Red Lanterns #3 – As Bad As Shakespeare

Red Lanterns #3 – As Bad As ShakespeareMark Allen Haverty writes for Bleeding Cool;

As an English major at the University of Vermont, I prided myself on completing the degree without having ever touched Shakespeare. There's simply way too much overwrought dialogue for my interest.

For the exact same reason, Red Lanterns does absolutely nothing for me.

Let me start off on a positive note though, and that's the art. Ed Benes does a great job of making a rather tedious, drawn-out story at least visually attractive. That said, far too often the characters are little more than porn stars there solely for titillation rather than plot. The cover is a classic porn shot, with the woman standing under a shower with her hands on her breast, neck crooked back, and lips curled up erotically towards the shower. The fact that she's in costume and in a shower of blood changes little.

Oh, and then there's the two-page spread with the Red Lanterns with Laira floating over the Lanterns' pool of blood. Again, we have another porn-worthy shot, with the ass sticking out for the reader while her breasts are the size of a watermelon. Or, there's the great shot of Bleez swimming out of the pool of blood on the following page, with her angled in such a way as to perfectly display her cleavage for the reader. Plus, there's the flashback, where we see pre-Lantern Bleez wearing as little clothing as possible.

Wow – I guess I am not really that positive on the artwork after all. Okay, the action scenes look great, but that's all of maybe five pages tops.

Red Lanterns #3 – As Bad As ShakespeareWhich now gets me to the problem with the story. Peter Milligan has done plenty of things in the past that I have liked, but this sure as hell isn't one of them. We have, once again, Hamlet talking with Yorick's skull… oh, wait, that is Atrocitus, or rather, "I, Atrocitus," as Milligan and Atrocitus constantly remind us, and Yorick is actually Krona. We of course know it's Krona because Atrocitus feels it is necessary to state Krona's name repeatedly. Once again, we have an issue where the action-to-dialogue only scenes are hopelessly skewed to the latter. And, once again, we have an issue where the most exciting writing comes in the text pages at the end of the book hyping other books.

Through three issues of this series, we have had absolutely no advancement in the plot. We have had introspection from Atrocitus, a character we have yet to have a reason to root for or care about, instead of any real sense of moving forward. This "plot" behind this issue involves Atrocitus wanting a second-in-command, one that can converse with him on a level slightly higher than the one Yorick… err, Krona can, and Lord knows the rest of the Red Lanterns aren't going to help him, with their dialogue slightly better than your average extra on The Walking Dead. To do so, she's thrown into this pool of blood, or rather "the glutinous liquids of Ysmault," which just conveniently enough looks like blood. Oh, wait, two captions later, it's just called blood. Why not just say that in the first place?

Sometimes, less is more.

Red Lanterns #3 – As Bad As Shakespeare

The subplot involving the grandsons of issue one's dead grandpa continues to drag out, with them tracking down this street thug to what looks like a fairly decent one-family home (in the middle of the city? Really?), and the more aggressive of the two brothers comes armed with a Molotov cocktail, so either he knew that said thug lived in a one-family house, or he was willing to kill a whole lot of people for his feelings of vengeance.

Red Lanterns #3 – As Bad As ShakespeareThe dialogue that goes along with that subplot is equally as weak, such as when confronted by his accuser/victim's grandson, the thug says, "You got proof, have you? Photographic evidence?" Seriously? Who the hell would talk like this? None of the dialogue amongst the humans gives me any proof that Peter Milligan has ever actually talked to another human.

Issues with dialogue continue throughout, such as where we hit the origin of Bleez. In describing Bleez's love life before joining the Lanterns, Atrocitus tells of her "turn{ing} down many suitors. You crushed many hopes. Most of your failed lovers crawled off to lick their wounds." This is the dialogue one should expect from a rage-filled sociopath? Funny, I thought it sounded more like Blair talking to Serena.

As for the origin itself, it is slightly more interesting than paint drying, but that's due solely to the coloring (or am I supposed to say "colour" here since Bleeding Cool is bloody English?). Mad props need to go out to Nathan Eyring, who does a great job this issue.

There. I said something positive.

Through three issues, we have yet to receive any indication from the writer that there is any real sort of direction here, and this feels far more like a throwaway miniseries than a well-conceived long-term series that belonged amongst the New 52.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Bleeding Cool Staff Writer

Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.