Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns

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This post could go one of two ways.

1: I could write a detailed synopsis of everything that happens in this trade (different corps popping up all over the place, Sinestro stirring the pot, Hal Jordan having  to make some big decisions sooner or later, the list goes on and on), ultimately failing because there are just so many details and major occurrences here that I couldn’t possibly hope to accurately describe them all without simply reprinting the whole comic.

OR

2: I could write out a super rad list about all of the insanely awesome things that happened in this trade.

Guess which one I’m leaning toward.

Let’s start this list, and hope I can contain my excitement (unlikely).

  1. Sinestro is characterized brilliantly here.  Too often writers want to take the easy route and just make a bad guy a straight up villain; it’s easy, but it’s also a tad one-dimensional.  Geoff Johns (whose run on Green Lantern continues to impress me with every issue I read) doesn’t take the easy path, and instead crafts Sinestro as a truly despicable being who still maintains a twisted belief in the Green Lantern Corps.

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His version of events may be perverse, but Sinestro always believed in the power of the Corps and its ability to create order.  He may go about it all wrong, but we should always remember that Sinestro’s origins are in the GL Corps, and that he didn’t choose to leave; he was forced out; forced out for good reason, yes, but all of his criminal and unconscionable acts were committed under his own skewed belief that what he was doing was right. Johns handles these nuances of the character wonderfully, helping mold Sinestro into a truly villainous, yet still recognizably fallible, being.

2.  This comic finally starts showing the formation of the various Corps alluded to in previous issues, and it was even more epic than I could have imagined.

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Although I certainly wouldn’t want to be a member of the Red Lantern Corps, I loved they way their transformations were done, with their heartbeats emphasized on the page as the ring takes over their bodies, finally replacing their heartbeat with its power.  I’m loving the way in which each ring is personified with a given emotion, and how said emotion affects the wearer of the ring. In this case, the Red Lanterns are guided by rage, and as rage is a bit uncontrollable, the wearers of the red ring act out rashly and with little awareness of their actions.  Watching these various Corps members interact, especially when the rage of the Red Lantern meets the calm hopefulness of the Blue Lantern, was fascinating, and made me want to keep reading to see what personality traits stand out among the other Corps.

3. Speaking of the other Corps: I had mentioned in a previous post that I really hoped Geoff Johns wrote an oath for each Corps, because I find them incredibly fun and really want to memorize all of them. Well, looks like Johns didn’t disappoint. I geeked out way too much when I realized that yes, every Corps would have its own oath, and I reveled at being able to read them out loud, imagining being a member of each Corps. I can’t lie, a part of me is just a little annoyed that the Blue Lantern oath doesn’t have as many lines, and so doesn’t quite match up to the original Green Lantern’s meter of iambic tetrameter (why do I know that??).  Still, this minor issue aside, I’m excited to attempt to memorize each and every one, because this is the type of useless trivia I fill my head with.  That and information about meter, apparently.

4.Hal Jordan gets transformed, AGAIN. He’s transformed into something bad, AGAIN.

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This image closed out one of the issues, obviously meant to be a cliffhanger to make you want to buy the next issue (Joke’s on you, Johns, I’m reading this in trade form so…I guess you still got your money’s worth anyway. Okay, nevermind).  It was fun to see Hal in a rage-filled fog, but I was grateful that Johns had the wherewithal to keep this transformation brief.  After a Blue Lantern ring is placed on his finger, that ring is able to overpower the red ring and return Hal to normal.  All of this happens in the very next issue, so while we get to see an exciting fight as Hal struggles to overcome the anger and hate overtaking him, it’s over with quickly enough. This is much more preferable to the story being extended for 4 or 5 issues; It was a nice image, but after the shock factor wears off, we’re all ready to move on with the story at hand. A great inclusion and the perfect length, so I’m totally happy with it.

5.  One of the biggest reveals of the story is made when Sinestro is captured by the Red Lantern Corps, and they’re attempting to break his own will.  Sinestro haughtily claims that he is fear, and that he fears nothing.  Of course, it turns out that he does in fact have a very exploitable weakness.

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After this reveal, not much else is mentioned about this subplot. The story ends with all the Corps fleeing to their own corners of the universe to regroup, while Sinestro announces that he is traveling to see his daughter. Knowing Johns and his writing, it’s easy to guess that this little tidbit of information is going to play a part in the story at some point, I’m just not entirely sure how.  But then, that’s half the fun; nothing’s nearly as exciting when you can predict every moment, and I’m happy to say that these recent Green Lantern stories have been anything but predictable.  Adding family drama into the fold, especially for a character like Sinestro, just helps enhance the overall story while helping to keep Sinestro dynamic and interesting.

I can’t really praise this trade enough. The story was wonderful, and although its primary purpose is to serve as exposition to the obviously significant storyline “Blackest Night”, it can easily be appreciated for the brilliant story it is.  Geoff John’s run on Green Lantern may very well be my favorite Green Lantern storyline ever (I’m holding off on making that an official declaration until I actually finish the run).  I must admit, I’ve got pretty high hopes for this one, so hopefully I don’t wind up disappointed. If this trade is any indication of what’s in store with future trades, I think I’ll be suitably impressed.  Now somebody give me a Blue Lantern ring so I can *hope* I don’t have to wait much longer before reading another Green Lantern trade.

Oh yeah, I have a feeling I’m going to be making various Lantern Corps jokes and references for a while now.   I’d apologize, but let’s be honest…I love this stuff.

-Jess

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2 thoughts on “Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns

  1. I remember being annoyed at the initial Rage of the Red Lanterns issue–being billed as a Final Crisis tie-in. While taking place at the same time, it did not seem to qualify, to me…

    On the oaths…the only “alternative” one that ever stuck with me long-term has been the tongue-in-cheek one created for the Deadpool Corps:

    “In lightest dark, in darkest light / Don’t need no bling to join the fight / We’re mercs-with-mouths and so much more / Yippee-kai-yay, we’re the Deadpool Corps!”

    On the extremely FUN side… I think it was at the start of (or during) Blackest Night itself… DC did a giveaway of the various rings, tied to the purchase of certain issues. Cheap plastic, sure, but quite wear-able…and all sorts of awesome. 🙂

    And finally… who is your favorite Red Lantern so far? I think mine’s Dex-Starr… there’s just something to that sort of character (and the character’s origin actually tugs at the heartstrings…though I believe that will be forthcoming in your Reading Quest once you get to Blackest Night).

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    1. Dex-Starr is absolutely my favorite Red Lantern! As soon as I saw him I thought to myself, “Of course the cat is a Red Lantern. They’re all such little balls of anger”. It fits really well, and gave the story a bit of levity that was much-needed. That Deadpool Corps spoof sound super fun, I’ll have to add it to the list after I finish the DC continuity trades. I’m closing in on the end!

      Liked by 1 person

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