Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns

Tell the truth, it’s a big pity
Everyone now has a ditty
With Hal alone it seemed witty
But now it’s gotten rather shitty

When I was a kid I read a story about the origin of Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s oath. It explained that the point wasn’t Hal’s penchant for poetry, the recitation was a timing device to ensure the ring, held to the power battery, would fully charge.* Other Lanterns had oaths that were equally personal.

Did I moan when, in recent years, other GLs adopted Hal’s oath rather than think of their own? I did not, despite this demonstrating laziness you’d not expect from supposed role models. But do I moan when it turns out that the first thing a batch of evil Green Lanterns – Red Lanterns, if you will – do when they get a power ring is come up with their own oath? I do.

For goodness’ sake, this comic is called Rage of the Red Lanterns, not Poetry of the Pink Flashlights. We want elemental fury, not ethereal verse. Not that it isn’t a scary ethereal verse . . .

With blood and rage of crimson red,
ripped from a corpse so freshly dead,
together with our hellish hate,
we’ll burn you all, that is your fate!

Yes, the tautology of ‘crimson red’ is frightening.

Elsewhere, this book has writer Geoff Johns’ trademark gory violence, with lots of GLs and the odd Sinestro Corps member eviscerated as Atrocitus’ spanking new Red Lanterns make their move. They’re out for vengeance against pretty much everybody
and attack as the GLs are moving Sinestro to his home planet, Korugar, for execution. Despite their general inexperience compared to the Lanterns, they discombobulate them, along with the Sinestro Corps members who got their ambush in first. Call it the power of rage. Or ‘bigging up the baddies’. No doubt the Corps members will come through when we’ve spent enough money on the continuation of this story.

Oh well, the soppy sod in me is delighted to learn that Hal still has a thing for Carol Ferris, meaning the stupidly nicknamed Cowgirl can go chew the cud. And it is fun to see that precisely no one believes Hal when he says he’s OK with the death penalty for Sinestro.

The artwork, by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope, is rather good – lots of intense people whether of green, red and yellow hue. The little blue Guardians of the Universe/Arrogant Numties, too, provide a masterclass in grimacing. Even the cutest little kitty cat you ever did see growls with anger as it – eek – vomits evil red gunk on a Sinestroller. For that’s how the Red Lanterns manifest their hatred-filled red light. They spew on you. Nice.

At one point they chunder on Hal and somehow this leads to a surprise player in the battle manifesting. I can’t see exactly how this happens – he may be appearing from inside Hal’s ring, but the artwork is unclear here – yet the mysterious being shows up nevertheless. Behold the power of the Blue Lantern.

Behold his face like a baseball.

So, what’s the Final Crisis link? See page 1, panel 1, editor’s note: ‘These events take place between Final Crisis 1 and 2.’ That’s not all – Hal makes a quick reference to the ‘deicide’ in Final Crisis 1.

So, no fair saying the FC label has simply been slapped on to help sales, the big event is integral to, oh, at least three panels.

*Sadly, it didn’t reveal whether or not the last line, ‘beware my power, Green Lantern’s light’ demanded ‘power’ be pronounced as one syllable, ie ‘pow’r’, or whether it was said as it looks, ‘pow-er’, which would break the eight-syllable rhyme scheme. So if my last line, above, seems to have dodgy scansion, blame Alfred Bester. I may be overthinking . . .

One thought on “Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns

  1. You know, I actually really loved this issue. It’s an awesome idea. The one thing I don’t like is the way the Red Lanterns are always throwing up.


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