2-for-1 Review: Red Lanterns #21 and Larfleeze #1

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Review:  Red Lanterns #21

“The New Blood”

Published by DC Comics

Written by Charles Soule

Art by Alessandro Vitti

Coloured by Gabe Eltaeb

The Plot

This issue begins with Atrocitus executing Phist (the dog-like Red Lantern) because of his unintentional ties to the Green Lantern Corps.  Atrocitus then decides what the new course of action will be with the Red Lantern Corps.  Meanwhile on Earth, Hal Jordan approaches Guy Gardner about infiltrating the Red Lanterns due to his past experience with them.  Over on Ysmault, Atrocitus creates new power rings in order to strengthen their numbers and reveals his plans for Rankorr.  On Oa, Guy makes a drink for Lee (while working in Warriors) and decides to head to Ysmault.  Initially Guy tries to infiltrate their ranks in a more traditional manner, but then he is forced to think on the fly.  This leads to some surprising results as well as questions to what Guy’s alliances truly are.

The Breakdown

For starters, it was good to see Lee again.  I’m not a huge fan of his, but just seeing more of the Lanterns again is good as for a long time just a few were seen here and there.  The one thing I noticed about the Red Lanterns in this issue with their actions concerning Rankorr and Phist is that they almost operate like a cult.  This differs a lot from the other corps and this is a dynamic that I want to see explored further.  Guy had some decent moments in this book (saying that Ysmault sucks and making a Michelada for Lee) and he’s playing everything so close to the chest that I’m not sure what’s what with him yet.  The umbrella gag at Warriors was also a nice little gag.  The information about Rankorr was interesting as I wonder if all Earth-based recruits would excel in the other Corps as well.  The scene with Guy and Atrocitus was good and bad.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about Atrocitus’ standing with the Corps after the fact.  However, I do like how Atrocitus wants to refocus his Corps efforts into fighting their own battles.  The relationship between the Green and the Red has seemed a bit too comfortable lately.  Also, it seems that perhaps the Red Lanterns may be ditching their roles as acting like galactic Punishers.  This is something that I could get behind as it lightened them up too much early on in the run.  Atrocitus has also reined his Corps in and even Bleez doesn’t dare to question his authority anymore.  I liked how Vitti did Atrocitus and his scenes on Ysmault were very suitable for how the Red Lanterns should be depicted.

BUT…

I was enjoying Guy’s storyline during the Third Army and I kind of feel like he’s being wasted in this title.  His role in Green Lantern Corps was growing and I liked how his character was being fleshed out.  In some ways I see this as character regression, but I am willing to see how it goes before having a final opinion.  I guess part of me is just disappointed that we get John over in GLC where maybe he’s the character that could’ve used a change of scenery.  I didn’t care for the art during the Hal scenes with Guy.  They just seemed to be weaker than the scenes on Ysmault.

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

Borrow It.  I’m going to give this a few more issues to see where it goes, but I can’t recommend people to buy it because it was both hit and miss for me.  I do wonder where Fialkov was going to take this book and I don’t mean any offense to the current writer.  However, there was so much press about the changes that it was hard to forget while reading it.  There are some possible forthcoming storylines that could push this book in a different direction and I want to see if this happens.  I liked how Hal is beginning to become more of a planner, which was evident in this issue.  It’s the Red Lanterns and most people I know could take them or leave them.

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Review:  Larfleeze #1

“The Extremely Large Dog on the Edge of Forever!”

Published by DC Comics

Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis

Art by Scott Kolins

Coloured by Mike Atiyeh

The Plot

Larfleeze is mulling over his recent losses (possessions) with his butler, Stargrave, while sitting at the edge of the Creation Point.  Stargrave is trying to remind Larfleeze of the danger they are currently in as his power ring only has about 15 minutes remaining.  However, Larfleeze insists on going through his history (that may have started over a billion years ago), which started on his home planet of Sh’pilkuzz.  He provides some bizarre insight into his family as well as the incident that brought about the end of his people.  Larfleeze talks about his days as a slave of the Lakadakians and the following events that lead to him discovering the orange light.  Afterwards, Stargrave notices what has happened with Larfleeze concerning the orange light.  A giant dog emerges from the membrane of the Creation Point and attacks Larfleeze.  After a brief battle, Larfleeze is victorious, but is then confronted by the dog’s master known as the Laord of the Hunt.

The Breakdown

The revelation about the new relationship between Larfleeze and the power source does raise some interesting possibilities with the mythos of the Orange Lanterns.  The history of Larfleeze did have me laughing out loud.  I particularly enjoyed his revisionist history with his family.  Stargrave plays an important role in this book as his voice is necessary in making it work.  He provides a foil for Larfleeze and he reminds me of Kiff from Futurama.  There were some very funny moments in this book and I am interested to see what Larfleeze’s role has been with the history of the DCU since he apparently has been around for a really long time.  The teaser page at the end of the story could make for some interesting stories in the future.

BUT…

It’s all about Larfleeze and this schtick could get old fairly quickly.  In past stories such as Blackest Night, Larfleeze was a character that just flat out annoyed me.  The title of the book is also something that I don’t care for either.  I wish it was called Avarice and was a social commentary about greed in the DCU.  Larfleeze could still be a central character, but it would not be solely about him.  In addition, I wish there was more conflict with Larfleeze rather than him being completely overwhelmed by the the orange light and subsequently embracing it.  There have been some hints at him having depth in the past and I hope that this is revisited at some point.  I know it is the light of greed, but the orange is overwhelming to look at in this book.  There is just so. much. orange.  I didn’t care for the art in some spots and the page spreads lacked detail.  However, Kolins is effective at the art style he does.  It just simply isn’t the style that I’m into.

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

Shelf Read It.  Take a look while at your LCS and see if this for you.  I can’t recommend this book as a potential buy, but there are people that will enjoy it.  I enjoy Giffen and DeMatteis’ work together and they were able to take a character that I have had trouble with even in small doses and make some parts enjoyable.  I ended up reading the history of Larfleeze twice because it made me laugh.  I don’t recall people clamoring for this book to get made and I gave it a shot because of the writing team.  This book could be more dynamic looking, which would help with selling readers on it being a more important book.  If it doesn’t evolve within the next couple of issues then the only time I may be reading it will be during the next Green Lantern crossover…which Grey will probably make me review.

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