In Review: Red Lanterns #24
The cover: Guy and Hal their usual heart-to-heart…Okay, fist-to-face. This is as basic an idea as covers go for super hero books, yet Stephen Segovia and Gabe Eltaeb make this look great. I love the positioning of both figures, the energy coming out of their rings as they make contact, and the debris at the bottom. The coloring is also great: Hal’s chest, the blue-green background, and look at the energy reflected in the rocks at the bottom–What a cool touch! Overall grade: A
The story: What a great opening! Bleez overheard Guy’s conversation with Hal Jordan last issue and knows he’s a spy for the Green Lanterns. The question readers were left with was what was Guy going to do? In two pages of dialogue–shocking!–Guy has the situation under control and then threatens Bleez in the most diabolical of ways. This is not “stupid” Guy Gardner, this is “smart” Guy Gardner, and I’ve missed him terribly! When reunited with the remaining Red Lanterns, Guy gives Bleez one heck of a test! The conversation with them is cut short when Hal, Star Sapphire, and several Green Lanterns appear. Writer Charles Soule was able to create a strong Guy-and-Hal issue and make it fit seamlessly into the Lights Out storyline. Lately these mega-crossover events are jarring to plotlines of ongoing series, but not this one, and that made me so happy! Atrocitus and Dex-Starr are also in this issue, but I’m not enjoying them. The fallen leader of the red corps has been weakened too often lately, so what happens to him is irrelevant and Dex-Starr is talking way too much: he’s much more effective if he doesn’t speak, let alone in simple clichéd sayings, such as on Page 14. Another lantern, with friends, and Relic do appear in this issue and their inclusion doesn’t bother me in the least. Overall grade: B+
The art: I really like Alessandro Vitti’s line work. His background and setting work is really sharp. The first five pages of this book take place entirely within the lanterns’ ship and Vitti doesn’t skip any details, anywhere. His characters are full of emotion; check out Guy and Bleez’s opening scene: both characters emote perfectly and their body language instantly tells readers how they’re feeling during their conversation. Guy’s face is constantly full of rage, making him the perfect leader of the reds. His aliens are grotesquely wonderful! I want Skallox and Zox to be absolutely awful in every panel they’re in and they are! I’m in love with their alien-ness. When the Green Lanterns appear they, too, look just as unearthly, putting me into sheer bliss. The fight scene is also terrific and I love the rippling of energy around each lantern, rather than the smooth borders about them; it makes each lantern seem all the more powerful. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Terrific coloring on every page from Gabe Eltaeb. The opening pages could have been a visual mess with poor coloring. The scene is comprised of two red lanterns talking within a grey ship. Not really much variety here. Yet, Eltaeb, to paraphrase Tim Gunn, makes it work. The ship has windows allowing the bright sunlight of Ysmault in to brighten things up and provide some cool shading. Light blue computer readouts bring some needed color to the interiors. Shading done on Bleez and Guy, especially on their faces, makes the art three dimensional. And this is only Page 1! The bottom of Page 10 has the most beautiful coloring for such a graphic image. I love the sound effect’s color, too. Overall grade: A+
The letters: I’m having major issue with dialogue and yells/screams that are larger than the dialogue balloons that are supposed to contain them. Taylor Esposito does a good job on dialogue and sound effects, but balloons must be bigger for big utterances. Look at the top of page 9–The yell is lost in the artwork, and this should be as strong as the art. Page 14′s first three panels have dialogue that’s too tiny and renders it impotent. Page 18′s yell is unintentionally silly because of its size. Learn from Jurassic Park, DC Comics: Size does matter! Overall grade: B-
The final line: Incredibly readable and enjoyable to look at. For an intrusive crossover, this is exceptionally done. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.