Saturday, September 17, 2011

Red Lanterns #1 - A Review

When I first heard that a team book devoted to The Red Lanterns was one of the New 52 titles, I must admit to being confused. While Geoff Johns’ invention of an emotional electromagnetic spectrum, where different emotional states can be tapped to generate energy, was a brilliant conceit The Red Lanterns did not strike me as being a group who could be readily tapped for a mini-series, let alone a monthly series. For Red is the color of Rage, and those who possess a Red Lantern ring become possessed themselves, berserkers who turn their uncontainable fury upon everything around them. They are a group in name only, not given to teamwork nor coherent thought.

Peter Milligan masterfully explains all this for new readers, with the focus of the issue upon Red Lantern founder and leader Atrocitus. Atrocitus was one of Johns’ greatest creations in Green Lantern and Milligan conveys the characters voice perfectly in this issue. Milligan also concisely recounts the recent events of the War Of The Green Lanterns storyline in explaining Atrocitus’ current malaise and his eventually decision about what he must do now that the revenge that he sought is unattainable.

Ed Benes is probably better known for his work as a pin-up artist among the general comics-reading public but he proves to be an excellent choice for the art duties on this book. Drawing a book centering upon a non-human protagonist can be a difficult task for some artists but Benes rises to the challenge, depicting all of the various alien creatures – humanoid and non – with equal ease.

Green Lantern fans will likely see this title as a welcome edition to their pull lists. New readers who enjoy good space-opera stories or books with anti-hero protagonists will likely enjoy it as well. I know I plan to keep buying this one.

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