Two hundred and fifty-nine days after “Blackest Night” #1 hit the streets, we get the conclusion to the story that I called “‘summer reading’ at its very best: high energy adventure, huge stakes, great characters, a dastardly foe, and great creative talent.” The dastardly foe put the heroes through the wringer, to be sure, and the great creative talent managed to crank out an eight issue event – with a larger-than-normal final issue – in slightly more than eight months.
Aside from the conclusion of this story, Johns gives us some “Airplane”-like humor when Carol Ferris asks, “What else is new?” with Ganthet playing the role of Johnny to Carol’s Steve McCroskey early in this issue. That gave me a chuckle, and from there I was hooked. This story didn’t labor over the goings-on of the ancillary storylines from “Green Lantern” or “Green Lantern Corps,” and just plowed straight ahead to a finale. There is more than a little metaphysical speculation from the heroes, and some very cliche heroic speeches, but this is a summer movie of comic books.
Along the way, there were more than enough scenes masterfully rendered by Ivan Reis and his cohorts – Albert and Prado on inks, Sinclair on colors, and Napolitano on letters. Sure to be glossed over following the action deeper in the book, Reis reminds us of the threat the Black Lanterns pose in the final charge of the Black Lanterns led by Martian Manhunter. Ivan Reis has earned his keep for the rest of his comic-drawing career. Although there are a lot of large moments in this book, Reis doesn’t take the easy way out on those moments by skimping on detail. Quite the contrary. Reis’ detail on the double-page battle scene between the Black Lanterns and the rest of the Lanterns – with many of the heroes of Earth thrown in – is so filled with characters that I found myself mesmerized by it. That one spread alone demands to be looked at for a good long time to find match-ups, team-ups, and back-ups.
Napolitano brings the amazing lettering full circle, giving each Corps its “tone,” and playing up the characters with “bigger” voices. Sinclair’s colors are spot-on, textbook color guides for the characters from this point forward. The mist effect added in as the restored characters figure out where and when they are is a nice touch, giving the scene an otherworldly feel that added emotion.
Reis also delivered the goods on a double-gatefold-spread that is sure to make more than a few fanboys and fangirls weak in the knees. The answer to who lives and who dies is right there in stunning Alex Sinclair-delivered color, and a few of the answers are quite surprising. I’m sure they’ll be spoiled all over the place, but not today, and not by me. Sure, there’s a few that’ll rankle some feathers, but I think everyone can find one or two to celebrate.
As far as events go, this one is up there towards the top for me. Sure, there are areas that could have had a little more page time, but I am certain the pages of “Brightest Day” will accommodate some of those moments and questions – such as why did certain characters come back, but not others?
In addition to wrapping up the Black Lantern story – or did it? – this issue sprung open a whole new can of problems for the heroes and “New Guardians.” An old foe once (or twice, perhaps three times?) defeated returns, as do a handful of heroes and a few lesser foes certain to cause problems.
As far as “summer reading” comics go – this one has it all, still. This is definitely a book I’ll be dipping back into from time to time, just as I do “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”