So this Blackest Night stuff is pretty cool. I don’t read a lot of DC comics (and by this I mean any) on a regular basis, but I was getting a lot of suggestions from people that this was going to be a great book. My intention was to stick to the 8-issue mini-series and not buy all of the tie-ins and spin-offs that are bound to be a part of this event. However, when I went to my local comics shop last week, they didn’t have any more copies of North 40 so I used the money to pick up an issue of Green Lantern that serves as a prelude to DC’s new event series, Blackest Night. I’m probably going to spoil things that happen in these books, so consider yourselves warned.
Green Lantern #43 (GL43) was totally creepy and a clear example of a comic that isn’t meant for kids. It tells the back-story of the Black Hand (a character I have no familiarity with (like a lot of DC characters)) and how throughout his life he’s been surrounded by death. I got what was going on and how he was selected to lead the Black Lanterns (a group of undead villains powered by black rings and a black battery in Space Sector 666), but what I don’t understand is why this is happening now. Is it because Hal Jordan (The Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (The Flash) came back from the dead? Or is this one of the mysteries of Blackest Night? The main things that might be missed if you didn’t read this issue are the life history of the Black Hand, his transformation into the leader of the Black Lanterns, and the fact that the Oa gnome with the scar on his face is the one who seems to have started the whole thing.
Upon finishing GL43, I went and dug up the Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) Blackest Night #0 (BN0) issue that I picked up back in May, but hadn’t read (and was lucky to be able to find given the current state of my collection). BN0 was a cool set up and bridged the gap between GL43 and Blackest Night #1. I don’t know if that was necessary, but it’s interesting on its own and it was free. The pages in the back describing the powers and members of the various groups representing the emotional spectrum was incredibly helpful and I referred back to it a number of times while reading Blackest Night #1, to summarize:
Red = Rage
Orange = Avarice
Yellow = Fear
Green = Willpower
Blue = Hope
Indigo = Compassion*
Violet = Love
Black = Death
The main event, Blackest Night #1 was a really fun book. Granted it was more set up for the most part (although it’s set up for the entire DC Universe), but a number of significant things happen. Hawkpeople are murdered, Bruce Wayne’s skull gets carted around town (although I have suspicions that it isn’t actually Batman’s skull), and thousands of Black Lantern rings distribute themselves across the universe awakening the dead to serve in their mission to kill everything. A nice background is given for the Green Lanterns of Earth, most of whom I have only the most cursory of knowledge of. My only complaint is that in a few scenes names were being thrown around that I didn’t recognize and I wasn’t sure what the significance was. The book made me want to know more though. The artwork was top notch, and rendered an amazing number of characters (both living and dead) beautifully (and incredibly creepily).
I’m intrigued. I will certainly continue with Blackest Night, and I’m even interested in checking out the stories that got everything to this point.
*Thanks to the commenter below for the correction.