“People don’t die because Guy Gardner fights evil. They live.”
Red Lanterns #37 ends Charles Soule’s run on the series and with his last issue he’s tasked with providing a vital chapter in the third act of GodHead while still finding a way to put his personal stamp on his final issue. With the Red Lantern Corps effectively disbanded Soule provides readers with a satisfying coda that uses Simon Baz to help Guy find some closure and hopefully some much needed inner peace. The overall arc of this sprawling event gets a dose of hope as well when Baz and Gardner play a vital role in re-arming the ring bearers.
Up until now Simon Baz has been a bit player in this story, but with this issue Charles Soule uses him to great effect. In my own opinion I think this is perhaps the best that the character has been written, showing a clear evolution in Simon’s thinking and his full embrace in what it means to be a Green Lantern. While I personally don’t consider myself a big fan of the character I think that Soule’s handling of him in this issue and his interactions with Guy raise him a notch in my book. I’m really happy for fans who really like Baz as he’s finally been given some attention in a way that elevates him as a character.
Simon Baz really shines this issue, and we’re not talking about his power ring
For Guy this time with Baz is just what he needed to snap himself out of his funk and in doing so provides a nice way to bookend Soule’s run on the series. There’s a turning point for the character here and Soule does well to reflect the change in Gardner’s outlook.
This is still a Red Lantern book and not a Hallmark holiday movie, and the retrieval of the captured power rings from Highfather’s weaponsmith, Hyalt, serves as the main action for the issue. Guy and Simon get creative in their tactics to keep Hyalt at bay, resulting in an entertaining sequence that serves as one of several turning points in the conclusion to GodHead. This also serves as the final appearance of Malhedron, who slinks off into the darkness for now, fearing the wrath of Highfather’s forces. Throughout this event Malhedron has served as an interesting facet of the story and no doubt once thing settle down on New Genesis he’ll likely return, although the question remains as to whether it will be in the service of either Highfather, Darkseid or as the leader of his own faction. The New Guardians also reunite with Kyle Rayner and Carol Ferris in the closing moments, serving as the issue’s close with the baton being handed over to Cullen Bunn for the next chapter.
The Guardians arrive just in time to provide crucial information that will change the tide of battle.
While I’m singing the praises of Soule’s script there’s also the continued quality artwork by Jim Calafiore to be considered as well. The contributions of the entire art team really make moments like the escape from the Miracle Cell visually exciting as is the confrontation with Hyalt, yet there’s also the subtlety of how they handle Guy’s facial expressions, reflecting the lifting of the burden of survivor’s guilt from his soul.
Red Lanterns #37 heralds an end to Charles Soule’s tenure in the Lanternverse for DC Comics and it’s a shame to see him leave. The series has gone from one that was easy to overlook to a book that I look forward to every month under his guidance. While this issue doesn’t dwell on being the end of his run it does provide some closure for its lead character while serving as an important part in the closing chapters of GodHead. Four out of five lanterns.