There have been a lot of plots running through the Red Lanterns series but as many fans will point out there doesn’t seem to have been a traditionally defined storyline through the first six issues. That’s not to say that the book has been completely scatter-shot as we’ve started to see some cross between the various plotlines. In issue six
most of the pages were dedicated to establishing Rankorr as the second Red Lantern of Earth, but unlike Dex-Starr the human recruit has shown to be a little different than most members of the rage brigade. This issue starts to pull some of these subplots together and it seems that we are on a collision course for a major upheaval in the ranks of the Red Lanterns.
The Story –
In space near Ysmault Filo and the a group of Sinestro Corps members lick their wounds having severed their ring bearing fingers to remove the ties to their roles as Yellow Lanterns in the wake of Sinestro’s hunt for all of his former comrades. The group of survivors thought they had escaped retribution for their acts, but Bleez and a team of Red Lanterns arrive to dish out their own form of judgement.
|Jack Moore fights against the power of rage
Shifting back to Earth the confrontation between Guy Gardner and Rankorr continues. Despite Gardner’s experience he has trouble fending off the attacks of the human Red Lantern and at one point Guy is shocked to witness fairly intelligent conversation coming from Rankorr when he pleads for help. Unlike the other Red Lanterns John Moore is somehow able to fight against the overwhelming rage burning in his veins even if only for seconds at a time, allowing for his humanity to peak through before being washed away by the power of rage. Before Guy is able to try to help Rankorr the Red Lantern is pulled away from Earth towards the unknown.
|Bleez stakes her claim to rule the Red Lantern Corps
Meanwhile Bleez in interrogating the former Sinestro Corps members in her own unique fashion under the belief that they are somehow on a mission for their former leader. Filo laughs at the notion that Bleez can control her fellow Red Lanterns and as she kills him he warns her that she will never win in a battle for the rule of the Corps against the likes of Atrocitus.
Atrocitus wanders the surface of Ysmault on his quest to discover what happened to the body of Krona and eventually wanders into the Abominable Zone, a place where Atrocitus first experimented with the creation of Red Lanterns, a place where he buried the experiments that failed. It’s here that he encounters Abysmus, a creature born from Atrocitus who has managed to create a wicked army out of the remnants of Atrocitus’ failures.
It’s Abysmus who took Krona’s body, skinning it and adorning his body with the flesh from the Guardian. Sensing that this is the closest that he’ll come to getting the revenge on Krona himself Atrocitus becomes energized by the prospect as he throws himself at the army of Abysmorphs. Abysmus is shocked by how easily his army is defeated, having underestimated the impact wearing Krona’s flesh would have one the Red Lantern. Rankorr arrives on Ysmault and drops down in the center of the battle, providing a distraction that Abysmus uses to impale Atrocitus with the issue ending with the Rankorr surrounded by the army of Abysmus.
|Atrocitus gets his rage mojo back
The Writing –
I have to give Peter Milligan a lot of credit for getting this title moving forward in a cohesive manner. While it seems a waste that it has taken us seven issues to get to this point and we’ve seen a number of story points that have led nowhere, it finally seems like we’re moving forward with someone behind the wheel driving this series. I wish it had happened a lot earlier mind you, but I’ll take it now that it’s here.
I particularly liked the intimate look behind Rankorr, allowing the reader to experience some of what it’s like to be a Red Lantern and being in Jack’s shoes. It’s an interesting take in what may be him losing his humanity to the rage that fuels him and rather than spend my energy reminding myself about why he wasn’t a good candidate in the first place I’m going to put that energy in finding what I do like about the series while still be critical of the flaws I see. I’m with this book for the duration and since I made my decision to drop my expectations off at the door before I open the cover I find myself looking at this issue a little differently. While I do like the title it’s not my favorite book and remains about in the middle of the pile of all the DC books I’m reading – but it’s certainly not on the bottom of the stack.
The Art –
Ed Benes is joined on this issue by Diego Bernard and I found the art to be enjoyable, but nothing notable other than perhaps Atrocitus looking a bit more like the Red Lantern of old and the creepy design for Abysmus. Bene will be finishing his stint on this series with issue nine so it will be interesting to see how new regular artist Miguel Sepulveda will stack up with the all important question of how it will affect the number of views of Bleez’s backside per issue.
What Do I Think?
Red Lantern number seven is better that some of the previous issues in terms of moving ahead with a story and making it the focal point of the series. Rankorr’s inner monologue is a high point for the issue as is the continued foreshadowing of a major struggle for leadership with the Red Lantern Corps. Three out of five lanterns.