Of the six Lantern Corps not colored green, I think the Red Lantern Corps would be the natural choice to headline a book of their own. So when the New 52 was announced and DC Comics put a Red Lantern book on the list of new ongoing monthly series I was immediately interested.
Since we know the Green Lantern Universe is not rebooting, the events of the Green Lantern War were for naught. Even though Hal Jordan killed the Mad Guardian Krona, Atrocitus is left to pick up the pieces of his rage embracing corps and the disappointment of not killing Krona himself.
‘Red Lanterns’ #1, for the first time featured an in depth look at how Atros of Ryut lost everything to Krona and the Manhunters. It was interesting to learn about his past, to see him with his family and to find out he was a psychologist on Ryut who only wanted to help people. This is a far cry from the leader of the Red Lantern Corps we saw during the Blackest Night.
This book wasn’t all rocking backstory and character development. The how sh-bang kicked off with everyone’s favorite blood spewing kitty Dex-Starr kicking some alien booty. While it was awesome seeing the Red Lantern of Sector 2814 (that’s our Sector if you don’t remember), it felt a little like pandering to have a huge Dex-Starr splash page right out of the gate.
If you aren’t familiar with the Red Lanterns, they are basically mindless monsters feeding on rage from past wrongs. Well all Red Lanterns except Atrocitus, which is why the most interesting part of the book was Bleez. She not only ignores an order from her leader, but she is also seen rallying the troops against him in the closing pages of the book.
The last part of this story was the attack and murder of an old man and his grieving grandsons. Both grandsons mourned in their own way, but Ray is the one full of rage and will obviously end up spurting the Red Blood of Rage (not a bad name for a Metal band if you think about it) on those who do wrong sooner rather than later. I wonder if the Red Lantern will have Red Lanterns of Sector 2814.1 thru 2814.4 like the Green Lantern Corps?
Writer Peter Milligan turned in a solid book that, while not great, opens the door to a new look at the Green Lantern Universe. I just worry about the longevity of a title like this. I feel like this story could be better told with a clear end date in mind rather than strictly and on-going series. I would also think by creating this book as a set story arch it would give the opportunity to tell the story of some of the other Lantern Corps, while leaving it open to revisit any of them when necessary.
I would recommend checking this book out, and probably the second issue too, but right now I don’t really see how there is enough story to tell for the next year or beyond. It is well written and Ed Benes and Rob Hunter’s artwork could be the part of this book that ends up being the most memorable (especially the the Dex-Starr splash page up at the front).
Red Lanterns #1
Written by Pter Milligan
Penciles by Ed Benes
Inks by Rob Hunter
Colors by Nathan Eyring
Cover by Ed Genes, Rob Hunter and Rod Reis