Friday, September 18, 2009

3. Blackest Night #3

Considering I'll be talking about comics occasionally here, I might as well start right off by saying "I'm a DC." I've loved DC Comics since I was a kid. Nothing against Marvel; I've just always felt more of a kinship with the DC line. DC's latest 'event' series is 'Blackest Night:' showing a dark force which is resurrecting dead heroes, villains, and others and bestowing them with Black Lantern Rings. The latest ish of this is #3.

This series rocks. A few people have compared it online to 'Marvel Zombies' but I can't agree with that. The first 'Zombies' story might've been interesting; but Marvel's bottom line is that they daren't do anything to show their cashcow heroes in a negative light -- even in a parallel universe. So they started making the Zombies emo and angsty, which took all of the, well, fun out of what they were doing. The Black Lantern dead here are totally heartless, willing to use the memories of the dead for their own uses to goad the living (such as BL-Sue Dibny attacking Ray 'Atom' Palmer emotionally with taunts how his wife killed her).

A few others online have said "DC is ruining their heroes again by making them do these unspeakable things." The thing is, DC isn't. This isn't Martian Manhunter, Ralph Dibny, Aquaman, et al doing this. The rings -- or more precisely the power behind the rings -- are doing it to the corpses. Ray put it best this issue:

The answer is simple. Well, a little. Each death and emotional attack on the heroes has been seen to increase their power levels bit by bit. To what end this is happening I don't know. But it does explain why such a great concept (having the most powerful heroes and villains resurrected for evil purposes) was apparently being dumbed down with senseless tie-in issues. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake's non-powered parents' resurrection are good examples. Can you imagine the anguish and torment having to fight them will do to those power levels?

The best testimony to this issue's outstanding comes from the death of Firestorm's girlfriend Gen. Long story short, Jason and Gen merge together to create Firestorm who can manipulate elements. Jason controls the body while Gen is a presence in his mind. The previous/now-dead Firestorm has forced Jason into his mind and is goading him as he attacks Gen.

I've never been a Firestorm fan. Never liked him, past or future -- but I actually felt awful for Jason at this moment. What a horrifying, awful thing.

That's not to say it's a perfect issue. We get the long-awaited introduction of the Indigo Tribe who can (temporarily) destroy the Black Lanterns. It's interesting, but it also gives us a throatful of forced exposition over two pages that is so uncomfortably done it lessens the impact.

Yup. Your classic "You had to ask" moment.

Another outstanding issue. What could've been a standard hero.v.hero slugfest is turning into quite a chilling piece of writing. Well done DC!


  1. I've always been a fan of comic book characters, but mostly in different mediums, movies, tv, etc. I never actually picked up a comic book until a few years ago when my friend Art (ScarecrowsBrain) starting bringing me some. That said, I've been a fan of the DC animated universe since 92 when Batman TAS came out. I recently saw "Green Lantern: First Flight" and watched a DVD extra where they talked about this book and it looked so cool. Tell me, can a guy like me who is familiar with these characters but who hasn't been reading the comics still pick up this book and be able to follow the story well enough? If so, I think I may have to check it out. Thanks :)

  2. heya Cyber!

    I'd say you should. The Ingido Tribe explanation I gave above pretty much fills in the backstory of what's been happening with the Green Lanterns the past few years. I'd suggest that if you do get it, you also try to find the Green Lantern/Sinestro Wars Secret Files. It gives nice background on the main characters, as well as filling in some things. Another place for getting a bit more info is the official DC Comics Blackest Night site at . It's a very nice online resource for filling in new readers with what's going on.

  3. Bah! Marvel has a great new idea for its X-Books: Necrosha! Psychic vampire/mutant/witch Selene is using an alien techno-organic virus to, um, well, resurrect a bunch of dead characters... Black Lanterns?! Hah! They will be nothing compared to techno-organic Cypher's language skills!

    One thing I never quite got about the "old" green lantern rings -- the vulnerability to yellow. They're right next to each other on the visible spectrum, so I've always wondered where the line is between green and yellow is. If I threw a chartreuse crayon at Hal Jordan, would he be able to stop it with his ring?

    I thought it would make more sense to make the rings weakness a color that wasn't right next to the one it uses.

    Are there lanterns outside the visible spectrum? Are there infrared, X-Ray, and radio Lanterns?


  4. I remembered reading this on wikipedia so I went back to find the link. There was a Green Lantern from a species that didn't have sight, and therefore had no concept of light or color.

    And so he called himself the F-Sharp Bell. Here was the oath that he used -

    In loudest din or hush profound
    my ears hear evil's slightest sound
    let those who toll out evil's knell
    beware my power, the F-Sharp Bell!