Posted on

Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan have had a colorful relationship over the years, with both men having their fair share of bruises.  Red Lanterns #24 presents another opportunity for their thick heads and thin skins to prevail in the fourth part of Lights Out as Guy finds himself in a sticky situation.  Carried over from last month’s issue, Bleez has walked in on Guy as he’s discussing his undercover mission with Hal Jordan and this presents just the opportunity she needs to put Guy’s head on a very red pike.

Bleez finds herself pushed back on her heels when Guy doesn’t try to hide anything from the rest of the Red Lanterns, daring her to out him and relishing in watching her squirm before he outs himself and turns the situation into an opportunity to cement himself within their ranks.  While Bleez seems at odds with how she’s been portrayed in the past, writer Charles Soule plays with our perception of the winged witch and creates a sequence which is both entertaining and revealing at the same time when Guy beats her at her own game just as Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and the Green Lanterns arrive on Ysmault.

Guy puts Bleez in her place more effectively than Atrocitus ever has.
Out in space Atrocitus parts ways with The Butcher and Dex-Starr proves once again why he is the Red Lantern’s most loyal of companions.  While I could do without the awful name “Atrocity Butcher”, the rest of the sequence and the one that follows later in the issue positions Kyle Rayner at the top of Atrocitus’ hit list right behind Guy Gardner.  Kyle leaves the helpless Red Lantern behind as he journeys to the Source Wall to join Relic, who continues to try to pierce the barrier surrounding our universe.
The promised fisticuffs between Guy and Hal turn out to be a one-sided affair as Hal chooses to try to use words rather than violence to get through to Gardner.  Explaining that the Red Lanterns might be the only way to stop Relic, Hal Jordan is forced into making a deal with Guy that will leave the Red Lanterns with their own sector once the battle is over.  The issue comes to a close with Hal and Guy coming to an agreement while Kyle and Relic join forces on the far side of the galaxy, while somewhere out there John Stewart is connecting up with the Indigo Tribe.
This issue as well as last week’s Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 seem to do little to propel the overall story of Lights Out, but they do serve to position the characters for the conclusion in the Green Lantern Annual.  While I enjoyed the issue it feels like the momentum that built up in the first two chapters dropped off a little bit and if I have any concerns about how Robert Venditti will finish the story it’s in how well he will bring all of these elements back together and wrap things up in one issue regardless of the extra page count.  I have faith in Venditti’s ability to give us the satisfactory conclusion, but I’m still slightly anxious about it.
Alessandro Vitti puts a hurting on Hal’s chin.
The fight between Hal and Guy is perhaps the shortest in their history, but it’s also likely the most visceral thanks in large part to the brilliant work of the art team.  I could almost feel the impact in my own jaw!  Visually the issue as a whole is solid, although I felt Hal’s arrival on the title page looked a little, um, ballsy.
At the end of the day I have to judge this book not only by my enjoyment level but how crucial it is as part of the larger story the envelopes it.  I did find the book fun to read and I thought Soule did a good job of putting out a script which moved the players where need to be on the playing field while creating some entertaining moments for the reader.  As the penultimate chapter of a larger event I don’t feel like it created any real anticipation for the final chapter and if there’s a stumbling block it’s in not making us excited to see what happens next.  Three out of five lanterns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.