Wrath of the First Lantern Review: Red Lanterns #17 by Peter Milligan and Miguel Sepulveda
by Joe Smith on March 4, 2013

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Review:  Red Lanterns #17

“Sympathy for the Devil”

Published by DC Comics

Written by Peter Milligan

Art by Miguel Sepulveda

Coloured by Rain Beredo

The Plot

The story begins with Atrocitus’ Manhunters descending upon Oa and launching an all-out attack.  Meanwhile Atrocitus is on Maltus, which is the long-abandoned home of the Guardians.  He is interacting with the spirit of Krona who reveals some things about his past life.  Much to Atrocitus’ chagrin, they might have more in common then he would care to admit.  Nonetheless, he continues to seek out the Great Heart, which has some serious implications with the history of the Guardians.  At the same time, Krona is met by someone from his own past and the result of this meeting was quite surprising.  Rankorr is still on Earth and finds that he would prefer a normal life; however, his current appearance would hinder that as he recalls his own brother’s reaction towards him.  He tries a new trick and utilizes this to help a woman in need, which amuses Bleez.  Atrocitus is met by some guards who are watching over the Great Heart and they seek to cleanse him of all emotions.  Some of the Manhunters arrive on Maltus and just as Atrocitus is ready to continue he is met by the First Lantern.

The Breakdown

I was very glad to see Volthoom’s appearance matching the Mahnke version in this issue, which made it a win for me.  I thought that this issue would be Atrocitus revisiting his ghosts (again) and having his reality tweaked a bit.  When it became evident right away that this would not be the case I became much more interested in reading it.  I’m starting to enjoy how Atrocitus is aware of so much within the universe and how he is willing to travel to its darkest corners in order to fulfill his goals.  The revised appearance of the Manhunters continues to be decent as they look genuinely creepy.  I also enjoyed Atrocitus wrestling with Krona’s information because it provides him with more range as a character.  That was one thing that I dreaded when I first heard about this title was Atrocitus being a one-note character and how that would be in an ongoing.  However, his character continues to be explored while not compromising the rage that fuels his power as a Red Lantern.  I liked Rankorr’s personal struggle and how he missed his old life.  The nature of the Red Lantern’s power is so much more pervasive than the Green Lantern’s that it would completely disrupt his former life as opposed to someone like Hal Jordan.  Atrocitus’ plans with the Great Heart is definitely making me anticipate the end game with this entire storyline.  It’s definitely going big rather than going home.  The one panel with Krona was pretty intense and it left me wondering what’s going to happen.  The cliffhanger with Atrocitus and Volthoom has me looking forward to the next issue for the most part.  The art team continued to create a look for this book that really works.  Beredo’s colours really complement Sepulveda’s art in this title.  It’s not as clean and polished as the Green Lantern title and I’m glad that this title has a look that sets it apart from the other GL titles.

BUT…

Atrocitus getting to the Great Heart at the end of the issue seemed to be almost too easy.  Rankorr hesitating to rescue the woman based on his own appearance seemed kind of un-Red Lantern-ish.  Rather than giving into rage and revenge he stood there with a lot of angst until he developed a plan.  I would’ve liked it better if he acted and then decided to try out his plan based on her reaction.  Rage consumes the Red Lanterns and he just seemed to be a little too in control of his devices in this scene.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.  This was a good issue.  It was a pleasant change of pace from parts two and three of the Wrath storyline.  Stuff happened in this issue that has some serious ramifications for the rest of the storyline.  Atrocitus continues his own journey within this title while still following the Wrath of the First Lantern story, which made this book a win for me.  This book moved forward on two fronts and it didn’t seem like the big crossover interfered with this title at all (unlike some of the bat crossover books).  A solid read this week.



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