Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Prelude To The Blackest Night, Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns Sets Up Many Stories!

The Good: Clever concept, Good setup, Decent artwork.
The Bad: Fractured story comes in in the middle of the tale, Very light on character development
The Basics: Leading into the Blackest Night, the Green Lantern Corps has a serious problem in the form of civil unrest and a new Corps ruled by rage in Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns!

Recently, my wife and I had a reading day where I had the chance to catch up on reading a lot of graphic novels. I was very excited about that if, for no other reason, than I had the chance to finish the prelude works to the Blackest Night Saga. I thoroughly enjoyed the Blackest Night books, but I had only read the prelude Agent Orange (reviewed here!) and I was surprised that I had not managed to get Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns in front of me until now. Ironically, Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns came to my attention the same day as Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha Lanterns (reviewed here!) and that volume sees the end to half of the story in Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns.

Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns is actually a fractured story and it comes in in the middle of a pretty long Green Lantern arc. Half the story deals with the consequences of the recent war with the Yellow Lanterns (Sinestro Corps) and the other half explores the rise of the Red Lantern Corps. The story is very much one intended for fans of Green Lantern, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. As far as great literature goes, Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns is not it, but it is an enjoyable chapter in the Green Lantern storyline.

"The Alpha Lanterns" begins with the nine remaining Guardians of the Universe in the wake of the Sinestro Corps War. With Sinestro captured and the Guardians rewriting the Book Of Oa to allow Green Lanterns to use lethal force against members of the Sinestro Corps, the Green Lantern Corps is uneasy. That sense of uneasiness erupts into something worse when Laira kills the captured Sinestro Corps member Amon Sur. That murder puts Laira in front of the Guardians for judgment and the Guardians create an exclusive group within the Green Lantern Corps of Alpha Lanterns. After Varix, Boodikka, Greenman, Kraken, Chaseton, and John Stewart are chosen, only Stewart turns down the chance to become an Alpha Lantern. Unfortunately for the Green Lanterns, while Laira's trial progresses, on Ysmault Atrocitus is reborn from rage and the Red Lantern is born!

Motivated by rage against the Guardians, Sinestro and the Manhunters, Atrocitus forms the Red Lantern Corps on Ysmault. As the rogue Guardian Scar sends Ash looking for the remains of the Anti-Monitor, the Green Lantern Corps transport Sinestro to Korugar for his public execution. En route, the Corps is ambushed by both the Sinestro Corps and the Red Lantern Corps. With Sinestro captured on Korugar by the Red Lanterns, Saint Walker is sent by Ganthet to save Green Lanterns and Sinestro from Atrocitus. With Saint Walker trying to get Hal Jordan to become a full-time Blue Lantern, they arrive on Ysmault where Jordan is enraged by Sinestro and falls to the Red Lanterns!

Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns neglects much in the way of character that is likely to keep fans of the larger arcs in Green Lantern or literature engaged. John Stewart's standing up to the Guardians is one of the few acts of genuine character in the book. Hal Jordan does not show as much character in his blind faith of the Guardians as they rewrite the Book Of Oa. Instead, Jordan reveals the instability that the Guardians become most afraid of leading into the current arc (War Of The Green Lanterns) by becoming infected by yet another emotion. In the course of this book, Hal Jordan is both a Red Lantern and a Blue-Green Lantern. He is more volatile than most Lanterns and becoming filled with rage is hardly unpredictable.

What writer Geoff Johns gets very much right is the idea that the Lanterns have an interdependence. The Blue Lanterns, who are powered by hope, have a strong relationship with the Green Lanterns and the fact that Atrocitus knows that gives him a real power over the Green Lanterns. Sinestro, on the other hand, becomes remarkably sympathetic under Johns' pen. Sinestro is cool in Rage Of The Red Lanterns.

The artwork in Green Lantern: Rage Of The Red Lanterns is great. The transformation of the characters into the Alpha-Lanterns is remarkable as far as the artwork goes. Boodikka's mechanization is distinctive and her arc is visually interesting. The rest of the book is filled with neat artwork, not the least of which is because the Red Lanterns are creepy and dangerous-looking. The transformation of Laira into a Red Lantern looks great and her character is more of an arc than even Hal Jordan has in this book.

Outside fans of the Green Lantern stories and comic books in general, Rage Of The Red Lantern is not going to impress anyone. But the book works for the fans and it is a good story in the larger arc. Honestly, it is very average and it is a small piece in another, much larger story. It is necessary for that, but for the more casual readers, it is a take-it or leave-it book.

For other Green Lantern graphic novels, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Tales Of The Corps


For other book reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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