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Sunday, October 30, 2011 

Red Lanterns' depiction is revolting

IO9 is running an interview with Peter Milligan about his work on the gross spinoff from Green Lantern Corps called Red Lanterns, which begins with the sensationalized headline of:
Read an exclusive preview of Red Lanterns, starring the Green Lanterns’ blood-vomiting rivals!

If the Green Lanterns are too goody two-shoe for your tastes, then their blood-spewing (and blood-spilling) nemeses the Red Lanterns may be more your speed.
Never. Certainly not with the way they're promoting this kind of dreck. This is practically what's dumbing down comics and leading to the ever declining sales receipts. Any article stooping to that kind of a sensationalized headline has a serious problem.

Then, when they begin asking Milligan a question, he stumbles into confusion:
How was it penning Atrocitus — a character who's usually regarded as a supervillain — as a sympathetic lead?

I don't think that vomiting blood necessarily means that it's impossible to be sympathetic. I've done enough things in my time and I'm a sympathetic character! Atrocitus is a fantastic character, but it would be really boring if every single episode you had these raging monsters dishing out summary executions. What was interesting was making Atrocitus more sympathetic, without losing touch of what he does, which is inhumane and unsympathetic.
Aside from the wobbly premise that the audience should be even remotely sympathizing with a supervillain as wretched as Atrocitus, I fail to see the logic he's presenting here.
What weird cosmic vestiges of the DC Universe will Red Lanterns explore?

We're going to explore these really strange, weird characters on this strange planet filled with violent and fucked-up characters called Earth. Earth will take up some of our time, but yes, the great thing about Atrocitus is you get to use Ysmault quite a lot. After that, we're going to explore the far vestiges of the universe, but only to explore fully the moral ramifications thrown up by the idea of being judge and jury and dishing out divine retribution. It's a very ancient idea of dishing out justice.

On one hand, Red Lanterns is lots of fun — with vomiting cats and strange monsters — but it also deals with gripping subjects. If you summarily execute someone, does the guilt and shame that you're trying to expunge, is that passed on to you? There are a lot of interesting subjects that these monsters flying around in the far corners of the universe can explore.
But with a writer like him in charge, who seems intent on making the belching beasts the highlight of the series, I don't think any of those far corners of the galaxy will be worth exploring. With any luck, this'll be the first of the "new 52" series to be cancelled.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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