Thursday, August 28, 2014

Red Lanterns #34 Review and *SPOILERS

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Alessandro Vitti, J. Calafiore
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 27, 2014

End of The Red War

Last time in Red Lanterns we saw the culmination of previous month's Atrocitus War stories come to a head as Atrocitus released thousands of red rings onto the angry populace of Earth.  Many battles took place and we saw Skallox switch allegiances from Gardner to Atrocitus seemingly to get back to his lady love Shadow Thief.  Now I don't remember the two having a real love connection, especially due to Shadow Thief's xenophobia, but Skallox seems to love her and now that she's a raging Red Lantern, he plans on taking her back to Atrocitus's new blood lake.  Too bad that my favorite character Zilious Zox sacrificed himself and the Red Lantern flagship, The Kaalvar to destroy Atrocitus's foothold in the galaxy.  We also saw Rankor come back to his senses when we found out that a Red Lantern parasite was controlling him and don't worry he took care of it by ripping it out of his mouth and squishing it, so Rankor is back in the mix.  In the end Bleez tried to use the blood magic to take control of all the new human raging Red Lanterns, but Atrocitus's kung-fu proved to be better and we saw a gigantic army of Reds versus Gardner and Bleez.  Yeah it's a pretty bleak ending, but let's check out this conclusion where anything can happen.

Explain It!:

Our story begins with our heroes realizing that they are terribly outnumbered and hightailing it back to Ysmault.  Gardner and Bleez set up a last stand in the cavern underneath the old power battery and to pass the time before certain death, Gardner contacts Skallox and Rankor to tell them to go someplace and hide, because there is no reason for them to come here and die.  Gardner also contacts John Stewart to say his goodbyes and explain himself a little so that he can die in peace.  I don't think he got to say everything he wanted, but he got to say a nice goodbye before the horde of Red Lanterns came a calling.

So Bleez and Gardner fight Red Lantern after Red Lantern as they shuffle through the small opening to the cavern and a brief glimpse of hope comes in the form of Skallox, Rankor and Shadow Thief when they don't take Gardner's advice and instead go head to head with the army of Reds.  Immediately we see that this was an awful idea for Skallox, because Atrocitus just outright murders him.  WTF!?  First Zilius dies and now Skallox?  Are we even going to have any Reds left after this story?  Poor poor Skallox.

As upsetting as it is to see Skallox go, it's more upsetting to realize that he knew more about love than I do, because Shadow Thief even in her crazy rage sees him die and immediately goes to seek vengeance.  Shadow Thief as a Red Lantern is just so strange to me and I wish we could of seen a little more to build up Skallox and her's supposed relationship, because apparently she feels it too.

Finally Gardner and Bleez make their way out of the cavern to see where all the bad guys went and it's a good thing too, because Bleez saves the day by putting Dex-Starr down before he had the chance to kill Rankor.  Rankor tries to discuss their feelings and Bleez tells him that they can talk about it if they live and at this point I wouldn't be expecting that conversation.  So while Shadow Thief keeps Atrocitus and the nameless Reds busy, Guy figures it's the perfect time to strike.  Only problem with that is that The Judge finally decided to do something and that thing was to judge Guy Gardner.  Luckily he was deemed not guilty, but the rest of the nameless Reds and even herself aren't so lucky.  That's right the Judge takes it upon herself to judge herself and judging from the explosion that followed, I guess she was guilty.  So I guess her whole story line was bullshit.  I'm really digging this issue so far, but that just seems like a waste to create a character and have her hang around for awhile just to knock out a few Reds in her death explosion.

So while it was strange and unexpected, The Judge has now given Guy Gardner the upper hand by knocking out all the Reds.  To keep them out of trouble they load the bodies into the mouth of that Hellraiser monster looking Lantern and the real fight begins when Atrocitus hits Guy from behind.

The two tussle briefly, but it all comes down to Guy telling Atrocitus that he didn't steal his ring and the Reds from him, Atrocitus lost it all on his own.  To prove his point, Guy tries a dangerous course of action.  He takes his ring off and as he begins to die, his ring searches for a worthy candidate between him and Atrocitus.  To Atrocitus's surprise the ring goes back to Gardner, but not only that a bunch of rings come to Gardner and we see Guy become the biggest, most badass Red Lantern of them all.

Being the ultimate badass Red that he is now, Guy wills Atrocitus's ring off of him and wills the rings off all the other undeserving lanterns on Ysmault and he not only wills them off, but he uses the blood magic to absorb the rings and then uses the power to remake the Red Power Battery and recreate the magic blood lake.
In the end I used more pictures in a review than I've ever done before, but I really needed to show all of you how awesome and brilliant this artwork is.  So now that all is well in the universe, Guy decides that he's leaving the Lanterns to Bleez to lead and tells them to take all the bad guys to John Stewart on Mogo so he can deal with them.  As he leaves he tells everyone that sector 2814 is still their sector, but Earth is his and our hero returns home to a uncertain future.  It's strange though because he still carries a red ring on a necklace around his neck, but he chooses to just be in street clothes, even when he was still on Ysmault.  I guess it's just a matter of style and of course I wouldn't get it.  But did our Guy Gardner just become a Parallax like figure like Hal Jordan did back in the 90's?  I guess we'll have to wait and see.

That's it people!  The Atrocitus War is over and I have no idea how this series will continue.  Instead of a conclusion to a story arc, it seem more like the conclusion to a series.  Zilious Zox is dead, Skallox is dead and Guy Gardner just left his friends behind to begin a new adventure........ doing something.  I guess we'll see where Five Years From Now takes our Red Lanterns and see what the future holds for this dwindling Corps.  See you next time.

Bits and Pieces:

Besides for a mysterious romances and a character that didn't amount to much, this was an unbelievably enjoyable issue and conclusion to the Atrocitus War.  Each time I turned a page it seemed I was shocked by something new and almost all the characters stood out in their own for this ending, which for a roster this big is really something.  We've got a lot of good books out this week, but this one definitely needs to be on your pull list.


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