Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CBR:Quickies Green Lantern (3) BLACKEST NIGHT

Keeping with the Halloween theme, Zombies invade my review and the DCU today~
Here's the long overdue review of the Blackest Night comic book event.

Be sure to check out my previous Green Lantern reviews beforehand, easily found with the CBR link button at the top of the blog.
FLESH- FLESH-...Black Lanterns, Riiiiiiise....

"In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!"

Well... This was bound to happen sometime...
The Blackest Night finally took place in a big game-changing event in the DCUniverse. From 2009 to 2010, the Black Lanterns invaded DC Comics and ran upon Earth itself.

The rise of the dead was always prophecized in the GL's own oath. But it was in the recent events that all the signs started to appear. First, the renegage Green Lantern created a corps in his own twisted image, the Sinestro Corps. Then Star Sapphire was revealed to be part of the violet corps. Red Lanters started their rampage in the cosmos. The mysterious Agent Orange was discovered. Finally both a wishful Blue Lanterns Corps and a careful Indigo Tribe entered the scene.

Now all the dead rise under the fist of Black Hand, former GL villain and now much more...
Nekron plans start to appear in the big picture....what else did the Guardians of the Universe hide or try to protect from mortals?

So, how to follow this mega-event created by mastermind Geoff Johns? What books to read, which order?
Well, I still think the order in which they were published is the best suited and more recommended way..but if like me, you mostly follow trade paperbacks, here's a Review:Quickies~

Below, the best order to read those as recommended by DC Comics at the end of each one of those.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Format: Trade collecting Blackest Night #0–8

The story begins with The Flash/Barry Allen and Green Lantern/Hal Jordan. Both heroes remember the past, their fallen comrades...

It's heroes day. While everywhere in the world people remember the heroes that are no more, while the four main human Green Lanterns light the sky on Coast City...somewhere, far away, the dead start to rise under the command of Black Hand who's back to torment the living....

Quickly, Black Lanterns start to attack all superheroes and any living creature they find. Like an infection, death grows fast in the heroes' ranks. The BL Martian Manhunter attacks Hal and Barry, Hawkman is killed by BL Elongated Man, Ray Palmer/The Atom nearly escapes...

Far away, at the centre of the Universe, the Guardians watch, as always, the events going out of hands. But then, even protected there the Black Lanterns corrupts and destroys...

Finally, all the Corps in the whole Universe try to fight back the invasion who seems to be directed on sectore 2814, on planet Earth...what is Nekron's ultimate goal? What did the Guardians really hide there? Who will fall? Who shall rise? And when will the Brightest Day finally bring peace to this madness??

Overall: Collected here is the core part of this event. If you only had to read and get one of thse books, this is it!
It's pretty fun to see all these pieces coming together. You can really see Johns' master plan being brought to life after all those past clues and references from his past run on Green Lantern!
The art of Ivan Reis is, like always, fantastic! He really surpassed himself this time, like only George Perez would have been. Tons of characters, hundreds of details and a thousands of these sort of epic panels!
Some moments seem to pass quickly or be fast's natural, the following books below will help you see the bigger picture.
The TPB contains an intro, recaps, Black Lanterns sketches and a behind the scenes commentary by the Blackest Night team, discussing several panels and sequences of this event, noting cameos and allusions to the past. (all following BN books contain the rest of BL members sketches, so don't miss those out~)
Honestly, it's a must for newbie Green Lantern fans and long time ones too.
Plus the DC history which is affected in this event is simply presented for newcomers and this is a game changing story, meaning new status quo introduced in here!
Must read!!

I give this one a: 3 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Green Lantern 
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke, Ed Benes and others

Format: Trade collecting Green Lantern vol. 4 #43–52

Since Blackest Night told the events from the DCU point of view, collected in here are the issues of Green Lantern to be precise.
The story opens with the Book of the Black making a small recap of the events to be, then it's the origin of Black Hand finally detailed. Who is he, where does he come from, how was he growing up?
It will directly unfold then into the same story as the main BN book.

We see different point of views. Same stories, same moments, only different eyes.

The Black Lanterns are merely secondary players here, the heroes are Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Sinestro, Carol Ferris. In the end, we have a new perspective on what happened exactly, much more emotion-centered.

Overall: Taking place at the same time of the previous book, it's a nice complementary book. Recommended too. If you only had to buy a second of these books and nothing more, this would be it.
I'm sure it will make new GL fans, it's very fun, dynamic and unique!
So much more than simply a "zombie infestation with Superheroes".

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Green Lantern Corps 
Written by PETER J. TOMASI

Format: Trade collecting Green Lantern Corps vol. 2 #39–47

In Green Lantern Corps are related what happened on the front side, battling the dead across space.
The main players here are GLCorps regulars, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, Arisia, Soranik Natu, Kilowog, and many more~
While returning to Oa from Heroes day, Kyle and Guy meet up Princess Iolande and Natu. Suddenly, right from nowhere, an invasion of Black Lanterns start out.

The story deals with each of these heroes as they must survive the Blackest Night and their own personal drama. All must face what was really hidden in their hearts, be it Kyle and Natu's passion, Guy's rage or Kilowog's guilt..

In the later part of this book, the emerald corps confronts the other corps from the colored spectrum to finally face the dawn of this long, long night in a climatic final battle...

Overall: I've always been a big fan of the GLCorps book, and I wasn't disappointed by these eventful issues.
Tomasi really became a reliable writer for this book, and his story is as nervous and epic as Johns.
It's more fun to read this if you know a lot more about GL than who's the current "main" Lantern.
But it still is a fun approachable scifi superhero book. Probably the best team book currently on the shelve~

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Black Lantern Corps: Volume 1

Format: Trade collecting Blackest Night: Batman #1–3, Blackest Night: Superman #1–3 and Blackest Night: Titans #1–3

In Gotham City, Deadman tries to fight back and help out the other people alive. But when you're a ghost, it's quite difficult to make others hear you...
The new and improved dynamic duo of Batman/Dick Grayson and Robin/Damian Wayne, join up with the Red Robin to fight back their family brought back from death.

In another tale, Superman, Superboy, Supergirl and Krypto face up against returned deadly foes and friends like the Earth-2 Golden Age Superman...

Finally, the Teen Titans from different eras have a shocking face off against old foes and personal dilemas. Donna Troy confronts her dead husband and child, Beast Boy a former love from the past, Hank and Dove an intimate threat...

Overall: Collected here are the tie-in regular on-going DC series that were released under the Blackest Night banner.
My own favorites are probably in this first book of tie-ins. While the Teen Titans was nice enough, nothing much, the Batman and Superman issues are quite amazing.
Batman and the Robins battle dead parents and creepy BL foes. Nice cameos by 80s underrated enemies like Deacon Blackfire (from The Cult), Blockbuster, etc...
Superman explores the relation of his close "superman-family".
Nice tie-ins, not too forced and also not fact, quite good.
You'd think writting Batman stories in a world of zombies could have ended a bit out-of-character... Nice work team Blackest Night ;)

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Black Lantern Corps: Volume 2

Format: Trade collecting Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1–3, Blackest Night: JSA #1–3 and Blackest Night: Flash #1–3

The Flash has to face his BL Rogues, while the living ones try to stay that way! Then Barry is later joined by Bart Allen/Kid Flash and Wally West/The Other Flash (ah!)

In the cities, superheroes try to protect the people. The JSA has to survive the night against the worst deadly foes...good guys turned into Black Lanterns.

Wonder Woman tries to stop a deadly BL Maxwell Lord, gets turned into a BL herself and finally is saved by and joins the Star Sapphires for a special issue!

Overall: Despite the cover, vol. 2 doesn't cover the stories of the undead heroes turned into Black Lanterns, but it contains the rest of the tie-in issues.
The Flash issues are a great way to make the point on what's going on in The Flash these days. The speedforce works differently now, there's 2 Flashes, the Rogue villains aren't exactly the same membres these days.. Loved this part!
The JSA one, whiel the art looks great, is a bit messy honestly...
Finally Wonder Woman is the smartest of these tie-ins. They were released near the end of the invasion, so it succeeds in covering different aspects such as the proper BL invasion, WW turned into one of those (in the main core Blackest Night issues, some books above) and WW after that, as a Star Sapphire.
Check it out if you're completly into BN or are a die-hard fan of any of the characters represented in here.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Rise of the Black Lanterns

Format: Trade collecting Power of Shazam! #48, Catwoman #83, Question #37, Phantom Stranger #42, Weird Western Tales #71, Atom & Hawkman #46, Adventures Comics #7, Green Arrow #30 and Starman #81

With this book, DC decided to get into very interesting concepts.
For this event specially, several DC Comic titles were "resurrected" per say, for just this one time. Books that were cancelled (Catwoman, Hawkman...) or stopped since a long time (Weird Western Tales, Power of Shazam!) were brought back, continuing the old numbering and using similar art style on covers as their namesake.

First, the Atom & Hawkman doesn't explore their friendship, as the title implies, but explores this BN from Ray Palmer's tiny perspective.
But other issues tell the events of Blackest Night in a similar narration and construction of these revived series. The Phantom Stranger sees how magic is affected, with the help of a few guests.
Jonah Hex and a couple of other old west themed DC characters runs havock in the streets and pursue unfinished family business. Catwoman needs some resolution to what happened to Black Mask in the end of her series with the help of some Gotham Sirens.

Others, turned into these BL monsters, are now puppets in the hand of Nekron.
Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, as a Black Lantern, can only see him going through the night without a choice of his actions.
Superboy has a plan to lose the Black Ring, thanks to the help of his loved ones.
The new Question, Renee Montoya, has to face her old mentor and only her smarts will defeat this undead creature.

Overall: Loved the Green Arrow tie-in!
There! I said it!
I even would dare to say, I'd buy this for that single issue alone! :P
It was simply well written and amazing. A unique look at what's going on in the head of a Black Lantern.
The other stories are pretty good too, depending on your tast of DC characters. I'm still sad the writing duo of Jonah Hex, Palmiotti and Gray, didn't do the Weird West one....
Anyway, much better than the actual Blackest Night tie-ins above, these revived old DC titles are a great bunch to check out ;)

I give this one a: 2.5 / 3 Score!

Comic title: BLACKEST NIGHT: Tales of the Corps 

Format: Trade collecting Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1–3, "Green Lantern" #49 and "Adventures Comics" #4-5

Dive into the colored Spectrum of Emotions with this collection of Tales of the various Corps.
Explore the different emotions with GL members Kilowog and Arisia, have a look at some core members of the Red or Blue Corps. Another tale of the Agent Orange. A unique outlook on Star Sapphires, Sinestro Corps and even the Indigo Tribe.

Also collected here are texts from the Book of the Black. Like a twisted diary "written by Black Hand", it explores the various colored Corps as well, under his vision.

Finally, a fun two parter with Superboy Prime. It doesn't make much sense and breaks the 4th wall, but is a nice touch to end this TPB.

Overall: This is sort of a parody of the old Tales of The Green Lantern Corps I reviewed already in my past CBR: Quickies.
Surely the most bizarre of these books.
The Tales in the 1st part are your usual GL stories. For you fans who want some more background on specific characters and/or Corps. Some are more scifi-ysh, others less.
The Book of the Black's a bit weird, but in a good way. Not sure it will please everyone though-
Finally the Superboy Prime is a mean for Geoff Johns of saying "Stop hating Prime, haters! He's just, you know, a comic book character!". And it sort of deconstructs in an almost parody-like way these tie-in comics.
I mean, really.
Though the ending is a bit, huh, open-ended to interpretation.

I give this one a: 2 / 3 Score!

And that is all for the Blackest Night!~

As a final word, I'd like to say, simply put, this is how you do a comic event! I haven't had so much fun following a big scale crossover like this since Marvel's Civil War.
Great. Fun. On a large scale. Effecting the whole set of rules. And playing with a ton of characters and well treating them.
The comic book equivalent of a blockbuster!

Other (similar) recommendations?
You might want to check out, before or after reading this mega-event, the book Green Lantern: In Brightest Day, which contained important issues specially selected by Johns, or his current run. Best picks? Secret Origins, Rebirth, No Fear, Sinestro Corps, Rage of the Red Lanterns and Agent Orange.

And all this story lead out into the current Brightest Day era, which some believe might lead itself to another GL even in ~2012...

But that, is for another time, until then...~

That's all for this time's Quickies!


  1. I sure loved reading the first two books. It's one of those stories that keep you hooked till the end once you pick it up.

  2. Yeah :P
    You got that right!

    Plus after that, I was really interested in some tie-ins, specially the ones about my favorite characters' interactions during the event.
    (Green Arrow,...)