aaron_bourque (aaron_bourque) wrote,


Red Lanterns

I don't get why this is a series. Maybe they needed to pad out the 52 and didn't want to start with comics about Batman Inc., the heroes of Earth 2, Powergirl and Huntress teaming up, a reimagining of Dial H for Hero, a new G.I. Combat, or a Titans and Superboy spin-off.

Before the relaunch, the Green Lantern serieses had an overarcing plot about various other corps of lanterns, each centered around a different color and emotion. Red Lanterns were powered by their rage, and as anyone who is a longtime fan of and reader of the Hulk knows, any main character fueled by rage and anger needs something more to sustain a long term series. But Atrocitus, the main character and leader of the Red Lanterns lacks that depth, and it is explicitly stated that he is the only Red Lantern who is self-aware. I was despairing for this series--not because I wanted it to succeed, but because it could have been an interesting way to explore the broader DC Universe beyond Earth and the "civilized" societies normally shown. It was a faint hope, but it existed. Anyway, I was despairing for this series being another failing to seize its potential when in the third issue, the female Bleez has her sentience returned to her and after we learn about her backstory (beautiful but distant and casually cruel courtier given to a member of another Lantern Corps for torment out of revenge) the interesting thing happens.

Bleez has a different interpretation about how to go about exacting retribution against the universe for her suffering. Atrocitus is not an idiot, but his methods are rather simplistic: kill the offender. But Bleez? is willing to spare the lives of her enemies and let them suffer in pathetic fear, increasing their suffering. The third issue ends with Atrocitus realizing that he may have made a mistake giving Bleez her sentience back, as he now has more than an ally, he has a rival.

I love foils. I love having two characters with overlapping motivations who go about achieving their goals differently. And frankly, Atrocitus isn't all that interesting. Having someone else, almost anyone else for him to play off of increases the story potential trememdously, and pretty much had to happen somehow. So I'm intrigued, now, but I'm still not sure if Red Lanterns is something that needed to be a full series instead of a mini, but we'll see. It's not like it was cancelled to make room for other titles, at least.

Also, there's a strange subplot with two brothers on Earth dealing with the fallout of their father's death and their different temperaments. One or both will likely become a future Red Lantern. But for now, it just feels like padding. Still feels like a mini.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque; really, the only rage I enjoy is the rage of Profion.
Tags: analysis, comic books, essays, the new 52
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