Blackest Night #3

"I hate being in the dark." Spoken like a child resisting his fear of the dark, Ray Palmer makes an appearance in this issue of "blackest Night" that reveals everything. Well, it reveals almost everything there is to reveal about the rise of the Black Lanterns and the history of the universe up until now. This issue also reveals the lineup to James Robinson's and Mark Bagley's upcoming run on "Justice League of America." Seriously. Granted, that reveal is in an ad in this issue, but the reveal is contained within the covers of "Blackest Night" #3. This issue features members of the JLA against Black Lantern members of the JLA. A surprise third party joins the fray, turns the tides of battle, and gives us all something to cheer about.

Fans of Firestorm -- either one -- will not want to miss this issue. In case you haven't gathered as much from the cover, Jason Rusch has a prominent role in this issue. Black Lantern Ronnie Raymond Firestorm also plays a huge part. Hal Jordan and Barry Allen tag along and get metaphysical with Ray Palmer. The action in this issue remains focused on that group of heroes with Mera -- "Aquawoman"?!? -- fighting the good fight with some of DC's most popular heroes.

This issue gave me the same feeling I had with the first few issue of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" when I first open the covers to that series some twenty-four-and-change years ago. The scenery is vast and detailed, the characters larger than the panels that try and restrict them. I may have a better grasp on who everyone is in this issue than I did in 1985, but excitement of this story is nearly tangible. This review had to happen or I wouldn't have been able to sleep.

Ivan Reis continues to prove to the comic reading public that DC was wise to chose this master of graphite to render the "Blackest Night" for us all to see. His two-page spread of the splintering of the white light is as beautiful and haunting as any image rendered for this story. In those two pages, guided by Geoff Johns' story, Ivan Reis makes this somewhat cheesy concept shine for us. Johns, of course, spends the rest of the issue making the Black Lanterns more terrifying and seemingly unbeatable.

This series is not even at the halfway point, but I feel that it has accomplished more in defining and explaining the DC Universe than many of the previous events ever tried to. We learn how the Black Lanterns function, we get some idea of the measure of their threat. The action of this book never leaves Earth, but the story is tighter for it. This issue could have been a breather, a chance for the readers to soak in what exactly is going on, but just when it seems like that may happen, the Black Lanterns rise again, more powerful and more savage than before.

The book has come out regularly. The creative team has remained consistent. This story -- the story of "Blackest Night" -- has a chance to be one of the greatest event stories ever told. Unbelievably, however, with this issue, it's even more approachable to any fan who has stood just outside of this story. Any fan with passing knowledge of the DC Universe can hop in and follow the adventure; there's plenty more to come.

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