The Blackest Night event goes on . . . and on . . . but I can’t really complain as this is the core book. And Corps book, for that matter, as Green, Yellow and lots of other colour Lanterns gaze off the cover. They’re the newest New Guardians, apparently – there’s no reference to this in the comic but I’ll take the cover’s word for it.
An old Guardian gets a new look inside, as our very Oan Ganthet decides to don an emerald ring and join the Green Lantern Corps. It makes for a big moment but little sense – aren’t the Guardians basically living power batteries, far more powerful than any individual GL? It’s like giving up a tank for a Tonka toy.
Other big events this issue include Ganthet reminding the Colour Corps that in times of great need rings can replicate/do whatever the story requires, meaning a battery of familiar DC characters get to be a spare Red Lantern, Star Sapphire, Pink Flamingo and so on. Some of the match-ups make sense (love-filled Wonder Woman as a soppy Star Sapphire, Scarecrow as a scaredy cat-killing Yellow Lantern, Lex Luthor wanting the lot) while others seem more to do with writer Geoff Johns’ current list of favourites (Ray Palmer can feel great compassion, Mera is chocful of rage, Barry Allen can instill great hope). Still, the sight of Ray Palmer once again in that bloody stupid Gil Kane loincloth from his Sword of the Atom* days is worth the price of admission.
I don’t really mind that queen of Atlantis Mera is getting some face time in this mini, mind – she’s been a favourite of mine for decades due to her wonderful look, neat powers and intriguing background. And who knew she’s ‘always wanted to find out’ if she could take out Wonder Woman? Of course, they did meet at Mera’s wedding to Aquaman – maybe Diana ate all the cake? In 1964 – talk about holding a grudge.
Flash and Green Lantern manage to outrace the Black Lantern rings with their names on them in a way that makes some sense, but doesn’t manage to advance the plot. Despite the flashy moments, as usual there’s still far too much random bashing back and forth between the forces of life and death. And am I the only DC reader of a certain age unable to recognise super corpses once they’ve been turned black and white and had a ruddy great Black Lantern symbol slapped on ’em?
Oh . . .
Never mind. It’s all very nicely drawn by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado, who make their cast of thousands look marvellous. They give some fantastically intense looks to our determined heroes, and the issue’s obligatory random sideways spread does rather drip with the old awe. Alex Sinclair colours enthusiastically and Nick J Napolitano letters, but doesn’t tell us what that middle initial stands for.
The issue’s rounded out with another tiresome extract from Black Hand’s Shopping List and eight pages of cover previews cum adverts for the next round of Blackest Night tie-ins. Whee.
All in all, this issue is loud and colourful and likely inconsequential in the big scheme of things. There’s nothing so amazing as to justify the secrecy surrounding its contents but it did give me a slice of DCU fun when I rushed to the comic shop two days after it went on sale as the only title from DC this week. Only two more issues to go, and they can’t come quickly enough.
* A 1980 revamp in which Ray Palmer, whose one super-power was shrinking smaller than anyone else, goes to live with a bunch of six-inch tall people, brandishes the eponymous sword while riding frogs and wears that loincloth over his trunks. It was a hit.