Red Lanterns #1

So, with the various other Corps getting a lot of attention during Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night, it made sense that eventually DC would create a book to capitalise on this.  However, to my mind, they went with the bizarre choice of a Red Lanterns ongoing title.  The rabid animals of the emotional spectrum, we’ve seen them more than happy to kill people in pursuit of their revenge.  From the announcement I was unsure about this book, worried that it would lead to a dilution of the initial concept of the Red Lanterns (and the emotional spectrum itself really).

And unfortunately on reading the book, I found little to change my mind.  This was probably my first “drop” of the books I’ve picked up in the new 52. As I feared, they’re diluting/tweaking the concept, so the influence of the rings, turning their bearers into rabid animals doesn’t seem as potent as it once was, with Atrocitus finds himself in a moral quandry after Krona’s death, as the target of his millenia-long vengeance is finally gone.  Given that the red ring is the only thing keeping him alive, I’d have thought that even if he did lose his rage, he’d end up dead as a result.   To me, having this introspective Atrocitus, eventually deciding to become and anti-hero, bringing justice to the oppressed just takes away from the Red Lanterns as a whole.   Here we have Atrocitus making cute one-liners about people hurting his cat. I also notice the redesign takes away some of his more monstrous features, making him more of a human-like alien.  In their original introduction, the Red Lanterns were nigh-unstoppable killers.  A force of nature, tearing through Sinestro Corps and Green Lanterns alike to get to Sinestro himself, with only the timely appearance of Saint Walker saving the lives of Hal, John, Kilowog and a bunch of others.  This nicely played into many of their origins, which saw them all as ordinary people, abused and tortured by life, only then to receive a ring that just enslaves them even more.  Underneath the rage, hate and killing, they all started out as tragic figures.   So having Atrocitus as some one-liner spouting bringing of justice just doesn’t seem as appealing in comparison.

So sadly, I found little to really keep me on this book.  I’ll certainly keep up on it via forums and the like to see what direction it goes in and see if I want to go back and start picking up other issues, but for now, this just isn’t for me.  I do note online that there are plenty of people that do enjoy the Red Lanterns in that anti-hero role, so I hope the book does well, but for me, its just not the direction I would’ve really liked to have seen them used in, and as I say worries me that the emotional spectrum as a concept is becoming diluted into just differently coloured Green Lanterns.  My take on this book would have probably been more of a Green Lantern entrant into the “Dark” side of the DCU.  More horror-themed tales of abusers getting their comeuppance as their victims are turned into unstoppable killers.

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