Guy Gardner is on a recruitment drive, collecting up all the recently minted Red Lanterns he can in anticipation of open conflict with Atrocitus, who’s doing the same thing. Their first stop is already proving problematic as a raging Red is obliterating everything in sight on her morally corrupt world. Even Atroctius is stunned by her power and after Guy and Kara launch a desperate gambit that backfires, things look bleak. I really like the dynamic between Kara and Guy in this book as we see that being a Red Lantern is harder than the youthful Kryptonian may have believed. I absolutely love the way Charles Soule writes her: impulsive but not stupid, intelligent but not wise and stubborn, but not unmoving. It’s one helluva balancing act. It’s also been really compelling watching Guy slowly turn into a great leader AND a great character. The supporting cast gets a little more back-seated, but that’s not a problem in this case as they’ve had a lot of spotlight recently. We also get reminded that Atrocitus’ powers extend beyond the red rings, and I always like seeing semi-obscure character attributes get referenced.
Alessandro Vitti’s linework does what it always does: offer up great, precise details and well-defined characters and setting. The action is intense and fluid, with a lot of great kinetic force and the illusion of motion. J. Calafiore takes over linework on a few pages, but the two styles merge perfectly, creating no disruption Gabe Eltaeb on colors brings his usual rich, full palette to the book, showing off some of the deepest, most nuanced reds you’ll find in comics. And this one is redder than MOST issues, but it still looks visually arresting and diverse.
The art struggles in the occasional panel where faces looking smushed or otherwise “off” with features differing or being misaligned from one panel to the next. This is a rare problem but when it happens, it’s very visible.
The Five-Star Mustache may have become a Van Dyke, but the five-star appellation remains appropriate. This book is consistently fun, consistently action-packed and even finds the time for a great joke or two. For having such amazing fight scenes with some incredibly comedic moments, it never breaks tone. It’s a very pure superhero book, but it’s also part road movie, packing all these bizarre characters together and letting them all shine. If the cast is going to expand, as this issue makes it seem, I can’t see a problem with that.