SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t read these books yet do so before proceeding.
I got quite a few books this week, but haven’t been able to get through the whole stack yet. In the meantime, here are the Blackest night books that came out this week:
Blackest Night: Batman #1 - Kalimaaaaaaaah
Blackest Night : Batman #1
Written by: Peter Tomasi
Art by: Syaf, Dell, Cifuentes
From the solicits a few months ago, I knew that Blackest Night would be the comic book cross over event that I would actually pull every book. Batman? Pull it. Wonder Woman? Pull it. Feo Boy? Eeehhhh….Pull it. I’m not normally a Batman reader, but I have always liked the Graysons, and I knew that Tim Drake’s family had to play into this. The Bat-Family has suffered some grievous blows the past few months with the death of Bruce, Damien being Robin, Tim taking the Red Robin Mantle, and Jason finally leaving. Well, the last one was a good thing. But, with such loss and mortal endings, Blackest Night should really resonate with these underpowered vigilantes.
However, the first issue of this book suffers from the same Cross-Over problems that all side books suffer from. The first issue of a cruddy tie-in always makes the same mistake of having these characters take 22 pages to get YOU caught up on the action. Frankly, if you aren’t reading the main event, then why are you pulling the tie-in? Wouldn’t you know what’s going on? Skip to the good stuff man! “Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge” worked on two levels for being a good tie-in to a major event.
1) The first issue didn’t spend 22 pages getting you caught up on what’s happening. It just leapt into the action and meat of the story.
2) It had nothing to do with Final Crisis. Frankly, No one knew what the hell was going on in Final Crisis anyway, so a boring summary wasn’t possible.
The artists did a fantastic job of illustrating the story as Deadman leaps from one body to another, but the way the acrobatics were illustrated, such as Brand/Damian back flipping onto the hood of the batmobile seemed a little too ethereal, and used the same convention for illustrating ghosts, rather than sequences of acrobatic maneuvers. Story-wise, I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Tomasi is doing a great job plate-spinning with Green Lantern Corps, and I’m sure that the story of our heroes confronting their dead relatives will be both heart-wrenching, and exciting to witness. Unfortunately, you just don’t get to the heart of the story until the last 2 pages of this issue.
Green Lantern Corps #39
Green Lantern Corps #39
Story by: Peter Tomasi
Art by: Gleason, Buchman, Nguyen
Blackest Night continues as we catch-up with our favorite honor guard. I really admire Tomasi’s ability to write in such a large scope, and keep the book interesting. He is writing a buddy-cop adventure that is infused with a cosmic war and romance without getting bogged down in cheap dialogue, and slow pacing. The art illustrates the story well as we change scenery from the dead of space, to crypts, to cityscapes. The black rings breaking through the lantern constructs was especially nice, and I don’t envy anyone that has to illustrate Kyle Rainer’s mask without making it look like a cornball 1990’s cartoon.
My gripe with this book is that the editing team didn’t accelerate this book’s publishing schedule to compensate for the story’s timing. Green Lantern #36 followed Blackest Night #1 one week after with a seamless story that never dropped a beat. In Green Lantern Corps #39, we are basically treated to the same scenes we saw in Blackest Night #1, and not much else. Frankly I was expecting to see a massive fight between the GL corps as they fight their honored dead, more scenes with the Guardians, and more scenes from the War of Light that is raging across the galaxy.
I’ll have to wait for next month to see all that I guess.
Blackest Night #2
Blackest Night #2
Story by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Ivan Reis
Going from “meh” to “Yeah!”, we finally reach Blackest Night #2. Johns puts the story in drive and keeps accelerating as DC’s Zombie Comic unfolds. This book has several things going for it, and this issue has quite a few moments that will stick in my mind for a long while. I’m glad no one else was in the house Wednesday night because I actually yelled “Hells Yes!”, and “Take it bitch!” a few times without even realizing I did so.
Firstly, I have NEVER liked Aquaman much. Like the majority of the comic book population, I just don’t really care. Be it Aquaman or Namor, I don’t care if there’s a guy who has sea-powers. When you bring in writing’s greatest cheat of magic into the mix, I can’t be bothered. However, seeing the sea king rise from his grave and use his telepathy to rip apart the Atlantian soldiers was a hundred time better than seeing him “Save the day” on Superfriends. My favorite part of the panel with the sharks erupting out of the water to rip the royal escort apart was the cuddly Sea Lion that was ripping off a soldier’s lips. You are a sick man Ivan Reis.
The second moment that got me was when Barry and Hal team up to take out J’onn. The words “Flash Fact” ALWAYS get me, and in that moment, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately for our heroes, their creativity was met with disappointing results, which brings me to the greatest strength of this book. The “How the hell will they get out of this one?” story that Johns is writing is fantastic. Most events, such as Infinite Crisis, Secret invasion, and Final Crisis have some dark moments, but as a reader I always knew that the heroes will save the day. In this book, I’m not so sure. With the powers and resiliency that the Black Lanterns exhibit, I don’t have an inkling of how our heroes will save the day, or even survive.
The only way this book could get any better is if they would double the size of each issue, and give us more scenes about the Guardians and the War of Light. This week’s Blackest Night stories are very self-contained and small in scope as we are Earth-bound and reading about the same fights from issue #1. The only thing I fear about this series isn’t a zombie Justice League, but the story collapsing under the weight of such a massive scope. The personal character development needed to address the weight of sorrow and loss is a stark contrast to the great galactic disaster that is spreading across the stars. Still, I’m eagerly looking forward to more.