Review by Ian Keogh
Blood and Rage ended with human Jack Moore’s anger earning him a Red Lantern ring and being transported to their base on Ysmault in time to see their leader Atrocitus in combat with a beast named Abysmus. Perhaps Atrocitus shouldn’t have unleashed the beast, or indeed created him in the first place. He’s also facing a brewing revolt regarding his position as leader of the Red Lanterns, and here rapidly discovers that the power battery from which the Red Lanterns draw their strength has been corrupted. All in all, a bit of a mess.
The same comment applies to the opening chapters, where Peter Milligan still seems to lack any meaningful idea about what to do with the Red Lanterns, so just has them fight among each other, with Moore, now Rankorr, the questioning voice of the newcomer. Alternatively he can be seen as the reader’s stand in wondering just what the hell is going on. Nothing is understated from constant bombastic proclamations to the Red Lanterns battering each other. There’s a slight injection of plot as Atrocitus is captured by Stormwatch, their attempts to defuse his rage at least offering something different, after which other Red Lanterns find themselves trapped by the Star Sapphires. Except that didn’t happen here, but in New Guardians: The Ring Bearer. Oh, it’s all okay, though, because the power of love can’t cope with the rage of the Red Lanterns.
The one bright spot found in Death of the Red Lanterns is the stylish art of Miguel Sepulveda. Because it’s an entirely distasteful series awash in blood, Sepulveda draws distasteful scenes, but with a style absent over the series beforehand. He’s imaginative, and as elegant as he can be given the content. He draws the second half of the book, and before him Andres Guinaldo, Jorge Jimenez, and Tomas Giorello have also had a shot, all functional, but less distinctive.
By the time Death of the Red Lanterns finishes they’re not dead at all, Guy Gardner is still tracking down Moore, as he was in the previous volume, and everything is pretty much as it was when Blood and Rage kicked off. Perhaps Milligan has some ideas* for The Second Prophecy.
*It bears pointing out that Milligan is usually a writer of great conceptual density, humour and insight. Check the reviews for the recommended graphic novels below, and enter his name into the creator search engine for a lot more interesting work from him. Perhaps Red Lanterns is written by a different Peter Milligan.