In Review: Red Lanterns #38

An offbeat issue that shows how anger can destroy. Highly enjoyable.

The cover: Guy Gardner is coming out swinging with a construct oversized fist. This a generic cover that could be placed on any book featuring this lantern. I do like the steam coming off of the hero more so than his face or smeared hand. And where’s that blood coming from? It looks like it’s from a killer nosebleed. The coloring on this is fine, with a nice effect for the steam and the violet and white background to highlight the reds. This image comes courtesy of Scott Hepburn and Gabe Eltaeb. Overall grade: C

The story: This was a very different story for Red Lanterns. Guy Gardner is back on Earth, dealing with the fallout from Atrocitus’s plague of angry citizens: he’s infected people with anger, so they’re running around like zombies destroying anyone and everything in their way. Working with a unit of soldiers who bring the infected to him, Guy scans them to find the source of their anger. He’s looking for the source of their “Rage”, which is this story’s title. Writer Landry Q. Walker has written a really emotional, internal journey for Guy. There are no super villains, no Earth destroying aliens or calamities. This focuses on what type of hero Guy has become since putting on the red ring. Is he bad, good, or just human? The confrontation that begins on Page 8 and ends on 10 was frightening–I haven’t seen that before in any Lantern book. Before Guy joined this book, anger was a means to an end, but now it appears that anger is the end and it’s not something Guy likes. When he realizes what has created the populace’s ire, he acts in an unconventional way, which leads to the most unconventional ending in a Lantern title in years. His closing dialogue on the final page is more brutal than the actions that have occurred. Where does Guy go after this? Next month will have to tell. Engaging, offbeat story. Overall grade: A 

The art: Set entirely in a city, J. Calafiore has to illustrate something he’s not done in a while: stay on Earth and draw “normal” people. What he creates is a realistic drama that crosses into the world of horror. Page 5 is a terrific splash that shows what makes people angry, and, sadly, it’s fairly recent events that one would have encountered on the news. Guy looks upset and shocked at the same time. That’s a tough emotion to pull off, but Calafiore does it. The individual that Guy encounters on the street is jointly realistic and horrific, and ultimately becomes something altogether different by Page 10. There are several pages where Calafiore is called upon to do crowd shots. He never skimps on any details. Each person is unique looking and has their own look of rage upon their face. When a room is discovered with corpses, no two look the same. It is the sign of an outstanding and diligent artist who can create masses made up of people and not empty shapes that suggest an identity. The final three pages of the book are incredible. This is the most visually brutal issue of this series because of the way Calafiore makes readers feel each death. Wow. Overall grade: A

The colors: What a showcase for Gabe Eltaeb! The shading on characters’ flesh makes them three dimensional, the use of red is brutal (see the bottom panel on Page 3), the scans are filtered fantastically in rose, and the third panel on Page 16 is photorealistic because of his coloring. My favorite page is 19 because it’s the climax of the story and contains the most visually arresting page of the book. Its colors are spectacular. Because red energy is used, the simple way to show this series of explosions would have been to use red, but Eltaeb doesn’t settle for that. Instead he goes with oranges, yellows, whites, and a burned violet to show the powers in play. It’s absolutely gorgeous. He earned his paycheck with that page alone, and everything else on this book is the icing on the cake. Overall grade: A+  

The letters: Dazzling Dave Sharpe delivers dialogue and narration (the same font), opening title and credits, and three yells for this issue. As most of the issue is from Guy’s head, there’s no need for more variety of fonts than these. They look great and tell the story with ease. Overall grade: A 

The final line: An offbeat issue that shows how anger can destroy. Highly enjoyable. Overall grade: A

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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