I was pretty excited after reading Red Lanterns #1. I thought for a number 1 book, they did a really great job of managing to tell all the relevant back-story, open a new storyline, and have enough action and excitement to make it stand out on its own. This left me looking forward to seeing the whole crew in action, learning the back-story of the other Red Lanterns, and learning more of the story of Ray and John, the earthlings who are some how intertwined in this story.
Instead, issue #2 took Atrocitus away from Ysmault on a morality play. The Blood thirsty roller-coaster is confronted with the idea that if you kill people back you are also a killer. A guiding principle for a character like Batman, but seems out of place for an anti-hero like Atrocitus. We are introduced to two pilots who in the midst of war are making a series of questionable decisions with fatal consequences. The leader is left to decide if the “fog of war” is enough to excuse them of their crimes or if in fact they are committing genuine acts of murder. The whole murky situation becomes exacerbated when Atrocitus decides to seek revenge against the soldiers.
I did not like this take on Atrocitus. Perhaps they are looking to open this book to explore more deep story lines of moral conflict, but after the joyride last issue, I expected a little more time getting to know the Lanterns before dealing with internal conflict. I really didn’t like the idea of a cosmic force interfering with a civil war. I think this may have been part of the message the book was trying to get across, but I also don’t know that a book about murderous lanterns should have a message of this nature. The story did not resonate with me and it left me confused as to what I was to take away from it.
Overall I did not like the book and I would not recommend it to others. The book ends on a cliffhanger suggesting the next book will pick up right where this left off. If the story continues at the slow pace of the 2nd rather than the much more enjoyable 1st, I have a hard time seeing it keeping my interest and not end up on the bottom of my weekly read pile. My optimistic hope is that this story was neccessary to lay the foundation for something much more exciting to come.
Final Grade: C
Related: Red Lanterns #1 Review