The latest event comic review is now up. I’ll keep doing daily reviews until review for Secret Invasion and Final Crisis are both up to date, generally alternating between events, until I’ve got the four outstanding “Secret Invasion” reviews (Thunderbolts, SI: Spider-Man, SI: Thor, Nova) and two “Final Crisis” reviews (Submit now, Resist this week) done and posted.

General Information

Title: Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns

Author: Geoff Johns

Illustrator(s): Shane Davis (pencils), Sandra Hope (inks) and Nei Ruffino (colors)

Cover Date: December, 2008

Cover Price: $3.99 US/Can

Premise

The emotional spectrum is being tapped further and further. Atrocitus, who played a major role in the recent “Secret Origin” arc of the “Green Lantern” title, is one of the Red Lanterns, who draw their power from rage. This issue marks the Green Lantern Corps’ first contact with the Red Lanterns, which took place between the first two issues of “Final Crisis.”

High Point

The revelations about the scarred guardian. Every time Johns writes the Green Lantern Corps, their corner of DC’s universe gets more and more interesting.

Low Point

For a one shot, this sure lacks a strong conclusion. It’s clearly a prologue to the “Rage of the Red Lanterns” event in the main title, and not a true stand alone.

The Scores

It’s hard to feel completely original when you’ve spent years laying story threats and clearly broadcast when and where some of those threads will be picked up. This picks those threads up, ties them together with a mix of obvious and unforseen choices, and throws a few new threads into the mix. In short, this feels like the Green Lantern universe is headed somewhere new from start to finish, and that’s hard to do given the tie-in nature of the title. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is the kind of solid, high quality stuff that’s gone along with Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern work since he paired with van Sciver on Green Lantern: Rebirth #1. The series opens with the birth of the Red Lanterns, who feed on rage. It’s hard to look at the artwork on those pages, including the colouring choices, and not feel angry yourself. The art is clear, on model, and entirely capable of creating the appropriate emotions without actually reading the dialogue. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story would be better received with a different title. This has some light ties to Final Crisis, but it has far more to do with the Green Lantern title specifically. If you ignore the title, and read it as a Green Lantern special akin to the Sinestro Corps War special that hit last year, you’ll be very happy with what you read. This fits as a Halloween week release very nicely, as you’ll know as soon as you read the Red Lantern oath: “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!” I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is very good. Cowgirl makes a great observation about Hal Jordan and his behaviour, just before we get Hal’s reaction to the news that Sinestro’s execution place and time has been set. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Sinestro, the scarred guardian and Atrocitus all get their moments to shine, and they use them well. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response I feel (as someone who has been following Green Lantern sporadically for years and faithfully since Rebirth) is fantastic. The implications for the Green Lantern title are incredible. (The implications for Final Crisis are few, if any, and somewhat uninteresting given that this reveals nothing of the title that we haven’t already learned since.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is great. Another common element to the art on Green Lantern (though not always Green Lantern Corps) since Green Lantern: Rebirth is that it’s so well planned and implemented that I find myself compelled to read at a pace chosen by the creators. Sure, they’ll have two page spreads that I’ll look over in fine detail, but I find myself coming back to do that after I’ve finished the issue. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid Green Lantern special, but a pretty weak Final Crisis tie-in. If you’re following Green Lantern, this is required reading. If you’re reading Final Crisis but not Green Lantern, shame on you! Pick this up and set it aside until you’ve caught up on Green Lantern, starting with Rebirth. The events are clearly set in the midst of Final Crisis, but it’s not mandatory reading for the main event, and will not help you understand the main title at all. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns receives 38 out of 42.

Final Crisis Checklist