it works!

Skin tight on men? No, doesn't work.

Posted by jwalser3

A great issue. But I felt it was kinda of odd that the Red Lanterns, a group of raging venganced filled Lanterns, had a little meeting room.

Posted by Ando123

A perfect issue :) can't wait for the next month :D

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Edited by timelord

When I started reading Green Lantern Guy was my least favourite Lantern. In four issues he has now become my favourite now that's impressive.

One thing that is bugging me though is that I wish the Lanterns would find out about Earth already. So much for protectors of the universe when they cant even keep track of their own members home planet's.

Posted by Dernman

This is a good issue out of a series thats mostly been abysmal.

Edited by Mezmero

Really enjoyed all the Red Lanterns parts of the story. Guy Gardner is so cool as a Red I can't stand it. The Lights Out stuff was sort of meh though I get what they're trying to set up. Atrocitus side story has been kind of lame. I'm starting to wonder if it would have been cooler to let him stay dead.

Posted by Extremis

Only picked up Red Lanterns after some of the corssover events, but this is one helluva book! I am loving the Lights Out event too. Thus, this was a great comic for me :)

me too! And I got to agree I'm very impressed with this book. I'm going to start picking this up on the reg.

@mezmero said:

Really enjoyed all the Red Lanterns parts of the story. Guy Gardner is so cool as a Red I can't stand it. The Lights Out stuff was sort of meh though I get what they're trying to set up. Atrocitus side story has been kind of lame. I'm starting to wonder if it would have been cooler to let him stay dead.

Yeah I feel, and im surprised more people haven't mentioned it, that this mini crossover event was a way to introduce readers of Green Lantern to the other books since they have new creative teams/directions now. I got to say, I'm loving Guy as a Red Lantern. It's a nice fit and makes his characterization very compelling.

Props DC. This Light's Out event has already got me adding Red Lanterns to my pull. Soule and Vitti are doing a great job! I give this 4/5 easy.

Posted by CrimsonAlchemist

The "REDS" and the "GREENS" this issue was awful and people thought Milligan's run was stale talk about a downgrade.