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"Blackest Night" by Geoff Johns

November 4, 2010 - Amy Phelps
The dead rise in the DC Universe in “Blackest Night” by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

In a Green Lantern-themed series, fallen heroes are being honored for their service, which includes fan-favorites like Aquaman and Batman.

Meanwhile, two characters recently back from the dead, Green Lantern and Flash, are trying to figure out why they have been spared but their comrades weren’t. And the Guardians, those that gave the Green Lantern the power for his ring, are under attack from within. This fight spills over onto Earth, as suddenly the fallen superheros and super villains are given black power rings by a mysterious super villain and his master and are being forced to become its puppets.

Soon the only way to stop the Earth from becoming overrun by “zombies” is for the superheros (and some of the super villains) to take up a power ring of their own and join the fight against the forces of darkness.

This is a different twist on the “zombie” genre that has become so popular lately, and adds a bit of science fiction to the horror element.

There are a lot of interesting ideas going around and plenty of pulse-pounding moments. The only problem is I’m not largely familiar with a lot of DC characters besides the iconic ones (Justice League members like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, etc.) and even the ones I’m familiar with I don’t know a lot of their current back stories and rogues’ galleries.

There were a lot of moments where someone showed up on panel that the characters were horrified about and I was left wondering, “Now, who are you again?” And since the “zombies” all show up looking half-rotted and wearing the same black costume, they are extremely hard to identify. There have also been multiple people holding the name of “Flash” and “Green Lantern” and I spent approximately half the book believing the Flash I was reading about was Wally West when it turned out to be Barry Allen.

While I really loved the idea behind the book and would love to go back to the stories Johns was writing previous to this to see if I can pick up more background on this story, I was lost through a lot of it.

I love comics, but a noticeable problem behind them comes in situations like this — they become inaccessible to new readers. It was a great story with great art, both Johns and Reis are extremely talented, but a lot of its greatness was lost on a casual fan and would completely be lost on a new one.

The hardcover trade includes a Director’s Commentary with the creative team, deleted scenes and a sketchbook.

 
 

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