I’d have been happy if post-“Blackest Night” we never saw Black Hand again. Appearing far too many tie-ins and crossovers wore out any sort of welcome feelings for the character, and while he’s cropped up since then, it felt like we were finally rid of him. But of course, if there’s one character that shouldn’t stay dead, it’s one with power over death. And so, Charles Soule, Alberto Ponticelli and Stefano Landini have brought back the bad guy for another go-round in “Green Lantern #23.3: Black Hand.” But you know what? This is actually pretty fun.
I suppose fun is a relative term, considering this is a comic about a villain coming back from the dead, killing other people and then bringing them back to serve as his undead army in a war against the living. But it’s hard not to laugh with narration like this: “William Hand. Born. Died. Re-born. Died. Re-re-born. Died. Say what you like about the Black Hand. Death fetish aside, the man’s a survivor.” Soule balances the grim nature of “Green Lantern” #23.3 with little bits of humor, and that’s what makes it readable. The more recent Black Hand stories have been incredibly dark (no pun intended) and it’s nice to see Soule inject a bit of levity, but without making the book silly.
Ponticelli and Landini are a great choice to provide the story’s art. They can draw zombies and the rotting undead with great aplomb, able to give us decay and rot without making it feel over the top. What locks the art in as excellent, though, is the way they draw Black Hand himself. He’s a strange sort of lanky, awkward fellow in this comic, but I like it. If anything, it makes him feel that much more dangerous, this strange looking guy in a slightly clunky looking outfit who keeps killing people when they least expect it.
Add in some clever writing — the way Black Hand takes down the police officer with glasses is truly inventive and thinking outside the box — and you end up with a shockingly good comic. Soule is rapidly turning into DC Comics’s new secret weapon, another reliable writer that’s turning out strong comic after strong comic. In that trend, “Green Lantern” #23.3 is no exception. Even if you’re also sick of Black Hand, this one’s a winner.