With blood and rage of crimson red…


DC’s Sinestro Corps was the dark horse hit that got me, and many other comic readers, back into the Green Lantern titles.  Geoff Johns followed this up with a retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin, that skewed everything those of us old enough to remember Emerald Dawn attempted to do 15 plus years ago.  The main reason for retelling the origin?  To add in the character of Atrocitus and set up his hatred for Sinestro, who left him nailed to a crucifix of sorts in sector 666.  Someone with that much rage and hate is probably not someone who is going to do great things.

redlanterns01cover.jpgIf you are looking for a perfect setup for the Red Lanterns, then Johns delivered a memorable moment; only it’s a bit over the top, and is definitely not for the younger reader.

Remember that scene in Fight Club where a battered and bloodied Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) started spewing blood all over the club owner?  Imagine that same scene but with 10 times the amount of blood spewing from the mouth of the Red Lantern, and you have a some idea of how disturbing the transformation to Red Lanterns is in the pages of Rage of the Red Lanterns.  It’s even more disturbing than seeing vampires meeting their fate in television programs like True Blood.  The imagery isn’t super intense, nor super graphic, but it is unnerving to see the transformation take place to the point I wonder if it is being added for shock value alone.

Sure the transformation is great the first time Atrocitus rises from the bloody pit, reciting the Red Lantern oath, and even more interesting to see him spew his bodily fluids all over his first transformed lantern, but to see seven pages of upchucking destruction makes me wonder.

The Green Lanterns have a mission in this issue – escort Sinestro back to Korugar where he will face execution for his crimes against the universe.  The new rules allowing Green Lanterns to kill their enemies doesn’t seem to be a big deal to any member of the Corps.  For Hal, who once considered Sinestro a friend (see Secret Origin in the pages of Green Lantern for more on that), he’s more than willing to go along with the will of the Guardians.

Of course a series titled Rage of the Red Lanterns wouldn’t be that great if it didn’t feature some red on green action, and no, I don’t mean some adult christmas activities… This issue not only sees red on green, you also get to see yellow in the mix too as a faction of the Sinestro Corps attempt to free their leader.  How’d they know?  There’s a traitor among the Guardians.  Too bad their attempt to free Sinestro is met with some raging throw up.  If you ever needed an excuse not to own a cat, the cute cuddly Red Lantern Cat that turns rabid in a very bad way for everyone in its vicinity, will confirm your fears.

Even though things are not good for the Green Lanterns (there are even more deaths), there is hope that arrives at the very end of the issue in the form of Saint Walker  – The Blue Lantern, sent by Ganthet to help those who will battle Sinestro and Atrocitus.  It is a very dramatic splash page ending that actually does gives the reader a feeling of hope.

I wish Johns had not sold the idea of Blackest Night to the editors at DC as soon as he did.  By showing his hand a year ahead of time, it gave DC the chance to whip up fan frenzy, make a big deal out of an event that could have quietly happened with the same success of Sinestro Corps War, but resulted in this series featuring a glossy stock cover and a $3.99 price tag.  The story is good, and the art is fine, although it is a bit mushed up in places, but it isn’t an issue that warrants the high price and glossy cover.  I would have been much happier paying $2.99 for a Green Lantern issue, which is where this story belongs.

Even with the Final Crisis dress on the cover, this is not a Final Crisis tie-in.  If DC was trying to make a fast buck off those who are wanting to buy everything with Final Crisis on the cover, this is one good way to do it, but I have a feeling after reading the issue, most will feel the way I do – this is a fair to good Green Lantern story.  The only indication we get that this is remotely tied to Final Crisis is the Editor’s note that says “This issue takes place between Final Crisis #1 and #2”, and the reference to Deicide.  This issue follows up the Secret Origin arc nicely, but not Final Crisis.

Even with all the blood and gore, even with the deaths of even more Green and Yellow Lanterns, even with the apparent escape of Sinestro, Rage of the Red Lanterns is not an issue that totally blows – despite the aforementioned throwing up of bodily fluids. It could have been better, and that’s why Rage of the Red Lanterns only receives 2.5 out of 5 stars.




About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. You are like the 3’rd or 4’th reviewer that has mentioned how violent and over the top this issue is, and i’ve just got to ask what did you expect from a book titled Rage Of The Red Lanterns that features a bloody Atrocitus on the cover?. People seem to miss the point that this issue and the Red Lanterns are supposed to be over the top, that is what makes them fun and interesting and different. It’s like complaining that The Hulk says “Hulk Smash” while putting the beatdown on someone it misses the entire point of the character. Also I don’t get why anyone would be disapointed by this having nothing to do with Final Crisis, considering how crappy that event has been on the other hand Blackest Night is shaping up to be the saving grace of DC comics like Sinestro Corps War was to it last year.

  2. 2 1/2 out of 5? Really? That had everything I want to see in a comic. Good talky parts, good fighty-fight scenes, and a cliffhanger ending that makes you scream “NO!” cuz you don’t have the next part yet. That was just solid stuff. 4 1/2, no doubt.

  3. EJ: Since there is no Mature or T+ rating on the cover, the violence is over the top for an all ages comic. And I and others are upset about this not being a Final Crisis book because DC put Final Crisis on the cover, and jacked the price up by a buck because of that. This book is in no way a $3.99 book – it is somewhat false advertising just to get those who are buying everything Final Crisis to buy this issue. Those two reasons alone are why the book received the rating it did. Put this in a regular green lantern issue, and I probably would have awarded it another star.

  4. I’m with Stephen.

    This book was kind of a let-down in that it was, essentially, a trailer for upcoming events in Green Lantern, and the vast majority of the book consisted of watching various aliens so pissed that they’re spitting up blood.

    I was left with a feeling of “Oh, is that all?” at the end of the book. Sure, it’ll probably go places, but standing alone as it does, it’s basically just bloodpuke, and Dethklok already did a song about that.

  5. I was more interested in Ash getting closer to the Black Lantern power baterry then what happened with Atrocitus… I mean who the heck built the Black lantern power baterry in the first place?
    At least it seems we get some Sinestro, that’s always good.

    Too bad I saw the preview that said something like “Summer 2009: Fear and willpower will have to work together to stop the Blackest Night” so I knew Sinestro was going to make it somehow (I don’t see Mongul working with the Guardians anytime soon)

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