Blackest Night #6

It's hard to not see "Blackest Night" #6 as the ultimate extension of a game that comic readers would play after hearing about the crossover. To some extent, we already saw it a little earlier in "R.E.B.E.L.S" with Vril Dox commanding a Sinestro Corps yellow power ring. What characters would you associate with different Corps? Where would their allegiances lie?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. "Blackest Night" #6 is a fun installment in a crossover that has remained surprisingly peppy, even at the three-quarters mark. After the previous issue's cliffhanger of Black Lantern rings attacking heroes who had been resurrected, it's understandable that the remaining characters are now scrambling to survive. After all, going up against characters like Superman and Wonder Woman shouldn't be easy on the best of days; giving them the power and drive of a Black Lantern, doubly so. Geoff Johns has to make sure to both keep his remaining heroes alive under this setup, while simultaneously not instantly undoing the last issue's big surprise. On the whole, I think he succeeds. The logic behind the surviving heroes not promptly getting converted or obliterated feels sound, and plot progression moves forward at a good clip.

It's also nice to see some of the other heroes, like the Atom and Mera, continue to get their own storyline. I'd half expected to see them lost in the shuffle by now, but Johns keeps pushing them back into the forefront and helps remind readers of the potential that these normally second-string characters hold. Hopefully when "Blackest Night" is over they'll continue to be slightly more visible at DC Comics.

Ivan Reis's pencils continue to look slick as always. I appreciate that he's able to pull off that overly muscled look that so many artists fail at; sure, his characters look incredibly buff, but it doesn't seem out of control or impossible. I think that's because Reis gives them more of a swimmer's build, with that smooth form being something that's more obtainable in the real world. And while Reis is best with the big, flashy moments (something that "Blackest Night" is full of), he still nails some of the quieter moments, like deactivated rings falling onto the ground, or a confused look on Barry Allen's face in response to a question from Hal Jordan.

As for the ending? Well, like I said before, it feels almost like a game that fans would play among themselves. Johns makes it still feel fun, though, even as groupings are determined and the possibility of saving Earth is finally raised. It helps that the scenes in question are entertaining and worth more than a few chuckles, even as they make perfect sense. Sure, it's heading at least in part towards the ending that everyone's suspected since day one, but Johns and Reis are doing it with a lot of flair and panache. I think at the end of the day that's the big strength of "Blackest Night." Even when there aren't any surprises, Johns and Reis still make it a lot of fun to watch it all play out. That's good work on their part, and I think it's why "Blackest Night" is such a hit. Whatever DC Comics is paying them to be exclusive, it's money well spent.

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