One of the biggest, bestselling comic book crossover events in recent memory was Blackest Night, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis' epic that had the dead across the DC Universe rise as ravenous Black Lanterns and target the living. An instant hit with critics and readers alike, the storyline served as both the culmination of years of Green Lantern stories by Johns and an event that would inform the DCU for the following year, bringing several long-dead characters back to the forefront by the story's conclusion.
The event is the subject of the latest Tales from the Dark Multiverse special one-shot, a line of standalone issues revisiting classic moments in DCU history with an appropriately dark twist. In the alternate version of the classic story, Sinestro chooses not to share his power as a newly anointed White Lantern with the Justice League and turn the tide of a battle against Nekron to save the day.
Due to this selfish decision, the Color Corps -- Lanterns from each of the emotional spectrum's light -- are overwhelmed and killed by the undead heroes, with the one-shot beginning less than a month after the disastrous battle. As the last survivors on Earth escape and launch a last-ditch effort to save the DCU from Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps, iconic characters conspicuously absent from the original event make their own frightening debut as death spreads into the far reaches of the universe.
Launching a full decade ago, it may be hard to recall that virtually every comic book title within the DCU published by DC Comics at the time was impacted in some way by Blackest Night; the crossover event's runaway success guaranteed its expansive, all-encompassing scope. Despite this, writer Tim Seeley finds territory unexplored by the original event and fully capitalizes on it, including characters and locations that surprisingly went untouched by that story as this issue progresses.
While Seeley certainly captures his cast's respective voices, especially a Sinestro that has to face the gravity of his actions as a White Lantern, there are some head-scratching decisions made narratively. The issue's twist ending stands out in particular. Despite this, the issue is an enjoyable ride overall, capturing the creeping, constant sense of dread that was omnipresent in the original storyline while finding a surprising amount of mileage left to be had in the oversized single issue.
Kyle Hotz's artwork -- joined by three (!) credited inkers in Dexter Vines, Danny Miki and Walden Wong and two colorists in David Baron and Allen Passalaquad -- here is appropriately somber and captures the feeling of the original event. True to its title and premise, the visuals of Blackest Night had always existed largely in shadow and, despite the extensive crew of inkers and colorists, the artwork remains relatively consistent throughout. Hotz finds new terrifying directions to take the issue's cast, as they barely escape one onslaught of the undead after another without the work feeling tired or derivative.
The latest Tales from the Dark Multiverse special fits right in both as an alternate take on Blackest Night and in creating a sinister, twisted vision of DCU history. Seeley and Hotz capture the tone and characterizations of the classic crossover event effortlessly while expanding the undead, horror-tinged action on a cosmic scale. While not every decision the creative team makes -- especially toward the end -- sticks, the ones that do make this an enjoyable read, particularly for fans of the iconic storyline.
Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Blackest Night #1 releases November 13.