There has been plenty of lead up to the much hyped Blackest Night series, as the Green Lantern titles have unveiled nearly all of the Corps involved in the event. Green Lantern #43 gets the Prologue banner treatment, and is a great lead in to the mega-event.
In a lot of comics, when the big events start to appear, writers and companies take the time to figure out a way to reintroduce the histories of key players in the saga.Â Thus is the case with the Black Hand.Â Iâ€™m only vaguely aware of William Handâ€™s story – mostly from the rebooted origin tale from a year or so ago.Â So having this issue essentially retell (via flashback) what makes the Black Hand tick, kill, and ultimately become a Green Lantern villain was handled quite well.
In fact, for those who have been sitting on the fence about getting on board the Blackest Night saga will discover this is a great jumping on point.Â New readers wonâ€™t understand everything about the rainbow corps, but to understand where the ring bearer comes from, and the connection to Oa, this issue works well.
Johns does an excellent job of recapping all of Green Lantern history in six short panels, and continues to tell a concise story throughout the issue, as Scar and William Hand recount what has gone on before and why Death is the ultimate outcome for all.
When Hand finally loses it, his stint walking through the graveyard framing panels of dead heroes and villains is really chilling.Â Readers know the dead will rise, and if this is a hint of things to come, we can expect everyone whoâ€™s died since the first Crisis to pay a visit to the DCU.Â Itâ€™s masterfully done by Johns and issue artist Doug Mahnke, and sends chills up and down the spine.Â And itâ€™s not just the single double-page spread of those characters who are still dead that is a big revelation, the following spread of heroes who have died and returned and who could find themselves back in the grave at series end is also disconcerting.Â I find it quite telling that the final panel features Barry Allen, but then again, Johns, and Mahnke may not be foreshadowing at all.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg, as the most shocking moment of the issue finds William returning to his childhood home and killing every member of his family before finally turning his energy absorption device on himself.Â If youâ€™re not a fan of people blowing their brains out, then youâ€™ll want to avoid this issue.Â This of course leads to Handâ€™s resurrection as the Black Lantern (thanks to some black vomit from Guardian Scar).
Thereâ€™s an interesting thing going on with the art and the coloring in this issue.Â During the flashback sequences that show William growing up, it looks like Mahnke is using less detail to make everything look soft and comforting.Â This works in contrast to the highly detailed art found in present time, as William walks through the graveyard as rain falls around him, which gives the reader the feeling that things are falling apart.Â This is aided by the coloring of Randy Mayor, who uses a warm color palette for everything that occurs in the Hand household, and the cold palette to give the feeling of foreboding.Â This is also played out as William is resurrected, and the once warm room is now dark and moody.
Yes, the dead are returning to life in the DCU, but itâ€™s not clear yet if these are going to be the brain eating kind, or those that simply torment the living as they decompose before your eyes.Â My hope is DC is not turning this into DCU Zombies, as that would really be a kick in the shorts, but from what Iâ€™ve seen in this issue, DC has a mega-hit in its hands.
I really havenâ€™t kept up with the Green Lantern titles these last six months.Â I have the issues sitting in a pile waiting to be read, and my interest in the series had started to wane.Â Thankfully Green Lantern #43, with the tight writing of Geoff Johns and fantastic art by Doug Manke has me giddy all over again.Â Of all the issues that arrived at the Major Spoilers Manor this week, Green Lantern #43 was second on the list of must reads.Â If you want to get on board Blackest Night, Green Lantern #43 is the place to start and earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars.