Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: Blackest Night #1

This week saw the debut of DC’s newest big event: Blackest Night.

Jeff Adams thought found Blackest Night #1 refreshing:

Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night #1 is an odd beast. Usually with reviews and most certainly with crossover epics, writers who review these things feel compelled to give a lengthy explanation of what exactly this story is about. Who the main characters are, why the story exists, and most importantly, what the hell is going on.

Blackest Night simply doesn’t need that explanation. Every part of the story is meant to take the reader on a journey and help you understand a great many things about the very universe it is operating in. The comic focuses on the various aspects that the story will be touching brilliantly, and also manages to focus on the characters. Something that is missing in a lot of epics, is the characters who participate in these epics. I can see the reasoning, there is an assumption that if you are reading this epic, you already know the characters basic traits. Geoff Johns avoids this by introducing the characters and through dialogue, individual moments and interactions, he imbues the knowledge of the DC universe into you, without you really knowing it.

Chris Sims saw potential in the idea, but didn’t enjoy the execution:

I don’t even know where to begin with this thing, but I suppose I’ll start with the plot, which–despite all my grousing about how it sounds an awful lot like an attempt to cash in on Marvel Zombies three years after it would’ve been relevant–is actually not a bad idea. The idea of dead characters rising from their graves for revenge is certainly one that could lead to some enjoyable stories, and I’ve got to confess, if I wasn’t thoroughly burnt out on Green Lantern and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Corps, it’s something that I’d probably be very interested in as a big summer punchout. Of course, it’d probably make more sense for it to revolve around, say, Nekron, an actual pre-existing Green Lantern villain that rules the Land of the Dead rather than an embarrassingly gritty revamp of the Black Hand that feels like a leftover throwback to the early ’90s, but it’s got the right amount of continuity-heavy fan appeal and action-oriented potential to be enjoyable. I get that.

Which makes it a real shame that it’s written so poorly.

For one thing, it just don’t make any sense, and considering that I’m willing to accept that it’s about a guy with a magic green wishing ring who went gray because there was an evil yellow space-bug that’s more powerful than God living in his brain, that’s saying something. To start with, it seems a little disingenuous that the world would celebrate dead super-heroes on the day that Superman didn’t actually die. I guess that could be as much of a comment on the fluid nature of super-hero mortality as Superman saying “We’ll all miss him, and pray for a resurrection” at the Martian Manhunter’s funeral in Final Crisis, but considering the lengths that Geoff Johns is going to in this script to make a ham-fisted point, I doubt it.

Evan Waters found it solid but uninspiring:

The major difference between this and MARVEL ZOMBIES, apart from being in-continuity, is that, as far as I can tell, this has no sense of humor whatsoever. The concept is ludicrous, but Johns handles it with utter solemnity, which is something that bugs me about him as a writer- he comes across as afraid of the genre’s sillier side, and tries to shore up its serious nature with blood and entrails and sad ironic deaths. Where the SINESTRO CORPS event was an exciting action adventure, this is marking itself as dark and grim from the start, and though this can be made to work, this is not an inspiring direction. It’s not bad, but…

You know what? I just noticed that in one of the big splash panels, one of the Black Lanterns is Ch’p. The cartoon squirrel Green Lantern who used to antagonize Salaak and got run over by a car for not being serious enough.

That does it. This is not a good comic. It’s not horrible, but there’s just nothing in it that leaps out at me. There is nothing that says, “This is a great comic story that will thrill you at every turn.” There is nothing that says, “This will make you weep, first with sadness, then with joy.” There is nothing that says, “You will gladly pay $4 for this every month.” I can see others finding something that interests them, but I’m not sure why the praise thusfar is so effusive. Even if you’re a big Geoff Johns fan- and the man has done good work, do not get me wrong- this is pretty average for him. The art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert is pretty solid, but again I don’t see how it stands out from the pack.

So what did you think?

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Comments

20 Comments

Inclined to agree with Evan more than anything. It was not so great in execution that I saw the story more than the “insert flap A into slot B” formula of a crossover event comic book. At this point, it isn’t bad or anything, but I can’t see all the praise when you can still see all the puppeteer’s strings during the show. I’m sure it can improve.

Easily the worst single issue I’ve read all year.

Think it was solid; not the best issue ever but certainly not the worst.

I mean anyone that’s read some of the lead up in GL would have read some worse things.

An event that touches on all corners of the present-day DC Universe, all the major heroes are in play, facing an unstoppable enemy with an emotional hook, outstanding art, a compelling script – what’s not to like? It has the potential to make changes on a scale not seen since the original Crisis. I’ll be ponying up my four bucks for this without hesitation (although I probably won’t pick up the side stories, except for “Green Lantern” – I’m not made of money, after all).

There were deaths in this that I thought were highly unnecessary and that just…gah.

I don’t know. It doesn’t make me want to pick up a next issue. Then again, not a lot of comics these days do.

Not bad at all. The dialog needs some serious tightening though, because there were some downright terrible lines in this book.

The level of gore and death is completely acceptable, I mean it’s a god damn zombie comic after all.

I started reading GL during SCW, but as time went on and build up to Blackest Night went on I just got bored and dropped it and I’ve decided not to get Blackest Night at all.

Just another cheapschlock gorror event from DC Comics: Where Legends Get Gutted.

I thought it was FAR BETTER than anything coming out of Final Crisis. I liked the story, I liked the art. No complaints here. Waiting for next issue.

Loved it. Geoff Johns has totally reinvigorated the Green Lantern mythos and it seems ready to culminate in this. What I can’t believe is that people are comparing it to Marvel Zombies, which, while entertaining on the first read, was really just an excuse to do horrible things to characters like Aunt May just for shock value. As for Ivan Reis’s art not standing out from the pack? Well, you’re entitled to your opinion.

Simon DelMonte

July 19, 2009 at 4:00 am

Once I saw the panels with zombie Dibnys and heard abou what they did, I was so glad not to be buying this. It’s zombies, which creep me out in a bad way. And heroes I love being made evil, which offends me. And the good guys once again looking ineffectual. And gore.

I like most of what Geoff does, but sometimes he is just too into shock and the DC version of torture porn. I will gladly skip this,

I read comics for ESCAPE. Entertainment! To feel good. The real world has enough ugliness and evil. I don’t appreciate it in my comic books. So instead of wasting my time with grim and gritty DC, or Dark Marvel, I’ll go back and re-read some FUN stuff from the Silver Age. Back before they ruined my favorite characters like Hal Jordan and Tony Stark by turning them into bad guys.

Wow interesting reactions. I liked it. After the waste of time that was Secret Invasion I was hoping I would enjoy this book. Except for Green Lantern I don’t read DC books but was able to completely follow what was going on which was a big plus because there was a lot of continuity stuff that could easily derail a newbie like me. And I don’t really see this as a zombie story. Sure they are dead, but they eat hearts not brains. But besides the body part eating, the black lanterns are interesting in that they have kept their intelligence and personalities. I am sure that will pay off later. I can’t wait for this to unfold. I keep hearing the black lanterns aren’t what we expect them to be. I want to see what that means.

All in all I really liked it. It made the sappy and self righteous Dc Universe more interesting. And that has nothing to do with the gore.

LOL what did evan expect? A happy and funny comic? Go and read marvel zombies you idiot. This was never meant to be a funny comic. Stupid twits…

Pretty good art. Pretty lame story. I stopped reading GL some months back because, though I was initially thrilled with how Johns was handling one of my favorite DC characters, after a while I thought he really lost the handle of what made his early issues so enjoyable. So I initially thought I’d avoid Blackest Night too. Instead, last Wednesday I purchased both the first issue and the Black Hand prologue in GL. The latter was absurd despite great art by Mahnke and I actually gave it back to my comic vendor after reading it in the store, not asking for my money back. Then got home and read BN #1. Again, the art was good, but this story is absolutely ridiculous. I won’t be buying any of the remaining issues.

PS – I think Flash: Rebirth is also pretty lame, though I had very high hopes for it, Barry Allen being my favorite Flash. I think Geoff needs to recharge his batteries (pun intended) and let another writer have a crack at Hal and the GL Corps.

Odd. I’ve had this cover for 15 years, and it says “GHOST RIDER 2099 #1″ on mine.

You guys are possibly some of the lamest posters over…what’s the average age of this circle jerk. 75

I really loved this book too. My book True Love Is Not Common; http://www.eloquentbooks.com/TrueLoveIsNotCommon.html, has similar main characters. I grew up reading this author since high school. Hope one day my book will reach many readers as this author. While writing this book, I did a lot of research on this title, and events that are affecting our love lives today.

Okay, I’ve heard a litany of bizarre complaints here that are just laughable.

It’s not like we haven’t been told what was going to happen in Blackest Night! Did some of you think the dead would come back and just hang out and play shuffleboard or checkers?

I don’t see how anyone could have possibly thought that Blackest Night was going to be a “nice comic” for the “nice people.”

I’m pretty sure they still make Disney Comics for all of you that are offended by this book.

Johns work on GL has been some of his best work and Blackest Night has gotten off to a great start.

Paging the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle to the white courtesy phone…

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