Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blackest Night #8


This really is a triumph for DC comics. In the event era, Blackest Night is going to be hard to top in terms of quality, impact, and storytelling. It dragged on a bit long, but as a collected story? This thing is going to entertain the hell out of readers for a long time.
We pick up with White Lantern Sinestro going toe-to-toe with Nekron, and we find out that Nekron's physical body doesn't matter too much, he can basically hop from host to host as needed. The combined Lantern Corps are doing a decent job holding off the hordes of undead, but even so, the double splash page with the arrival of the rest of the corps and DCU? That was downright stupefying. I honestly can't imagine how long it took Ivan Reis to draw that page, the detail, the number of characters. Just a shocking, inspiring page. The next reveal is a kicker too, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Superman, and the rest of the resurrected heroes that were mostly morphed into Black Lanterns? WHITE LANTERNS, BABY! Their desire for life is what brought them back, and here they come all powered up to lay it on Nekron. I love the "comic-book" way to defeat Nekron too, using the white light of life, they must break Nekron's connection to Black Hand. To do that, Black Hand must LIVE.

And you know what that means. That means that after dealing with Nekron, a handful of DCU characters come back from the grave to rejoin the living. Most importantly, Martian Manhunter comes back in some stylin' new duds. But I was also tremendously pleased to see HawkWOMAN come back with Hawkman. That's my favorite pairing of the characters, yee-haw! Aquaman and Mera will be the royalty of the DCU. Hawk is back to fight and argue with the souped up Dove. Max Lord is back to scheme and plot. Reverse Flash is back to torment Barry Allen. Jade is back to complicate Kyle Rayner's lovelife. Captain Boomerang is here to replace his son's spot with the Rogues (who was only a placeholder after all). Firestorm is back and he's finally a mix of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch (that could be awkward). And weirdest of all, Deadman and Osiris are back too, although I predict they won't last.

What's so impressive about all these returns is how Geoff Johns and the other DC writers sort of cleared the spots for these characters to come back. The new Hawk was cleared away. Captain Boomerang II just got taken out last month. Everything is set for these guys to fit back into their old roles. I just want to know where Ralph and Sue Dibney are?

Ivan Reis deserves a round of applause. That tremendous splash page. The double fold out page returning this classic crew of folks to the DCU. His new uniform tweak for Martian Manhunter. The modern looks for the Hawks and Firestorm. This guy did a fantastic job throughout this series and he's got a lot to be proud of.

It makes me happy that comics can still get me this excited.



Megan said...

I was hoping the female Hawk would have been brought back, she had far less done with her and I would have liked to have seen more.

How they defeated Nekron... I can't say it doesn't work, it does, it just was a lot easier (relatively speaking) than I was expecting.

Timbotron said...

I loved the relatively easy defeat of Nekron. It was a classic comic book key to victory, you know?

I see your point about the new Hawk, but I never saw her in anything enough to even have an opinion about her.

Megan said...

Yeah, that's kinda what I mean, she wasn't really around much, but she's Dove's sister. It would have been nice if they did more with her before killing her off.

Ian from Westfields said...

Plus the whole thing came out on time, for the most part right?

Timbotron said...

Sure, with a skip month here and there! So it was closer than Civil War, at least.

Newmie Newmz said...

Tim, I know you felt this series dragged a bit in the middle and I can see your point. Especially when you are waiting a month for the next chapter only to have the plot appear to stagnate.

This didn't bother me at all.

In fact I thought it added a bit to the telling of the tale.

Though the story was meant to take place in one night, I think it was also meant to feel like a year.

Throughout the universe the countless dead wake. Enemies, dead and buried, crawl out of their graves seeking revenge. Loved ones laid to rest return as angry, tormented harbingers of death. Allies and comrades fall facing the undead hordes only to rise as twisted versions of their former selves, as enemies. The survivors, outnumbered and overpowered, face not only the growing swarm of the living dead, but the seemingly unstoppable embodiment of inevitable oblivion itself. It's only desire to snuff out the light of life permanently.

If anything could make one night feel like months (for superheroes and Joe and Jane Average... can you imagine how long this night would be for normal people?!) it would be the dead rising from the grave to torment, overrun and wipe out the living. So the pacing worked for me.

I will say this. Reading this series as a whole (be it all 8 issues in one sitting or in TBP) I don't think you would have noticed those lulls at all but the sense that this is one of the longest nights of our heroes lives should remain intact.

A couple other side notes of agreement...

-Johns did a great job of wrapping things up in Blackest Night and setting the stage for Brightest Day, Flash, the and the GL titles as well as the rest of the DCU.

-Reis knocked this one out of the park. No question about it. His work is always excellent, but this was simply amazing. My girlfriend, who is as far from a nerd as you can get, was impressed by the art.

-Kudos for DCU for getting this series out on very regular basis. Yes, there were a couple skip months but we were still given a line to BN through GL and GLC as well as several filler and BN minis.