Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blackest Night All Up In Your Face!

Blackest Night exploded this week. I decided that I wouldn't just cover one of the issues, but all three stories that hit the stands this week.

First up, Blackest Night #2 (Written by Geoff Johns, Art by Ivan Reis)...

In this second issue, all sorts of hell is breaking loose as more crawl out from their graves to terrorize the living. Most notably, Aquaman and Pariah (from the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths story) rise to take on family and the magically inclined respectively. Even The Spectre isn't immune to the power of the black rings as the "Spirit of Vengeance" becomes a giant Black Lantern.

One mystery begins to surface in this second issue - some of the dead will not rise if they are in a state of peace. I suspect we will get more as to why that is in upcoming issues. The big payoff is the final page where we see a macabre Justice League comprised of the zombified Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man and Sue Dibney. They are looking to increase their ranks by killing and resurrecting Hal Jordan and Barry Allen.

Next, in Green Lantern Corps #39, the resurrection of all the honored dead in the Lantern Crypt is fleshed out (sorry for the pun, it wasn't intended) from Blackest Night #1. This issue aslo gives us some samplings of other things taking place around the galaxy. This issue plays directly from other arcs in the GL Corps book. The biggest return in this issue is Jade - former lover of Kyle Rayner and daughter of the Golden Age Green Lanter, Alan Scott. If you remember my earlier review of Blackest Night #1, I mentioned that love seemed to be a big part of the story. If that is the case, then Jade's resurrection and confronting Kyle Rayner definitely plays into that idea.

In Blackest Night: Batman #1, Deadman teams up with the new Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne) after he was unable to keep his own corpse from rising from the grave. This issue more directly plays off the aftermath of Alfred finding Bruce Wayne's grave desecrated once Barry and Hal take the fight with Martian Manhunter into downtown Gotham in Blackest Night #1. Dick's parents and, former Robin, Tim Drake's parents are revealed as Black Lanterns.

All in all, the entire Blackest Night event has been everything DC promised and more. During a tough economic time for collectors and the very mixed reception of Final Crisis, comic fans have needed this type of action oriented story. I would dare say this story is truly the third of the Crisis series (following Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis). It's at least more of the type of Crisis we all hoped Final Crisis had as far of a story.

Big blockbusters from the comic industry need to be able to fulfill the promise of a great story with lots of chills, thrills and drama. It's very likely what makes this story so great is the buildup from all of what Geoff Johns has written since he took over the Green Lantern series.

I will rant later about the downfall of the big event stories in another blog entry. I definitely have to say that this mini-series seems to have serious ramifications with well thought out ideas and logical plotting. It may be hard to jump right in if you aren't up to speed with what's been going on with the Green Lantern series, but for those who are aware (even in general), this is a huge event that is paying big dividends for the reader.

Ratings: Blackest Night #1 - 5 Stars; Green Lantern Corps #39 - 4 1/2 Stars; Blackest Night: Batman - 4 1/2 Stars.

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