Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Red Lanterns Annual #1 Review (2014)


Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Miguel Sepulveda
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 30, 2014

It's finally here people.  The moment I've been clamoring for what seems like forever.  The War against Atrocitus is on and to get you ready for the badassery that is this issue, I'll fill you in on a few key details.  Atrocitus kept Rankorr prisoner and when Guy Gardner's Reds went to rescue him, he was all kinds of crazy and dangerous.  While they were doing the whole rescue thing Atrocitus went to Ysmault and poisoned their magic blood lake and destroyed their power battery.  If that wasn't enough to tip the scales of war, Supergirl is no longer a Red Lantern and Atrocitus has created a new homeworld for his new Red Lanterns complete with magic blood lake.  At the end of the last issue, we saw Skallox betray Guy and go sniveling back to Atrocitus just in time for hundreds of Red Lantern rings emerging from the magic blood lake.  What does this all mean?  It's wartime bitches and I hope you're ready because it's starting here, it's going to get wild and I'm going to SPOIL the shit out of it.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Holy fucking shit, I never would of thought that Charles Soule would be able to tie his entire run together for this war and have it be completely awesome.  I think he's some kind of magic man, that's the only explanation I've got, but I'll let you be the judge... But not the scary one from this series a normal one that judges things without killing them..... Yeah.

The story begins with Atrocitus taking his revenge on Guy Gardner by taking his new Reds to Earth.  Phase 1:  Destroy all the monuments and things that humans love.  Phase 2:  Send down a shit ton of Red Lantern rings for all the angry humans.  Phase 3:  Holy Shit!  It's an army of Red Lanterns!  It looks like Guy and Bleez are going to have their hands full with this.  Oh what's that?  What's Zilious Zox up to you ask.  Well, it seems that he's taking the Red Lantern's flagship "The Kaalvar" and getting a little payback for Atrocitus poisoning the magic blood lake.  I guess ZZ and me think alike because we both agree the best kind of payback is blasting shit with giant energy cannons.  That's right don't mess with me.

Now, this part is crazy.  It seems that Atrocitus had a contingency plan for this and it involves the former owner of "The Kaalvar" Barg who's now a Red Lantern and wants his ship back.  This leads to Barg sending a message to Rankorr to stop acting crazy and take care of Zilious Zox.  That's right, Rankorr gets up and escapes his cell and punches a hole in Zilious's head.  In his head!  WTF!

So Zilious is just laying there with a hole in him and I guess this stirs something in Rankorr that allows him to take control again and he pulls a parasite Red Lantern out from his mouth and rips it in half.  Now I was going to add a GIF of Craig T. Nelson from Poltergeist 2 pulling that evil tequila worm out of his mouth, but it was just to damn gross and I don't want to do that to you, fine people.  Rankorr's himself again and it turns out that Zilious is still alive and for a brief second we think that maybe everything will be okay, but it just turns out we're stupid because like I said he has a hole in his head.  Rankorr gives his apologies and Zilious sends him away to go help out Guy Gardner.  So for one last moment, we see Zilious get behind the controls of the "Kaalvar" and put it into a crash course with Atrocitus's base and magic blood lake.  Right before the ship crashes, it tells ZZ that it's finally discovered after searching a universal database the meaning of testicle and our favorite Red Lantern dies smiling, thinking about his strange friendship with Guy Gardner.  

I'm just terribly upset now.  How the hell can I go on when I know there isn't going to be a Zilious Zox to make me laugh in the future?  You know how comic book characters never stay dead and it's a big joke now?  I don't know if a character like ZZ really fits the bill for a resurrection story.  This is it, folks, a world without our lovable ZZ and I hate it.

Back at Earth Skallox has left Atrocitus, who doesn't seem to give a shit about this him in the least and our treacherous goat skull looking hero like thing makes his way down to Earth and finds what he's looking for.  Remember when Skallox and ZZ were on Earth and started getting their asses kicked by Shadow Thief?  Well, it happened and now it seems that Skallox has had feelings for her and wants to make sure she's alright now that her rage has turned her into a Red Lantern.  Yeah, it's a little strange, but I bet it was therapeutic when he stops her from her crazy rampaging by punching her upside the head.  Back on the front line Guy is taking down Reds with Supergirl and we get a small unimportant cameo from Batman, but the real strategy is Bleez brought a little backup in the form of a ship from the people that the Reds saved from the slave lord Kormorax back in Red Lanterns #26.  This ship is equipped with a pacifying beam that was once used against Guy and the Lanterns and now it's being used to pacify the raging new Lanterns on Earth.  How the hell is Soule pulling all these callbacks out?  It's crazy awesome.  Now it's time to face Atrocitus.

In the end Guy and Bleez stop Atrocitus from taking down the pacifying ship and when it looks like it's finally time for fisticuffs, Atrocitus disappears to the other side of the planet.... Yeah, I didn't know he could do that either.  Now it's a race to use the blood magic to control the new Lanterns on Earth and even though Bleez took control of a few of them, I don't think it's going to make a difference.

That's the end of....... Well, the beginning of.........  The issue is over and the Atrocitus War has started with a vengeance.  Make sure you're back here next month so we can look at the conclusion in Red Lanterns #34 and see what kind of changes we'll be looking at in the Red Lanterns universe.  One being that Zilious won't be there and I think I'm going to grab a hold of the first stranger I see and yell that Zilious Zox is dead and see what happens.

Bits and Pieces:

With the slow build up, I was bitching about last week, Charles Soule certainly told me to suck with this issue.  Goddamn was this a punch you in the face, help you up and dust you off and then give you some speed issue.  Yeah, that's a thing.  With all the ups and downs that Soule presents you within this issue, by the end you'll be dizzy about what the hell just happened and wondering did I really just read that.  So damn good that I'm still reeling from the number of callbacks that were presented here, that wraps Soule's entire run up in a nice little bow.  If you read one title this week, this has to be it.  DO IT!


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