Saturday, November 1, 2008

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns


One of the best events last year was the
Sinestro Corps War, masterminded by Geoff Johns. It was exciting and the stakes were high, and everything was really bad-ass, especially since Superboy Prime and the Anti-Monitor were involved. And since Final Crisis is setting up the major status quo for DC for the next couple years, it's time for more set up for The Blackest Night, the culmination of Johns' plans for Green Lantern. That set up is the one-shot Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns.

Atrocitus pukes some blood and recites the goofiest Lantern oath ever created. They should have called Alan Moore for this. Sinestro gets sentenced to execution. Hal Jordan wrestles with concepts of justice and vengeance. The Yellow Lanterns attack the 3:10 To Yuma-style crew of John Stewart, Hal, and other famous Lanterns. Then the Red Lanterns appear, including a kitty-cat, and there's a fight. Then a Blue Lantern appears and it's to be continued.

By the way, this is tangentially related to Final Crisis, at best. There's a couple lines of dialogue referring to the death of Orion, but that's about it. This is all set-up and about introducing the new villains on the scene.

The Red Lanterns are literally about puking blood. They ralph blood in the face of their enemies. They ralph blood while reciting their oath. They even ralph blood while they're sitting reading the paper and enjoying a nice warm mug of hot cocoa, or eggnog if it's close to Christmas time.

I want to badly get into this war of the Lanterns. As I say, the
Sinestro Corps War was ballin'. But adding more colours to the mix seems simplistic and monochromatic, if you'll let me explain.

What makes the Red Lanterns different than the Yellow Lanterns? Apparently the difference is rage and fear are their respective emotions. But in this comic, they really act the exact same way: villainous and violent. It seems like their costumes and their oaths are the only discernible distinctions between them.

It bugs me that in fiction, especially science fiction, writers will assign one single emotion to a large group of people. For example, Vulcans. Apparently they're all logical and cold and unfeeling. The human race has tons of examples of people who are cold and logical, but we're not all like that. Aliens are almost always characterized as a shade, as one emotion. But three dimensional characters always have different emotions depending on motivation, background, and plot. That's what makes them three dimensional.

It's lazy writing. How can I get behind the idea of a bunch of people running around space spewing blood and being all mad all the time? Are they even mad when there's no fighting? Are they always raging? Probably not, but to show that would take away from the character's one-sideness.

Don't even get me started on the Lanterns who are based on greed? What are they going to do? Get ridiculous and eat up all your crackers and your licorice?

Anyway, Digital Underground references aside, this comic is decent, but it's trying way too hard to be bad-ass. It's also nonsensical considering my aforementioned problems with the one-emotion/one-race problem. Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns is set-up, pure and simple, and it's entertaining, but not in the way it's intended.

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