Title: Blackest Night #6
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
DC Comics gave everyone Blackest Night #6 as a slightly belated Christmas present in a week without comics. I wasn’t sure what Geoff Johns could possible do in this newest issue to top the incredibly unexpected ending in Blackest Night #5, but I was more than ready to find out.
So were my socks blown off and my eyeballs made sweet, sweet love to the way they were in issue #5? I hate to say this, but the answer was “not really”. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great moments in this book. The problem is those moments didn’t really add up to much and didn’t move the story forward. The whole book felt like filler to me. A creamy, delicious custard filling, but still filler in the end. Geoff Johns seems to be doing a little showboating here, he knows he is in the zone right now when it comes to writing stuff that will drive comic book geeks wild, creating those little moments that make you sit up and go “fuck yeah”! Johns does that several times in this book. Barry Allen saving Hal Jordan and himself from the Black Lantern rings(cool). Deadman showing up unexpectedly to impart some timely information to Atom and Mera(cool). John Stewart flying one step ahead of a gazillion Black Lanterns storming towards Earth(super cool). Ganthet of Oa setting into motion the formation of a duplicate set of Lantern leaders(fucking cool) and finally Diana Prince breaking free from the control of the Black Lantern ring and becoming a member of the Star Sapphires(unbelievably fucking cool). Whew! I need a cigarette after all that! So how could I have a problem with this book after so much coolness?
First, the book finishes with a two page splash panel showing the new set of Lanterns flying in to save the day(nice pants Ray Palmer), in the corner is a blurb about the next book “Black Hand Unleashed!”. Oh yeah, that guy, where was he at in this book? More importantly, where the fuck was Nekron at? Remember him? Super evil dude that was in the last issue killing off Superman, Wonder Women, Green Arrow and a bunch of other heroes? Everything in the first four books was building up to Nekron finally showing up in issue #5 and bringing things to a head with the remaining heroes on Earth. In Blackest Night #5 Geoff Johns does this beautifully. Nekron shows up, talking big shit about ending all life in the universe and showing just how powerful he is by killing off a bunch of good guys with no effort whatsoever. The situation at the end of the book looks very dire for anyone still alive on Earth. So what does Nekron do in issue six to top his performance in last book? He strolls off, mumbling about being hungry. That’s it! One tiny panel in the whole book. After five issues of build up, Nekron disappears from the entire story. The worst part is that no one seems to care. I realize that our heroes have a big fight on their hands dealing with the Black Lanterns, but if you can only keep an eye on one bad guy during the fight, that’s the guy! If Nekron starts wandering away during the battle to parts unknown, you might want to least send one hero to see what he is up to. Nekron disappearing from issue #6 brought the story to a grinding halt for me.
Second, as cool as the second Lantern Corps team was, I have to ask, why? What purpose do they serve really? I know they are suppose to help hold the line until the rest of the Lantern corps get to Earth. However, the way they come into existence seems very contrived and just seems like an attempt by Geoff Johns to create one of those cool geeky moments to thrill the fans. If Green Lanterns can duplicate their rings in times a great crisis and create temporary members, wouldn’t that have been something they should have done sooner in the series? Ok, I do understand this “ring duplication” has been used before in continuity but why didn’t they do this earlier, like say, when Oa was almost destroyed? It seems like one of those way too convenient plot devices used by another comic book writer that catches a lot of shit on the CCW site. Honestly, the new Lantern team was a pretty cool idea and it was fun to see who Johns picked for each different Lantern Corps, but not at the expense of the main storyline.
Blackest Night #6 still gets a big thumbs up from me despite the problems I had with it. There are many individual moments that are very cool, but I am getting the feeling that Geoff Johns is starting to tease me a little bit. OK, Johns, I get it, your a great writer and can get me all hot and bothered whenever you want but I am tired of only getting to second base with you. At some point we are going to have to go all the way. Please, lets finish this event so I can get on with my life and start making fun of the Siege!
I pretty much agree with everything Ironmuskrat said in his review. This was another enjoyable issue to the series but that is not saying that I didn’t have a couple of “nerd nitpicks” myself. It’s funny that the two problems that IM had with the book didn’t bother me as much as they did him BUT I had two different problems with this issue that bothered me as much as his two problems bothered him. He he, did that make sense?
So, my two “nerd nitpicks” with the story were:
1. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan jumping 2 seconds into the future in order to “severe the connection” between themselves and the Black Lantern rings chasing them.
Talk about a waaaay too convenient plot device. This is the pure definition of deus ex machina. I’m sorry, but if I call BS on certain Marvel writers for pulling this kinda stuff, I am going to have to call BS on Johns’ use of it as well. When you throw some sort of time travel into the story to solve a problem usually you create even more problems. For instance, why not jump backwards in time to right before Nekron possessed the JLA? If Barry can’t “control” his time traveling abilities without the Cosmic Treadmill why not just go further back than that. Doesn’t really matter when, right? Just as long as it’s before the JLA get possessed.. And how does Barry and Hal being 2 seconds in the future really keep the rings from finding them? And IF time traveling without the Cosmic Treadmill is pure guess work for Barry how does he know they jumped just 2 seconds into the future? Arrrrrgghh…Mind Explosion!!!
2. Barry Allen gets the Blue Lantern Ring?
Johns got a little too cute with his deputized lantern corps. Mera, Luthor, Scarecrow and The Atom are all cool choices that made sense. The reason I have a problem with Barry getting the blue ring only exists because Johns decided to give Wonder Woman the Star Sapphire ring. Wonder Woman was under the control of the Black ring when she received the Sapphire ring which in turn broke the connection of the Black ring. Now, if the duplicated rings can in fact overtake the control of the Black rings why would the blue ring choose Barry and not Superman. Some would say that he is the personification of hope in the DCU, no? This is a problem of Johns own creation. Had he just given the Sapphire ring to another hero who didn’t have a Black ring I wouldn’t be thinking about this. I would just be like “Well, Diana didn’t get the Sapphire ring because she is not able to since she has a Black ring. I‘m ok with that.” But I think it comes down to this: Geoff Johns obviously has a fondness for Barry Allen. Much like Bendis has for Luke Cage and Loeb has for, er, Rulk. The reason for Barry receiving the Blue rind exists outside of the context of the story and that’s my problem.
Again, these really are “nerd nitpicks.” It may sound like I am giving a Johns a pass for these little inconsistencies while I probably would have thrashed another writer for doing the same. The difference between Johns and other certain writers, in my opinion, is that Johns really hasn’t done too many things to raise my ire. He doesn’t seem to come off as brash or pompous and I get the feeling that he is a team player when it comes DC events. As long as he doesn’t let his fondness for certain characters take complete control over his storytelling in the future All Will Be Well.