The End of the Blackest Night

Well, an extra two days away from the blog didn’t exactly recharge my batteries, but it gave me two days away from the blog, and I guess that’s saying something.

Part of the problem may be that last week’s comics, with only one or two exceptions, were perfectly competent, but just not that enjoyable. But I guess we gotta start reviewing somewhere, so let’s start with one of the few that I thought was really fun.

Blackest Night #8

And hey, if you haven’t read this one yet, I’m gonna spoil the heck out of it. You have been warned.

Well, Sinestro has merged with the Entity, the incarnation of all life in the universe, making him the extremely powerful White Lantern. He doesn’t have too much trouble killing Nekron — or so it seems. How do you kill an undead god? You don’t, ’cause he can recreate himself with any of the billions of Black Lantern zombies in the universe. And it doesn’t take long for Nekron to separate Sinestro from the Entity. The Black Lanterns make a recovery until all of the Lantern Corps and Earth’s superheroes join the defense of the planet. Deadman briefly possesses Guy Gardner to suggest that the Lanterns should focus on Black Hand instead. Hal Jordan realizes that, though Nekron claims to have allowed all of the resurrected heroes to return to life, they all chose to embrace life on their own. He joins with the Entity and inducts all of the resurrected heroes, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Kid Flash, Green Arrow, Superboy, Donna Troy, Ice, and Animal Man, into a new White Lantern Corps, which lasts just long enough to bring Black Hand back to life.

Black Hand ends up puking up a bunch of white rings, the way he used to puke up black rings. He brings the Anti-Monitor back to life, which breaks the Black Lantern power battery. Nekron banishes him back to his own universe (which also frees up the Anti-Monitor for use in future crossovers), but he is then destroyed by the white rings. A bunch of white rings then start flying all over the place, resurrecting the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, Jade, Hawk, Captain Boomerang, Maxwell Lord, Professor Zoom, Osiris, and, most surprisingly, Deadman. Mera’s heart stops beating after her love for Aquaman frees her from the Red Lantern ring, but she’s saved by Star Sapphire and Saint Walker. Maxwell Lord makes his escape, and Hawkgirl is revealed to no longer be Kendra Saunders, but the classic Hawkgirl, Shiera Hall.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is what every single giant comics crossover of the last few years has wanted to be. It has all the epic stuff that a big cosmic crossover needs, with some good human level drama, too.

The few things I’m less-than-happy with are all related to the aftermath. Why bring Deadman back to life? Isn’t the entire point of Deadman that he’s, um, dead? I assume they’ll kill him sooner rather than later to get the status quo back, so why even bother resurrecting him? And my irritation about bringing Shiera Hall as Hawkgirl is mainly that I thought Kendra Saunders was a really cool character. And there’s going to need to be some explanation why these specific characters got brought back to life, and not, for instance, Ralph and Sue Dibny, Solovar, Trickster, or any of the dozens of other dead DC characters.

Astro City: The Dark Age – Book Four #3

A new player is on the scene, born partly from a rip in reality and partly from the current mood of darkness and violence in Astro City. A hooded figure riding a flaming horse skeleton, he calls himself the Pale Horseman, and he specializes in killing criminals — metahuman assassins, safecrackers… and jaywalkers and kids stealing shopping carts. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Charles and Royal Williams again miss the chance to kill Aubrey Jason, the supercrook who murdered their parents decades ago. While Jason is having trouble holding himself together after being converted into an energy form, he still manages to escape. The Williams brothers give chase, and Mirage tries to convince the Silver Agent not to keep traveling into the past, to avoid his own execution — and of course, the Agent refuses, because it’s still worth it to him to go out and save lives, even knowing what’s to come.

Back in Astro City, the Pale Horseman’s continued assaults on “transgressors,” combined with uncommonly bleak weather, has everyone in the city alternately terrified that they’ll be next on the Horseman’s list and eagerly anticipating seeing someone else get slaughtered by him. A former hero named Street Angel who’d once been mind-controlled by another vigilante into killing criminals tries to live a clean life but is targeted by the Horseman. Royal Williams runs into another ex-hero who the brothers were acquainted with when they were kids — and then Charles tracks down Aubrey Jason again.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is still a great contemplation of the Dark Age of comics history — it’s probably one of the best of its type out there. The Pale Horseman is certainly one of the most vivid and terrifying symbols of the Dark Ages that we’ve seen, and he makes a great antagonist, too. On top of that, the Silver Agent’s scene with Mirage is really very well done, and an excellent re-statement of the Agent’s Silver Age morals. If I’ve got a complaint about this issue, it’s that it’s going to be really difficult for new readers to follow. There’s a short recap of the action at the beginning, but there’s been so much happening in this series, it’s just not enough to explain everything that’s going on.

No Comments

  1. swampy Said,

    April 9, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    of course we will get the explanations—via multiple mini series!!