When I first heard about the New 52...my reaction? Why!???
When I saw the line up for the New 52 and it included a separate storyline for the Red Lanterns; borne out of their "following" after the successful DC crisis, "Blackest Night", I made the same reaction (along with some head scratching)... Why!??
And then when I read the recent Vol 1 compilation that collects the first 7 issues of their New 52 run...I had to stop, nod my head and say...Oh, that's why? :)
In short, reading this compilation has surprised me and made me wonder what was the reason for choosing to highlight Atrocitus and his Rage-filled band of Red Wielding Lanterns instead of the others in the Lantern spectrum. As I figured, Rage would be the least important emotion of the spectrum, because aside from destruction and tearing down what you know and love all in the name of Rage, you're pretty much left with nothing save for the consequences of your actions. And if we equate the need to resolve and address consequences in the wake of any destructive streak, it definitely needs to be met head on. And who better than the master of rage, Atrocitus, himself.
And while I don't want to be a Master at SPOILERS, better be warned now before reading further. :)
The compilation which collects the first 7 issues of the series,opens in Ryut, Space Sector 666, Atrocitus' own homeworld, with a hunter named Zuuq flaying a prisoner alive. He is interrupted by the arrival of our favorite Red Cat and later Atrocitus coming to his cats rescue and pondering a change that he has been feeling. Inspite of the carnage that he inflicts upon these hunters, he acknowledges that he seems to be merely going through the motions; that his Rage is not what is used to be. It is waning. And more than that, the effects have already begun to be felt by other members of the Red Lantern Corps, like Bleez, Ratchet and Skallox among others and like a singular organism body, they are restless and have begun to war with themselves.
Krona, killed during the War of the Green Lanterns by Hal Jordan. By Krona's blood and with his own ways of necromancy, Atrocitus offers Krona's blood as payment for his desire to be shown the answer to his dilemna. Thus he is shown visions of his past. From being a father on the planet Ysmault and suffering the brunt of the massacre of his people at the hands of the Robotic Manhunters before the Green Lantern Corps were formed, to other crimes of war and injustice on other planets. He thus accepts the visions as a sign to take on the rage and outcry of the Universe as his own. And is thus recharged and renewed for a new and higher purpose. And in line with this, he accepts the necessity of having a helper, and is left with his ruminations of which Red Lantern to "promote" and join him in his renewed quest. That is, if they really need him, at all.
Meanwhile, in another Sector, on Earth actually and better known as Sector 2814, and more specifally in the UK, another family is undergoing a crisis of its own as the grandfather of Jack and Raymond Moore was the casualty of a mugging. Bereft without a guardian who has become a surrogate father to them, brothers Jack and Raymond are each dealing with the crisis the best way they know how. One decides to punish the guilty by going after the mugger named Baxter, while the other decides to curtail his own anger and frustration and accepts the situation for what it is.
Back on Ysmault, Atrocitus himself has his plate full with having to deal with drafting Bleez as his second-in-command and returning her "normal" state of mind by submerging her into the River of blood and making her re-live her trauma and rage until she rises from it fully aware of who she is. (Note: When one becomes a Red Lantern, your heart stops beating and is replaced by the Red Ring. Along with that you become a blathering drone spewing Napalm from your mouth, as a Red Lantern doesn't have coherent speech, except Atrocitus)
Brightest Day .
Ironically, Atrocitus blames Krona for the massacre of his people and yet Krona is the only confidant he has and it is only after a ritual involving Krona's blood does Atrocitus find his sense of purpose once more. For someone being the object of one's hate, Krona still has some use long after his death.
The search takes Atrocitus back to the Abominable Zone, a ruined city built from the bone of marooned space travelers where he began his experiments with first Red Lanterns. And with that journey, he discovers that one of his failed experiments named Abysmus has stolen Krona' corpse, ate is and has absorbed his power. And if that were not enuf, the abomination named Abysmus, has breathed life into the other corpses of the dead Red Lanterns, re-animated and apty named them the Abysmorphs. Add to this surprise is the arrival of James Moore; aka Rankorr of Earth which gives Abysmus the perfect timing to skewer Atrocitus from behind and leaving Rankorr to face the onslaught of the "Zombie"Red Lanterns and we are left to wonder who will eventually get the upper hand and win.
But to give our Red napalm spewing Lantern some credit, he himself is focused, its just that the results of his focused planning is not living up to his expectation and hereby as a reader we are thrown in for that unexpected ride, and if you like a semi-rollercoaster ride, with the promise of more turbulence, then I suggest this one should get you started and don't be surprised if you crave for more.
How could you not? With a cliffhanger at the end of issue 7, I can only wait for the release of the next volume next year on my Bday, which is March 12. But in the meantime, let me treat you for the cover of Issue #8. And if that doesn't get your blood boiling for more? Then perhaps better check your Red battery, it may have been affected by a roving Blue Lantern. :)