The recently released issue thirty two of Red Lanterns suffers a little bit from bad timing, not its own timing but rather that of DC Comics, who scheduled the release of Supergirl #32 prior to this issue and effectively spoiling a key moment of the issue for anyone who is reading both titles. Not that Kara leaving the Red Lanterns is a surprise since she’s not destined to remain a part of their numbers for too long, but knowing that Guy Gardner sends her packing before you’ve opened the cover definitely takes some of the dramatic punch out of issue.
Bleez provides some surprising moments this issue
It’s a bit of a shame, too, as writer Charles Soule does a good job milking the moment for as much emotion as you can squeeze from a bunch of rage fueled beings; Guy’s sincerity towards Kara is a nice moment for his character and shows that there’s still a soft spot in his angst filled heart. This issue serves as a bit of a cat and mouse game – with Atrocitus and Dex-Starr definitely being the cats as they invoke some sinister tactics to let Guy and the rest of the Red Lanterns know that a war has been declared.
What’s become of of Rankorr is finally revealed as we learn that Atrocitus has effectively removed the effects of the blood lake on him, reverting him back to a mindless monster who becomes hell bent on killing his former comrades. There’s a nice bit of characterization for Bleez as she makes a surprising admission before doing something that one would never have expected from her before. Soule has evolved Bleez from a one note character and it’s great to see the pay off for all the work that’s been done to add dimension to a member of the cast who initially seemed to only serve as a source of cheesecake art for Ed Benes.
Despite being spoiled by DC’s release schedule, Kara’s departure still managed to have some dramatic weight.
James Calafiore takes over for Alessendro Vitti this issue and to be honest I almost didn’t notice the difference. Calafiore keeps Atrocitus as a pointy teethed devil throughout the issue which effectively keeps the image alive that he is a darkly imposing creature that should be feared and respected. Likewise Calafiore is very adept at conveying emotion to underscore Guy and Bleez’s reaction to the appearance of Rankorr and his facial expressions for Guy and Kara during their parting really added to the emotion that underscored the scene.
With the closing of this issue the stage has been set for what will be an epic confrontation between Atrocitus and Guy Gardner. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this unfolds and watching to see if any loyalty Guy has built among the Red Lanterns will be rewarded in the face of Atrocitus new force. This is a civil war that has a lot of potential and with Soule pulling the strings I’ve little doubt that we are in store for a fantastic journey. Red Lanterns #32 gets four out of five lanterns.