Since Geoff Johns epic 9 year run on Green Lantern has come to a close, so has all the other lantern-based series writers. Peter Tomasi 5 years on Green Lantern Corps and Tony Bedard's 2-3 years on New Guardians/GLC. Red Lanterns lead wrier Peter Milligan ends 20 issues worth of the fiery hot-head lanterns that has had a turbulent narrative of where it wants to go. Some parts of it is good, but it never really got over the hump. This final volume of Milligan's work again goes with the rocky nature that parts of this series work, while other parts...not so much.
RED LANTERNS VOL.3: THE SECOND PROPHECY collects issues #0, #13-#20, and GREEN LANTERN #20. After reigniting the red lantern power battery, the battery is low on power so the lanterns go around the universe killing out of rage. Suddenly, The Third Army shows up and gives Reds a difficult time to the point, leader Atrocitus needs to get some help to defeat them them. That every help comes from the thing Atrocitus hates the most: the Manhunters. And Rankorr has to return to Earth to finish his completion to becoming a true Red Lantern.
The Zero and Third Army issues showcase another origin story of Atrocitus, while giving a character study on the three plots going on. Atrocitus anger and history with the Manhunters, Rankorr coming to terms of returning to being human or full-on lantern with Bleez being his inner conscience, and the remaining Reds looking after the power battery while discussing what is to become of the group. This is actually a pretty decent arc, as we get the narrative jumping from the three plots and how to deal with their greatest source of anger. I sort of liked the Atrocitus angle of confronting the Manhunters and the character roles being reversed.
And issues #17 - #20 and GL #20 deal with the First Lantern arc and epilogue. This arc mostly focuses on Atrocitus going after the Great Heart (an important artifact), confronting The First Lantern, and tying up any loose ends for the series. The biggest piece of time is given closure for Rankorr, who I think might have been the real star of the whole series over Atrocitus. It's a decent epilogue, what not impactful.
If there is any grade-A material here it is the artwork by Miguel Sepulveda who does insane amount of detail with chaos and destruction on every page he does. I wish this artist will find more praise in the future because the man has got it. Fill-in artist Will Conrad does issue 19 and 20 and Andres Guinaldo does issue 16. They are commendable, but not quite up to Sepulveda's level.
The flaws in this volume (or the series itself) is that parts it feels underwhelming at parts. After the first 12 issues, we had an idea that this series was going to take off, but issue 13 comes around, and the Red revert back to the same habit as before and it feels played out now. Atrocitus still cannot find his "real" anger(?) and still monologues to himself about it again and again, Rankorr still hasn't done much about being a Red Lantern, and while Bleez is with Rankorr, the rest of the Reds are still left aside sadly. It takes 20 issues for these characters to find themselves is just too winded.
This is in part due to the crossovers with the Third Army and First Lantern arcs, though compared to the over GL series, Red Lanterns has been pretty cutoff from the start of the series and remains so where it doesn't feel too cluttered. But still, Milligan still reverts back to finding his answer for Atrocitus is anger all the time, which gets repetitive after awhile because it makes Atrocitus look weak and self-doubting too often.
And beyond the artist being somewhat jerky in the narrative, there are confusing bits. Like one end chapter where Atrocitus is blown away from blast, and yet, the very next chapter he's fine and overcame all those injuries. Did I miss something? And then, oddly enough, another issue does something very similarly.
So RED LANTERNS VOL.3: THE SECOND PROPHECY ends much like it started from the series beginning. We get some insightful places that further Atrocitus and the Reds, some great bloody artwork, and a decent new character Rankorr to the mix. But the most of the same narrative repeats itself, the pacing can get slow, there are some confusing parts, and most of the characters status quo is still the same 20 issues in. I'll give this final volume a 3 star rating. If you enjoyed this series for the deep process of hatred and what it has, than volume 3 will be an enjoyable read for you. If you stayed on to see the ending, then you might be letdown like myself.
Red Lanterns had its ups and downs, but it never got to the potential I thought it could have been. Thankfully, Red Lanterns Vol. 4: Blood Brothers (The New 52) see's hot writer Charles Soule take over where it becomes less about philosophical talk and more of the Reds being led by Guy Gardner and the group are like DC's bikers gang going around causing trouble. If you are willing to stay on for a funner time and leave the monologuing behind , check out volume 4.