Overview

Blackest Night #1

Review

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Blackest Night #1

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Ivan Reis
  • Inks: Oclair Albert
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Blackest Night
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 12, 2009

Five years in the making. First there was Rebirth, then Revenge, then Sinestro and then the War of Light. Now Blackest Night is upon us.

Johns has been deft in the execution of the build up to this event. William Hand was a villain early on and ominous warnings of the dark night to come have been dropped throughout his highly regarded run on Green Lantern. He has been the architect that has revitalized the Green Lantern Corps.

Of course, the commercial and critical two punch of success for "Sinestro Corps War" meant that this story would leave its own title and become the mega crossover spectacle that begins here. It is well written and Johns does a brilliant job summarizing the bleak atmosphere of the DC Universe. If this book has a fault and I think it is an almost insurmountable one, it is that it encompasses too much.

Things are thrown out that will fall unnoticed to the casual fan. This is a significant problem. With all the build up to this point, the books of the Green Lantern brand have almost been a self contained universe. Now, it expands to reflect the deaths of Batman and Martian Manhunter. It is almost a natural step to make. Unfortunately, the nature of the event book means there will be more readers brought in by all the attention given the book.

Much of the Memorial Day happenings of this book require as much knowledge as Final Crisis did to grasp. This is the only way to make all of it resonate to the reader. Instead, it just comes off as a meaningless mass of death. What seems like Easter eggs and nods to previous happenings in the DCU quickly becomes a web of convoluted continuity.

Hal gets the spotlight treatment as usual, with summaries given to the other Space Police of Earth. There is a good bit of solid page time given to Barry, Carter and other players in the title. Johns has built on the stubbornness of the Guardians in the last few years, but their attitude towards the war comes off as the U.S. government admitting it was in recession as it teetered on the brink of depression. They now seem obtuse and utterly unworthy of the many fine men they have placed in their corps. One can only imagine that some large status change is in store for Oa at the end of this tale.

Finally, the rise of the Black Lanterns is done to great effect. Marvel chose to play with zombies in a parallel universe, and it would appear that DC has decided to let them wreak havoc in the primary universe. To make matters worse, these undead rise with powerful rings, smarts, and a truly creepy general in Hand.

Reis provides dynamic layouts and measured lines to produce a great looking book. He adds all the touches to refresh the memories of those readers with degrees in DC-ology. It is professional and exact in its enhancement of the script. The iconic designs and Sinclair’s masterful coloring make the book a much more vibrant read than the otherwise continuity laden mess really deserves to be. He proves why he should be the only Lantern penciller yet again.

This is a solid issue of set up for those entrenched in the entirety of the DC line. For those arriving to find an easily accessible popcorn action fest - they are probably holding the wrong book in their hands.

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jul 17, 2009 at 12:26pm

    I loved this except for the ending. Disappointed about what happened to the Hawks and I have a feeling this was DiDio editorial influence (there's been a lot of mucking with Hawkman lately). Other than that, this was an enjoyable and dramatic first issue, though as you say, very heavy on continuity and exposition. I kind of expect that from Geoff Johns but he usually can balance those elements with good character moments and epic scope.

  • Lee Newman

    Lee Newman Jul 17, 2009 at 12:51pm

    Yeah, he balanced it with Character moments and the scope is epic, I just think I would like to see BN without Editorial stepping in and making it bigger. As for Hawkman, I could care less... he dies more often then most comic characters, way to make me not care about a death at all.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jul 17, 2009 at 1:14pm

    Fair enough. I'm a big fan of Hawkman and Hawkgirl and felt that this version was the best yet and the one that actually made sense of their convoluted history. To see all this editorial interference and them dying once again is just disheartening to me.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 17, 2009 at 3:46pm

    Yes this was a very solid start. Has the feeling of anticipation between issues so totally lacking in the terribly disappointing FINAL CRISIS. Eric - I wouldn't worry too much. The Hawks will get better. Death, dramatic impact and comics...? Not three terms that I am ever likely to use in conjunction to either the DC or Marvel Universes ever again!

  • BriGuy

    BriGuy Jul 19, 2009 at 11:24pm

    The Hawks' death had no emotional impact on me (despite being a big fan) because DC basically undid their death in FINAL CRISIS just to have them die here. I'm just going to hope that by the end of this Geoff has once again sorted Hawman and Hawkgirl out and maybe we'll have Carter Hall & Shiera Hall and Katar Hol & Shayera Thal.

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