I do love comics! Once again, I find myself all riled up and excited about a new comics event, this time with the Green Lantern-themed Blackest Night. Geoff Johns and company have done a masterful job manipulating expectations and timing in order to maximize this debut and with the first issue we have a nice flashback to those summer crossover feelings.
Johns starts the story with a neat idea, that the anniversary of Superman's death has become a day of celebration for all fallen heroes. We get a quick tour of the DCU, seeing bits with the JLI and Ted Kord, Mera and Aquaman, the GLC and the hall of fallen GLs, the Rogues and more. Barry Allen and Hal also visit the vault containing the fallen villains of the DCU that Peter Tomasi presented back in Nightwing a couple years ago. At this point, there are plenty of Black Lanterns to threaten the living. This feels a lot more like a DCU crossover rather than a GL-specific one since so much time is spent on the Earth-based heroes and so little on the emotion corps. Scar does finally upgrade from shadowy manipulation as she savagely attacks (and eats!) another Guardian. This book is not for the squemish!
Johns gets in plenty of trademark ultra-violence. The gruesome murder of two heroes is as savage as anything he's written, and the book actually opens with Black Hand eating some flesh off of Batman's skull. Keep it classy Geoff! Speaking of the fallen heroes, their murder is worse because it comes from a friend. This particular black lantern was one a lot of folks hoped would be exempt from coming back evil, but this is a clear signal that everyone who comes back is totally corrupted. Another bad thing for our heroes? The fallen immediately rise as black lanterns. I was laughing to myself that with these two coming back evil, I think I have more favorites amongst the dead than the living in the DCU. Maybe I'll cheer for Black Hand! Although it is hard not to side with Guy Gardner when he reacts with "You gotta be kidding me" when he sees a mass of dead GLs (including Ch'p!) assembled against him.
Ivan Reis' work is clear and classic looking. His work on the icons is so solid that this first issue instantly felt like a DCU crossover classic. Of course, the gore and viscera factor is much higher than we're used to, but we're used to that with Johns, right?