Rare is the comic that brings more than twenty pages to readers for $2.99. Rarer still is the comic that delivers over forty pages for that same price. Such is the case with “Green Lantern/Red Lanterns” #28 from the writing duo of Robert Venditti and Charles Soule for the two-part “Red Alert” adventure.
“Red Alert” is the story of the Green Lanterns and the Red Lanterns both learning that Supergirl has been inaugurated into the Red Lantern Corps. The first of two parts — the part that would constitute “Green Lantern” #28 — opens with an editor’s note to check “Supergirl” #28 for the events leading up to this story. Other than being an odd choice to open the story with, it complete negates the concept of this flipbook single-issue presenting both installments of a two-part story. That two-part story is, at the very least, a three-parter, although the “conclusion” of “Red Lanterns” #28 leaves the main plot unresolved. The second part of the story is not a direct flow, as half of the Red Lanterns side of the book passes before the crossover really kicks in.
On the green side of things, writer Robert Venditti continues to marshal the Green Lanterns together on the Green Lantern planet, Mogo, under the direction of Hal Jordan. As that’s happening, Supergirl makes her presence known through an awkward battle with Lanterns Barreer and Lok after which Barreer gets kind of stalky-creeper on their captured opponent. The process of this comic’s story drags out and makes Hal Jordan look amateurish, but not more than his fellow Lanterns. The combination of Kryptonian and Red Lantern puts Jordan on alert and leads to the Greens going to have a conversation with the Reds. This is point where the book needs to be flipped and the story becomes just a bit more enjoyable. Charles Soule has a solid grasp on the personalities of the Red Lanterns and the natural conflicts those personalities incur. The opening battle with the Shadow Thief showcases Guy Gardner’s dedication to his Corps and also provides readers with an impression of Skallox and Zilius Zox. Soule also throws in the continuing conflict of Bleez and Rankorr defending themselves against Atrocitus, Dex-Starr and Atrocitus’ new pet Red Lantern, Klarn. There’s a lot going on in “Red Lanterns” #28 and the art is a bit more refined as well.
“Red Lanterns” artist Alessandro Vitti’s characters are more dynamic, emotional and energetic, giving the story a much-needed boost in those areas. Gabe Eltaeb’s colors are a bit more story driven and not quite as overwhelming as the constant assault of green that Alex Sinclair pours into the drawings of Billy Tan on the “Green Lantern” side of the book. Taken alone, Tan’s art is fine, but juxtaposed with Vitti’s, it simply isn’t as clean or sharp. Vitti’s Jordan is more iconic and the scenery is more detailed. Tan does a much better job depicting Guy Gardner’s mustache than Vitti, as the latter’s looks more caterpillar-like than not. As a whole, though, “Green Lantern/Red Lanterns” #28 is a solid visual collection. There are, however, a couple slippery word balloons that try to stay out of the way, avoiding characters’ faces and limbs, but instead they slide into space between panels, requiring a retake of the reading order. Otherwise the tag-team creative teams are solid all the way through.
“Red Alert” parts 1 and 2 are delivered in a nice, affordable package, but no conclusion to speak of save for Hal Jordan handing off a problem to Guy Gardner and brushing off his hands as he walks away. Yes, the agreement and arrangement goes deeper than that, but there is not a decisive resolution to Supergirl’s predicament. Instead, this two-parter seems like an extended version of a “Red Lanterns” issue, or perhaps a displaced “Red Lanterns Annual” that has far more repercussions for the Reds than the Greens. Spinning out of this, I’m much more likely to continue on with “Red Lanterns” than “Green Lantern” as there seems to be more at stake for Guy Gardner and his crew while Hal Jordan’s group seems to be walking in circles.