EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers. It also contains at least three euphemisms for male ejaculation, several vulgar terms for female genitalia, and more than one filthy joke. With the entirety of Red Lanterns #3 being one of those filthy jokes. You have been warned.
I’ve read three issues of DC’s Red Lanterns now, and having done so, I have one obvious question: who hurt you, Peter Milligan?
What was her name? Sit on down, crack open a beer and tell Uncle Rob aaaaallll about that cooze. Get it out of your system. And then maybe you can get back to writing a superhero book that makes some fucking sense.
Red Lanterns #3 opens with a bat chick with big knockers (You remember Bleez, right?) inverted, look of terror on her face while she chokes on thick, viscous liquid, while Atrocitus narrates:
With luck, the pain will be intense.
That’ll mean it’s working. the gelatinous liquids of Ysmault entering her brain.
Sure, Atrocitus. I call mine “Old Sparky,” but “Ysmault” works too, I guess. Seriously, Peter: where’d you salvage that narration from? Your letter to fucking Penthouse?
This sequence comes from Atrocitus deciding he needs a more aware Red Lantern to help him run the corps – a Bottom Bitch, if you will – which is fine as a story point, but was it the best choice to do it by opening the book by literally gooping some sense into her?
Bleez is apparently Havanian for bukkake.
So anyway, after Bleez wipes off her chin, Atrocitus takes her back to her home planet, and it turns out that when she has her wits about her, Bleez is a real fucking bitch:
You want my hand? Please. I would rather be buried alive and eaten by blind slugs than spend one night with you…
Be quiet or take your grating voice and foul breath outside.
Wimmens. Am I right, fellas? That’s why you gotta keep ’em where they belong: in the kitchen or on their backs! Take Amanda here: whenever she gets uppity, why I OH GOD NO NOT MY TAINT THIS IS PAIN TOO ENORMOUS IT SIMPLY SHOULDN’T BE –
Anyhoo, Atrocitus takes Bleez to visit her mom’s grave because he’s a classy pimp who knows what the ladies like: grief. Which I understand, because every woman I’ve even been with has wept copiously sometime before, during or after. And here we discover that Bleez blames all her misfortunes in life on her mother, and isn’t that just like a skirt? Why, one time Amanda started bitching and moaning that her mom JESUS GOD OWWWW HOW DID YOU HIT THE SAME SPOT THAT’S GONNA LEAVE A THIRD HOLE
Sorry. So then someone starts shooting at Bleez and Atrocitus for… some reason that I’m sure Milligan just forgot to tell us about. And, purely by coincidence, it leads her to two guys who begged to marry her and, since she apparently wasn’t satisfied with having shot them down in the cuntiest manner possible, kills them dog dead, because apparently in space, they don’t have dontdatehimgirl.com.
And finally, after throwing gack on her to make her smart, showing that she’s a complete bitch when she can bother to think at all, displaying her as a maneater and having Atrocitus give her the back of his hand when she gets mouthy, Milligan ends the book by showing Atrocitus stroking a pussy while Bleez presents her ass. I am not kidding.
Look, despite all evidence and rumors to the contrary, I am not a complete idiot. I get that Milligan is trying to spin some kind of parable about sexual violence against women here. He’s just doing it badly.
Because first of all, I don’t get what the message is. Is it that making women do things against their will is wrong? Because Atrocius flings Bleez into the “liquids of Ysmault” against her will and without her consent, and it makes her smarter. Is it that violence against women in the face of rejection is wrong? Because those two dicks on Havania have her killed, and it makes Bleez more powerful. I get that there’s some kind of anti-violence message going on here, but it’s getting lost in the fact that violence against Bleez is making her better. Throw in the fact that Bleez is presented, both pre and post Red Lanterning, as a complete and total empty and irredeemable bitch who takes no responsibility for any of her actions, and it muddies the waters so much that it starts looking like the set of a pig holler grudge porn flick that this book looks like.
And this book looks good. Ed Benes draws excellent fine-line detail work, and he puts together a cheesecake shot like nobody’s business. The problem is that this is meant to be a book that has some kind of message about violence against women, as muddled as it might be. And it just seems wrong that it’s being presented in an art style that’ll give half-stocks to every sixteen-year-old comic geek who buys this book. If you yanked out all the dialog, trust me: thanks to Benes’ art, it wouldn’t be the only thing you’d be yanking.
Bottom line is that whatever message Milligan might have wanted to give us winds up looking like twenty pages of “The bitch deserved it,” with art that tags it by making it look like, “…and the bitch liked it.” It’s a complete misfire. Skip it,