In Review: Red Lanterns #36

An okay Godhead installment, but a lot of time is spent filling in readers and discussing how to get to New Genesis, slowing things down.

The cover: An upset Guy Gardner gives a strong right to New God Malhedron, causing the background to go into trippy 1960s overload. I’m really not liking these Act 2 covers to Godhead. The backgrounds with the computerized lines make these covers look ancient, but not in a cool retro way. The smaller images with the quotes from the interior were much, much better. Guy looks like a mining prospector in this image, so I’m not thrilled with Scott Hepburn’s art. Malhedron looks good, but with no backgrounds, I wish Hepburn had spent more time on Guy. The coloring is good from Gabe Eltaeb, with the lighting in Guy’s arm (Yes, I look at the entire image) looking pretty cool. Overall grade: C+

The story: Picking up from last issue, Guy and Simon Baz avoided being beaten by the New Gods, led by Malhedron, because Highfather recalled them. Our two heroes begin Act II, Part IV of Godhead, “Boom”, by Charles Soule wondering what their next move should be. Simon’s going for caution, since he saw what happened to a platoon of Green Lanterns, but Guy says, “The Greens just didn’t have what they need to beat these guys…This,” and he holds up his ruby ring. Page 4 gives a summary of Guy’s time with the Red Lanterns and he decides that if he’s fated to die, it’s about time he do so on his own and not have others go before him. On New Genesis readers witness Highfather’s new ability, and in the process he drops a nice little note about Malhedron–he comes from Apokolips. I would so love to see this character go head to head with Orion. But that’s not for the present, instead Soule takes the lanterns to the one individual they know can create a boom tube, and this leads to conflict. I haven’t read any of Simon’s adventures in the Justice League books, as I found him to be a fairly milquetoast character in Green Lantern. Something has obviously happened since those issues because Simon does something surprising at the bottom of Page 11. Where this character over a year ago? There’s an appearance by a famous lantern later in the book and I was overjoyed to see him! Page 15 gives a really intimate moment for Malhedron and another character that gets interrupted in fun fashion. The lanterns end in a serious situation, and I’m sure it will be resolved in an upcoming Godhead installment. This is a transitional chapter to the saga, and not, seemingly, an important one. Overall grade: B

The art: Beautiful work by J. Calafiore on this issue, save three pages. His Guy is always impressive, and now Simon Baz can be added to the list of stunningly drawn lanterns. The close-ups on Guy show him to be one angry son of a gun, with the bottom of Page 3 being a stand out. I was really impressed with Simon on this issue as well. Pages 3 and 4 are primarily head shots, but Calafiore can make him emote behind that ski mask. The scenes on New Genesis are also well done, with the double-paged splash introduction on 6 and 7 being really cool. Highfather has got a constant look of indignation on his face, as if everything he says is beneath his speaking, and I liked that arrogance shown. That example of power shown on Page 8 was truly cosmic. This has me looking forward to Calafiore being unleashed to do more over the top character power trips. As happy as I was with Earth and New Genesis, I did not like Pages 10 – 14. The character that the lanterns goes to just did not look right. The problem with this character’s New 52 design is the amount of shine necessary for this individual’s costume. It is often overdone by some artists, and Calafiore has fallen into this trap as well. The amount of angles in this character’s costume also made it difficult to determine this character’s pose. As much as I disliked this character I was absolutely floored by the reveal of the female on Page 15–Wow! That came out of left field! Overall grade: B

The colors: Being one of the major DC titles set often in space, the visuals have got to be otherworldly and the colors have got to be stunning. Gabe Eltaeb makes Lantern books memorable. The first page shows his talent. The scene setting, credits, and title are a vivid red against the smoldering ruins of the Lanterns’ location. Simon’s green costume stands out against this desert setting and Guy’s is positively electric in blood red. As the book progresses note how the green elements of Simon’s garb leap off the page. The background skies of New Genesis make one want to travel there, but the most impressive coloring on the book is on Page 5. The skies are beautiful in blue and Guy backlit by the sun is a glorious moment. Simply put, this is fantastic work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe provides scene setting, credits and title, dialogue, and some sounds. This is a heavy dialogue issue, so there aren’t the usual show stopping sounds that Sharpe is known for, though he does get to dip his toe in the action pool beginning on Page 15. I’m hoping he gets more opportunities next month. Overall grade: A

The final line: An okay Godhead installment, but a lot of time is spent filling in readers and discussing how to get to New Genesis, slowing things down. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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