Editor’s note: It’s become clear as I delve further into the Red Daughter of Krypton story arc (which brings the Red Lanterns and Supergirl comics together) that ideally I should be covering both sides of this cross-over. That means it’s catch-up time, so here are my thoughts on Red Lanterns #28 & #29. I’ll cover Supergirl #30 and Red Lanterns #30 soon after, and we’ll be all caught up!
Red Lanterns #28
Okay, so this is my first time reading an issue of Red Lanterns, and thankfully this issue has been written in a way that lets newcomers jump in with relative ease. Two Red Lanterns (Skallox and Zilius Zox) were on a sight seeing tour of Earth. A woman with dark powers is attacking them. A third Red Lantern (Guy Gardner) and a super-powered woman (based on her looks, I’m betting on ice powers) has arrived on the scene. Okay cool, I can follow this. So it turns out the self-proclaimed “Shadow Thief” is a space-racist, or xenophobic I suppose, and just attacked the Red Lanterns because they’re aliens. It’s certainly easy to dislike her right off the bat.
Elsewhere on Planet Groy another group of Red Lanterns are… fighting each other? Thanks to a convenient monologue from Atrocitus — who judging by his appearance is a Tartakan from Mortal Kombat — we learn that Guy Gardner beat Atrocitus “to death” (he seems pretty lively for a dead guy) and now he’s taking his revenge. Perhaps what’s most interesting here is the cat “Dex-Starr” who looks like a ferocious blue house cat with a Red Lantern ring on its tail. Oh, and there’s also a giant red cockroach-like creature. Looks like anyone (or anything) can join the Red Lantern Corps, provided they have some serious anger issues. Finally we get to see some proper Lantern powers! Since the Red Daughter of Krypton arc started Supergirl has mostly been relying on her own powers rather than being more creative with her new ring, which is understandable I suppose, but it’s nice to see some experienced Red Lanterns going at it.
With the battle against Shadow Thief freezing to a halt (ice powers, called it!) we finally get to see Red Lanterns and Supergirl begin to merge. When we last saw Supergirl, she was a fire-breathing rage monster, quite literally. After a (disappointingly light) skirmish with her ex-bestie Silver Banshee on Earth, Kara shot off into space no doubt in search of something else to punch repeatedly in the face. Looks like she found some Green Lanterns, who managed to capture her and bring her to Ysmault, home planet of the Reds. She appears to be contained, but the mention of Superman riles her up enough to break free and it takes all of them, Red Lanterns and Green, to force her into the blood lake. She emerges with a few more marbles than she’s had for a while
Red Lanterns #29
With a new Kryptonian recruit on the team he takes the opportunity to test out his “favorite thing” – a missile launcher that fires neutron star core matter-tipped missiles. I’m no rocket scientist but they sound like they should pack a punch, but they of course prove to be no match for Supergirl.
Zilius Zox is a spherical creature with tiny arms and legs who has a more… rounded view of things (sorry) and makes for an amusing double act with Skallox. Lastly we have Guy Gardner, an ex-Green Lantern (presumably human) who has obviously taken a leadership role in the group and probably keeps the group in check morally as well, as I’m not convinced the Red Lanterns would behave themselves if not kept in check by someone.
After losing control for a moment (Kara may not be on a mindless rampage any more, but she clearly needs a few anger management classes) and destroying Skallox’s missile launcher, Skallox and Zox toast their new team member. Clearly the only remotely responsible member of the group, Guy Gardner points out that maybe it’s not a good idea to give alcohol to the angry teenage Kryptonian Red Lantern, and ends up with a bloody hand rather proving his point. Off onto official patrolling business, then.
I wasn’t expecting the Red Lanterns to pay Earth a visit so soon, and I certainly wasn’t expecting Superman to make an appearance, which is a nice surprise. Better still is the fact that Clark actually realizes that Kara is simply too angry and stubborn to listen to anyone any more or accept any help, and it would be better to just let her work through it all herself. This is a smart move and Clark might finally earn a little respect from Kara after all the animosity between them. Although it appears that even if Superman did insist on helping Supergirl, it’s too late, as the Red Lantern ring is apparently bonded with her permanently and removing it would kill her. Huh. This story arc… may go on a little longer that I originally thought.
As my introduction to the Red Lanterns (both the characters and the comic) I enjoyed these issues. The characters are likeable and make an interesting team, and most importantly it was easy for me to jump in. Having not read any issues of Red Lanterns before, I find Skallox particularly likeable. Firstly, the guy has a demon-goat-skull for a head, which is both terrifying and awesome, and secondly… he just likes to have fun. Both issues were great reads and very accessible even if you’re new to comic books. I’d highly recommend checking these out!