Review: "Rage of the Red Lanterns" Story Arc!
SPOLIER WARNING!!! There are spoilers, SO, if you haven't read any of these and don't want to know what happens, DON'T READ THIS. Otherwise, enjoy. This covers the "Rage" storyline throughout the end of "Final Crisis" and Green Lantern issues #36 - 38.
EDIT: I had to change this to an editorial because there was no way, with all the WATCHMEN reviews, anyone was going to read this...
If you read Green Lanterns, you know that there are now several different colored Corps. Each with it's own members, Oath, rings, and emotions. The variations range from Red and Rage to Violet and Love. Somewhere around the corner there is brewing a Black Corps as well...Death!
If you haven't read Green Lantern or the Corps in a while: or ever, please, pick them up. With Geoff Johns at the helm of writing, Ivan Reis on pencils and Oclair Albert and Mei Ruffino's color-work, the story's jump. Visually vivid and dynamic, texture and showing are phenomenal. Lighting, background cell placement are top notch.
Within the first issue or the arc, the "Final Crisis" tie-in, we see the beginning of the Red Lantern Corps, starting with Atrocitus of the 5 Inversions. Aptly called so, as millennia ago, the Guardians original protectors, the Manhunters, massacred all sentients in space sector 666. Atrocitus and 5 others were kept alive and imprisoned on the planet Ysmault. After the deaths of the other 4 survivors, Atrocitus is seen swimming in a pool of blood, where the crimson liquid crystallizes and solidifies into the first Red Ring. As a Red Battery grows from the pool Atrocitus recites the Red Lantern Corps Oath; "With blood and rage of crimson red...ripped from a corpse so freshly dead...together with our hellish hate...we'll burn you all, THAT IS YOUR FATE!"
As red is powered by Rage, think of these guys as the rage infected people from 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later. Their hearts are taken over by the ring, their blood spoils and is expelled from their bodies. Their rings spew forth blood that turns to fire. They spit blood from their mouths that burn like the sun. They are vicious, bloodthirsty and their rings siphon energy from Green Rings.
Skip to Earth, Hal is with his brother Jim and Cowgirl; a vivacious blonde pilot. Hal gets a call from John Stewart about the decision the Guardians have made to have Sinestro executed (again) for his crimes. But, this time they want it to be done in public, on his home world of Korugar. He will escorted by Hal and several other lanterns including John Stewart. On the lanterns way to Korugar, they are ambushed by the Sinestro Corps and he is set free. A battle ensues between the 2 Corps. Which is hastily interrupted by Red Corps!
Deaths on the sides of Sinestro and the GL occur at the hands of the Red Lanterns. for the first time since Laira's expulsion from the GL Corps for the murder of Amon Sur in the Sinestro Corps War, Hal sees her as a rage-filled Red Lantern and insisting on helping her, he and John Stewart are burned badly by her blood-fire. Before all is lost, we are introduced to yet another color: the Blue Lantern Corps of Hope and it's first member, Saint Walker. They have the ability to charge to max capacity, the energy in the Green Lantern Rings. But they, like all others, have a weakness...
Sinestro is captured by the Red and taken back to the planet Ysmault where Atrocitus and his Corps prepare to murder him in a violent rage for his crimes…The Red Corps is made up of survivors of the death the Sinestro Corps has wreaked on the universe.
Meanwhile, The GL are being confronted by the Blue Lantern Saint Walker while he douses out the flames of rage that burn the GL comrades. Kilowog takes a shot at Saint, but it is deflected by the blue light of Hope. He calms John with a vision of his deceased wife and ex GL, Katma Tui, giving him hope they will reunite in the future.
Hal and Saint Walker transport to the home of the Blue Corps, Odym, a planet of great beauty and unhindered life, where ex Guardians Ganthet and Says are preparing the newest member of their Corps. A process which takes Days before the newest is considered worthy of the light of Hope. As we watch the ex Guardians, as the newest member, Warth, welcomes the invite we see his transformation and the Blue Corps Oath “In fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full, our souls ignite, when all seems lost in the war of light, look to the stars FOR HOPE BURNS BRIGHT!”
Wee see the Blue lanterns tell Hal that Sinestro must be kept alive and brought to Odym as he is most invaluable, and so is Hal. He is explained to that he is to become the leader of the Blue Corps, yet he is extremely reluctant to leave his post and duty as Green Lantern. As the 3 lanterns travel through space, we see the Blue Lanterns ability to use Hope to re-ignite a dying sun in it’s first stages of Supernova. They reverse the suns age by nearly 9 billions years so it may burn bright for that much longer for the people of it’s inhabiting planets.
As the second chapter fades, we see Atrocitus trying to instill fear into Sinestro, but he is unable to, until the fiery blood of rage within him are spewed from his mouth and reveal to him the one thing Sinestro has been hiding…The one thing he has kept secret from everyone…He has a daughter!
The 3rd part fades in with the Blue Lanterns trying to make Hal Jordan see their light, and try to convince him of his position that Ganthet and Sayd intend for him, as the leader of the Blue Corps. As Hal departs from the Blue’s, he travels to Ysmault where Sinestro is being held captive. He is here to rescue him and escort him back to Oa, then on to Korugar, but in the process he is ambushed by the Red Corps and his ring is drained of it’s energy. Now a prisoner, Hal is confronted again with the prospect of death as Atrocitus is set to unleash Laira’s wrath on the Green Lantern…The Sinestro Corps interrupts the party and frees Sinestro once more from captivity. He is given back his ring just as the Blue Corps show up and an epic battle of Red, Yellow, Blue and Green erupts. The rings of hope have a energy siphoning capability towards the yellow rings, as the red have towards the green. In a moment of clarity, Laira asks Hal to save her, but as she does so, she is fatally blasted by Sinestro. As Sinestro smiles and we see Hal’s rage build inside him and we also see what secret the Blue Corps is hiding about their weakness!
As Hal unleashes his Rage on Sinestro, we see a red caption box call Hal Jordan of Sector 2814. A Red Ring slips onto Jordan’s finger and engulfs him in the crimson fire of the Red Lantern Corps! Hal is transformed into a Red Lantern! He spews forth his rage toward the Blue Lanterns who are trying to help him. Unlike other Red Lanterns, Hal Jordan creates constructs out of the crimson fire they spew forth which have devastating effects. As Hal is getting ready to execute Sinestro himself, a Saint Walker steps in and places his ring on Jordan’s finger…The Light of Hope extinguishes the Fire of Rage and we see Hal transform into a compilation Green and Blue Lantern!
During the course of the story we find there is a traitor amongst one of the groups ranks. Somewhat of a puppet master behind the scenes throughout and up until the Blackest Night. We also see 2 new inductees into the Star Sapphires, the Violet Corps of Love. One is an old standard in the Sapphires, the other is a former GL and Sinestro Corps member. We see the Controllers, an offshoot of the Guardians of the Universe, find their own source of power. Their light hails from the Vega System. A place long off-limits to the GL Corps because of the Spider Guild and Guardians pact…Here, the Controllers find the Orange Light of Avarice. Greed like no other.
As the Blue defeat the Red and the Sinestro Corps flee, we see Sinestro fly off to attend to “family business” and we see Hal going to find Carol Ferris to talk. But he is informed by his old pal Tom Kalmatku, or Pieface as he used to be referred, that she has taken his plane out for a flight…This flight seems to be taking longer than usual…
I have to say, the storytelling is absolutely amazing. There are twists and turns that are unexpected. Things are not always what they seem, and it definitely keeps you wanting more. Even with all of the separate Corps shown throughout this run, it doesn’t detract from the story as a whole. The introduction of Red Lanterns is nicely performed, we get to know their leader, some prominent members, their tendencies, abilities and background. The blood spilled throughout is violent indeed, heads will roll and fly, and melt and burn etc. The undertones of how the GLs were ambushed on a mission to take Sinestro to his execution on Korugar , are not revealed directly, but you get a feeling you know who’s behind it. There are some prophetic visions in the “Origins and Omens” sub story in GL issue #38 about where some characters have been, and what’s in store for them in the not too distant future.
The colors are done perfectly. Vivid panoramic scenes which set the mood for the various locations. The different Corps colors are well defined and don’t seem at all lumped together on a big spread. The frames are well positioned and easy to follow while still giving a dynamic and moving feel to each issue. I have no complaints about this storyline and I await the next Arc: “Agent Orange” and Light of Avarice running through GL issues # 39 - 42! Stay tuned people I will have a review for that!
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