Written by Peter Milligan
Art and cover by Ed Benes and Rob Hunter with colorist Nathan Eyring
Reviewed by Jacob VanderZanden
The adage, “Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned,” is a perfect fit. Bleez is the first Red Lantern Atrocitus returns full consciousness and memory to. She struggles to accept closure from her past life, regain composure, and even challenges Big Red in the process. Two out of the three succeed.
Story: 5 out of 5
This issue returns the amusement I had with Red Lanterns #1. Issue #2 had the creative team spinning its wheels after a quick start. The pace picks up this time around. Similar to a piece of classical music, this issue is broken up into three sections.
First Movement: Re-education
Bleez plummets through crimson liquid. A look of terror consumes her, and begs the question 'why?'. Atrocitus narrates the feelings pulsing through her during the downward spiral of mental reanimation. The liquid of Ysmault's blood ocean has horrible and profound qualities, and fuses together new neurological connections between her dormant memories and her present condition.
Note: A Red Lantern severs almost all ties from their toxic past, and exists (or endures?) in rage-filled and mindless bliss. You also speak like a fool, slurring this way and that.
Re-education involves a heavy dose of pain and comprehension, as your past is brought full circle. There is no guarantee you will resurface from the cognition-granting liquids of the sea improved, or alive. Corpses that litter the planet's ocean floor are testament to this fact. Bleez arises quite shaken, yet is competent enough to assume the antagonist's role almost immediately.
Second Movement: Bleez Returns
Atrocitus and Bleez return to her home-planet, Havania. Twice she tests her limits with Atrocitus; along with increased mental prowess, the blood-baptism on Ysmault unleashed her sharp tongue as well. Thankfully, twice Atrocitus proves that while her personal scores are minor, his are major.
Bleez is given the chance to confront two heavy-pocketed, former suitors. 'Piss off' was the basic jist of her response to their marriage proposals. Afterward, the two dejected hot heads decide to end her reign as diva supreme in brutal fashion (with help from a member of the Sinestro Corps).
One of them perishes at her merciless hands, and she chooses to let the other live in perpetual fear of her ominous and unpredictable return.
And this is my favorite part!...
Without a second's thought, up walks Big Red and simply utters, “That's not good enough. The vengeance of the Red Lanterns must be pitiless. I'm not interested in your subtleties.”
Like sticking your finger through a soft dinner roll, Big Red's hand rips through the dude's back and explodes out the front of his chest! Again, I love that move! I let out a long, cringing sigh whenever I see him do this. Brutal and uncompromising, just like he said. There aren't many characters who carry on meaningful dialogue with a still-warm corpse dangling from their wrist like a bothersome, chunky bracelet.
Third Movement: A Dangerous Muse
The pair return to Ysmault, and Bleez quickly completes her given task. With the feuding corps now quieted, Atrocitus has a new and uncomfortable question on the front burner. With her aforementioned propensity for manipulation, did Bleez merely calm the corps for her own purposes?
Art – 4 out of 5
There are improvements in this issue, and some repetitive elements resurface, too. The setting of the plot has received more attention that the previous issues. The majestic mountains, sacred tombs, and vacant palace chambers of Havania add much needed texture to the story, and the actions taking place within them. The expressions on Bleez's face (especially while at the grave of her mother) epitomize why Atrocitus has yet to fully understand her new role.
We do see one other female lantern in the corps' ranks, and her curves are even more pronounced than the main-lady in this issue. Where's the old, boney hag with rotten teeth, boiled skin, and sunken eyes that everyone of us would cower in front of? Cliché maybe, but an interesting element it would be, indeed.
Cover Art – 4 out of 5
The cascade of crimson washing over B's body is a nice inference to what happens inside the issue. I've never seen the movie (and don't care to) but I am reminded of the iconic 'splash scene' from Flashdance for some reason. There has been no overlap in style on the first three covers thus far, and I hope to see the RL team taking more chances like this, both in the art and in its story.