Kara Zor-El is actually settling in perfectly with the Red Lanterns. Not only has she proven herself an unstoppable asset of battle, but she seems to have found a kindred spirit in Bleez. Meanwhile Skallox’s loyalties falter, but Zox’s actually calcify and we’re introduced to the newest Red that a ring finds it’s way to, and her story is the most interesting yet. Charles Soule keeps things breezy and character-driven, but introduces us to a society whose system of justice is so corrupt, that even the highest-level enforcers are for sale to the highest bidder and willing to gun down those that judge the rules. This injustice, on top of all the others, triggers rage enough for a red ring to find this denizen, but also attract the attention of another. Someone whose confrontation has been brewing since Soule took over the series. While this issue lets all the Reds shine, it’s definitely still Kara’s as she has moments that not only do a great job establishing her reticence at her new role, but actually make her look legitimately cool for the first time in a VERY long time. Meanwhile, there’s dissention in the ranks, there’s a great spin on racing for new allies to get them on your side first (think early season Beast Wars), but the book still has a strong core focus on finding one’s place in the galaxy.
Alessandro Vitti returns for the most of the linework, but for six pages he’s accompanied by J. Calafiore, who’s done pages with Vitti for this title in the past. Both do very well, generally, their styles are similar enough that the transition from one to the next isn’t terribly jarring, and Calafiore sticks with one setting in particular, making the shift even smoother. Vitti’s linework is sharp and striking, evoking the characters’ simmering rage in every panel. The characters always look tense, even the ones that have regained their sanity. Calafiore’s vicious turns are appropriately kinetic and very satisfying to read. Gabe Eltaeb holds sway over all the colors in the issue and does his usual amazing job, his palette communicating the perfect tone of bright-yet-sincere and chaotic without being confusing.
Calafiore occasionally falters, his character’s faces looking flat and lacking emotion. This may be an intentional choice based on other traits of them, but the rest of their body language has its own passion that makes this unlikely. This marks the beginning of a brief crossover with Supergirl (meaning part 2 takes place in the pages of Supergirl, not just the character appearing here), which is somewhat disappointing. I think both titles are doing their own thing and having them depend on one another doesn’t feel necessary.
We’re almost a year later, and I still can’t believe that one of my absolute favorite books on the shelf is not only Red Lanterns, but it stars Guy Gardner. This book has been on such an upswing and with the new idea of the racing for the new Red Lanterns now becoming the book’s central focus, I only see even better things from here. That’s a solid idea with longterm legs, and with Supergirl along for the ride, it only sounds better.