Charles Soule brought the saga he started with Atrocitus’ dethroning in Red Lanterns #21 full circle as bodies dropped and new beginnings were made.
And despite Soule continuing to be in top form, the same cannot be said of Alessandro Vitti.and J. Calafiore. I have no idea who did what, but I can reasonably guess that it was Vitti who dropped the ball with some really badly drawn initial pages.
Besides my grouses with the artwork, I had problems with the telegraphed deaths. I know Soule kept it open if anyone besides Guy Gardner (and Dex-Starr!) would survive this battle, but the ‘deaths’ that actually occurred were bland hits, without too much to loose (yes, the character development helped, but I knew that if anybody died, they would be my first choices).
Supergirl, Bleez and Guy leave Earth, drawing Atrocitus to Ysmault.
By the way, did anyone think of the hand signs in Naruto when Supergirl used her ‘sonic’ clap???
Skallox meanwhile has taken a newly minted Red Lantern Shadow Thief to the new Blood Lake, only to find it destroyed thanks to Zox’s machinations last issue.
It is revealed that Skallox had actually agreed to act traitor to Guy and he and Rankorr talk before they are informed to excuse themselves from the ongoing conflict.
Bleez leads Guy to the caves beneath Ysmault and they decide to make their final stand there (even though Guy tries and fails to convince Bleez to leave).
Before heading into battle, Guy talks with best friend John Stewart and it’s extremely enlightening to get Guy’s views about his recent actions and his overall place in the universe. You really get the sense that Guy’s matured from the hot head stereotype he was to a responsible leader.
Rankorr and Skallox though aren’t about to quit as they attack Atrocitus’ army of Earth Red Lanterns, with Skallox getting his neck snapped in the process, interestingly sending the raging Shadow Thief into a furious assault.
The Judge finally passes her sentence on Guy as not guilty but cannot bring herself to convince herself, and she dies sending a mental whiplash through the Earth Red Lanterns.
Rankorr is able to knock out Dex Starr, before Guy is attacked by Atrocitus.
What follows is an extraordinary bout of ‘will’ as Guy manages to remove his ring and still prevent the person who made it from taking it. Instead, Guy manages to enable multiple red rings and take away even Atrocitus’.
My reasoning is thus.
Despite everything Atrocitus has done to establish a Red Lantern Corps, his own purpose in this was selfish and directed at only one purpose.
And systematically, the War of the Green Lanterns (death of Krona, who manipulated the Manhunters to destroy Atrocitus’ sector) and the First Lantern arc (death of the Guardians of Oa) have calmed him down and left him with very diluted and unfocused rage.
On the other hand, Guy has had plenty things to be mad about – his own inferiority complex regarding Hal Jordan, the ill-fated romance with Ice and the disregard with which he’s treated on Earth.
Added to this has been his guilt complex and protectiveness over Kara. So, when you try to find the guy with more rage issues, ‘Guy’ is the man.
Using the rings, he is able to construct a new Blood Lake. Guy though has had enough of leading. We next see him helping an old man rebuild his house (though not without the red ring popping up around his neck).
An engaging end that brought the saga full circle redeems some glaringly bad artwork and telegraphed deaths.
Soule has managed to improve on Guy’s character work and crafted an engaging space drama that both delights and infuriates (in a good way).
So, I give it 8.0 out of 10
+Some great character work for Guy
+An emotionally charged ending that hits the right notes.
+Managed to bring the arc full circle
-Some telegraphed deaths
-Artwork was heavily inconsistent