The (Two for the Price of One, Better Late Than Never) Blackest Night #6 Review

Posted: January 9, 2010 in Better Late Than Never Review, CCW Review, DC Comics, Geek Culture, Opinion
Tags: , , , ,

Title: Blackest Night #6
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Publisher: DC
Price: $3.99

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?

Two things..

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!

IM

———————————————————————————————————-

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.

J.

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Comments
  1. Venom829 says:

    I must say I love what he did with Scarecrow. Using him in this event makes PERFECT! sense, Luthor as a Orange Lantern is a good concept as well. Out of all of them, I must say this: Wonder Woman looks HOT as a Star Saphire Lantern!

  2. Dan Griffin says:

    In Blackest Night: Wonder Woman. It makes more sense why WW was able to break free of the Black Lantern Ring. Lets just say she has the gods on her side.

    But i have to agree, the issue felt like filler but i heard GL#50 is going to move the story forward again. I think we’ll be seeing the leaders getting some help in the form of thier avatars.

  3. Mitiators says:

    Damn good issue and very thorough reviews. There’s always going to be nerd nitpicks with this stuff. I agree with the all the nitpicks but they aren’t nearly as bad as Bendis’ plots points of convenience. If you really dug this issue you should definitely go out and grab the second issue of Blackest Night Wonder Woman. It works as a great companion piece to this comic. It shows her fight with Mera and give us a look into what its like to be a black lantern.

  4. Manwe says:

    Ivan Reis has been consistently amazing on this series. It would be great to see more of his penciled pages without inks and color (even though Oclair Albert has been excellent as well).

    • Ironmuskrat says:

      I didn’t mention the art in my review, I guess because I’m taking it for granted at this point. But I should have mentioned that Reis’s work on this series has been amazing throughout.

      IM

  5. TheComicRant says:

    Why didn’t Superman get the blue ring? Superman is hope. Hope for a better tommorow. Barry Allen is just a pet character, that really pisses me off.

    • Matthew Guy says:

      Lex Luthor working w/ Superman please w/ Lex’s ego not likely to happen. Plus w/ the FC ending of Superman singing to solve a crisis let some of the other DCU heroes/villains step it up a notch to end the Blackest Night.

      Matthew

    • Dan Griffin says:

      Because Superman didn’t have the gods help him weaken the BL Ring so that he could join another corps. Wonder Woman had Aphrodite weaken the ring so she could beat the Black Lantern Ring.

    • Morlock50 says:

      It makes sense for Big Blue to get the blue ring for DC comic fans. But dramatically, it doesn’t make sense for two characters to overcome the black rings. This would diminish the threat of the rings significantly by having more then one character break the hold of the black lanterns. Plus, you take Superman off the board as an enemy (I’m predicting a Clark/Diana rematch, you heard it here). However, I agree with you that Barry Allen = Marty Sue when Johns writes him.

  6. greenlantern206 says:

    love green lantern nd blackest night good review

  7. Jeremy says:

    I had the same problem with the whole Barry not Superman thing. To be fair though it has been established that almost every time a BL sees Barry his emotion is hope.
    I also think the issue felt kind of short, and did we really need all those comics for the crossovers? I mean the checklist already says the names, and I could of just waited for the issues to come out to see the covers.
    All in all the issue was alright.

  8. Manwe says:

    Yeah, there has been a lot said about the art over the months. Just thought that I would join the chorus. Thanks for the review.

  9. Pobra says:

    Once my initial excitement for this issue wore off and I started to really think about it, I was bothered by the exact same stuff that you guys brought up in your reviews. So, I would have to say that those are some pretty spot on reviews guys, well done. Still, Scarecrow as a Sinestro Corpsman… come on! That’s too awesome!

  10. Matthew Guy says:

    I hope Wonder Woman keeps that smoking hot outfit DAMN DA DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But seriously the issue is fluff like comic filled cotton candy Geoff Johns style. I will read GL & GLC until Blackest Night 7 comes out. Great reviews guys!!!

    Matthew

  11. Cole says:

    The reason Superman doesn’t get the Blue Ring is actually kinda explained in the “Superman: Blackest Night” tie in. See, Superman does have the ability to instill hope…but he also has the full range of emotions within him. He’s never just feeling one emotion. For instance, when he’s up against Black Lantern Kal-L, he’s feeling Fear, Will, Rage, Hope, and Love. And when Connor gets hurt, he feels Fear and Love.

    So, from what I understand, to get ANY ring, you need to have some sort “predominant emotion”. Hal is always full on willpower, Wonder WOman is always full of love, Larfleeze is always greedy, etc etc.

    So, that’s just my theory as to why Superman doesn’t get the Hope Ring.

  12. phil says:

    My intetion today is to pick up BN despite the less than sterling reviews. I reallh hope this series doesn’t peter out on me like the last few series that I’ve picked up?

    k….0.

  13. dacl says:

    The Blackest Night comic book series has been more fun to talk about then it has been to read.

    I can only speak for the main series (Johns told us it was ok just to read the main series) but there seems to be a whole lot of filler. Black Lantern Specture, Firestorm kid stuck in a Black Lanterns head, the whole issue where Hal is gone and Barry has to run around shouting exposition, the whole Mera+Atom subplot (gee whizz, we learned out the rings are like bone on the inside and they’re all connected, whoop dee do).

    And I could forgive all of it if Blackest Night was ABOUT something. Is it about learning to deal with loss? The main series sure isn’t.
    Team work? Not really.

    That being said, it is a fun comic to talk about.
    #1 was a whole heap of hints for future tie-ins,
    #2 showed Aquaman being awesome (and a zombie) and encourage speculation about about Mera in an ongoing series.
    #3 introduced the Indigo Lanterns, which completed the set.
    #4 finally introduced Nekron a built up excitement about what he was going to do (turns out not a whole lot)
    #5 had a pretty awesome cliff hanger, and its a shame it wasnt really followed up on

    Blackest Night: fun to talk about with comic geeks, not really that good of a comic

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