Red Lanterns #39 Review

“Today I got into a fight with a baby and got my ass solidly kicked”

To be completely honest I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Red Lanterns #39 upon opening the issue and seeing the image of a baby kicking the snot out of Guy Gardner.  I mean, c’mon, seriously!  But I put my initial skepticism aside and prepared to let writer Landry Walker take me on the journey he created for me – and in the end I found myself really enjoying the story despite waiting for Rod Serling to pop in at some point to tell me that we had entered the Twilight Zone.

Guy Gardner’s pilgrimage to rid the planet from the excess rage left over from the war with Atrocitus takes him to El Sobrante, California, a town who’s name in English ironically amounts to “surplus”.  Despite the preposterous imagery of a baby being the terror of this small town Walker finds a way to make the story fun and meaningful at the same time, and by the issue’s end Guy has a new travelling companion and he has managed to diffuse a situation born from the purest of sources of anger for any living being no matter how young he may be.  In the end I’ll admit that I felt more than a little sorry for the tyke.
Writer Landry Walker uses this issue to lighten the tone a little bit
Walker uses this penultimate chapter in the Red Lantern series to have a bit of fun with the most unlikely of scenarios and using the more entertaining traits of Guy Gardner.  There are moments in the issue that left me chuckling a little to myself.  The issue’s lighter tone is a bit of a contrast to last month’s issue when Guy was seemingly willing to sacrifice himself for his cause.   While there have been moments during this series where we’ve had some lighthearted moments, usually generated through Zilius Zox, this is probably the first issue where I’d use the “fun” label to describe this issue in general terms – definitely not a word choice that comes to mind in a book where the main characters are fueled by perhaps the most volatile of all emotions in the spectrum.
Landry doesn’t really clue us in for what he has in store for March’s final issue, and other than the current mission Guy is on there really aren’t any context clues I picked up on to signal where this is all leading.  Whether Guy will work through his recent funk and move forward as a Red Lantern, find some peace and perhaps return to normal via a Blue Lantern ring or succumb to the power of rage is a complete open book at this point and I’m surprisingly happy to not have an inkling for what issue 40 will bring.  All l know is that I’m looking forward to how Walker will wrap us this chapter in Guy’s life and whether or not we’ll see any familiar faces as he brings the series to a close.
Nobody puts baby in a corner
For the most part Jim Calafiore does a great job this issue, although the baby often times looks a bit creepy and despite what the little guy goes through he has nary a speck of dirt on him.  But I guess there’s an implied challenge in drawing a rage filled one year old and I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Calafiore got his initial look at the script and saw what Landry was calling on him to do.  So I can’t hold anything against him if the kid looks a bit strange.
Red Lanterns #39 is perhaps the most offbeat issue in the Green Lantern family we’ve seen in a long time.  Landry Walker’s entertaining scripts pits Guy Gardner against his most over the top “foe” yet while still creating some emotional beats for the reader to empathize with the poor little rage-baby.  A fun issue that sets the stage for the final curtain call of this series, Red Lanterns #39 gets four out of five lanterns.
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About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I’m a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

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