Red Lanterns #3
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Ed Benes, Rob Hunters, and Nathan Eyring
The short version:
After two issues of talking about and around it, Atrocitus goes ahead and dunks Bleez into the Blood Ocean of Ysmault so that she can be more than a rage filled beast. He believes that if one of his Red Lanterns is more than a wordless anger pit that it may help him control the rest, especially in a time where his rage is not fully pure. Bleez comes out with her mind in tact, but not exactly pleased that she now has to remember her pain and the sources of her rage which was all buried in her mindless form. Atrocitus tells her exactly who sent the Sinestro after her that cost her her wings and led to her rebirth as a Red Lantern, and from there the issue is about her seeking revenge on two of her former suiters who destroyed her life. Returning to Ysmault she is able to take some control over the raging Red Lanterns, but Atrocitus isn’t sure if it’s due to the fact that she was like them, or if this was her plan all along.
What I liked:
- I like Bleez, so despite her promotion being incredibly obvious, I enjoy it. Once she actually gets to speaking her character fleshes out nicely. She was a spoiled, rich, arrogant, narcissistic bitch. And she pissed off the wrong people. I can totally buy that. It doesn’t make her unlikable, it just reminds the reader that despite her hardships she was never a completely innocent victim.
- The trip she take to her mothers grave with Atrocitus may have completely sealed the deal. I admit that I was completely lured in with the mourning, and what actually happens was such a perfect way to take it.
- The slow build towards a Red Lantern from Earth (that isn’t a blue kitty) continues. Two brothers wind up fighting over what could become murder. One is the obvious choice for a red ring, but the other, the one who wants to work it all out without violence…I got a dollar that says he gets the ring instead. SWERVE!
- The ‘villains’ of the issue, a Count and a Baron who were both rejected by Bleez, while generic, served their purpose. Two pissed off whore mongerers manipulate a Sinestro into getting revenge for them.
- Let’s be honest here, Bleez is my favorite thing in this book, and while her design turns to cheesecake under Benes, the body language and expressions sell the character. Not just her ass. Let’s be honest, Benes does great women and it’s not just that he likes to make them sexy, he manages to sneak in the little details too. The ones that get ignored when people harp on how sexist it is.
What I didn’t like:
- Bleez’s inner dialog during her time in the Blood Ocean is absolutely painful. It’s wordy for the sake of wordy, and broken for the sake of broken. I get that he was recovering her mind from blinding rage, but it’s just silly in the wrong ways.
- What the hell did Benes do to Atrocitus? By ditching all the alien like parts of his appearance he’s a pink bald humanoid who really doesn’t look that distinct anymore. Even his costume looks less bad ass with the pointless redesign of his face.
- Three issues in and essentially nothing has happened. I understand one and done stories, and I understand setting the tone, but the book needs to live up to the hook they tried to establish in the first issue.
- The pacing in this book is just weird, and I know I mentioned one and dones, but this book reads like it shouldn’t be one. Milligan is trying way too hard to slow burn this title, and it reads like it’s just dragging on too long. Hopefully Bleez getting her mind back will hurry that along, because I don’t know how many more issues I want to sit through if this is the way it’s going to be every issue.
- You know what would be awesome? If I could name a Red Lantern that isn’t Atrocitus, Bleez, or Dex-Starr. Three issues into this book, still can’t do it. I have three different Green Lantern Corps number ones (the relaunched volume, the pre-relaunch volume, and the Recharge mini that brought them back), and in each one of those I came out able to name two Green Lantern’s I’d never heard of before. This title has only further educated me on two characters I was well versed in, without bothering to name any others.
As a fan of Bleez (thanks to Peter Tomasi’s short lived Emerald Warriors series), I enjoyed this issue. Her origins were reexplained for those who didn’t read that Tales of the Corps mini back before Blackest Night, and she forged her first non-broken dialog as a Red Lantern. Honestly, after reading this issue, I like her more than Atrocitus, but that could just be because he’s kind of turning into a bitch. The one and done nature of this title is going to make momentum hard to build up, so I’m really hoping that Milligan has some over arching plans that will show themselves. As it stands, there’s just not a ton of substance to hold in a reader who is either on the fence about reading it or looking to clear up some money by cutting a few books. Maybe it will come across better in trade, or maybe we’re just an issue away from something happening in the book that feels like forward progression. Because while yes, Bleez getting her min back is progression, it could have been done in either of the last two issues and didn’t necessarily need a full issue to be told. And you know what would make it all better? If Atrocitus looked like Atrocitus.
Tags: Atrocitus, DC Comics Relaunch, ed benes, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), New 52 (DC Comics), Peter Milligan, Red Lanterns, Reviews