Blackest Night wrapup

After nearly a year’s worth of preludes, a nine-issue series, multiple crossover issues, and a ludicrous number of tie-in miniseries, Blackest Night finally came to a close with last week’s Blackest Night #8. Now that all is said and done, it’s high time for a wrapup dealing with the entire series. I would’ve liked to have gone back and reread the whole thing in preparation for this post, but DC Comics just released too goddamned much Blackest Night stuff. Sorry, but I don’t have that kind of time!

Anyway, I’ll talk about a few things I particularly enjoyed, what Blackest Night means to the future of the DC Universe, and then some much-loved nitpicking.

Favorite aspects:

  • Nekron’s not evil. Nekron may look like a scary monster, but writer Geoff Johns made it very clear throughout Blackest Night that Nekron is not evil. Nor is he necessarily good; he’s the ultimate in neutrality, and his purpose was simply to extinguish the light and life that infected his universe. The Entity is an invader that screwed everything up, and for all intents and purposes, Nekron’s just trying to restore his home to the way it once was. It’s an interesting philosophical twist, especially since it’s made clear that death isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • Blackest Night: Flash. The Blackest Night tie-in miniseries were mostly good, but we could’ve done without them in the end. The Flash one, however, really stood apart. I’m not the world’s biggest Barry Allen fan (personally, I find the character rather flat and boring), but Geoff Johns teaming up with his old Flash artist Scott Kolins was a match made in heaven. I wasn’t too keen on Johns’ The Flash: Rebirth, but Blackest Night: Flash was so good that I’ll likely check out the first issue of the new Flash series starting up soon!
  • Thank you, Ivan Reis. As the penciler on the core Blackest Night series, Reis really knocked it out of the park with his clean, yet finely detailed art. Even when there was horribly designed stuff like the stupid White Lantern disco uniforms, Reis actually made them look passable. Reis has shot into the stratosphere of comic book artists with his work on Blackest Night, and he deserves every accolade he receives as a result. I can’t wait to see where his career will go from here!

Ramifications for the future:

  • Deadman’s not a dead man anymore. This was likely the biggest surprise of Blackest Night‘s finale, but often lost amongst the flashy art and big fight sequences. Even the original Hawkwoman’s return pales compares to this! Boston Brand being returned to life means he no longer has his powers (being dead was a requirement for that), and shortly after his resurrection, he claimed that it was wrong for him to live again. He was quite upset about it, and this is most certainly going to factor into future DC Universe tales, in one way or another…especially since he’s wearing a White Lantern ring.
  • The Predator is uncontained once more. When Black Lantern rings resurrected the couple at the heart of the Zamarons’ Central Power Battery in Green Lantern (Vol. 4) #46, we discovered that they were the original incarnations of Hawkman and Hawkwoman. More serious, though, was the fact that the Predator was set free. This is the emotional entity that embodies love, but the Zamarons were terrified that this might come to pass. The Star Sapphires may have serious problems now with the monster running loose.
  • Eobard Thawne, there and back again. Surprising no one, the original Reverse Flash was resurrected. We knew this from The Flash: Rebirth, as well as the appearance of Black Lantern Reverse Flash in Blackest Night: Flash. Even though he was incarcerated in The Flash: Rebirth #6, it’s a given that he’ll bust out again. We can only hope that he’ll join up with his successor Professor Zoom, as he’s done before in past Flash issues.
  • Lost a loved one? Call a White Lantern. If the White Lanterns had been limited to their brief appearances in Blackest Night #7 and #8, that would’ve been great. However, a white power battery was found at the end of #8, which means more White Lanterns (other than Boston Brand) will be coming down the line. Why is this a problem? Well, as we saw, the White Lanterns’ function is bringing the dead back to life. We all know that comic book characters never stay dead, but this makes the situation even worse! Now, whenever someone dies, there’s no reason why a White Lantern can’t just show up and bring them back immediately. That should remove anyone’s fear of death, as now, death is just a temporary stumbling block that’s very easily remedied.
  • All of this has happened before, and it will happen again. Black Hand was Nekron’s tether to the land of the living. Once Black Hand was given life again, Nekron was able to be banished. Well…what happens when Black Hand dies again? (He is mortal, after all.) The Black Lantern plague could be unleashed on the universe once more. Or, what if Nekron just decides to use someone else as a tether? It’s an endless cycle. (Note: The exception to this is those who were resurrected by the White Lantern, as they cannot be turned into Black Lanterns again; Blackest Night: Flash #3 confirmed this in the case of the Reverse Flash).

Continuity errors, and other nitpicking:

  • Earth is where life began. I wrote about this already, so definitely read it if you haven’t yet.
  • Two Firestorms? Ronnie Raymond was resurrected, and shortly thereafter, he split off from current Firestorm Jason Rusch (who had merged with Black Lantern Firestorm in Blackest Night #3). There’s two problems that have resulted from this. First, Ronnie didn’t know who Jason was, but Ronnie’s ghost helped out Jason a few times when the latter became the new Firestorm. He also wondered where Professor Stein was, but Ronnie hadn’t needed to merge with Stein to form Firestorm for many years. It’s possible Ronnie lost his memory after his resurrection, but if true, that’s a terribly shitty cop-out. I’m hoping that’s not the case, as Geoff Johns has stated that he’s a big Firestorm fan, and he loves the Jason Rusch incarnation of the hero. The second problem is that when Ronnie was killed in Identity Crisis #5, the Firestorm Matrix (which powers the nuclear hero) was passed on to Jason. So now that Ronnie’s back…who’s got the Matrix? I guess it’s possible that they both have some control over it, and that the pair will now form Firestorm for the foreseeable future. (As I said, they’ve teamed up in the past, so this could work out quite well.)
  • Pointless Lantern Corps. As I mentioned in my review of Blackest Night #8, the Corps representatives other than Hal Jordan and Sinestro didn’t play an important role in the defeat of Nekron. In fact, neither did their respective deputies, or even their entire Corps! Sure, they all helped destroy Black Lanterns by merging their energies with those of the Green Lanterns…but as we saw in various tie-in issues, Black Lanterns can also be destroyed by many other means. As such, it seems like the creation of the other Corps was completely pointless (other than from a marketing standpoint, of course). I liked a few of the characters, but the fact remains that they didn’t end up being necessary to the story at all. Which brings me to my next point…
  • What now for the Corps? Now that the crossover’s over…the rest of the color Corps really have don’t have much of a purpose. Sure, the figureheads are going to hang around with Hal for a while…but that sounds like a reality TV plot, not a gripping story.
  • Freezing the Reverse Flash. When Captain Cold froze the jailed Reverse Flash in Blackest Night: Flash #3, his past Black Lantern self froze as well. Why? This was never explained, and may never be. It was an important scene, but it appears it may have been forgotten.
  • No long-term planning. This affects both DC and Marvel Comics, but since this is a Green Lantern blog, we’re going to focus on DC’s version of this problem. Blackest Night and everything leading up to it introduced scores of new characters, but few (if any) of them have long-term potential. I don’t mean in the next five years or so; I’m talking a decade or more down the line. For example, take my previous statement about the other color Corps: their purpose is fulfilled, so what are they going to do next? If they’re not relevant now, how will they remain useful in 2030 or later?

All things considered, I thought Blackest Night was a pretty good crossover. Even after all of this text, I’m probably still forgetting a few things. Feel free to chime in with comments, and let me know what you liked or disliked about Blackest Night as a whole, or even your thoughts on my coverage of the crossover.

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