*Disclaimer* No spoilers, but just want to say that I don’t really touch on the plot AT ALL. Too lazy…
Unlike Crises past, present and future however, this particular storyline is distinctly more focused on the actions of the Green Lantern rather than the usual “Big Three” (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.)
Blackest Night was written by Geoff Johns, with the event serving as a major climax in his very long, and revolutionary run on the Green Lantern franchise.
Beginning in 2004, Geoff John’s run on the series took us from the rebirth of classic Green Lantern, Hal Jordan; (as depicted in the story “Rebirth”)
to the expansion of the Green Lantern universe to accomodate power rings for every color of the light spectrum,
and finally; to the fateful prophesized day of reckoning known to the Guardians of the Universe (the overseers of the Green Lantern Corps) as the Blackest Night.
Key to the build-up to Blackest Night, was the creation of the “emotional spectrum” of colored power rings.
It’s cheesy, yes; but interesting nonetheless.
Every single one of these colors has a Corps of it’s own, with distinct and interesting characters whose temperament clearly reflects their place in the emotional spectrum.
It was a revolutionary idea, and it almost single-handedly got me back into Green Lantern after almost a decade of me not caring post-Emerald Twilight.
Hey, I was a 90′s comic fan, I liked my Hal Jordan, particularly when he had his pimpn’ Mr. Fantastic white badger-esque hair.
Indeed, Blackest Night has been a long time coming.
I myself will admit that I came into Blackest Night just a little bit under-prepared.
Prior to reading this event, I had read John’s Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War, with a majority of the essential tidbits and factoids leading up to Blackest Night being revealed to me through reading reviews of the in-between story arcs.
Despite this, I will say this:
As long as you at least know who most of the characters are in Blackest Night, or the DC Comics universe for that matter; you probably won’t have any problems understanding the storyline, as most of it is fleshed out on the fly for you in convenient, exposition heavy “comic speak.”
That being said, is said storyline worth reading in the first place?
In short, yes; but only if you genuinely want to read this particular story.
All others, may be better spending their money/time elsewhere.
I’ll get back to that, but first let’s take a moment to go over the details of the story in question:
In short, Blackest Night is a story about the dead coming to life throughout the universe wearing Black power rings of Death, and tearing out the hearts of the living to fuel the resurrection of their mysterious leader.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it, but I don’t feel like going into it, on account of me being lazy.
Personally, I found most of these characters to be interesting and a decent enough focal point for the narrative, but the problem for me was that I genuinely don’t give two-shits about half of them.
By half, I mean The Atom and Mera.
The reasoning behind using these particular characters, seems to be largely the fact that they have close ties to the recently deceased, making them good candidates for drama throughout.
To make a long story short, this particular ploy works, largely due to the visual impact that the various Black Lanterns have when in conflict with the heroes.
It needs to be said that Blackest Night, despite being a whopping 8 issues long, twice that of Siege; the one major downside to the story is that it’s full of holes.
Seriously, half the reason I didn’t attempt to write a review until just now, was the fact that I really didn’t feel like I finished the story until I read the accompanying Blackest Night: Green Lantern.
Hell, I read that, and I still don’t feel like I’ve finished Blackest Night ’cause now I know there’s still a shit ton of holes regarding what went on with the Green Lantern Corps!
Getting back to what I said earlier, about this being a story that one needs to want to read, the problem with Blackest Night is that the 8 issue core story just isn’t a complete thought.
Characters inexplicably disappear for half the story, events are hyped that are never further explored, and in general, the whole thing genuinely feels like the writer was writing in too many directions at once.
Which of course, is exactly the case; as Geoff Johns just happened to be writing the Green Lantern series parallel to Blackest Night.
Despite the content of the collected edition being a little sparse, the writing is typical of Johns, with characters speaking with a distinct sense of voice, and entertaining banter throughout.
In particular, I really enjoyed John’s Sinestro, he truly captures the overbearing and forceful passion of the character.
Ivan Reis illustrated Blackest Night, and I doubt anyone can say that his work in it is anything short of excellent.
Characters are rendered faithfully and beautifully, with several of the Black Lantern designs coming across as truly inventive an downright creepy to boot.
The one issue I had with the art, is not actually an issue at all.
My one problem with the art of Blackest Night, was the fact that it wasn’t done by Ethan Van Sciver.
I understand that Reis and Van Sciver have collaborated several times, and indeed have similar styles, but for my money, Van Sciver is the real talent of the pair.
Seriously, the Van Sciver art for John’s Rebirth story arc was a huge factor in getting me back into the Green Lantern, and to this day I’m still hoping to see his work on the character again.
Anyway, I’m running out of steam, so I’ll just say this:
I liked Blackest Night, but bear in mind, I like comics.
I’m not exactly a DC kind of guy for the most part, but I liked the Green Lantern, and I liked Geoff Johns, so I gave it a shot.
After reading it, I said to myself:
“Hmm… That was good, but where’s the rest of the story?”
That lead to me buying, reading, and enjoying (in that order) Blackest Night: Green Lantern, but after that I said to myself:
“Hmm… That was good, but where’s the rest of the story?”
To my knowledge there are 7 Blackest Night collected editions.
While I don’t intend to purchase all of those, I genuinely liked the spectacle to be found within 2 of them, and am fully prepared enjoy a 3rd.
I think that speaks volumes as to the appeal of this storyline.
When faced with reading the messy and incomplete collected edition of Blackest Night, my gut reaction was to ask for more.
That surprised me, and I feel good knowing that.