A few days ago, I purchased Red Lanterns Volume 1: Blood And Rage
TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENCE & BLOODSHED AHEAD
and as always, SPOILER ALERTS
I must give credit where credit is due. Optimist Chad first introduced me to the rebooted version of the Green Lantern lore, and I haven’t really looked by since. I like the idea that the stories cover the color spectrum, with each color representing an emotion. My favorite is Red. In Green Lantern The Animated Series, Atrocitus and the Red Lantern Armada are the Season 1 “Big Bad.” One of the major players from the comics, Bleez, was unfortunately missing. Probably because her story is not that safe for children, or rather, it’s something parents should be talking to their kids about, and not the media.
For starters, the Green Lanterns are the policemen of the universe, protecting planets and sectors; their power is green for will-power. Green Lantern rings choose their bearers, as these rings were forged by the Guardians of the Universe who want to see order in the universe. The Guardians have a history of mistakes, and one of these mistakes was that they created, before the Green Lantern Corps, robots called the Manhunters who sought to destroy all sentient beings who had emotions. One of their victims was an alien named Atros, who was one of 5 persons to survive the Manhunter onslaught of Sector 666 (yikes!!!, I know).
Atros changed his name to Atrocitus and became a terrorist bent on revenge versus the Guardians. Atrocitus’ backstory is as a survivor of genocide. Atrocitus’ quest for vengeance leads him on an existential journey where his closest confidant is the corpse of Krona, the Guardian who planned Atrocitus’ planet’s destruction. Atrocitus gathers an army in Blood And Rage, but the members lose their intelligence unless they are baptized in a pool of blood on the Planet Ysmault. Atrocitus struggles with the decision to make one of his soldiers his lieutenant, and therefore have their capacity to think and remember restored.
The first member of the Red Lantern corps Atrocitus chooses to give back her free will was
Bleez. Bleez, from the planet Havina was a creature of grace, a woman of nobility who was pursued by men from the highest places. When Lady Bleez refused to reciprocate affections for her gentlemen callers, they came up with a plan where Bleez became a prisoner of war of the Sinestro Corps (the army of Yellow portions of the spectrum, whose emotion is fear). It was their that Bleez was tortured and raped. One of the Red Lanterns corps rings chose Bleez because of her rage for what was done to her.
When Bleez regains her conciousness, her memories also come back. Atrocitus trusts no one because of his experience, and so instead of one sidekick in Bleez (whom he fears is leading a mutiny), Atrocitus gives the rest of his army freel will. Red Lantern Corps members consistent of victims of violent crimes as well criminals themselves. Unlike the heroic Green Lanterns, Red Lanterns are a messy collection of villains and anti-heroes. Part of the appeal to me for this book was Atrocitus’ inner monologues, and who he considered “The Worthy.” By “the Worthy,” he means those events and persons who were most deserving of being avenged.
Red Lanterns Volume 1: Blood and Rage is about a group’s quest to seek out justice. Within the storyworld, humans are the beings who resist having their free will taken away/losing their consciousness when they become Red Lanterns. I found it interesting that one of the first humans picked was a homeless man because of all of the injustices he had to witness on a day to day basis. Because of Blood And Rage, I now want to read the rest of the Red Lantern volumes, especially since I have read on the blogosphere that a member of Superman’s family will become one!