Filed under: Comic Reviews, DC Comics | Tags: Atrocitus, EdBenes, EthanVanSciver, GeoffJohns, NathanEyring, petermilligan, RedLanterns
The 2nd of the Lanterns titles to appear in DC’s New 52 is Red Lanterns. Originally created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver back in 2007, they’ve appeared frequently in some of the recent Lantern Corps big event
WARNING: contains spoilers.
This wasn’t going to be a softly-softly approach to a new title and that’s true from the offset. The first scene we stumble into is a strange alien race torturing a prisoner to death for kicks only to be attacked by… the Red Lantern’s cat (WTF??). You need to see it to believe it:
The cat does some damage before being subdued and that’s when we get our first glimpse of the leader of the Red Lanterns, Atrocitus, asking “What are you doing to my cat?”. Red in the GL Corps is the colour of rage and we get to see that first hand here as Atrocitus rips through the aliens who attacked his cat. We then jump to earth, the UK to be precise, and an old guy getting mugged and then assaulted as he fights back: an example of the rage throughout the universe which Atrocitus is starting to question. This theme is punctuated further with a flashback to his race being attacked on his home planet – his wife and child killed in front of him – turning from Atros to Atrocitus. The feeling of empathy towards him given his violent introduction in the issue was like flipping a switch – that’s a big HIGH FIVE to writer Peter Milligan on that front.
We flip back to the UK and see the old guy that was attacked lying in a hospital bed, grandson (Roy) at his side as another grandson (John) arrives… but he’s too late. The old guy has died from his injuries and a typical family argument breaks out between Ray & John – culminating with a few choice words being said and the declaration that they are both suffering following their grandfathers death. We flip back effortlessly to Atrocitus as he does a great deal of soul searching in the issue and his flashback of how it all began seems to be the trigger for his moment of realisation, a moment where he figures out how to use his anger for a higher purpose. He’ll focus his anger on those who cause the most harm in the universe. Only thing he’ll have to do is convince the rest of the Red Lantern Corps, who lost faith in him already during his soul searching phase.
WHAT. A. BOOK. I’ve read some of Peter Milligan’s stuff before (Sub-Mariner:The Depths, 5 Ronin being the most recent) and been impressed and looking into his career a bit more, you can see that he’s pretty much written for everyone at some stage: Marvel, DC, Vertigo, 2000AD, the works… and understandably so. Now to add to the quality in this book – I loved the artwork… It just worked so well. Just look at that two-page spread of a Red Lantern cat. Weird, but once you finish the book you kinda just accept what you’ve seen as the new ‘norm’. Ed Benes (penciller), Rob Hunter (Inks) & Nathan Eyring (Colourist) have been teamed up perfectly with Milligan and the images they have created are clean and captivating.
Roll on issue #2.
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