I’ll have the rest of this week’s reviews done on the weekend but I thought I would do a single post for the latest issue of Blackest Night.
Story – Blackest Night Chapter 3
While I understand why some people may think I don’t want to like Blackest Night because of what I said in my review for the previous issue the truth is I really want to like this event. This is an event I have looked forward to since reading Sinestro Corps War, which was my first exposure to the Green Lantern franchise outside of the JLA. Geoff Johns did a very good job building up this event and making the Green Lantern mythos one of the most interesting parts of the DC Universe. But I think that is where the biggest problem Johns faces with this series.
Johns has been building up to this event not just for a few months or a year but since the start of Green Lantern: Rebirth which makes this event five years in the making. With such a long build up Johns has built such a great cast with not only the Green Lantern Corps but also all the Lantern Corps he has introduced in his run. But now that the event is finally here he is largely ignoring the great cast he has built up in favor of two of the blandest personalities in the DCU in Hal Jordan and Barry Allen.
Now I am not going to say that Hal and Barry are uninteresting characters but it is more that I am just tired of seeing these two together. Between the Flash: Rebirth, Blackest Night 1-3, and Green Lantern #44 these two continue to have the same conversation and I have become disinterested in their conversations since they all run the same lines of “Why am I back? There has to be a reason. Is this the reason?”
Yes there is more to their conversations but this is the bare bones of their conversations. Having these conversation and beating the reader over the head with it is just bad writing when you take into account this event does not affect only these two characters but the whole universe. When Hal was about to leave the battle field to save his ex-girlfriend that he has not been together with for years and we had Barry talk some sense into Hal I really did not care and just wanted to flip the page as it is just the same drawn out conversation we have heard before between the two.
The other problem with not just this issue but the series in general is that I still do not have a good sense by just reading this event that the Black Lantern threat truly has universal ramifications. Johns has purely focused on what is happening on Earth with a few panels dedicated to everywhere else in the universe. I would have understood this move if Johns made the focus of the Black Lanterns attack on Earth because it was going to become the planet for the Black Lanterns, since later issues say the Earth is evacuated, but that is not the case as we already saw the Black Lanterns have their own planet somewhere else in the universe. So really there is not much of a reason why Earth should dominate 99% of these three issues since there is not much reason for why Earth is more important than say Oa or one of the other Lantern Corps planets since they are needed to defeat the Black Lanterns.
The only interesting part of this issue is that the Indigo Lanterns finally made their appearance. The Indigo Lanterns appearance is really what save this issue as we finally get answers of who the Black Lanterns are and what is needed to defeat them. And just like many people thought, myself included, it is the White Light that is the combination of all the Lantern Corps power that is able to wipe out the Black Lanterns. Maybe that is to simple but when I heard that White Light explanation I could not help but think of this from my childhood. Still I hope that with the appearance of the Indigo Lanterns we will get to see more of the universal impact of the Black Lanterns appearance that just being told they are a big threat since this is a comic book after all and it is as much a visual form as it is the writing.
Also I did think it was cool to see that Ray (The Atom) felt compassion throughout the issue even when he was almost killed. It was a cool thing to add to the character and I kind of hope that we see him become an Indigo Lantern.
Now going back to the problem this issue faced I found myself again caring less and less about all the action of that was going on. As someone who is not familiar with Firestorm I can say I did not care about Jason’s scenes with his girlfriend as it was incredibly predictable that she was going to die since that is all Johns has done in these three issues (i.e. Hawkman and Hawkgirls death in issue #1 and Tempest death in issue #2).
And that was this issue in a nut shell since everything that happened in this issue is like we are just going around in circles in terms of story progression. I can honestly say that we have seen more story progression in the tie-ins to Blackest Night than we have in this series. And this reminds me of a series that just came out not to long ago. What was it called again? Oh yeah: Secret Invasion.
While I know some people may not see it that way but Blackest Night is turning out to be DC’s version of Secret Invasion. Almost nothing is happening in the main series and if a reader wants to get a good sense of what is going on and how big of a threat the Black Lanterns are Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are doing a much better job at this.
I really wish Johns would stop focusing on characters that he seems to be forcing us to like such as Mera, Firestorm, and Barry Allen and let us see the characters that are truly interesting and will play a big role in stopping the Black Lanterns such as Sinestro, Carol Ferris, Attrocius, Saint Walker and so on. Now maybe I am underestimating Mera, Barry, and the other non-Lantern Corps members involved in the series but sadly other than them seeming to be Johns pet characters I don’t see them playing a huge role in stopping the Black Lanterns other than Hal since he seems to be the “chosen one.”
Now even though I have mostly complained about the story of this issue and series I will say the biggest positive for this series has been Ivan Reis gorgeous artwork. Reis artwork in this issue, like it has been in this series, is just incredible. Along with his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair the artwork is really what is saving this series from being worse, which it could be. Reis artwork throughout the issue does a great job making the issue feels like there is some true suspense even though many of the things that happen in the issue were predictable.
Story: 4/10 – The story for this issue was saved from being a complete loss because Johns finally introduced the Indigo Lanterns. Johns really needs to pick up things up and move on from taking a methodical approach to the series since this event has had five years of build up.
Art: 9.6/10 – Reis artwork was phenomenal. It is really what saved this issue from being a complete loss.
Overall: 6.8/10 – Blackest Night #3 was another disappoint read. While I can see why many fans are enjoying this event Johns story has yet to click with me. So far this is nothing more that Secret Invasion Power Ranger style with the different color Lanterns. I am still hopeful that Johns can turn things around with the next issue but I am starting to doubt he can.