Blackest Night – Graphic Novel Review
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Well, here it is. The event DC Comics spent years building up to. Their ultimate zombie epic: Blackest Night.
Mind you, this is only one of several Blackest Night books being released by DC over the next few weeks. But if you’re only going to buy one, better make it this one. It collects the actual Blackest Night miniseries, it’s essentially the spine to the entire story, which would spread out into Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, various miniseries’, and a cavalcade of other books.
As the Green Lantern Corps have been joined by corps’ of other colors (red, orange, yellow, etc), each representing a level on the emotional spectrum (rage, greed, fear, etc), a final corps has risen: The Black Lantern Corps. Led by Black Hand (and a mysterious higher power), the Black Lanterns consist of re-animated corpses. As a result, most of the characters in the DC Universe who have died over the years, are returning in zombified form. Readers will recognize the undead forms of Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Elongated Man, among dozens more.
The tough thing about this book is that it gives you the major, bookmark events that occur in the story, but it doesn’t have time to flesh them out very much. When these Blackest Night issues were coming out on a monthly basis, an issue of Green Lantern would always follow them, and flesh out whatever plot point had just occurred. For instance, after Martian Manhunter is resurrected in Blackest Night #1, Green Lantern #44 focused on the ensuing battle between he, Green Lantern and The Flash.
It’s kind of like hearing the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, but then having the issue end before he gets to yell, “Noooooooo!”
Without that Green Lantern content, there are also a couple of moments where you’re scratching your head, saying: “How did that happen?” or “How did they get there?” It’s not such a big deal that it takes you out of the story, but it would have been nice to have had those moments explained. There’s also an entire sub-plot where Hal Jordan becomes Parralax again, but you don’t see that in this book. You need to buy Blackest Night: Green Lantern for it.
Still, that’s not to say this book is short on emotion. One thing Johns does very well right off the bat is establish the grim truth and importance of death, which is extremely important for a book like this. He also dishes out some fun character moments that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. For example, Mera, Aquaman’s widow, plays a major role in Blackest Night. Lex Luthor and The Scarecrow also have some nice moments, even though they’re not major characters in the story.
Overall, I think Blackest Night was meant to be a fun look at death in the DC Universe. Over the past 25 years or so, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and so many other heroes and villains have been killed off. At the rate we were going, the number of characters that had died at some point was going to outnumber the ones who hadn’t. Blackest Night was a fun way to to toy around with that.
Supposedly from here on out, if you die in the DC Universe, you’re dead for good. Hal Jordan even comes out and says that at the end.
But c’mon. We’re comic book fans. We know better than that, don’t we?