With Ed Benes gone the Red Lanterns start a new era with the book's new regular artist, Miguel Sepulveda. Sepulveda brings a fresh take on the Red Lantern Corps and this debut issue is an indication of things to come I think we are in for a treat in the coming months. Issue ten of Red Lanterns is the second part of a crossover with Stormwatch, another book that features the Peter Milligan / Miguel Sepulveda creative team. In Stormwatch issue nine Skallox met up with the Stormwatch team and didn't fair too well, losing his ring hand and ring in the process before being put in stasis for observation. Red Lanterns issue ten follows up on this plot while also advancing some of the other subplots that Milligan has been juggling for several months now.
The Story -
In space Rankorr finds himself bullied all over again by members of the Red Lantern Corps until Bleez inserts herself in the confrontation and breaking it up before admonishing the human for his attitude about the state of their central battery. Meanwhile Atrocitus and Dex Starr hunt down Abysmus and find their way to hyperspace and The Eye of the Storm, aka Stormwatch headquarters.
Inside their base the team has been studying Skallox's power ring and comparing it to the rings of the Green Lanterns and studying the biological changes to Skallox. When Atrocitus breaks through the hull Skallox comes to in this tank, sensing the presence of his master before the Martian Manhunter, Apollo and Midnighter launch an attack on the Red Lantern leader.
|The art team on this issue really bring the chaos of the battle to life|
Midnighter leaves the fray and encounters Dex Starr, whose predictable, straightforward frontal attack is rewarded with a fist which knocks the feline unconscious. Atrocitus continues to wreak havoc and when J'onn J'onnz tries to tries to enter his mind the rage of the Red Lantern is too much for him although the brief contact allow the Martian Manhunter the opportunity to bear witness to the source of Atrocitus' great anger.
Atrocitus senses Skallox's ring and realizes that he isn't any closer to finding Abysmus, but the ring is able to free itself and reunite with its master. A recovered Skallox pounces but his momentum carries him through a portal back to normal space, followed closely by Atrocitus when the Stormwatch team offers him the chance to leave. The Red Lantern promises that he will return and have his vengeance upon them when he returns to full power. The unconscious Dex Starr is also sent packing, but Stormwatch has gained a crucial piece of intelligence that they believe they can use to deal with the threats they believe both the Red and Green Lanterns to be.
|Poor Dex Starr is the punchline to the one of the only moments of levity in this issue.|
Returning to Sector 1416 Jack Moore embraces his current state of being and wipes out the two Red Lanterns who had bullied in on the opening pages, gaining respect and sending a signal to the rest of the Corps that he's not one to mess with. The issue comes to an end with Moore realizing that clinging to his humanity might very well be a lost cause.
The Writing -
Peter Milligan definitely stepped it up with this issue and did a much better job of advancing the plots of not only the Red Lanterns book, but Stormwatch as well. While there was some dialogue that seemed a little clunky the book was a great read. As much as I loved the humor when Midnighter met up with Dex Starr I though that the rage kitty was dealt with a little too easily and it was kind of a shame to see the character compromised a little after not seeing him in so long. But in every crossover someone has to better someone else and it was just Dex Starr's turn to be the fodder.
Once again Jack Moore's story carries my interest this issue as we see his humanity slipping away as he more readily gives into the rage inside him. It's been an interesting journey and I've really come to feel for the character and hope that he can somehow find a way to resume his old life again although I know it's not really in the cards for him.
|Jack Moore embraces his new life...but at what cost?|
I felt that the pacing of this issue was an improvement over what I've come to expect from Red Lanterns. When Atrocitus entered the ship I really felt the change in energy and the action moved at the frantic pace I'd expect when a character like him enters a confined space.
The Art -
If there's an MVP for this series I have to give it to the art team for this issue. Sepulveda brings a new level of detail to the Red Lanterns and I really like how the addition of the texture on the black parts of their costumes adds a whole other dimension to them. And the artwork during the battle between Stormwatch and Atrocitus as he plows through their base carried an energy that reminded me of the Hulk on a rampage. And throughout the issue the color work by Rain Beredo took everything up a notch.
I like the return of a more ferocious look Atrocitus, but I do hope that they make up their minds on his teeth. With his first appearance in the issue Atrocitus was sporting the sharp teeth I've come to expect, but later on his teeth appeared much smoother and he began to look more like the Red Skull. So as much as I love the changes brought to this first effort I do hope that Sepulveda settles on a consistent look - one with sharp teeth.
What Do I Think?
Red Lanterns number nine is step up in my opinion and the more focused story is elevated by some great artwork, albeit there's some continuity issues that need to be resolved. If this is the start of a new era for Red Lanterns then I'll just say this, I'll have more of this please! Four out of five lanterns.