The idea of the “Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps” mini-series is a good one; provide origin stories for some of the newer Lantern faces so “Blackest Night” doesn’t have to keep grinding to a halt to go into the detailed back story of the characters. Knowing that Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi (the two writers behind “Green Lantern” and “Green Lantern Corps”) were writing it made it feel promising, too, since they would get to tackle characters they’d both used a lot lately. Johns would give us the origin of Blue Lantern Saint Walker, while Tomasi would explore Sinestro Corps leader Mongul.
The problem is, the issue isn’t nearly as compelling as you’d imagine. The high point in terms of writing is probably Saint Walker’s story, but it suffers from being a little too cyclical. It’s strange because I get the basic point of the story, and why it’s piling on disaster upon disaster in Saint Walker’s past. After all, to be the living embodiment of hope, you would need to be someone who could hang onto hope even after being spat upon by the universe over and over again. So the structure of Saint Walker’s story makes sense, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to actually read. It’s like watching someone sweet and nice get kicked in the face repeatedly; even if you know after the 200th kick they’re going to win, watching those 200 kicks isn’t a good time. Jerry Ordway’s pencils look good here, though, and they help bring the drama and sadness of Saint Walker’s story move along as briskly as possible given this sequence of horrible events.
I couldn’t get into the next story at all, though. It’s a shame because I think Tomasi’s done a good job with Mongul (the current one, not his dead father) over in “Green Lantern Corps,” but reading about Mongul as a child is an almost instant turn-off. Once again, we get the point fairly early on in the story; young Mongul is a horrible person who took after his father. On the bright side, Chris Samnee (who also collaborates with Tomasi and co-writer Keith Champagne over on “The Mighty”) has some beautiful, classic art here with its blocky and iconic style. The story itself might not be fun to read, but Samnee gives it his all and then some.
Last up is the first appearance of the one color Lantern missing so far, the Indigo Tribe. For those who are picking up “Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps” #1 just for this, you might be disappointed. At the end of the day, you don’t learn anything about the characters save their appearance, and a small question about their language. This isn’t just a tease, it’s downright annoying. Rags Morales’s art is beautiful, though, and it reminds me how nice it would be to have him draw a series I want to read. I’ve been a fan ever since his “Forgotten Realms” days, and Morales’ art is the sole reason to read the last story here.
“Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps” #1 is a lackluster start to this mini-series; hopefully the remaining two issues will have some more meat inside their covers. For an oversized issue, it feels awfully slim.