Comic Vine Review


Red Lanterns #21 - The New Blood Review


The Green Lantern Corps needs info on the impenetrable Red Lanterns. Is Guy Gardner their man, or will he wind up in too deep?

The Good

Those who’ve read previous reviews, or listened to the Comic Vine podcast with any regularity, know my feelings on Guy Gardner. Or not so much the character himself, but his portrayal in the last couple of decades. Though he was originally created with all seriousness in mind, in the 1980s his character was changed by the legendary Steve Englehart and Joe Staton to be a parody of the anti-commie, ultra-jingoism permeating the country at the time (see: Rocky IV for a non-parody point of reference), but somewhere along the way, his uber-machismo, much like Lobo’s, began to be taken seriously again. He became the consummate B-lister who thought he was an A-lister, the problem being that no one ever corrected him and other characters believed his hype. So I’m as shocked as anyone that Charles Soule, a new writer on Red Lanterns, has made the character more relatable and, yes, self-aware than he’s been in years. And that makes him so much more likable.

The story opens on the hellish alien world of Ysmault, home of the Red Lanterns, where Atrocitus has discovered that one of his agents had a Green Lantern monitoring device planted inside him. With the device destroyed, Hal Jordan seeks out Guy to become a man on the inside of the Red Lanterns, a role Guy takes to, but not for any reason Hal may have guessed. Soule writes all the characters, and there actually are quite a few, with a great deal of panache and verve, but he deserves special acclaim, especially near the end, for perfectly threading the needle on Guy Gardner’s inner-workings. He constructs a great narrative and fully justifies why Gardner is on Ysmault, makes the Red Lanterns more interesting, even gets in a couple of pages of Gardner playing bartender, one of the few times he seems truly happy and juggles a great many different scenes with absolutely great pacing.

Alessandro Vitti handles the pencils and ink while Gabe Eltaeb slings colors and Taylor Esposito letters, and let’s talk about that last one for a moment. Letterer, even more than inker, might be the most underrated, unsung profession in this business, but in this issue especially it makes a huge difference. Between the multiple rings talking, the various aliens gabbing, and different narrative voices, lettering actually makes a huge difference and is handled with great gusto. Not to undersell the visuals, which are absolutely top-notch. Books like the Lantern titles need special attention paid to things like colors and this book does an amazing job, in addition to the absolutely fantastic panel control and pacing. The visuals know when to elevate the characters and when to drag them through the muck.

The Bad

The fight scene near the end of the book is a little stiff and the characters are, on some pages, overly blocky in terms of their design. These are both VERY minor quibbles that by no means wreck the book.

The Verdict

Red Lanterns #21 is my surprise hit of the week, if not the month. I went into this book ready to dislike it, if not for the book’s previous reputation than for it’s starring character, but I can absolutely recommend this for fans of the Red Lanterns, Guy Gardner or even the Green Lanterns in general. It helps fill out their universe and is a great jump-on point for new readers.

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Edited by JamDamage

I'm sick of the whole cosmic thing, but this seems interesting

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Edited by jaytiz27

Well that's a turn up for the books.

I'm shocked

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Posted by MadeinBangladesh

DCharles Soule lknows ow to write. This book has been crappy forever. And how many frickin titles does Soule have? Swamp Thing, Thunderbolts, Superman/Wonderwoman and this. Jesus.

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Posted by dondave

I didn't like how the fight with Guy and Atrocitus went, the outcomes should have been the opposite

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Posted by dagmar_merrill

@dondave: Yeah, I thought the same thing.

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Posted by dagmar_merrill

Atrocious should have destroyed Guy. That was the one thing I didn't like, that fight. It was weird and shouldn't of went that way.

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Posted by xblah_blahx

This is my first Red Lantern book I've ever picked up and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this issue.

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Posted by Billy Batson

DCharles Soule lknows ow to write. This book has been crappy forever. And how many frickin titles does Soule have? Swamp Thing, Thunderbolts, Superman/Wonderwoman and this. Jesus.

He's also done some Image books on the side and he practices the law^^

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Posted by ptigrusmagus

So happy to see a good rating on this one. I really like this and Swamp Thing lately.

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Posted by The Stegman

I was just leaving my LCS, and then read this review. Made me turn around and buy the title. I've been waiting so long for this to be good

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Posted by Akindoodle
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Edited by Crazy_Wilhelm

I really liked it. Charles Soule does aces work.

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Posted by TaylorEspo

It's Taylor. Thanks for the kind words. :)

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Posted by Skulexander

Haven't read this yet, but yeah. Guy shouldn't be able to defeat Atrocitus.

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Posted by TheShutup

Just got done with the issue.
WOW! great writing, great art.

Is it a crime to say that i enjoyed this issue more than green lantern 21?
if it is you can SHUUTTUP because it is my opinion and i say this was a great start!
it is soo great to have new directions in the Green lantern universe. and having Larfleeze and Red lanterns both be great additions to that has me all in.

This new era of green lantern is going to be awesome, and i will be shelling out to get all the new green lantern titles

So far I have them rated as:

Red Lanterns(GUY) > Green Lantern Corps(JOHN)> Green Lantern(HAL)> New Guardians(KYLE)> Larfleeze

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Posted by millennium

@the_stegman: same here 20 issues of bad writing to ok writing im really glad that the new creative team was able to return this book around

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Posted by Jackmaa

Well, this issue goes as promised, this is the best one in the 21 issues to date.

I must say that, I didn't like Gardner as a GL, but as a RL he is freakin awesome. I'm excited to see how this goes, I'd love if Guy could be in the RL for more of this awesomeness.

As said in the comments before, the fight is a little rush.

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Posted by doombot890

I was really blown away by this! can't wait for the next issue!

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Posted by theTimeStreamer

the amount of stupid in this issue is incredible. it remains filth.

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Posted by Ando123

What a great new jumping point the red lanterns are real bad-asses

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Posted by SoA

it was a awesome issue . easily my favorite this week

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Edited by impossibilly

I liked this issue a lot. After avoiding it for 20 issues, I'm now adding Red Lanterns to my pull list.

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Posted by Imperius_Rex

He kicked his butt and took his ring! Did nobody think to themselves " this is a little bizarre, isn't atrocitus the leader of the red lanterns? Should we make him look like a chump in his own book?" This was frustrating on so many levels.