Blackest Night #4 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Oclair Albert and Joe Prado
Colors: Alex Sinclair

Story – Gathering

After reading Green Lantern #46 a few weeks ago I really believed that Geoff Johns was ready to actually shift the story of Blackest Night from the neutral position it has been since the end of issue one into the next gear. But sadly after reading Blackest Night #4 it seems that all momentum that Johns built with that Green Lantern issue was thrown to the side a bit. Instead of moving the story forward this fourth issue of Blackest Night is more of the same that we have gotten in the first three issues: Slow, boring story with little to no plot progression.

And after reading Green Lantern #47 it is clear that Johns is falling into similar trappings that Brian Bendis fell under during Secret Invasion. In truth Blackest Night is nothing more than DC’s version of Secret Invasion. Almost everything that is important to this event, if not everything, is happening in the main tie-in books of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Hell, even the Batman and Titans mini-series revealed more about this event than this main series has so far in its four issues.

This supposed main series actually reads more like a tie-in. It reads like it should have been re-titled to be called Blackest Night: Earth and cut down to four or five issues. This whole issue focuses on what is going on Earth. At no point do we see how the rest of the galaxy is handling the Black Lantern situation along with the War of Lights that is going on.

Other than knowing that the Earth is in danger there is no real sense that this event will contain the darkest days of the whole universe. This continues to be an event all about Earth with no true difference to other events that we have seen DC do were in the end Superman comes in and beats the big bad.

Now while I am complaining a lot about the story I will give Johns credit for his solid writing of all the characters involved. Johns has a great handle of Barry, Mera, and Atom as well as the other of Earth’s heroes he uses in this issue. Even Lex Luthor does get his own moment in this issue. It was all solid dialogue if this was a story and event that only affected the Earth.

But again this event is not taking place just on Earth. This is supposed to be an event that looks to shatter the whole universe in pieces. Even though Johns is providing solid dialogue with all of the characters there is just no clear plot progression. Even the ending felt like it was more of an ending for the second issue.

The real story of Blackest Night is actually being told in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. Green Lantern #47 had more plot progression in that one issue alone than these first four issues of Blackest Night. It is freaking amazing reading the clear discrepancy in the quality of storytelling between the two GL books and this series that is supposed to be able to stand alone without relying on other titles to help it.

I would even say that the Batman and Titans tie-in mini-series were much better told, and that we actually found out more about what the Black Lanterns are in those tie-ins. I was actually surprised that Batman (Dick Grayson) and Dove did not play a more important role in this issue as they both found out key information to helping the rest of the hero community on Earth.

Finally, the whole ending with Nekron showing himself to be the big bad to Barry at the end was just the ultimate ‘meh’ ending. Thanks to early spoilers on DC and Johns part the Nekron reveal wasn’t much of a reveal, as it was expected to be coming into these last two issues. Honestly while having Nekron be revealed as the supposed big bad of the series that controls the Black Lantern Corps may hold more weight with older DC fans for me, as a casual DC reader, this does nothing to excite me. When I got to the end of this comic and saw Nekron appear I couldn’t have cared less for a villain who, from what I’ve been told and read, is a D-list villain, at best.

I think what hurts this ending more is actually not that it was spoiled a few months ago or that I don’t care about Nekron. What really hurts this reveal is that after four issues the Black Lanterns are boring villains. Johns just continues to hit the same note with the Black Lanterns that have made them very dull villains, and because they have dominated these four issues along with the two GL books and tie mini-series that this event needs more. And that is where the War of Lights would have helped this title much more as then maybe the Black Lanterns would not have become so dull by the midway point of this event.

Now the saving grace of this issue, and this whole event, is Ivan Reis phenomenal artwork. Even with a dull and slow story involving the Black Lanterns he continues to shine with all of his artwork. And a lot of credit must also go to his inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado and colorist Alex Sinclair for making the art look so great. Even though I couldn’t have cared less about the Nekron reveal at the end Ivan Reis and his crew did a great job at least making him look like a bad ass at the end of the issue.

Issue Rating
Story: 3.7/10 – While Geoff Johns provides some solid dialogue he does a poor job creating a story that is interesting. So far this has been a perfect example of good dialogue does not equal good story. Johns is making each passing issue of this main book more boring than the last.
Art: 9.6/10 – Ivan Reis continues to be providing this event some great artwork. His great artwork, with the help of his inkers and colorist, is able to breathe some life into what has been a dull and slow story.
Overall: 6.65/10 – Blackest Night #4 was yet another disappointing chapter in DC’s big event. This event just continues to be one slow moving story with villains that have already become boring. Johns is going to need more than just the Nekron reveal in the last half of this event to make this a much more interesting story.