Last issue of “Blackest Night” saw the resurrected heroes of Earth being reclaimed by Nekron, and in this issue Nekron reveals that this has been his plot the whole time, starting with Barry Allen. We also saw two Black Lantern rings trying to claim Barry Allen and Hal Jordan as the rings had claimed Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Superman, Superboy, Kid Flash, and more. Flash comes up with a method for avoiding those rings that I was impressed with. Geoff Johns has said repeatedly that this story isn’t just a Green Lantern story, and the heavy reliance upon the Flash and the Atom in this issue proves that, illustrating Johns’ grasp of the entire DC Universe.
This series is getting to an uncomfortable point right now in that a large amount of the storyline’s action doesn’t occur in the pages of “Blackest Night” proper. Sure, we see the end results here, but if you’re not getting all of the pieces of the story, there are some segments that are considerably disjointed. For example, the sequence with Jean Loring, Mera, Atom, and Deadman may have started in the previous issue of “Blackest Night,” but if you missed – or chose not to read – “Green Lantern” #49 last week, you didn’t see how Deadman came into the sequence. This may seem like a trivial matter to some, but it feels redundant or counter-productive to me. The story is complete without those segments that are not contained in the eight issues of “Blackest Night,” but knowing that those segments exist instills an expectation in me for more here in the pages of “Blackest Night.” That nebulous “more” doesn’t quite find its way to the surface in this issue, which only has twenty-one pages of story.
The remainder of this $3.99 issue is another text page of “The Book of the Black” and a cover gallery for the “dead” titles set to fill the void in January. I would have liked a little more story. It could have been worth at least another half star.
The coolest beat in this comic is, undoubtedly, the deputizing of the various Lanterns. Ganthet calls upon the rings of the Color Guard (or “New Guardians” or whatever we’re calling the collective of Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Indigo-1, and Saint Walker) to create a duplicate of themselves. These duplicates then scour the DC Universe Earth to find the most suitable bearer. Using your brain and thinking through the DC Universe, I’m pretty sure you can get a few of the rings and deputized bearers right, but rest assured, there are a couple of surprises among the six chosen characters. Sure, it’s a hokey concept, but it is a concept that can be successfully pulled off in comic books. The new Orange Lantern, in particular, got a chuckle from me. The two Orange Lanterns interacting ought to provide a memorable moment or two in the remaining “Blackest Night” issues.
I really don’t think I need to comment on the art for this book save to say that Ivan Reis shows up and delivers his best work. Again. This book is well worth the wait between issues, and the fact that Reis provides the same high quality of detail and craftsmanship in each and every issue is going to help make this story a classic that is pointed back to as frequently as “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Before “Blackest Night” I was a reader ready to declare “event fatigue” and throw in the towel on event books. This story – through all of its extensions in the “Green Lantern” titles and the multiple spinoffs – has been very enjoyable. The stakes are raised a bit more in each issue, but in this one, the “good guys” see those stakes, call, and raise their own. It’s a shame that we have to wait until February for more of the main tale.