Comic Vine Review

11 Comments

Red Lanterns #34 - Atrocities Part 4 of 4: Redsend Review

3

After circling one another for entire story arcs, it’s finally time for Guy and Atrocitus to collide.

The Good

This issue has an epic scope befitting the build that we’ve been experiencing since Guy Gardner seized control of the Reds and left Atrocitus to die. But before we can get to that, Atrocitus builds an all-new team of Reds under his thrall and attacks Earth, distributing rings at random and creating a legion of berserkers. That legion charges Ysmault where Bleez and Gardner have decided to make their stand. Charles Soule has a great knack for dialog and though there’s little of his sly, sardonic humor to be found in this issue. What there is are great characterizations, particularly Guy calling John Stewart just in case he doesn’t make it back. The battle between Atrocitus and Guy is also worth mentioning as having a fairly novel end to it, one that is narratively consistent and satisfying.

Both Alessandro Vitti and J. Calafiore return to end the arc they both worked so hard on and their art is a fitting and an excellent note to go out on. Calfiore has always had more of a knack for drawing the monstrous, alien faces that populate this Corps and the issue places him on pages that allow him to showcase that talent. Meanwhile Vitti handles the pages that tend to have both more human faces and more emotional impact, his attention to facial feature detail gives each moment weight. The action, regardless of which artist is handling the linework, is great with high-impact blasts and incredible kinetic force. It’s easy to follow and tells the story well. And of course I’d be entirely remiss if I neglected to mention regular colorist Gabe Eltaeb doing his usual best, making the colors explode off the page and bringing life to every panel as well as doing a great job unifying the two looks of the other artists. If I hadn’t known what to look for, I’d have scarcely been able to tell who drew what.

The Bad

This issue is all over the place in terms of its content. We go from Earth to Styge Prime to Ysmault at a breakneck pace and trump cards are pulled from an endless array of sleeves along the way. Misdirects abound as we see Supergirl left on Earth to “help” in the wake of the Reds’ destruction, but also to ensure the human lanterns don’t go too nuts. But then we see them on Ysmault no worse for the wear and Supergirl nowhere to be found. The Judge finally enters play, but her ill-defined powers are used in such a way that I don’t understand how or why what happens happens. For such a fascinating character, she leaves the title rather unceremoniously, seemingly having only existed to act as one of the many deus-ex machinas in this issue. Skallox’s constantly shifting allegiances and attachment to Shadow Thief based on having known her for so little time are also ill-defined and the fate of that character left a bad taste in my mouth. These last several issues have done a great job defining and building these characters and this one, as well as the annual, does a messy job of tossing them aside.

The Verdict

This is an unfortunate note to leave an arc that I’ve otherwise been crazy about on. It’s not a bad issue nor is it a bad ending by any stretch, but Soule has done such an amazing job up until now with these characters that I couldn’t help but feel disappointed with how things resolved here. I’m still looking forward to seeing what he does with the future of the title, and I’m a huge fan of the changes he’s made to Gardner, but this wasn’t the strongest end to a great storyline.

11 Comments
Posted by corpsecraft

Definitely can see where this review is coming from. I enjoyed it, mostly for the part at the end with Guy taking everyone's rings, but looking back at it now I realize that those characters just kinda... disappeared.

Posted by TheDJRedVelvet

Hard to stick the landing when you have a run (and overall series turnaround) this great. The review is totally on point about all the faults, but the fact that Guy went total "90's mode" with all the belt straps, spikes, and chains, I can't help but kind of like it. Hopefully, with the next arc, Soule stays on and focus a more on characterization .

Posted by BrotherEye

Think I also agree with the criticisms. Don't know whether he felt rushed because of Future's End or for other reasons but pacing felt a bit of an issue. Also, some big cast changes here... Hope Atrocitus returns...

Edited by leopardfist

I liked this issue, but I'm going to have to agree with some of the criticisms as well. I think what struck me the most was The Judge incident; likewise, I completely agree with the criticism in the review. Still, this series remains one of my favorites and has kept me looking forward to each--I can only hope it remains to be good now that this event has ended.

Posted by timelord

I just get the sinking feeling after God Hand Charles Soule is going to wrap up his run on the book or end it.

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Posted by DedrabbiT

It was a bit crazy but I enjoyed it thoroughly haha.

Posted by webheadcomics

Im don't understand how Guy didn't die when he took off the ring. Does he just have so much rage that the part of the red lantern lore doesn't matter?

Posted by TruthTeller

In new guardians kyle mentions that hes the only one that can communicate with lanterns of other rings because of his own ring. So it was weird to see guy talking to john since they have different color rings.

Edited by kilowog52

@timelord: I was thinking the same thing. Except it's called "Godhead" It will start in October and I am really looking forward to it. But it seems that Soule has completed the story he was telling with the Reds, so unless he has a whole another one, it might be a good time for him to leave the title. Whether or not the title is cancelled at that juncture remains to be seen as well. But it's always struck me as odd that the Reds have had their own series for so long while other Corps haven't. And they really have never needed their own series. We've gotten some of their stories, but if this title were cancelled, I wouldn't particularly miss it. I've agreed with the people who were saying from the beginning to have just one series that showcases different colored Lanterns in different arcs. That way all the Corps are represented equally without DC having to use up six more of their 52 slots.

@undeadpool: When you said, "and the fate of that character left a bad taste in my mouth." were you referring to Skallox or Shadow-Thief?

Hey! On another note, does anyone remember when everyone was so upset because Fialkov wasn't going to write this book after he was originally slated to? That feeling certainly turned around once Soule go going, huh?

Posted by BlueBeetle1
Edited by SupBatz

"These last several issues have done a great job defining and building these characters and this one, as well as the annual, does a messy job of tossing them aside."

Perfectly said. If Soule had taken the time to service the characters rather than rushing into this conflict between the Red Lantern factions, I would have liked this arc much better.