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!Â 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!).Â It’s now regarded as a day of remembrance for both fallen heroes and the innocent victims, full of parades and memorial gatherings.Â 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.
Anyways, the story does a real nice job of highlighting what we already knew, DC Comics loves to kill their characters.Â 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.Â Throughout the world, dead heroes rise with spiffy black and silver costumes.Â Â 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.Â If you’re curious who the major players in this book are going to be, look no farther.Â 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.Â 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.Â It was strongly implied that the two had died at the end of “Final Crisis“.Â Then DC said they were alive.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.Â “Blackest Night” #1 gets a B for Brrrraaaaaiiiiiins.