It Begins…

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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.

GL_Cv43.jpgIn 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.  Thus is the case with the Black Hand.  I’m only vaguely aware of William Hand’s story – mostly from the rebooted origin tale from a year or so ago.  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.  New readers won’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.  Readers know the dead will rise, and if this is a hint of things to come, we can expect everyone who’s died since the first Crisis to pay a visit to the DCU.  It’s masterfully done by Johns and issue artist Doug Mahnke, and sends chills up and down the spine.  And it’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.  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.  If you’re not a fan of people blowing their brains out, then you’ll want to avoid this issue.  This of course leads to Hand’s resurrection as the Black Lantern (thanks to some black vomit from Guardian Scar).

There’s an interesting thing going on with the art and the coloring in this issue.  During the flashback sequences that show William growing up, it looks like Mahnke is using less detail to make everything look soft and comforting.  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.  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.  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 it’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.  My hope is DC is not turning this into DCU Zombies, as that would really be a kick in the shorts, but from what I’ve seen in this issue, DC has a mega-hit in its hands.

I really haven’t kept up with the Green Lantern titles these last six months.  I have the issues sitting in a pile waiting to be read, and my interest in the series had started to wane.  Thankfully Green Lantern #43, with the tight writing of Geoff Johns and fantastic art by Doug Manke has me giddy all over again.  Of all the issues that arrived at the Major Spoilers Manor this week, Green Lantern #43 was second on the list of must reads.  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.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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13 Comments

  1. Ricco
    July 10, 2009 at 5:01 pm — Reply

    Three thing we learned: 1 guardian eat motor oil, bling and have weak stomachs, 2 Legion of Three Worlds needs to finish fast for Conner Kent’s return to happen before the storylines in Blackest Night involving him start and 3 Zamarons have an Ace in the hole in the form of the Predator (who looks sorta like the Void Hound last seen in Trinity).

    I get that Legion of Three Worlds has a bimonthly/annual/whenever-we-feel-like publication schedule but it needs to ends fast, we already have Bart with no explaination as how he travelled back in time…

    I love this book for the simple green panel at the beginning “These events take place before Blackest Night #0”, oh continuity how I’ve missed ye!

  2. Brother129
    July 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm — Reply

    Doug Mahnke’s pencils just kill on this issue….he did a great job as a storyteller. He should ALWAYS be on someone’s monthly book.

  3. ~wyntermute~
    July 10, 2009 at 5:32 pm — Reply

    One thing I learned: Stephen does a _MEAN_ Sunglasses Salute. B-) (Sorry. With the advent of author photos, I figured I’m allowed one freebie. :D ) Oh, and I’m with Ricco: I loves me the “when” panels.

  4. Hat of Tim
    July 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm — Reply

    I must admit that Green Lantern is a title I’ve only picked up occasionally down the years, but having read a couple of review about this issue, I felt I had to get this. And boy, am I glad I did. Excellent art, storytelling, and a sense of forboding about the coming Blackest Night event. All comics should be this good…although it’s a good thing they’re not as I’ve gotta eat sometime!

    BTW, which character has been resurrected the most times? If Aquagirl comes back again, that’ll be three (?) times since she died in Crisis on Infinite Earths!

    And is Legion of Three Worlds # 5 on the same publishing schedule that Camelot 3000 was on? Which means it’ll be out sometime in 2011…

  5. July 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm — Reply

    Wow — the seen with him returning home to his family — brutal. Really. Effing. Brutal.

    I think I’d almost prefer if he weren’t psychopathically obsessed with death and instead was someone who was an agent of death out of revenge or despair or something like that….

  6. Brad
    July 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm — Reply

    I felt like going home to off his family was a little bit much. I debate what it added to the story, would it have left the possibility of some hope or somewhat loving emotion existing within him had he left them alive….maybe….I think it will depend what death is supposed to personify. Maybe by the end of the series I’ll have changed my mind. But as of now i feel about it like you guys do when they kill a kid simply to make a bad guy seem extra bad, it was cheap writing.

    In comics we’ve seen plenty of times they have a villian they make too good, and then the good guys win in some cheap it comes together at the last minute kind of way……I’m on board for the ride, but I just hoping that DC doesn’t pull a WWH.

    Planet Hulk was superb, WWH was great, and then they dropped the ball…

    Sinestro wars was great, I think Darkest Night will be great, but I hope they don’t write a story just to chock us and then everything goes back to normal after that

  7. Ricco
    July 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    @Brad: I think you missed the point, to Hand killing his familly WAS an act of love.

    The real test of “cheapness” in this series is going to be what they do with Sinestro.

  8. Jim
    July 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm — Reply

    I read JSA and Booster when they started with Geoff Johns and both have suffered since he’s left. I haven’t seen any BN yet but I think Johns gets a bit overlooked compared to Bendis or Morrison. Generally, I enjoy Johns’ stuff more.

  9. Brent
    July 13, 2009 at 10:05 am — Reply

    This book rocked. It left me wondering why Bruce Wayne is cited among the dead by “Death” or whatever entity is driving Black Hand. Maybe I’m the slow kid in the class, but I thought the whole issue of Bruce being put through the Omega Sanction RATHER than death was put to rest. If Bruce is dead, then how is he also in the cave drawing a bat symbol on the wall?

    I am really digging the the cryptic narrative that stated “Someone ALLOWED Death to be cheated”. I think it is great that the ressurections of various characters are finally going to be justified, perhaps tidying up problematic editorial decisons in a merciful retcon.

  10. Darrin
    July 13, 2009 at 11:15 am — Reply

    @Brent: if you think about it, yeah, Bruce is alive in the PAST, which would mean that in the PRESENT he’s technically dead. He can’t exist in both timelines (pre-historic and modern) at the same time, therefore Bruce really is dead in the present time, although in some ways he’s not.

    I probably just confused you more. Sorry if that’s the case.

  11. Brent
    July 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    Darrin, you’ve just enlightened me to a whole new way of thinking about time/space continuum. Based on your interpretation/explanation, a guy can automatically be exempt from getting in trouble with his woman for being at strip club because the very next day he can say despite being in a strip joint last night (in the past), he is PRESENTLY at home with her and therefore, having begun a divergent timeline where he will never again visit a strip club, he should not be in trouble in the now. Yeah, that’s the ticket…Steve Rogers is diggin’ it.

  12. Ricco
    July 13, 2009 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    Bruce is dead, I don’t care how good he is even he can’t outlive old age.

    The corpse that we see Sup holding IS his body, it was brought back to the time he was shot by Darkseid after living out the rest of is life in the past.

    He’s stone cold dead, but by killing him in the past you create a time paradox where a being dies before it’s born which should be all the leeway a time master, let’s call him Reap Hunstman, would need to “bring him back to live” by returning him to his proper time frame.

  13. Salieri
    July 14, 2009 at 3:00 am — Reply

    I’m fairly certain the corpse is someone else’s, if only because when it was dragged out by Superman it lacked the little pockmarks that the forehead of the cowl had been given while Bats was imprisoned in the evil factory. Most likely another alternate Batman was shunted into place as the original was shunted backwards in time.

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