Sunday, November 4, 2012

Red Lanterns #13

The final issue of the triptych Third Army cover. Let's hope the fucking intergalactic ball really gets rolling here.

Everything in the lives of the Red Lanterns has finally calmed down as much as their lava-filled bloodstreams will let it. The Battery has been rebuilt and the Guardians' plan to destroy them has failed. Now they're just sitting around Ysmault filling skulls with blood from the Blood Ocean when they hear the cry of one seeking vengeance in the universe. This cry crosses 2300 sectors of space to reach them.

And I guess Atrocitus and Bleez have put their problems behind them.

A young girl on the planet Arhtky has been captured by a brutal tribal leader named Cord. He's killed her parents and her sister and now forces her to dance and serve drinks for his men. It is her rage that has caught the attention of the Red Lanterns. And maybe it's a good thing The Third Army is going to pull the Red Lanterns into the Guardians' bullshit once again. Because I don't know if a Red Lanterns book about them going from planet to planet punishing people for making other people really mad is much of a book. But until the Borg Lanterns show up, the Red Lanterns arrive like a genie from a bottle to grant the wishes of the now dying young girl, struck down as she tried to escape her captor.

Nope. Just random bullshit.

Once everyone in the area not a Red Lantern is dead and the conflict is over, the Borg Lanterns show up. And while they just looked goofy and cartoonish in the other Green Lantern titles, they actually look creepy and threatening in this book.

Nice work, Sepulveda. Even though I don't usually mind goofy and cartoonish, I think a cosmic threat should actually be scary.

The Borg Lanterns seem impervious to every attack the Red Lanterns have. Rankorr the human Red Lantern notices that their eyes do not seem to belong to them. He also notices that they keep trying to rip his arm off.

Kind of like that!

Once a Borg Lantern manages to separate a Red Lantern from its power ring, they're able to assimilate it into the Third Army. Atrocitus throws off the other Borg Lanterns to get a close examination of the newly transformed Red Lantern, Skorch, and notices that Rankorr was right. This Borg Lantern still has his Red Lantern's eyes.

It's the eyes thing that make them look so goofy in the other Green Lantern titles.

When Atrocitus puts out the eyes of his former Red Lantern, all of the Borg Lanterns feel the pain. So he learns their eyes are a weakness and that they are not individuals but act as a large organism. Like ants! Or, um, let me think...Borg!

Atrocitus has one of those Dr. House moments at this point where he suddenly knows how they can be killed. He doesn't clue anybody else into his epiphany though. That'll have to wait until next issue.

Milligan ends the issue with the character he began it with in a three panel scene that I simply adore.

Red Lanterns #13 Rating: +2 Ranking. One problem with commenting on comic books as I read them is that when I don't guess where the plot is headed, I make assumptions in the first half of my commentaries that I don't really go back and correct. I just sort of change direction and go with the comic. By the end, I sometimes forget to recalibrate the things I said earlier to fit what was going on in the story. So let me try that a bit here.

The first half of this story, I felt was a boring concept. Someone in the universe gets angry enough for any reason and the Red Lanterns swoop in to kill shit. But that definitely wasn't the point of this story. The comic begins with the enslaved woman claiming their was no justice in the universe. And then the people who mistreated her and killed her kin end up slaughtered. She sees this as possible justice even though the Red Lanterns have claimed they are not about justice but vengeance. That's okay! She doesn't know that. But by the end, after seeing all she's seen, she come around to changing her mind. Maybe there is justice! Maybe someone is in control! There is meaning and righteousness and rewards! And then she's assimilated by a Borg Lantern. Fucking perfect.

That's the story here and I take back any of my complaints from earlier. If Millgan wants to tell stories like this using the plot contrivance of the Red Lanterns following screams of rage around the universe, I'm all for it. It really is reminiscent of Shade the Changing Man's pursuit of the American Scream from Shade's comic book of the early nineties. Is Atrocitus this millennium's Shade?

All that gained it one rank. The other rank was gained due to Sepulveda actually making the Third Army feel like a real threat instead of goofy fucking bug-eyed dancing skeletons.

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