BLACKEST NIGHT MEGA-REVIEW

JD:
Hey there readers of our words, as a follow-up to the Blackest Night Episode we did (listen here: PopTards – Blackest Night) we’ll be taking a final look at the DC cross-over that’s been wreacking havok all the over the damn place. We will be spoiling the boogens out of this, so if you care about such things, read up on your books and get back here to enjoy the chaos that is about to ensue. With me this week is Optimus Douche, Justin Kendig and Slai.

Awrighty kiddies, Blackest Night has wrapped up and everything is “different”. And by different I mean exactly the same as it used to be before a bunch of characters died. Most of those characters are back from the dead, including, but possibly not limited to: Aquaman, Deadman, Hawk (who eventually became the evil Monarch) Reverse-Flash, Jade, Capt Boomerang, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl Osiris and the Anti-Monitor..let’s start with the obvious. Was this necessary? Did you guys miss these dead characters? Who are you looking forward to reading about the most in the future?

Optimus:
Care is a subjective term. I was however abso-fucking-surprised at all of the B and C listers that are now sucking O2 again. Sure as a long-time, old-ass-fangeezer who was weaned off Richie Rich from the sweet teat of Giffen’s Justice League I was thrilled to see the return of Maxwell Lord and Martian Manhunter, but were they “necessary?” Probably not and let’s not forget the events of this book pretty much took a steaming shit on what little drama FINAL CRISIS delivered. No consequences indeed. The big question now is what do we do with them. I smell a new Justice League in the air.

JD:
And by new, you mean OLD Justice League? With all the kiddies having moved into their mentor’s roles: Wally West, Kyle Raynor, Dick Grayson, etc…what happens to them now that everyone is back (or on their way back..*looks accusingly at Bruce Wayne’s corpse*) to reclaim their mantles? I realize this is me getting old but I’m starting to get annoyed with the constant lack of consequences in our funny books. Supposedly “dead is dead” now that Blackest Night is over, but for how long? And I have nothing to say about Final Crisis, I forgot about that series before it was even over!


Optimus:
Dead is dead, until a bolster in sales is needed or Marvel kills off another character. The death of Superman ruined everything. CRISIS did it right – Barry Allen died and he stayed dead, likewise with Super Girl. When Superman died though we all knew it wouldn’t be permanent – there was no way DC could kill Superman and still thrive as a company. Thus began the age of continuity without teeth…Zero Hour, 52, Countdown and Final Crisis merely became symptoms of this one event.

Justin:
I’d like to believe that it’s unecessary to bring any character back from the dead. In my opinion, it’s not the actual character that makes the story, it’s the people behind it. If it’s a poorly written story, a thin plot or terrible art, having Bruce Wayne Batman as opposed to Dick Grayson isn’t gonna make it better. BUT… I understand people’s attachments. As much as I love a legacy character and a passing of the mantle, sometimes, bringing a certain character back will do more. Martian Manhunter is a good example. He doesn’t have anyone to take his place. He’s the heart of the JLA. Having him dead could have a great overarching theme throughout the DCU, but whether he’s in the forefront or not, I think he’s important to have alive.

As for all this “dead is dead” stuff though, I don’t think it’s the case. Having the white Lantern at the end of the last issue is DC’s escape clause. And i’m dissapointed by it. It allows poor writers (ahem, Judd Winnick) the opportunity to kill a character because of “drama.” Then, when the character is needed again, we’ll have a White Lantern fly-by-resurrection. It’s another Lazarus Pit. I’m hoping Johns has put limitations on it’s future use.

Optimous Douche:
Funny you mention the White Lanterns and “limitations.” Since the bible was written in less time than this article, we can now add the perspective of BRIGHTEST DAY 0 to the mix (I wonder how long it will take for first issues to start in the negatives). It seems that indeed Deadman is now Aliveman with the ability to resurrect as well as get shuttled around like a ghost into people’s lives like a voyeuristic Ebeneezer Scrooge. I think fly-by resurrections are now definitely going to happen as Deadman learns to haphazardly use his powers Greatest American Hero style.


I’m not disappointed by this choice because it simply has to be. DC has to be about life and multiple properties and the promise that these heroes will persevere through any age or time. If you need a parachute (which they always will) and you need to write yourself out of a clusterfuck of universe resets with strangling continuity than White Lanters are as good as any other safety net. I will admit universe fatigue before I fault the stories trying to pull that universe forward kicking and screaming.


Justin:
Look, I get all that. DC needs to be able to bring back characters. Change this, rewrite that… that’s fine. There are multiple stories with multiple artists and writers and editors and whomever else. Things will evolve, go back and change course. But to me, having a giant reset button is just plain lame! All I’m asking for is creativity. As much as I think punching a cosmic wall is pathetic or the many lives of Donna Troy are confusing, I’d still rather have that diversity over the same story. 5 years from now, we won’t have to ask questions like, “How did so-and-so come back, and where can I find the story?” cause every answer will be, “A White Lantern, and who cares… it’s the same story as what’s-their-name and who’s-ama-bub.” Make creators be creative. Take away the safety netting. Safety nets aren’t exciting. You go to the circus and you see someone faulter and it might be a little thrilling, but you know they’re safe. You take away that safety net and you get Robin, the Boy Wonder. Then Nightwing. Then Batman.

JD:
I’m not overly concerned with the White Lantern coming and resurrecting anyone in the near future. Johns, as the new Creative Director in Charge of Chocolate Cake or whatever his actual title is, has mandated that “dead is dead” going forward. And so far the man has certainly earned my trust with beloved characters and storylines. He seems like a writer that doesn’t need to dip into a certain well over and over again just because he’s run out of ideas.

As for the original question, I gotta say I’m not a huge fan of ANY of the characters that resurfaced at the end of this series. Even as a huge Flash fan, I don’t care that the original Prof. Zoom is back. I suppose it was necessary since Barry is ALSO back, but I just don’t give good gadnabbit. All of these guys could stay in the ground for the remainder of all time and I wouldn’t miss’em.


Slai:
I wasn’t familiar with most of these characters until I read Identity Crisis, which I thought was great, via JD’s recommendation.  My interests tend to lean more toward story lines that involve sci-fi and the after effects of an apocalypse.  Identity Crisis being my main reference, I thought it was intriguing to bring Sue Dibny and the Elongated Man(what a name) back as Black Lanterns and that Sue’s lack of reaction to Ralph’s…destruction(he was already dead) was part of what revealed that the Black Lanterns were more the symbionts of Nekron’s parasitic agenda than ghosts with unfinished business.  I don’t know that the story line was necessary, but I found it interesting.

However, my disclaimer is that with having a half Eastern philosophy I may be more inclined to find the ideas of life after death and reincarnation-esq scenarios acceptable.  I also find myself wanting to know more of the history and the future of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but it may just be the influence of estrogen makes me crave an epic if not complicated love story.  Overall, I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next from issue to issue.

However, my final disclaimer is that I read Blackest Night all at once after it was fully released in the instant gratification graphic novel consumption that has become my M.O. I don’t know if I would have been as captivated if I had to wait out the individual releases.

Now that the series has wrapped, where you surprised by anything? Disappointed?

Optimus:
Not surprised, nor disappointed. Again, I invoke Final Crisis. It was supposed to be THE game changer for this generation. All it did was “kill” Batman, which they sort of also did in his own book and restore the multi-verse, which the only real result of that to date has been the return of Jason Todd. See where I’m coming from, I have become so disillusioned with “events” that no, I no longer expect them to move the needle in one way or another.

JD:
Well Optimus, anything that is touted as being a game-changer before it even comes out is already pretty much gonna fail to change much game, as far as I’m concerned. I certainly think that this event was scads better then Final Crisis, and shouldn’t even be in the same category..

Justin:
Overall, I’d say Blackest Night was very solid and had some great moments. I was a little disappointed though in comparison to Sinestro Corps War. Not that Sinestro War was better, more that it came out of nowhere and then set the bar high for whatever came next with all things Green Lantern. Blackest Night had a lot going on and a lot of books it crossed through, and I still give everyone involved major props for keeping all the books for the most part consistent with each other. The only issue with it was reading some of Green Lantern Corps and some of the minis didn’t always really feel like a must read. Like they were just side stories that they threw in just so it could have the “Blackest Night” title on the cover. In Sinestro Corps War, it was all fluid.


JD:
Agreed, Justin. I remember being absolutely blown away by the fluidity of the SCW, and how it was silently blowing away the other cross-overs that were taking place at the same time, with little hub-bubbery. It just came out of nowhere and was amazing all the way through..but to me Blackest Night was the same sort of thing, but universe-spanning. Granted, I don’t think most of the ancillary titles were useful, and were a waste of money, but the main series along with the GL and GL Corps titles were friggin’ EPIC. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a cross-over as much as this one since, well geez, the original Crisis On Infinite Earths. It just had everything I want in such a story (except, of course, bringing back a bunch of characters that I didn’t miss to begin with).

Slai:
I likely do not have enough history with the characters to be surprised by anything.  I enjoyed the Blackest Night, though if I can get through a series it’s pretty much a winner to me.  My attention span does not always last. There were pages that when revealed evoked an audible “Wow” from me due to the beauty of the artwork.  The power ratings, though easily quantifiable at demonstrating the progress of the Lanterns, struck me as funny, but only because I’ve been reading Scott Pilgrim. I look forward to following the story through the Brightest Day.

JD:
Well, that about sums it up! Let us know YOUR thoughts on this cross-over!!

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1 Comment to “BLACKEST NIGHT MEGA-REVIEW”

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  1. JD (Host) says:

    the color coding too much? 😉

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