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Your Mileage May Vary: Blackest Night #1

by  in Comic News Comment
Your Mileage May Vary: Blackest Night #1

This week saw the debut of DC’s newest big event: Blackest Night.

Jeff Adams thought found Blackest Night #1 refreshing:

Blackest Night #1 is an odd beast. Usually with reviews and most certainly with crossover epics, writers who review these things feel compelled to give a lengthy explanation of what exactly this story is about. Who the main characters are, why the story exists, and most importantly, what the hell is going on.

Blackest Night simply doesn’t need that explanation. Every part of the story is meant to take the reader on a journey and help you understand a great many things about the very universe it is operating in. The comic focuses on the various aspects that the story will be touching brilliantly, and also manages to focus on the characters. Something that is missing in a lot of epics, is the characters who participate in these epics. I can see the reasoning, there is an assumption that if you are reading this epic, you already know the characters basic traits. Geoff Johns avoids this by introducing the characters and through dialogue, individual moments and interactions, he imbues the knowledge of the DC universe into you, without you really knowing it.

Chris Sims saw potential in the idea, but didn’t enjoy the execution:

I don’t even know where to begin with this thing, but I suppose I’ll start with the plot, which–despite all my grousing about how it sounds an awful lot like an attempt to cash in on Marvel Zombies three years after it would’ve been relevant–is actually not a bad idea. The idea of dead characters rising from their graves for revenge is certainly one that could lead to some enjoyable stories, and I’ve got to confess, if I wasn’t thoroughly burnt out on Green Lantern and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Corps, it’s something that I’d probably be very interested in as a big summer punchout. Of course, it’d probably make more sense for it to revolve around, say, Nekron, an actual pre-existing Green Lantern villain that rules the Land of the Dead rather than an embarrassingly gritty revamp of the Black Hand that feels like a leftover throwback to the early ’90s, but it’s got the right amount of continuity-heavy fan appeal and action-oriented potential to be enjoyable. I get that.

Which makes it a real shame that it’s written so poorly.

For one thing, it just don’t make any sense, and considering that I’m willing to accept that it’s about a guy with a magic green wishing ring who went gray because there was an evil yellow space-bug that’s more powerful than God living in his brain, that’s saying something. To start with, it seems a little disingenuous that the world would celebrate dead super-heroes on the day that Superman didn’t actually die. I guess that could be as much of a comment on the fluid nature of super-hero mortality as Superman saying “We’ll all miss him, and pray for a resurrection” at the Martian Manhunter’s funeral in Final Crisis, but considering the lengths that Geoff Johns is going to in this script to make a ham-fisted point, I doubt it.

Evan Waters found it solid but uninspiring:

The major difference between this and MARVEL ZOMBIES, apart from being in-continuity, is that, as far as I can tell, this has no sense of humor whatsoever. The concept is ludicrous, but Johns handles it with utter solemnity, which is something that bugs me about him as a writer- he comes across as afraid of the genre’s sillier side, and tries to shore up its serious nature with blood and entrails and sad ironic deaths. Where the SINESTRO CORPS event was an exciting action adventure, this is marking itself as dark and grim from the start, and though this can be made to work, this is not an inspiring direction. It’s not bad, but…

You know what? I just noticed that in one of the big splash panels, one of the Black Lanterns is Ch’p. The cartoon squirrel Green Lantern who used to antagonize Salaak and got run over by a car for not being serious enough.

That does it. This is not a good comic. It’s not horrible, but there’s just nothing in it that leaps out at me. There is nothing that says, “This is a great comic story that will thrill you at every turn.” There is nothing that says, “This will make you weep, first with sadness, then with joy.” There is nothing that says, “You will gladly pay $4 for this every month.” I can see others finding something that interests them, but I’m not sure why the praise thusfar is so effusive. Even if you’re a big Geoff Johns fan- and the man has done good work, do not get me wrong- this is pretty average for him. The art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert is pretty solid, but again I don’t see how it stands out from the pack.

So what did you think?

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