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"Blackest Night" #1 Review

In Comic Reviews on July 15, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night

Writer: Geoff Johns

Pencils: Ivan Reis

Inker: Oclair Albert

Colors: Alex Sinclair

Covers: Reis, Albert & Sinclair; Ethan Van Sciver & Hi-Fi

At long last, the Blackest Night is here…and its surprisingly good!  Spoilers within!

We start off with a look at Black Hand (looking far healthier than he did at the end of last week’s Green Lantern), hanging out at the grave site of Bruce Wayne and talking to himself.

The story then picks up 24 hours later, on the anniversary of the death of Superman, which occurred an indeterminate number of years ago (Yay, vague DC continuity!).  It’s now regarded as a day of remembrance for both fallen heroes and the innocent victims, full of parades and memorial gatherings.  The story moves along, showcasing Coast City where the Green Lanterns celebrate the rebirth of their city, the grave of Jonathan Kent, Titans Memorial inside of Titans Tower where the resurrected Kid Flash continues to act like anyone but Kid FLash, Avernus (The hidden grave site of The Rogues), Ted Kord’s grave, Amnesty Bay and the above-ground grave site of Aquaman, Gotham City where Alred is paying his respects and discovers something wrong, The JLA Headquarters where The Flash is given a crash course in how many have died since he did, and Valhalla Cemetery where Alan Scott is being Alan Scott.

Way To Be A Buzzkill, Alan.

Way To Be A Buzzkill, Alan.

Anyways, the story does a real nice job of highlighting what we already knew, DC Comics loves to kill their characters.  The story moves at a rather nice pace, as we also meet up with Hawkman and Hawkwoman, who are arguing because Hawkman refuses to accompany Ray Palmer to the grave site of his wife, Jean Loring, responsible for the deaths of Ralph and Sue Dibny in “Identity Crisis” (Which you all need to read, now).

This is where the story gets interesting.

On Oa, the Guardian of the Black Lantern, Scar, finally reveals herself by biting out another Guardian’s throat, as Black Rings invade Oa.  Throughout the world, dead heroes rise with spiffy black and silver costumes.   And in the stories shocking final pages, Ralph an Sue Dibny kill Hawkman and Hawkwoman, as Black Hand resurrects both as Black Lanterns…

The first half of the story is a nice nod and refresher course in DC Death 101.  If you’re curious who the major players in this book are going to be, look no farther.  The story makes nice use of its characters, with the recently revived Barry Allen serving as the reader’s point of view, introducing him to recent deaths, and utilizing the “Freefall” arc from Nightwing as the catalyst for Barry’s questioning.  The story manages to move at a nice pace, and the last half of the story is full of shock and surprise. Also, the Black Rings make a noise like flies buzzing as they travel to their wearer, a little effect that I really like.

I do want to say though, I find the Hawkman and Hawkwoman deaths feel like a cop-out.  It was strongly implied that the two had died at the end of “Final Crisis“.  Then DC said they were alive.  The two haven’t shown up in anything except for a brief Hawkman appearance in “Justice League of America“, so it seems as if DC just wanted to keep them alive so they could kill them again now.

Art wise, the book is decent.  The renderings of the zombie-fied characters look alright, but there’s not much about the art that really stands out and grabs you.

All in all, “Blackest Night” #1 is a nice beginning to what’s shaping up to be a fantastic event, even if the story starts off with a grindingly slow first half.  With the revived heroes and upper level DC’s statement that the story would result in permanent ramifications on how death is treated in the DCU, this is looking to be the event to keep your eyes on.  “Blackest Night” #1 gets a B for Brrrraaaaaiiiiiins.

  1. I liked this. Again, as someone with very little knowledge of DC, Johns did a nice job of giving us a little bit of history about who’s dead in the DC universe. That said, knowing nothing about it, I saw Hawkman and Hawkwoman dying a mile away.

  2. Sadly, I HATED Blackest Night #1. Ivan Reis is amazing, great art, but some ideas in this book simply doesn´t fit at all!

    Ralph “Talking-Zombie” Dibny killing Hawkman with a mace? Sue “Not-so-talking-Zombie” Dibny murdering Hawkgirl with one hit using a spear???


    And so much is lacking explanation… Why Black Lanterns? Death power the Black Lanterns??? This concept seems so… stupid.

    Geof Johns… what is going on with you?

  3. Blackest Night is “DC Zombies” ? Just like that?

  4. No, death doesn’t power them. The Black Lantern Rings have the power to revive them and enslaves them to Black Hand’s command.

    As far as Hawkman and Hawkwoman goes, they were caught by surprise, but yeah it seems odd that they were killed so quickly and put up so little of a fight. Its possible that Ralph and Sue were given enhanced strength by the Black Lantern Rings though.

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