Saturday, April 14, 2012

Red Lanterns #8

Come on, Milligan. I'm counting on you to write one of the best of the New 52.

Since Shade the Changing Man is one of my all-time top comic book reads, I had high expectations for Red Lanterns and Justice League Dark. But so far, this:

My biggest concern with all the comics I've been reading so far is the limited space given to tell a story. Twenty pages at, being generous considering all 52 titles, four panels per page just isn't enough for a well-told monthly story. Grabbing Knightfall off the shelf, I do a quick average panel count. Knightfall runs about 5 panels per page with 24 pages. That's ten extra pages of story on a comic with a four panel per page average. That's a lot of Goddamned story! And those panel counts include at least one full page splash in every issue.

That's another problem with comics right now: the love of the mini-poster. A lot of these full art pages (and especially the pages that do one panel across two pages) aren't really impressive. I don't gasp and suck in air when I turn the page to see a picture of Batman riding his motorcycle spread across two full pages. Or I, Vampire turning into a bat. It's excessive. And it feels like it's been mandated from the people running DC. It's also insulting when they take up a full page to fill it with horrible art like the two jets bombing the building in Men of War #6.

Yeah, that's the one.

That picture above was a full page. And it didn't even show anything new! The page before showed the exact same thing happening in the background of a smaller panel. If you're going to take up a full page or two with one panel, make it worthwhile. There should be a reason for it. And time should be put into the fucking work of art. Look at that panel above. Look at it! How can anybody not feel ripped off by DC when the story is half-assed, preachy drivel and then the art could have been done by any kid in his first junior high art class?

DC (and all the other companies), apparently you've found a model that just barely works well enough to keep the cash coming in. But you know, you could probably really make this New 52 amazing. Here's one way to increase the profit margin: fire all of your editors. They don't seem to be doing much of anything anyway. Do you really need more than one on a comic? Oh, I'm sure you have editors for different things: continuity, grammar, art. But I'm telling you, they're fucking up all the time anyway. Just keep one or two editors to take over all of the editing work across all the titles. It really wouldn't be that hard. Maybe pay them a little more for the increased load but you'll still save a shit ton by getting rid of the other lazy assholes. And then increase your comic story count by a couple of pages. Drop some of the stupid advertisements for other New 52 books that haven't even changed across eight issues. That's not making you any money. I highly doubt that someone is finally going to start reading Captain Atom because they see the same stupid fucking ad for it every fucking month across several of their titles. You know why they're not going to read it no matter how many times you make them aware of the title? Because they've heard it sucks ass from every single person that's read it!

Here's another trick you might want to try: drop some of the Batman titles. Sure, if you put Bat in the title, you'll have a definite amount of sales. But if you keep putting "writers" like Tony Daniel on your signature titles, they're not going to continue to sell anyway. I can only imagine that even the most loyal Batman fans are going to be pretty angry at the guano you're heaping on them. But they'll keep buying it and you know it. Which makes you, DC, a giant raving asshole. You're treating your customer base like junkies that don't deserve good quality junk. You think they should be happy to get any batman at all.

I wonder if a movement could be started amongst Batman fans to really fuck up DC. Maybe get all the Batman fanatics to stop buying one Batman title until it crashes and burns. And then threaten to do the same with a Superman title. Just pick one at a time until it's numbers fall so drastically that DC has to cancel it. And do it again and again and again until they put out quality shit.

No, it'll never happen. Which means I'll probably give up this blog by next year. I think I'll give the experiment at least until January 2013. One thing I know for sure though is that I'm not picking up any more of DC's mini-series. I'll just stick to the 52 and see how that goes.

Now what comic book was I reading? Oh yeah! Red Lanterns #8!

At the end of the last issue, Atrocitus had been stabbed through the heart by some creature named Abysmus who was wearing the skin of Krona. And the human Red Lantern had arrived on Ysmault. The story continues...

Here's Page Three of the comic. Are you suitably impressed by it's grandeur? No? Everything you need for the story is over on Page Two. But I guess the Red Lantern Battery is so gigantically gigantic that it needed to be shown across two pages. Instead of, you know, making Abysmus really small. It's not like the great size increases the beauty of all that glaring white and shiny red. Lame.

Abysmus has decided to destroy the Red Lanterns by ripping out one of his own ribs and throwing it into the Red Lantern Battery. This will somehow pollute the Corps and kill Atrocitus. At least that's what this stupid zombie bastard believes. Even though he knows Atrocitus was right to reject him and that he was a foul error, he still feels compelled to get revenge because his feelings were hurt. Is this guy a good American or what?

Jack Moore confronts Abysmus and speaks logically and rationally with him. That's something a Red Lantern has never before been capable of. Abysmus is somewhat impressed and asks Jack his name. Jack tells him it is Rankorr.

I guess it also means hatred or resentment or something. But Star Wars!

Abysmus retreats and calls off his zombie ghoul wraiths because he can see the sickness already taking place within Rankorr. He probably can't tell if Atrocitus is sick or if Atrocitus is just reacting to the stake in his heart.

At least the kitty cat gets a mention this issue. Even if his name is spelled wrong. NOM NOM NOM GOOD HEARTS NOM!

Atrocitus tells Rankorr that he must go after Abysmus. But since Rankorr doesn't know Jack Moore about Atrocitus, he disregards his order and decides to help pull the stake out of Atrocitus instead. And just like any good sitcom, that's when the rest of the Red Lantern Corps (the half still loyal to Atrocitus) enters the scene! Zillius, the big fat head with arms and legs, jumps to a Roperesque conclusion. Well, maybe not a Roperesque conclusion since he doesn't automatically think that Atrocitus and Rancorr are having sex with each other.

This is the third full page picture. Actually, the first two were one two page picture! But that one was uncalled for and was just wasting space to show a big Red Lantern Battery. This one works. This is what the one panel pages should be saved for. Having all of the Red Lanterns descend on Rancorr as he realizes they are all monsters wouldn't work well in a small panel.

Atrocitus stops Zillius and the other Lanterns from attacking Rancorr but then collapses from the pain. The Red Vomit in his body isn't healing him like it should. It's polluted, poisoned. Then another Red Lantern collapses from the sickness. But this one dies almost immediately and its Red Ring dissolves away. Zillius blames Rancorr and begins fighting with him anyway. Zillius is just another asshole looking for an excuse to throw a punch.

Oh, wait. That describes all of the Red Lanterns!

Rancorr begins to feel even angrierer than usual! Something is building in him and he feels something being ripped out of him! And then it happens! Another full page panel!

Hey! That's what I was wishing they could do! Okay, okay, I said, "I wish they could make a giant baseball bat out of their red vomit!" But this is close enough!

So Rancorr becomes the first Red Lantern to manifest an object or creature using the Red Lantern Ring (I think!). It's probably because Earthlings have a greater imagination than the other alien species! Yeah, I don't actually think that. But it always seems to boil down to that in Star Trek and Star Trek type science fiction stories. "Humans are so fucking special! Oh there is something so curious about your race in particular! Oh you humans get me so wet down in my alien triple vagina which is actually on the back of my neck!"

After Rancorr creates this giant Burning Blood Vomit Beast, the scene changes to Bleez and her misfits in orbit around Ysmault. Bleez has heard of this human and wants to know more about him before confronting him. She sends Skallox to find out how the human became a Red Lantern. So Skallox heads over to Stormwatch #9 (on sale May 2nd!) which is taking place on Earth!

Currently back on Earth and in this comic book series, Guy Gardner questions Baxter, the guy that killed Moore's grandfather and got this whole ball rolling. He doesn't find out much except that Baxter is a right rotten bastard and not worth protecting. Gardner hears all he needs to hear and flies off to Ysmault!

Guy Gardner is one of those Alocoholics Anonymous guys who thinks it's his responsibility to fix anyone he runs into that drinks a little too much alcohol. Or maybe he's more like a Christian that wants everyone to feel the same thing they feel when they think of Jesus and the way their life is so much better now that he's their pal. Or maybe he's just, you know, a guy trying to help another guy through some shit! He can be a pretty decent fellow sometimes. Although he's more entertaining when he's an arrogant prick!

Back on Ysmault, Abysmus and his zombie wight revenants are leaving Ysmault in an old ship belonging to somebody named Iroque. He might be someone important! But if you want to know about him, you'll have to read Green Lantern #8. While escaping the planet, Abysmus tells his "sons" how some 'new master' raised him from his grave. Was it Bleez? I don't know yet!

Dex-Starr cameo! He's a shoulder rider. Awww.

The issue ends with Rankorr exhuasted from using the ring like a normal Green Lantern Power Ring and about to fall in battle to Zillius and the other Red Lanterns. And then Atrocitus and Dex-Starr discover why they are getting sick. The Red Lantern Battery was poisoned by Abysmus and has begun to melt away. Without the battery, what will become of the Red Lanterns?!

Red Lanterns Issue #8 Rating: +1 Rating. Everything seems to be coming together nicely. Even though there was quite a bit of wasted space, the story finally has my attention! I liked where it was going. It's about time it gets back on track.

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