Review – Red Lanterns #36

by Myke Havoc
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red lanterns

We embark on the second half of the Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead line-wide event with that of Red Lanterns #36 (titled “BOOM”). It’s a much improved chapter over last week’s Green Lantern: New Guardians #36 and of last month’s issue Red Lanterns #35.

red lanterns

We pick up where we left off in issue #35, With Red Lantern Guy Gardner and Green Lantern Simon Baz narrowly escaping with their lives after an attack from a crew of New Gods sent to stop any ring-slingers they happen to come upon. The two visit Cyborg at S.T.A.R. Labs in the hopes of catching a lift on his boom-tube capabilities to New Genesis. Apparently, bout one of getting their butts handed to them wasn’t satisfactory enough.

Cyborg is still a bit sore with Simon due to the events of Trinity War, so naturally, he’s reluctant to help. Thankfully, they don’t knock him unconscious for his tech, like the Bat family did in last month’s Batman and Robin. Instead, Simon chooses to threaten to use his Argus connections to make his life a living hell. Wishing to avoid further conflict, Cyborg concedes. Left in charge of sector 2814 while our heroes are gone is the lovable squirrel Lantern B’dg, who has become a bit of a sidekick to Simon since his inclusion in the Corps.

Before they know it, they are off and make a humorous arrival at their destination, only to get thrown in the New Genesis equivalency of a jail-cell, with their immediate futures not looking too great. The issue ends with a teaser for next week’s Sinestro #7, promising us New Gods vs. Yellow Lanterns.

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All of writer Charles Soule’s strengths are on display here, with his mix of proper exposition, witty dialogue and honest pathos coming through crystal clear. The scripting is well-paced for a rather dialogue heavy issue. Some might find that a hindrance, but with the craft shown here, it never becomes such. It’s a shame that next month will be his final issue on the book, as he wraps up his DC titles and heads over to an exclusive contract with Marvel early next year.

They are lucky to get such a gifted individual who bangs out multiple titles like nobodies business. One wonders why DC didn’t offer a more enticing offer to keep him on board. Making him a DCU architect akin to say where Geoff Johns was at ten years ago would’ve been a great fit for him and his endless ideas. Don’t be surprised to see him in a similar position with the other guys come this time next year. Anyway, enough of my speculation, which really need not be in a review. Back to Red Lanterns #36.

What little action we do get is wacky fun, wonderfully illustrated by the Calafiore/Eltaeb team that have been on the title for some time. I almost feel spoiled by the layouts and dynamics that leap off the page. I do hope they are able to stick around after Soule steps down so as to retain some element of continuity in the title for 2015. That is, of course, assuming that the Convergence event coming up doesn’t shift the entire DC Universe around (and with it, the creative teams).

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There’s very little to complain about. The only thing keeping this from a perfect 5-star rating is a lack of progression to the overall Godhead story. Last month’s issue had a similar problem, but the overall quality and balance in #36 is simply superior, so it doesn’t drag nearly as much. Hopefully moving into the third and final act will kick all the titles involved up a few notches.

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Red Lanterns #36 is a super solid, fun and well executed comic. The minor complaints shouldn’t deter any fans following the unfolding epic from picking up this issue to add to the stack. Enjoy, and we’ll see you next week for Act 2’s finale.

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