Overview

Blackest Night #8

Review

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Blackest Night #8

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Ivan Reis
  • Inks: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado
  • Colors: Alex Sinclair
  • Story Title: Blackest Night
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 31, 2010

The white light is unleashed as the DC Comics event of the year draws to a close.

As the world is ravaged by the undead Black Lanterns and their master, Nekron, the various Lantern Corps converge on Earth for a last desperate stand. But it’s not our hero, Green Lantern, wielding the healing light of Life; it’s his greatest enemy, Sinestro. And what’s worse, that light appears to be doing precisely squat against the Lord of the Unliving. Before the Lanterns can defeat the embodiment of Death, they must cut him off from his tether to our world, Black Hand. Only then can the white light’s avatar speak its fateful word—“Live.” The repercussions of this are no doubt already breaking the comic book Internet in half…

Blasphemy though it may sound to his fans, Geoff Johns is not a perfect writer. His dialogue can be awkward and too expository, his stories mired in nostalgia. But if there is one thing Johns excels at, it’s the superhero epic. Few other writers can strike the same balance of action, drama, humor, insightful character beats, and head-spinning plot twists. In Blackest Night, he delivered all of these and gave us an exciting, well-crafted, and at times disturbing adventure. With so much being thrown at us in this issue—including an army of the dead, a Lantern Corps for every color of the rainbow, and avatars of abstract concepts—the scope of the story could have easily overwhelmed the reader. But Johns, as ever, remains true to each of his players’ personalities and motivations, giving us those crazy comic book moments we crave, but with heart and purpose behind them.

After the bleak and unsettling violence of previous issues, this finale builds towards a life-affirming note, in more ways than one. More cannot be said in a spoiler-free review (stop by our message boards for some of that goodness). Ultimately, the end result of Blackest Night is nothing we haven’t seen before in superhero sagas, and the more jaded fans may be unimpressed. But for all that this was expected, one can already see the enticing implications and the seeds being planted for future stories. The thrill of “What happens next?” is in full force with this issue, which is a sign of great serial fiction.

Matching Johns’ prose is some truly stunning work from penciler Ivan Reis. He fully embraces the DC “house style” of clean, detailed, semi-realistic line work, and rises to the challenge posed by the staggeringly huge cast. This is gorgeous stuff, a style truly suited for superheroes, with all the grandeur and fantasy we expect. Appropriately for a story rooted in the (literal) power of emotion, Reis’ characters convey much of the drama in their eyes and faces. We can keenly feel the rage, sadness, joy, or hope on each page. Alex Sinclair, always a king among colorists, captures each vibrant hue of the myriad Corps.

Death and rebirth have both become commonplace in the superhero genre and have largely lost their dramatic impact. While Blackest Night has not done much to change that, per se, it was a wild ride that set the stage for some interesting developments to come.

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