Comic Vine Review

15 Comments

Red Lanterns Annual #1 - Atrocities Part 3 of 4 Review

3

The civil war splitting the Red Lanterns comes to Earth. The battle lines are drawn and the first shots are fired.

The Good

This is the first annual in the RED LANTERNS’ run, which I think speaks very well for the direction the series has headed in the last dozen or so issues. Charles Soule’s characterizations of the previously directionless, borderline-cyphers that the Reds previously were is one of the most refreshing, best case scenario changes that a comic can undergo. This issue doesn’t bring an end to the conflict introduced when Guy Gardner joined the Red Lantern, but it definitely brings the storyline to a head in dramatic fashion. The longform style of an annual works to spotlight a ton of characters, some of whom have direct connections to the book as well as newcomers. Gardner still takes center-stage and is written perfectly, still making it up as he goes, still driven and determined and still not losing his sense of humor, despite how badly things go. Zox also gets to shine wonderfully in one of the most emotionally resonant moments, tinged with JUST enough humor, yet seen in the series.

Series cover artist contributor Miguel Sepulveda brings his linework to interiors and, for the most part, his visual designs are everything the book needs. Sharp, clear and kinetic are the three words that come to mind, and three words that typify the tone of the series thus far. When his pages work, they work incredibly well with an extraordinary level of detail, particularly where mass destruction and battle are concerned. Another highlight is the reveal of Atrocitus and his new Lanterns in a two-page spread (with some panels underlined). Seeing these new horrors in such detail sends shivers down the spine. Chris Sotomayor handles colors and handles them extremely well. I’ve mentioned before that DC has a great habit of choosing exactly the right colorists for the LANTERN books and this issue is no exception. It’s a bit grittier than previous issues, but it matches the subject matter to a tee and lends breath to the images.

The Bad

When Atrocitus’ new rings went out they found Kara Zor-El and the Judge, both of whose stories we got to see. There was certainly the promise that these newly minted Lanterns, and the ones the other rings found, would be the new foci of this title: Atrocitus and Gardner scrambling to find, and recruit, the new Reds to their cause. Unfortunately it looks like Atrocitus simply found all the rest and recruited them off-panel, giving us a new series of Lanterns that, while amazing to look at, have no connection to the reader nor the title at large. We also see massive damage inflicted upon Earth, at the level of a large crossover event. Major cities are attacked, major landmarks obliterated, Atrocitus comments on the massive death toll and...it all rings hollow at this point. Obviously destruction is becoming more and more par for the course for superhero stories, but this is incredibly sudden and seemingly far-reaching with little-to-no acknowledgement paid to the human toll in this or any other title. Of course Atrocitus and his forces wouldn’t care, but Gardner seems barely phased by any of it either.

The art falls into about a 50/50 quality standard. The parts that work are gorgeous, the parts that don’t are flat and dull. Character facial qualities also change a great deal, in one panel Supergirl looks like her usual youthful, vibrant self but in the next few she becomes increasingly oddly proportioned until she winds up looking almost ape-ish.

The Verdict

I liked this issue overall but I was also disappointed that the potential Red stories were cast aside in favor of a quick pay-off. I think the longform style of the issue actually benefits it and allows the pace and drama to develop organically, but there’s so much that feels like it was skimmed over. My feelings on this series are well-known, but the problem with setting a high bar is the continuous need to clear it and in this way the issue falters. I’m still looking forward to seeing where the finale goes and I’d still recommend any fans pick this issue up as it does a good job of continuing the storyline.

16 Comments
Posted by BrotherEye

Loved this issue so was kind of surprised to see 3 stars but when I read the "Bad" they do make sense. You don't feel a connection to the new Reds and it's true that the destruction done to Earth feels kind of hollow. But beyond that I felt this was great. Great come back issue for Atrocitus. So, for me, I would give it 4/5 stars. Though considering the developments... kind of worried this book is heading towards an end soon. Hope I am wrong as I rank Red Lanterns as the strongest in the Lantern Family of books.

Posted by Rixec

I enjoyed this annual and thought it was an emotional and fun ride. I truly care about these characters and they really up the stakes. The thought of the damage made being used for a crossover does sound intriguing and would have been fun to see, though it might have been hard for Red Lanterns to be the lead book in such event, no matter how enjoyable it is. Still, the thought of it is amazing. Sure, there were a few art moments that were off but I didn't let it distract me from what was happening. 5/5 for me.

Edited by timelord

I agree with the art especially in regards to Kara. She looks fine one panel then completely out of whack in the next. But a fantastic fast paced read every ones interactions where spot which is what I have come to expect from Soule.

I sadly don't see this book lasting much longer everything is building up to a natural conclusion it's going be hard to top it.

Posted by micah

Glad to see that this series is still on track. I wonder what will happen next since the series seems to be moving toward a natural finale.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber

Loved the pre 52 reference about Batman one shotting Guy "Maybe in another Universe"

Posted by neiliusprime

I kinda felt the same way too. A little disappointed because I was expecting a bit more because this is an annual issue, but still enjoyed reading this. Can't wait to see how this ends.

Posted by BatmanOnTheMoon

I'm really going to miss Zox. Since he's just some random Red Lantern it's not likely he'll be resurrected... ever. Good night sweet prince.

Posted by DatHomieSilverSurfer

pissed about a certain awesome character and a certain outcome of said character in this story...but great read still

Posted by LarryAshlynn

I'd give it a 4/5

Posted by ClawFist

Yeah, I felt pretty much exactly the same about this title. Art issues, and for such a grand story, it felt off cause I was suddenly expecting the justice league or other characters jumping in to help protect Earth. It was odd not seeing that when you see Atrocitus's ambitious plan. It felt like he attacked another planet with no super heroes on it. That said, the ones that did make an appearance were pretty awesome. One-punch reference, funny, and I'm glad to see a relationship between Guy and Supergirl developed. I mean out of everyone that hates him, he needs someone that likes him that isn't a Lantern (even if Supergirl was a Lantern.) So that was nice, and I hope their trusting friendship is continued from now on.

I agree with this scoring, but I hope the story isn't exactly headed where it feels like it's headed. I like Guy's group, and he's helped really flesh out the Red's. It's my favorite Lantern book.

Posted by kazekaine1

This was a 4/5 for me and was the best read IMO yesterday

Posted by Knightfall225

4/5 this issue got me so hyped for the finale. i truly care for these characters and poor Zox. Guy Gardner is really shining in this series.

Posted by Justthatkid

I think Guy makes the perfect Red, I heard he'd become a Blur lantern soon doesn't sound as good for him to me, and I was alittle at a what point where he said I think I get this thing now. When he's been showing anger an frustration before and in the same issue Supergirl telling him that he should let go.

Posted by andrewwann7

I have to agree with this review, the dialog a characters are great as always, but the sudden destruction is very off-putting and empty, the eiffel tower gets destroyed like no big deal, and the world is being devastated. A lot of the DC books have all the characters dealing with the huge after effects of the devastating events of Forever Evil, and within a couple pages the Red Lanterns do twice the damage the crime syndicate did and I guarantee you it is not gonna effect any of the other DC books. Its just kind of underwhelming and takes all the shock and aw out of these huge destruction scenes. Batman is fighting off Reds left and right while his city is being destroyed, but you aren't gonna see those repercussions in his books...like ever...

Edited by kilowog52

I have really enjoyed the ongoing humor in this book over the word "testicle."

About that complaint that the we haven't connected to the new Reds. I feel like that was done on purpose because they're all gonna get mass-killed off soon.

And what's up with how many times this Barg guy dies and turns up alive? Hopefully no more.

And this series is now going into the Godhead crossover with all the other Lantern books. And be sure to reserve you copy of the one-shot "New Gods: Godhead" which will serve as chapter one of the crossover on October first, at you local comics store.