Posted on

“Burn it down so you can build it back up”

Red Lanterns #33 continues to build toward the inevitable rematch between Guy Gardner and Atrocitus, taking a pause before the action heats up again so Guy can have a little quality time before all Hell breaks loose.  Writer Charles Soule does a great job of providing Guy with a great reunion with John Stewart while still giving Atrocitus’ return some needed panel time as well as keeping us aware of the ongoing battle to win Rankorr’s sanity back.

Soule adeptly keeps the three plots running before the converge in the Red Lanterns Annual next week, using Skallox’s doubt as a mechanism to establish a little bit connective tissue between two of them.  The action Skallox takes is handled realistically and Soule’s been building towards this moment for some time.  As Skallox going AWOL is on point with his character we see more of how Bleez has become a changed woman with her dealings with Rankorr.  Torn apart by guilt and anger her desperate attempt to save Rankorr backfires on her and if not for Zilius Zox she could have made a fatal mistake.

A bar, two buds and brews

But the star of the issue is the great character piece between a visiting John Stewart and Guy Gardner.  The recent events of Uprising are referenced when John meets Guy at a bar and sees a woman who bears a strong resemblance to Yrra.  With Kyle still presumed dead John is the closest thing that Guy has to a real friend so in one regard it was nice to see that developed more, however the lack of them talking about Kyle’s “death” left me feeling like there could have been more to their conversation that would have added depth, not that this was enough to affect my rating for the issue.

Alessandro Vitti really does a wonderful job with this part of the book, humorously showing the advantages of being a multi-limbed bartender while the  two comrades share their woes.  Vitti brings some great emotion to Guy’s face as he reveals some of  the soul searching he’s been doing just as John’s steely determination.  I also really enjoyed the subtle nod to the K-7 space station from “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode of Star Trek in the opening panel!

Skallox, Skallox, Skallox

The major moment plot wise for this issue comes in the final panels as we see Atrocitus’ end game come to fruition.  Now the steps that he took to destroy the blood ocean are seen not just as sending a message but in preemptively stopping Guy from trying to increase his own numbers before the real war begins.  Gardner and what few allies he has are in big trouble but they don’t know it yet, and if Atrocitus is victorious the whole universe could be in big trouble with the majority of the rest of the emotional spectrum in various states of flux.

If there’s anything that feels unnatural it’s in how Soule chooses to deal with the events of Supergirl #33 wherein Kara removes her Red Lantern ring and survives.  In that issue Guy Gardner suspects something has happened to her when the blood ocean begins to rage and he learns that her ring is no longer online.  Given the heartfelt goodbye that they shared last issue I find it a little hard to believe that Guy doesn’t go in search of her or even contact Superman to let him know.  In fact the entire event is completely ignored.  Understandably it has little impact on the plot to this series, but from a character standpoint having Guy and Bleez act like nothing has happened undermines the great character growth we’ve seen in recent months.

Red Lanterns #33 is a great read with three distinct and well balanced plots supplemented with a considerable amount of character.  The creative team on the series have done wonders to turn the title into one of the best in the Lantern family by taking what could be a one dimensional cast and adding a lot of character.  Other than ignoring the perceived death of Supergirl this issue there’s a lot to like, but the oversight was important enough to me to reduce the rating for this issue.  Three out of five lanterns.

Related articles

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.