Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blackest Night #2

Geoff Johns stayed away from too much gore this issue, so I was a bit disappointed in that regard. However, my prediction that more and more heroes would be killed off to join the ranks of the Black Lanterns seems to be right on. The story is split between a few main characters, some surprising, some not. Hal Jordan and Barry Allen pop up in Gotham City while battling the Martian Manhunter. I wasn't aware that Hal knew Oracle's secret ID, but he makes a reference to knowing she'll put everyone on the case. The bulk of that fight was in GL 45, so Johns doesn't spend too much time recapping or anything here.

A suprising number of pages are devoted to Mera and Tempest as they discover that Aquaman's body is missing from his grave. Just like the other Black Lanterns, Aquaman seems to be the same guy we knew, only evil. It was a bit more heartbreaking seeing the undead hero face off against his wife and former sidekick. I did get a chuckle about Dolphin and Tula both coming back and fighting over Garth, that was very amusing. I never thought I'd read about a zombie boasting about her hotness like Dolphin did here though. Very odd. The new death happens in this storyline as Tula rips out Tempest's heart and he joins the ranks of the Black Lanterns. There is no way all these deaths will stick. I am impressed at how important Mera seems to be to the story.

There is also a sequence with the magic users of the DCU. Black Hand brought back the Spectre as a Black Lantern, so that's not good at all. This was the storyline that interested me the least. I'll wait for the Shadowpact team to show up.

The issue wraps up with the Black Lantern Justice League facing down Hal and Barry. The membership as of now seems to be Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, Sue Dibney, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter. I was really hoping that Hawkman would have killed off the Atom too, so he would be there, but I didn't spot him in the splash page. Will zombie Blue Beetle and Aquaman be joining soon? I hope so!

This is like watching a train wreck as the DCU heroes get mangled and killed. Part of the reason I'm enjoying it so much is that I honestly can't believe that most of these deaths will stick. If they do, then the DCU will never be the same as it essentially takes all the fun away with shock deaths. But I'm confident Johns is better than that and we're just getting a fun little horror book that will end with a more restrained status quo.

Ivan Reis is drawing a classic here. I believe this story is going to become a DCU classic, and Reis' storytelling is a big reason why this is working so well.



Newmie Newmz said...

I think something else that bears mentioning is how well the back up books are dovetailing with the Blackest Night title so far.

Blackest Night: Batman, GL, and GLC have all been integral to the larger story, thus greatly enhancing it, but not really necessary to read in order to get the full picture.

Example: Blackest Night #1 ends with Barry and Hal fighting Jonn. Then GL #44 picks up where the fight left off. Finally Blackest Night #2 concludes the confrontation (in the sense that round 1 is over and round 2 is about to begin).

However, if any hadn't read GL in between the two BN issues the readers shouldn't feel like they missed anything.

This is a welcome change to previous crossover events in both Marvel and DC where supporting books either had little if nothing to do with the main story or on the flip side contained big reveals or plot points that were omitted in the main event title leaving the readers feeling as if a huge chunk of the story was missing.

As for the story itself this series is starting off nicely. The pacing is just right; not too slow but not rushed either. Plenty of suspense, great dialogue, and action that flows smoothly from panel to panel.

One of my favorite moments in BN #2; Aquaman summoning sharks to tear apart Mera's guards. A brutal reminder for the Aquaman haters that he doesn't just talk to fish.

My favorite creepiest line this issue; Hawkman inviting the Atom to "Come on over." A great cliffhanger moment.

Did you read Book of the Blackhand at the end of the issue? It provides a little more insight as to why Hawkman's and Hawkgirl's deaths. They don't seem to be just random shock value killings, but appear to be a bigger part in the Blackest Night prophecy.

You said it and I agree. Johns is bringing his A game. If the quality of work even remains as good as it is now for the rest of the series this could be an instant classic. Personally I have a feeling the quality will only improve.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't praise the art as well. Reis is bring his A game too. Johns is telling a great story, but Ries is bringing it to life.

Keep up the good work!

Mart said...

Thanks for the recap - I read the book yesterday (I'm weak) and could barely remember anything that heppened in it. I was glad to see a good dollop of Mera but does Geoff Johns actually know how powerful she is? Bashing Arthur with a trident when she could have hardened the Atlantic and brought it down on his silly zombie head?

I agree with Newmie (nice review too, gotta blog?), the Atom moment was excellent. More of this kind of thing, please.