In what is essentially “Blackest Night” #6 3/4, the New Guardians (or the Color Guard, your choice) are still struggling against Nekron, the Black Lanterns, and the Spectre. Lucky for them, Hal Jordan is possessed by Parallax again. This issue marches forth with a certain amount of predictability.
Johns seemingly wraps up the Spectre loose end, but doing so leaves the story of the Spectre more open than it was before this issue. Johns has a solid grasp on the character and creates an interesting match between the liberated Spectre and Nekron. Johns also makes the time in this issue to spin out some subplots and seedlings of stories to come, by alluding to the “crimson creature of anger” and admitting his own fears of the primitive power of emotions. This revelation is not surprising, but it does offer even more glimpses of what is to come.
When DC decides the time is right for the Spectre to return to a regular series, they need to ensure that Doug Mahnke is onboard for the artwork. Mahnke is doing a great job delivering jaw-droppingly creepy art for the “Blackest Night” issues of Green Lantern, but his Spectre is character-defining. Mahnke inks his own work this issue and the end result is a grittier, rougher look to the story, one perfectly suited for a tale of resurrected dead characters and alien warriors. Randy Mayor’s colors are bright and work well with Mahnke’s art, giving the entire story a sense of being ground zero in the war of lights.
The war of light is waged against Nekron and his Black Lanterns, but also within the ranks of the “New Guardians.” The newly deputized Lex Luthor struggles against Larfleeze, Atrocitus plots against all, and Sinestro is still Hal Jordan’s most bitter mortal enemy.
The issue helps set up a whopper of a throwdown next week in “Blackest Night” #7. It’s good to see some story progression made in the support books for the main title. I just hope “Blackest Night” delivers on the promise threatened here.