Red Lanterns Annual #1
What a lovely couple of weeks it was! Last week I had Red Lanterns #33, which featured Guy meeting up with John for a drink, before all of the proverbial poo hit the fan. And with this weeks Annual, that poo hits the fan with a vengeance.
I am thrilled, heartbroken, and terrified and desperate for MORE, which speaks to the skills of Charles Soule. Atrocitus has created a huge new corps of Red Lanterns, all for the purpose of exacting his revenge upon Guy. Guy only has his rag-tag bunch of loveable losers, but by gosh, they aren't going down without a fight.
Skallox, who has apparently jumped ship, has told Atrocitus about Guy's home world, and the fact that he wasn't particularly impressed. Still, Atrocitus seizes on this information and thusly, blows up Paris, Baltimore, the Grand Canyon, the Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall of China, Spain and...Las Vegas. Then, to top it all off, he sends down a boatload of Red Rings, so that the terrified and horrified citizens of Earth, can get their revenge.
It is a particularly ruthless and cunning plan. Atrocitus is a monster, but he does know psychology.
Back on the Kaalvar, Zilius Zox figures out what Atrocitus is doing and Guy is of course, absolutely horrified. And pissed. And he finally realizes that it isn't just rage, but revenge that powers the rings, which makes perfect sense. So, with the meager assets that he still has at his command, he makes his plans to rescue Earth. Flying down, he runs into Batman who is trying to keep control and tells him what is happening. Naturally, Batman offers to punch him...once. Guy tells him not in THIS Universe!
Guy fills in Batman about what is happening, and that it isn't the people's fault with the rings, and to get everyone else in the Hero business in on containment. Meanwhile, Skallox has gone off to rescue Shadow Thief, since he now thinks she's just the bee's knees. Oh, and Kara shows up to help Guy, even offering to don a ring again. Guy is tremendously relieved that she managed to get free of the ring, although he is curious as to how she did it, which of course happened in her own book. She tells Guy that she finally figured out how to just...let go of the anger. Guy thinks this sounds like a pretty good idea, but right now he is up to his eyeballs in problems. Kara of course is more than happy to help.
Let me just say that I really like the interaction between Kara and Guy. He treats her like a real person, as opposed to her cousin at least, and Kara is grateful for that.
Zox in the meantime has found Atrocitus' new headquarters and his new blood lake, and returns the favor of blowing it all up. This is a very good thing. On board the Kaalvar however, Rankorr suddenly regains his senses and apparently is a traitor, heading to the deck and attacking poor Zilius.
Bleez was using the calming ray from Kormorak, a few issues ago, and this gets all of the newly minted Reds on Earth to chill out. It's a very good plan, but of course Atrocitus anticipated it. Fortunately Guy and Kara swoop into rescue Bleez, but Atrocitus disappears
Zox is dying on the Kaalvar, thanks to Rankorr. However, it wasn't actually Rankorr doing it, he was infested with a parasite Red Lantern, which is a clever reference to the Green Lantern that was hiding inside the body of one of the old Red Lanterns, way back in the first issue that Soule wrote. All of the threads that he has been so assiduously weaving throughout the storyline so far, are all coming together, meshing into a rich tapestry...and one helluva mess for Guy. His horror at wounding Zox, makes Rankorr snap out of his funk, and he destroys the parasite, but alas, it is too late for Zox...which simply breaks my heart. I LOVE Zox, man!
But before he dies, he has one more thing to do, which is to defeat the rest of the Reds, including that pirate guy that they stole the Kaalvar from in the first place. Oh, and he finally...FINALLY gets to find out what a testacle is. His reaction is hilarious, and his final act is simply magnificent.
Guy and Bleez figure out that they can use the blood magic to call up the Red Lanterns on earth, to fight for them...and they do. Unfortunately for them, Atrocitus is doing the exact same thing, and he has a whole lot more of them.
It all comes to a head in the next issue, and I'm having a heart attack at the prospect of having to wait another whole month! This is one hell of a cliffhanger! I've come to really love this book, the best of the Lantern books in my opinion. Soule has made me care about this bunch of angry misfits. They have grown from one-dimensional monsters into living, breathing wonderful characters, who have evolved so far beyond their original depictions, that it is scary. I'm glad that Rankorr is back, and in control again, I love that Bleez has finally discovered compassion, and I'm hoping that Skallox isn't the traitor that he appears to be. Heck even Skallox seems to be experiencing softer emotions.
But man...I loved Zilius Zox. He went out as a Hero...but I'm going to miss him so.