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Red Lanterns #25 - Sphere of Influence Review

4

The Red Lanterns have laid claim to space sector 2814. And while it includes Earth, they decide to look elsewhere to make their presence known.

The Good

The transformation undergone by this title have been nothing short of staggering and all it took was a little push from a well-established DCU character...well that and an entirely new creative team with an entirely new direction. But the introduction of Guy Gardner as a Red Lantern wouldn’t have been sufficient on its own and that’s where the “humanizing,” for lack of a better word, of the most vicious corps has already paid off massively. I’m really enjoying the fact that not all of them are taking to this new, free-wheeling lifestyle either, because the notion that all of them would be onboard from the word GO is also a bad idea. When we last saw our raging heroes, they’d been granted authority over Space Sector 2814, AKA the space sector that contains Earth. Not only does Gardner make a great argument for that (fully 1/3 of their corps is earthbound as opposed to 1/1000th of the GLs), but our first story doesn’t even take place on Earth. No, that would’ve been the easy, less interesting, way. Instead, we get a rousing tale of deception bordering on a heist that’s beautiful in its simplicity.

Alessandro Vitti’s linework continues to wow with jagged, sharp lines that show every grimace and scowl, but doesn’t scrimp on other critical character details. The characters remained well defined and set apart from one another beautifully as well as having one of the most incredibly diverse looks of any book on the shelf. Everything from humanoid aliens to a giant sphere with limbs and, of course, an octopus-like brain creature. Of course. Gabe Eltaeb, with support from Hi-Fi, also deserves special mention for helping make an issue that contains SO MUCH RED so visually distinct and interesting in terms of its color palette and overall look.

The Bad

There’s a part at the end that I won’t spoil but I’m either grossly misinterpreting what’s going on, or the character they reveal is making a face that makes no sense for that character in that situation. It’s definitely one or the other, and either way it’s an extremely confusing final page. There’s also a B-storyline involving Atrocitus that I’m having a hard time getting invested in or caring about because, in my opinion, Atrocitus was one of the things holding the book back originally and I was glad to see him sail off into the...whatever the equivalent of sunset is on Ysmault. Though I am still a fan of Dex-Starr: Talking Rage Kittycat.

The Verdict

This book remains a great, solid read every time I pick it up and has been one of the most refreshing surprises to come of the Corps’ creative shake-up. It’s further proof that who’s on a book matters as much, if not more, than which character is inside as a great creative team can do great things with practically anyone. This book continues to be one I look forward to every month.