Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Publisher: DC Comics
It feels like we have been hearing about Blackest Night for years but DC’s 2009 “summer event” is finally upon us. At first I wasn’t really too excited about this mini-series which is kind of sad since I do read Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps every month. Trying to think of a reason for my ambivalence I think I’ve come up with an answer: Geoff Johns.
Now don’t get me wrong. I think Johns’ is a great writer and seems to have a strong work ethic but his writing on Green Lantern for the last year or so hasn’t really been doing it for me. His “Secret Origins” storyline, which took 7 issues to tell, bored me. I already knew Hal Jordan’s origin but Johns’ felt the need to retell it in order to retcon some aspects of the story to have ties with the Blackest Night. I won’t even begin to tell you how awful I thought the last arc, “Agent Orange“, was.
But then came Green Lantern #43 last week and it seemed to sell me on the idea of Blackest Night. Our video review should be up for that soon so I won’t go into details here about why.
Blackest Night #1 starts off with several characters of the DCU paying respect to all of those who have passed on be they family, friends, heroes, villains, leaders or legends. It becomes quite clear to the reader just how many characters that DC Comics has killed off in the last few years and it is almost unsettling. It doesn’t really help that most of these characters arguably died senseless deaths in order to bring comic readers cheap “shocking moments“. Then again that is the main subject of this first issue: death, be it senseless, cheap or otherwise.
The first half of the issue really does have some strong character interactions. Though I am not a fan of Barry Allen being back, I will say that I thought the scene between him and Hal Jordan was by far the best in the book. When Barry asks Hal to tell him which of their friends have died while he was lost in the Speed Force, Hal “shows” him using the power of the Green Lantern ring. That leads to a double splash page of Barry, and the reader, seeing everybody that are no longer among the living. It is quite a bit to take in. Barry Allen then asks Hal Jordan the question I’ve been wondering myself the answer to for the last few years. “How, Hal? Why?”
The second half of the book is where I begin to have some problems. After being reminded of all the senseless death over the years in DC Comics Geoff Johns decides to provide us with some more. I won’t spoil who dies here but needless to say I just wasn’t happy about it. One other thing I will not spoil for you are all of the numerous Black Lanterns which “rise” in this issue.
Now that being said, I will acquiesce to the fact that if you look at Blackest Night as a horror movie/story it really is a lot of fun. I am completely capable of separating my geek-comic-logic mind from the rest of myself to see that this may be the main appeal of the book. For that reason I would say pick this comic up. Well, that, and the fact that Ivan Reis does some of the best work of his career.
If this review wasn’t enough for you be sure to check out the CCW You Tube Channel next week where Elliott will get in on the action and we will go a little more in depth into this issue.