Having your brain exposed seems like a substantial weakness in combat.
It’s now been a full year of Atrocitus puttering around trying to find meaning in his rage. Once his rage dulled and was no longer blinding him, he began to need more than just angrily yelling at McDonald’s employees because the food wasn’t fast enough. I should make a list of all the types of people that I think should be Red Lanterns. People who yell at minimum wage employees for problems out of the employee’s control would earn a red ring. People who engage in taking offense as their form of critical thinking might not get a red ring but I thought I’d put this sentence here so I can say how much I dislike them. Cats who hiss at you when you’re just trying to put anti-bacterial ointment on their chest deserve a red ring as well. I’m looking at you, Judas.
Awww. Who needs his own Dex Starr costume?
So Atrocitus decided his Red Lanterns would focus their anger and put it to use. They would become tools of retribution in the universe. But they wouldn’t merely be punishing bad people when good people become angry at evil acts. No, they would have no moral compass. They would simply listen to the screams of the residents of the universe and be the tools of the most worthy anger. But for eleven issues, it’s been nothing but one distraction after another. First the Red Lanterns were too angry and dumb to mold into an army, so Atrocitus healed Bleez’s mind to be his second in command. But then Atrocitus became paranoid of her motives (with good reason!) and she began to rebel against him. Then Atrocitus’s live doll, Krona, disappeared which meant all work on the project had to stop until someone found Krona. But while searching for Krona, he found that Abysmus, the first Red Lantern he created, had been brought back to life. It was Abysmus that had taken Krona. I think Abysmus was raised by the Guardians of the Universe in their attempt to end all of the different colored Lanterns.
Abysmus ended up poisoning the Red Lantern Battery, so now Atrocitus needs to figure out how to fix that before he can get back to the Red Lanterns becoming a force for redemption. Last issue, he finally found Abysmus and they were about to have it out while Bleez and Fatality were doing a little “debating” on Zamaron. And Rankorr was conducting his own search for Abysmus.
I think Rankorr will help Atrocitus defeat Abysmus. Atrocitus will recognize that Rankorr should be his second in command. And I guess Bleez will just decide to ditch them all and take up her part in The New Guardians once and for all.
Hitting someone with their own cat is not cool.
Atrocitus’s ring is almost out of power. Once it runs out, he’ll die since all of the Red Lanterns are merely corpses being animated by the Red Rings and their own anger. So they’re different than the Black Lanterns somehow. Oh, because of the color! With nearly the last of his power, Atrocitus sends up a distress flare which is seen 521 sectors away by Rankorr.
Before killing Atrocitus, Abysmus feels the need to point out that empathy is greater than rage. Atrocitus killed Abysmus because he could feel empathy. Atrocitus believed that was too great a flaw for Abysmus to be a Red Lantern (duh!). How can somebody with empathy go around killing and maiming and beating the shit out of people? But Abysmus’s point is that rage is a dead end. That’s kind of been a theme in this book so far. Rage really gets you nowhere.
I think Atrocitus would agree. Except the whole point of being filled with rage is that it’s hardly a choice. It’s primal. Sure, it can be controlled to some degree as seen with Rankorr. But most people just succumb to their base emotions and ride the wave.
Rankorr arrives immediately after this panel. And Rankorr would probably readily admit that empathy is better than pure, unadulterated anger. But Rankorr is trying to save himself and the Red Lanterns. So he does the smart thing. He uses Abysmus’s own empathy against him.
And that’s why you couldn’t be a Red Lantern, sir. No crying in the Red Lantern Army.
Empathy is a strong emotion and I believe it is the best thing to cultivate in children. If we ever have a truly peaceful world, it will be empathy that drives it. But for a creature that exists for killing? As Philip K Dick points out in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, a spider could not exist if it had empathy. A predator cannot feel empathy for its victims. In some cases, empathy is absolutely a flaw.
Once Abysmus becoms paralyzed from the feels, Atrocitus once again gains the upper hand. As Abysmus is pummeled repeatedly, he lets slip the first actual damning evidence against the Guardians.
Those little blue bastards!
From inside Abysmus, Atrocitus removes a Blood Seed (or some such shit) which could potentially restore the Red Lantern Battery. But I wonder if it might not be infected with just a little bit of the empathy restored by the Guardians?
Meanwhile on Zamaron, Fatality is offering Bleez a Star Sapphire Ring. Choosing it will save her life but it will also condemn her companions to death. And since she doesn’t really seem to like Zilius Zox much anyway, maybe she’ll take it? No, no. Of course she won’t. But artist Miguel Sepulveda seems to think there might be a chance.
This scene is far sexier than it’s supposed to be. Although not as sexy as it would be with a different artist drawing it.
But once Atrocitus restores the Red Lantern Battery with the seed of Abysmus (eww), Bleez and the others regain their strength. And Bleez will have no part of the Lantern Corps of Love.
Did Bleez just call the Star Sapphires’ rapists?
The Red Lanterns all return to Ysmault with blood offerings from the guilty they’ve killed all across the universe. The Battery is restored and the Red Lanterns have finally pulled it all together. They’re ready to be an army and mete out punishment to the bastards of the universe.
Even widdle Dex Starr has an offewing. How cyute!
Red Lanterns #12 Rating: +1 Ranking. The first year of Red Lanterns seemed to wander a bit here and there. But reading the entire series again, I was surprised at how focused Atrocitus was throughout to get his army up and running and to begin punishing the unpunished. It’s just that the Guardians tried to manipulate things so the Corps was destroyed. They failed and Abysmus let slip that they were behind it. I don’t think the Red Lanterns will care much about the Guardians after this point. But it’s nice to see that the blue guys were behind all this bullshit just like they’re behind all the problems in the other Corps. I had my doubts that a comic about a bunch of raging psychopaths could work, but it’s done fairly well. And I think it’s place in the rankings at the end of one year at 19 of 52 is fairly accurate. A few titles still ranked beneath it are probably better books when looked at side by side. But since I admit my rankings are biased bullshit, things will stand as they are!