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I kinda hate Atrocitus...

Atrocitus!Leader of the Five Inversions. New Guardian of the Red Lantern Corps. Rage Incarnate!
Atrocitus is the big, angry, nasty berserker of the ring-slinging team of New Guardians (the Rainbow-clad crew of aliens who've been on all the Green Lantern covers lately). He was one of the five survivors of Sector 666 - A particularly nasty hive of scum and villainy that the Guardians long ago wiped out. As Geoff Johns tells it, the unluckily named Space Sector is full of jerks and so the Guardians of the Universe send their spiffy new Space Police force: the Manhunter Robots. But, robots being robots, they just kill everyone there except for the Five Inversions. OooOoO. Creepy, right? So the Five Inversions form the Empire of Tears: a crazy three galaxy-spanning alliance of vile and reprehensible evil-ness. So the Guardians eventually defeat them all and leave the Inversions crucified of green pins (in a moment of Old Testament badassery) on Ysmault.But wait! Abin Sur (the Lantern who gave Hal Jordan his ring) goes to Ysmault after a crashed ship and he meets them. He is given prophesies that lead him to know fear and year later, this kills him! Wow - Atrocitus (or at least Atrocitus' crew) killed Abin Sur - The first Green Lantern we EVER SEE in Silver Age Green Lantern continuity; remember that we see the dying Abin Sur with the ring and uniform before Hal dons them. Not only that, but later when rookie Hal and Sinestro take Atrocitus back to Ysmault the Inversions give Sinestro a prophesy that Korugar will fall to Civil War and in-fighting. This leads to Sinestro becoming dictatorial and ultimately his downfall as well! So these guys have some clout.
Atrocitus then kills his fellow Inversions and uses their blood to create his Red Central Battery and the Red Rings. And he goes to Earth to help with the Blackest Night and teams up with the other Lanterns to try and kill Nekron and to stop Krona from collecting the emotional Entities.
Atrocitus as he is currently written is a wrath-filled alien who is just pissed off at the Guardians. It's a trope we've all seen before - But that doesn't make it a bad one. The Anti-Hero (or at least sympathetic antagonist) is common in comics. This Atrocitus has a mixture of Rorschach, Darth Vader, Superboy Prime, and Hyperion. He is angry, but hey, his whole world got wiped out. He's kinda justified in being peeved, right? And when Saint Walker looks at him he sees that Atrocitus wishes he could be married and back on Ysmault like he was in the good old days (in a moment that looks like every one of Martian Manhunter's "I wish it were so"-dreams but with red-skinned aliens). And when he was staying in New York with Dex-Starr (evil kitty Red Lantern of sector 2814) he pets the cat and the two of them feel a degree of comfort and remorse in a quiet moment as Atrocitus pets the little acid-blood-spitting killer fur ball."But Paul! All this sounds awesome!" I hear you cry.
"That's true," I sagely relply. "But Geoff isn't the first writer to deal with the Five Inversions. Alan Moore was."
The Five Inversion are from an Alan Moore story from Green Lantern Corps called "Tygers". And when Alan Moore wrote about the Five Inversions in their very first appearance their back story went like this: The Empire of Tears spanned three galaxies and were like evil demon sorcerers. "Deathless and malign essences whose cruelties had grown too sophisticated for mortal form" as Moore put it. So the Guardians went in and wiped 'em out. Then they entombed their disembodied minds on the graveyard world of Ysmault. And when Abin Sur went there it wasn't just the Five Inversions. There were lots of nasty, bizarre creatures that tried to tempt and corrupt him. It's just that Qull of the Five Inversions is the one he listens to (damning himself as a result). They were twisted, evil, disgusting beings of pure evil but the Five Inversions was just one group of many, many evil survivors on Ysmault. Oh, also, the Five Inversions were pictured. I guess Atrocitus is the two-mouthed face-thing on the ground...
Look at those guys! They are the most messed up freaks you've ever seen! And they are hardly the weirdest of Ysmault's residents from Tygers. Atrocitus looks pretty standard humanoid. Sure, his skin isn't exactly clear but he doesn't look like he's the metro-sexual kind of Lantern who would moisturize. Whereas in the original everything was surreal to the point that just being on Ysmault made Abin Sur fearful- And Abin Sur is a highly regarded Lantern. He was the Greatest Green Lantern before Sinestro and then Hal. I mean, a Ysmaulti Red Lantern should have been terrifying not only in manner but also in their twisted visage!The rest of the Red Lanterns all look like pretty conformist - Two arms, two legs, and a torso. Their heads are weird, but so what? That's the same thing as the Green Lantern Corps (the GLs have tons of non-human looking members). I think it would have been awesome if at least their leader was an inhuman, alien monstrosity: His form and features both frightening and foreign.
The change to his appearance aside, Atrocitus should be totally and unrepentently evil! The only reason he should be working with anyone (a concept I already have trouble believing) is to lead them to their dooms. The whole point of Tygers was that even when they appeared helpful they were just like a slow-working poison. Dealing with anything on Ysmault, the Inversions especially, it's like dealing with the Devil: You only THINK you're getting a good deal and in the end you'll wind up in Hell. Also - What the heck happened to the rest of the psychedelic cascade of maleficence that was Alan Moore's Ysmault? I often give Geoff Johns credit for taking disparate or even contradictory pieces of continuity and making them fit but this utter disregard for a piece of the Alan Moore Green Lantern canon is a gross oversight in my opinion. And a glaring red mark on his record.
I feel like he wanted to tie in some cool GL continuity and had this idea for making the Guardians seem less-than-infallible and so he gave it this "secret history" ret-con."Boo!" I say!
If he wanted to bring in the Five Inversions then he should have just given Qull (the leader of the Five Inversions in Moore's story) a Red Ring and had him be a mad, powerful, and malign manipulator who would work with the New Guardians but to further his own ends. It would add a sense of danger to working with the Red Lanterns that seems lacking in the current story. If these being of rage, so mad that they don't have hearts, can abide by a "truce" then how powerful is their rage?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am a HUGE fan of the current run of Green Lantern. It has been phenomenal both as a story and for the character's prestige. Blackest Night was awesome and now unfortunately overshadows the total Yellow Power Ring blast to the face that was the Sinestro Corp War. It's all great stuff. I just feel like Geoff Johns went too far trying to fit this all in. He wanted to get his story to fit in the puzzle of continuity and it seems like it's 95% right, but the last 5% is really badly contradictory and for no good reason.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Atrocitus is a puppy as leader of the Red Lanterns. He's basically a quick-tempered bully with a moral code to reign him in. Actually now that I think of it, the Red Lanterns have never really seemed all that much in touch with their supposed rage. They're angry, yes, but still too easy to reason with.

    Sinestro makes a better foe as leader of the Yellow Lanterns. And the only other colour leader who really seems in tune with his power is Larfleeze, sole owner-operator of the Orange Lanterns.