Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Shane Davis and Sandra Hope

I'm going to start this review off by saying this is my pick for book of the week. It really gives the Green Lantern titles that kick start to get them going and almost read like this year's Sinestro Corps War Special, heralding the arrival of the Red Lanterns and leaving nothing but dead Sinestro Corps and Green Lanterns in their wake.

But, before I go into the full review of this book, I want to speak about the Final Crisis tagline stuck on the book and how this book relates to said event. Simply put, it has nothing to do with Final Crisis. I was actually shocked to see them explicitly state this story takes place between FC #2 and 3 as this implied, to me, that they were going to pick up on some random subplot or event from Final Crisis and use it here. You know, like a real tie-in.

Sadly, they put that little editor's note in the corner of a panel for no particular reason as that was the last we saw mention of anything related to Final Crisis and this was yet another $3.99 non-tie-in that apparently has the Final Crisis moniker to help boost sales. If you are looking for Final Crisis related stories, stay away from this. It has nothing to do with that event.

However, do note that this is an amazing story and worth every penny despite the lack of Final Crisis ties. I just find it odd that DC stuck the Final Crisis banner on all these tie-ins and none of them, outside Grant Morrison written books, have anything to do with the event.

Switching gears back to the actual book, like I said, this is the equivilent of the Sinestro Corps War Special. It doesn't have the exact same, "WTF!", style "OH SH--!" moments as that particular book did, but we're also expecting a whole lot more from Geoff Johns and his Green Lantern work these days, too. The mere fact Johns managed to impress me with this issue to such an extent, despite my higher expectations, should tell you just how good this book really was.

As the cover shows, the basic premise of the book is that the Guardians sentence Sinestro to death and the Green Lanterns are escorting him to Korugar, Sinestro's home planet and the source of his first crimes against the Corps, where they will carry out his execution.

As expected, the transport doesn't go as planned and several Sinestro Corps members show up to liberate their leader. I liked how they managed to address Mongul and his attempts at taking over the Corps here.

The question arises, however, of how these Sinestro Corps members knew about Sinestro's transport. It is alluded to the scarred Guardian being the culprit as she is shown with a Sinestro Corps emblem in one eye and a Green Lantern one in the other. Why she did this is a question unanswered and one I'd love to know. I thought having Sinestro dead would be advantageous to her and allow her to manipulate events more easily. Maybe she does not perceive him as a threat for some reason?

Back to the break-out. Just as Sinestro is being freed by one of his subordinates, a cute, cuddily cat shows up with a red lantern ring on his tail. As the Sinestro Corps member brushes the cat off, our cute, little cat starts raging and pukes flaming blood all over the Sinestro Corps member, killing him and lighting Sinestro's sciencell on fire in what has to be the best moment EVER.

With this, the entire Red Lantern Corps arrives on the scene, killing Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps members alike. Even Laira, who we saw become a Red Lantern in Green Lantern Corps several months back, is with them and she's lost all manner of reasoning, going so far as to simply attack Hal and John on sight. Curiously, the red blood/flame eats away at their ring's auras and even corrupts their power supplies.

Just when things are looking bleak for Hal and John, the issue ends with the debut of the first Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, who is here at Ganthet's request to help and his 'hope' causes Hal's power levels to shoot up to 200%.

Verdict - Must Read. I don't think it's an understatement to call it this year's Sinestro Corps War Special and I can see this one going back to printing several times, just as that issue did last year. Fails as a tie-in to Final Crisis, but kicks the Rage of the Red Lanterns storyline off with a bang.

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