I almost didn’t pick up Red Lanterns #1. I had no intention of getting it, being of the opinion that while Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns were interesting enough as antagonists to the Green Lantern Corps, they didn’t have the depth to sustain their own series. But when I was in the store picking up my other comics, the cover piqued my curiosity enough to take a look inside, and I was treated to what looked to be a glorious opening sequence involving scene-stealing killer kitty Dex-Starr. As an impulse buy, I added it to my pile. Once I read it, however, I was left wishing I had gone with my original gut instinct.
Red Lanterns is the first New 52 comic I’ve read that I didn’t enjoy. After that fun opening sequence, I thought the comic was going to be packed with crazy, violent fun. But instead things went quickly downhill after the opening, with much of the rest of the comic taken up by Atrocitus standing around and pontificating on the nature of rage and his purpose in life. Peter Milligan is one of those great writers whose most acclaimed work I’ve never had a chance to read. I absolutely loved Sub-Mariner: The Depths, but his work on Thor left me cold. So he’s still something of an unknown quantity for me. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to bring to Justice League Dark, but Red Lanterns felt too much like a story going through the motions.
Thankfully, then, Ed Benes’ art looks great. At least, it starts off great. But the sequences set on Earth feel pretty flat, and as the issue progresses, the crisp lines of Benes start to get a bit messy in places. As with my review of Green Lantern #1, I have to give credit to the colorist, in this case Nathan Eyring. The reds just burn off the page here, particularly on the Red Lantern homeworld of Ysmault.
But nice art isn’t enough to bring me back for more. In the couple of days since I read the comic, I’ve pretty much forgot what happened. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Red Lanterns #1, but there’s nothing that stands out enough to make me interested in picking up issue #2.