Or – “Battle Of The Network Super-Revenants!”

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A founding Justice Leaguer has returned from the dead…  That has to unprecedented, right?  I mean, how often can they pull off something like that?

Superman – Died Superman 75, 1992.  Revived Superman – The Man of Steel 25, 1993.
Batman – Died Final Crisis 6, 2009.  Living in cave somewhere in Final Crisis 7.
Wonder Woman – Died Crisis on Infinite Earths 12, 1986.  Revived Wonder Woman 1, 1987.
Green Lantern – Died Final Night 4, 1996.  Revived fully Green Lantern – Rebirth, 2004.
The Flash – Died Crisis on Infinite Earths 8, 1986.  Returned to life Final Crisis 2, 2008.
Aquaman – Died 2001.  Revived JLA 66, 2001.  Died again Aquaman 50, 2008.
Martian Manhunter – Died in Final Crisis 1, 2008.  Returned…  Well, you’re looking at it.

The guys who engrave headstones in the DC Universe must be richer than Bill Gates’ lovechild by Paris Hilton…

Previously, on Green Lantern: The Guardians of the Universe have splintered over matters of policy, specifically as regards the use of GL2.jpgemotions.  Ganthet, one of the few Guardians who chose to have an individual identity has left the group with his chosen lifemate Sayd to form his own Blue Lantern Corps, and the war with Sinestro’s bearers of yellow light left the Corps fundamentally changed.  The emotional spectrum has become active again after aeons of inactivity, with Orange, Red, and Purple Lanterns popping up every where, and the GoU were completely blindsided by betrayal from withing, as one of their own (known only as Scar for the facial wounds she bears) has been overcome by the power of the Black Lanterns, and has destroyed the Central Power Battery.  At the same time, former three-time-loser Black Hand has finally taken the final step in his road to insanity, committing suicide and becoming the first of a new Corps of Black Lanterns.  Ebony rings have spread out all over the galaxy, causing millions to face their long-dead loved ones, and George Romero to call his lawyer.  Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, both recently resurrected themselves, now face the unbridled power of their deceased colleague J’onn J’onzz.  And he is NOT happy…

The story proper opens at a pyramid in Cydonia, the final resting place of the Martian Manhunter…  A series of vibrations disturb his sarcophagus, smashing the memorial chocolate sandwich cookie (because Oreo is a tradmark) as a black ring smashes through the ceiling.  After a few seconds of disgusting noises, a fist punches through the stone of the coffin.  Smash cut to a Gotham City cemetary, as Green Lantern Hal Jordan and the second man known as the Flash investigate another disturbed grave, this one the tomb of the Batman.  Flash quickly recognizes that someone has stolen Bruce Wayne’s skull, and the twosome move into investigative mode.  Before they can fully CSI the scene, they are greeted with the arisen Martian Manhusk, who tells them “You should both be dead.”  In an interesting moment, we see dead J’onn’s perspective, as his ring identifies Hal’s emotional spectrum as “will” and Barry’s as “hope.”  That’s an interesting touch…  Hal’s ring tells him that there are no life signs and he attacks, but the Manhunter is quicker.  Barry is blasted with a bolt of something that causes him to flash yellow, like a Sinestro ring would, showing him his fear of having to leave Iris behind again…  Apparently, since black is indeed ALL the colors, the black rings seem to be able to channel/identify all the colors of the emotional spectrum.

Barry manages to break free, but Hal is overcome with images of his terrible acts as Parallax, and the heroes retreat.  Hal tries to call for backup, but there is no response from Oa.  Before they can respond, J’onn PICKS UP THE ENTIRE BUILDING in which they’ve taken sanctuary, and crashes it into another.  “I’m as powerful as Superman,” he says, “Why does everyone forget that?”  Back on Oa, Scar has taken her fello Guardians prisoner, announcing that her Black Lantern Corps will restore order where the Green ones failed.  Across the uninverse, we see Lanterns of all colors clashing, and an ominous power countdown moves upwards, presumably counting down to the point where the Black Lanterns Guardian will awaken.  Barry and Hal save the civilians from the shattered buildings, and The Flash leaps into action, battering Martian Manhunter repeatedly to try and bring him back to his senses.  After several panels of beatdown, we see that a mental push by the real J’onn has left him attacking Green Lantern instead.  Hal and Barry are quickly taken down again as the Manhunter mocks their idea of justice.  In deep space, in the orbit of the shattered planet Xanshi, Green Lantern John Stewart tries to come to terms with what happened last month.  After trying to kill him for years, the last survivor of Xanshi has forgiven him for the mistake that led to the death of the planet those many years ago.  Before he can respond though, a volley of thousands of black rings arrives and begins smashing into the various asterois.  “Xanshi…” intones the voice of the Black Lanterns,  “ARISE.”

This is an exciting issue, serving as our first real glimpse of what the Black Lanterns are and what they do.  J’onn’s channeling of the power of the ring with his own telepathic and physical powers is awesome, and it was a little bit shocking to see him acting without restraint here.  The horror of any zombie tale is seeing someone essentially just like you become a monster while still remaining recognizably human, and that’s used to great effect in this issue.  The art is simply awesome, as Doug Manhke actually manages to convey the horror of seeing your friend return as a shambling corpse with FACIAL expressions, a deft piece of work indeed.  After Blackest Night #1 a few weeks ago, I have been chomping at the bit to see what the BLC has to offer, and this issue was satisfying in that regard.  I’m still not entirely onboard with a resurrected Barry, especially given the hasty way that we killed Batman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter to retain the illusion that JLA members can still die, but he’s used to good effect here, and the irony of GL and Flash fighting a once-dead partner after having returned from beyond themselves is kind of fun in itself.  It’s a good solid chapter of what will obviously be a huge overarching story, but still manages to be an issue of Green Lantern in so doing.  Green Lantern #44 earns a flesh-eating 4 out of 5 stars, that only wants to take a bite out of our juicy, sweet braaaaains.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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21 Comments

  1. August 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm — Reply

    I have never been much of a DCU guy. Make mine Marvel, I always said. But, the Blackest Night #0 FCBD got me interested in this series. I’m hooked.

    Make mine Black!

  2. Ricco
    August 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    Dude, black is the LACK of color, white is all the colors simultaniously.

    Which makes the whole “person of color” completely inaccurate by the way, but I digress, I hope that the actual planet Xanshi is resurrected and not just the people, why you ask? Well someone has to kill/destroy Mogo to complete the Blackest Night prophecy don’t they? So far Ion has fallen and Mogo the living planet is next.

  3. August 4, 2009 at 7:03 pm — Reply

    Dude, black is the LACK of color, white is all the colors simultaniously.

    Mmm… If you’re talkin’ about light, sure. But if you’re talking about INK???

  4. Ricco
    August 4, 2009 at 7:14 pm — Reply

    Well, it is the war of LIGHT thou…

  5. Slappy
    August 4, 2009 at 7:17 pm — Reply

    Is Rainbow Bright going to be the Deus ex Machina and save the day at the end of the storyline? Somebody check to see who has the rights to her.
    Sprite is almost as sexy as bea Arthur, I hope she doesn’t become a Black Lantern or should I?

  6. Onemori
    August 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    Ricco you are wrong, actually black is all colors and white is the lack of color, it is actually obvious, that is why the black absorbs all colors like sunlight… and I think that would allow the Black Lanterns to use any other “Lantern Color” so it a great twist… which leaves me wandering where’s Bruce’s Skull!!?!?!?

  7. August 4, 2009 at 10:47 pm — Reply

    “Alas, poor Batman… I knew him, Kalibak.”

  8. Ricco
    August 4, 2009 at 10:57 pm — Reply

    @Onemori: don’t think so since Death in the series is the lack of emotion (as opposite to the “light” of life), if it wasn’t the case they could power their own rings without having to go Aztec on their enemies.

    In Blackest Night black is the lack of light as an obvious metaphor for a lack of life.

  9. Discount Lad
    August 5, 2009 at 3:20 am — Reply

    Hey, I don’t think that Wonder Woman dead/rebirth counts.

  10. Brad
    August 5, 2009 at 8:25 am — Reply

    so who else thinks that by the end of this thing one lantern will unite all the rings to become a white lantern, to fight off the black lantern.

    and again I may be wrong but i think dC is saying that dark is the absence of light and emotion, which is why black lanterns can detect others emotional/light state.

    Curious as well if the black rings allow communication and flight for non-flying members. other than that Jonn’s powers where his, just used in a much more demonstritive way.

  11. Brad
    August 5, 2009 at 8:26 am — Reply

    I think the blackest night ad’s of Hal always in white are a bit of a tip off to the white lantern thing….then again could just be a shading thing…we’ll see

  12. August 5, 2009 at 11:31 am — Reply

    Hey, I don’t think that Wonder Woman dead/rebirth counts.

    My post.

    My rules.

    I make ’em up. :)

  13. August 5, 2009 at 11:34 am — Reply

    So who else thinks that by the end of this thing one lantern will unite all the rings to become a white lantern, to fight off the black lantern.

    Hmmm… I think it’s interesting.

  14. Ricco
    August 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    My theory is that Hal will reach back into his experience wielding the different colored rings to power is ring with raw emotions after it runs out of energy (main baterry is down).

    I see the final scene as follow: Hal hold the body of Carol Ferris after she and Sinestro are killed by Nekron protecting Hal with all the power their rings had, cut to Nekron view of Hal with the purple aura(love), then shifting to red(rage), then yellow(fear) and finally a very bright blue(hope).

    Hal points his ring at Nekron and recites the latern oath (add image of ghost Carrol and Sinestro reciting theirs) as he begins to blast a green beam at him. Nekron vision: he radiates a green aura, then quickly goes from color to color each time a little brigter, cut to Hal glowing bright white as he incenerates Nerkon.

  15. Jason
    August 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    Didn’t Green Arrow also die and come back to life?

  16. ~wyntermute~
    August 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    Green Arrow did indeed die and rebirth, yes. Hal “Spectre” Jordan took care of that one.

  17. crood
    August 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm — Reply

    But Green Arrow wasn’t founding JLA member. Wonder Woman also died, became a goddess, and returned to life.

    • August 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm — Reply

      But Green Arrow wasn’t founding JLA member.

      Correctamundo. Oliver didn’t join until Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #4…

  18. August 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm — Reply

    Okay. In photonics, “white light” encorporates all spectra of light (all of Mr. Biv…Roy to his friends). However, in most acrylic paint work, artists will use multiple colors to combine into black. This is also used in RBG printing (although not in CMYK). “White space” is blank space…nothingness..in graphic design, whereas “black space” is used for graphics.

    I use this analogy all the time to show how even making things as simple as black and white isn’t so simple.

    By the way, anyone guess what “gray space” is?

  19. August 5, 2009 at 4:01 pm — Reply

    Sorry. RGB. Not RBG. Need coffee.

  20. Scarlet B.
    August 5, 2009 at 8:35 pm — Reply

    I am really enjoying Blackest Night. The way they are handling it so far is beautiful, and they don’t seem to be tripping over themselves this time. Its really good. Besides, I have a liking of Zombies.

    I have a very strong feeling that the guardian for the Black’s will be Bruce. And besides, wouldn’t that be really badass? (He is connected to them all, as Black Hand said in issue #1 of Blackest Night, who would be better?) And White Lanterns… That’s proubably going to happen. I just hope they do something with the Legion in it, besides R.E.B.L.E.S.

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