If the Green Lanterns are too goody two-shoe for your tastes, then their blood-spewing (and blood-spilling) nemeses the Red Lanterns may be more your speed.
DC Comics has given us an exclusive sneak peek at the next issue of Red Lanterns, featuring some wild-eyed, revenge-drunk space aliens! Also, check out our interview with series writer Peter Milligan, who gave us the scoop on his upcoming projects.
First off, here's the preview and issue synopsis for the next issue of Red Lanterns:
Red Lanterns #3
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by ED BENES and ROB HUNTER
Cover by ED BENES
On Sale November 02, 2011
This story spotlights the sexy and deadly Red Lantern called Bleez. Red Lantern leader Atrocitus needs a lieutenant and places his bet on this raging beauty…and this decision will have long-ranging ramifications that no one – especially Atrocitus – will expect.
Now that you've witnessed all those blood-vomiting shenanigans, here's our interview with Red Lanterns author Peter Milligan (X-Force, Hewligan's Haircut). Milligan filled io9 in on all things Red Lanterns and divulged his plans to possibly bring back his gorgeous 1993 Vertigo series Enigma.
How was it penning Atrocitus — a character who's usually regarded as a supervillain — as a sympathetic lead?
I don't think that vomiting blood necessarily means that it's impossible to be sympathetic. I've done enough things in my time and I'm a sympathetic character! Atrocitus is a fantastic character, but it would be really boring if every single episode you had these raging monsters dishing out summary executions. What was interesting was making Atrocitus more sympathetic, without losing touch of what he does, which is inhumane and unsympathetic.
In this preview, we can see that Bleez is becoming Atrocitus' second-in-command of sorts. What sort of dynamic can we anticipate between them?
One of the things I also wanted to do was give Atrocitus someone to talk to. I wanted to "upgrade" Bleez. Episode three is, in a sense, a story of female empowerment. Atrocitus wants to control her, but Bleez takes on a self-conscious, self-aware life of her own. There will be sexual tension and a power struggle between the two of them; Bleez was a manipulator of people who swooned over her. She's not as tough as Atrocitus, but she will become a match for Atrocitus. She's going to make him a bit paranoid — he's thinking, "What have I done?"
What weird cosmic vestiges of the DC Universe will Red Lanterns explore?
We're going to explore these really strange, weird characters on this strange planet filled with violent and fucked-up characters called Earth. Earth will take up some of our time, but yes, the great thing about Atrocitus is you get to use Ysmault quite a lot. After that, we're going to explore the far vestiges of the universe, but only to explore fully the moral ramifications thrown up by the idea of being judge and jury and dishing out divine retribution. It's a very ancient idea of dishing out justice.
On one hand, Red Lanterns is lots of fun — with vomiting cats and strange monsters — but it also deals with gripping subjects. If you summarily execute someone, does the guilt and shame that you're trying to expunge, is that passed on to you? There are a lot of interesting subjects that these monsters flying around in the far corners of the universe can explore.
Speaking of Dex-Starr, what curious beings will the Red Lanterns run into?
There are two story lines that I set into motion with episode three. One is that Krona — who's Atrocitus' nemesis, his über-bête noire — goes missing and is presumably alive. Either Krona or someone else is knocking around the dark spaces of Ysmault. Atrocitus really hopes that Krona is alive so that he can kill him.
Also, in episode six, we see a human turn into a Red Lantern. I wanted to see Bleez and Atrocitus' power dynamic from a human point of view, a human whose mind had become molten lava, whose heart has been ripped out by this red ring process. Our transforming human Red Lantern becomes face-to-face with a very prominent Green Lantern — it ain't Hal Jordan.
Another alien question — who would win in a fight, Doop from X-Statix or Atrocitus?
I don't want to get Marveled up (because this is a DC interview) but it depends on what weapons they use. If the weapons are surreal, then Doop's going to win hands down. In a fair fight, Atrocitus.
Have you sketched out a potential crossover between Red Lanterns and Justice League Dark?
I haven't thought of that, but they do both operate in the DC Universe, but Justice League Dark are these occult magic users, and you might need a little more brute force to handle the Red Lanterns.
I was just wondering because the planet Ysmault definitely has a mystical reputation. That could have room for some crossover insanity.
It's a planet that's large enough to give you anything you want. Also, Madam Xanadu has the power of clairvoyance, which is the same as what Atrocitus can do with his blood magic. There's an interesting convergence of powers. But what's interesting about Justice League Dark is that they exist to deal with threats that the Justice League might not want anything to do with. With characters like Superman and Batman, black magic could pull the rug from out their feet, potentially. The JLD has its uses, as long as it stays together!
I also get asked a lot about writing John Constantine in both Justice League Dark and [Vertigo Comics'] Hellblazer. I quite like that some of the readers are enjoying him in Dark and then checking him out over at Vertigo. I get asked if it's difficult, will readers get confused. I think that's doing the average comic book reader a great disservice — the continuities aren't completely connected, but I think people are sophisticated enough to figure out that this character is used in two different stories.
Is there any way we can get more people to read Enigma? That's really one of my favorite things you've ever penned.
I was re-reading Enigma. This is the really early, early stages but I'm considering doing a sequel. So much has happened in the world since it came out, in terms of how gays are treated in the West. I'd like to highlight those differences of lives of homosexuals in the West compared to gays in Africa, the Middle East, and lots of developing countries.
Fantastic. How far in the outline are you?
I've got the story. It's something which I'm interested in, and I'm talking to people in DC. I can't really go any further than that. I'm not saying it's coming soon or anything.
PS: Peter also admitted that Peter Milligan The Red Lantern would have a bone to pick with the British Royals. Red Lanterns #3 is out Wednesday, November 2.