Or – “What The Corinthian Was Meant To Be…”
In a memorable passage from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Morpheus remarked that a particular image inspired his creation of the nightmare known as the Corinthian.Â “A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart. A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront.”Â Whoever or whatever is behind this Black Lantern Corps, they obviously have similar intent in mind for the heroes of the DC Universe.Â So, how do you defeat a foe who wins a fight to the death regardless of who actually dies?
Previously, on Blackest Night: Thanks to the actions of rogue Guardian Scar, and the villainous Black Hand, hundreds of thousands of black power rings are sweeping the universe searching for corpses to animate, the better to torture their surviving loved ones with.Â The first wave of the attack revived Elongated Man and his beloved wife Sue, who murdered Hawkman and Hawkgirl to recruit THEM to their Corps.Â The fallen Martian Manhunter arrived to confront his former pals Flash and Green Lantern, who were mobilized to the grave of the fallen Batman to find that someone (Black Hand) had stolen his headbone.Â Most distressing, however, might be the reanimation of all the fallen Green Lanterns in the Lantern Crypt on Oa, as well as the buzzing swarm of rings in the remains of the dead planet Xanshi.Â And, what, exactly, are the Black Lantern rings charging up to?Â Better hide in the basement until we’re sure what’s going on, and for Pete’s sake don’t try and shoot the lock off the gas pumps during your escape attempt…
We open in St. Roch, in the home of Carter Hall, the scene of an obvious recent struggle.Â Blood and feathers are strewn about, and shattered antiquities litter the floor, as the phone repeatedly rings and tings and rings in the background.Â At the other end of the line, Ray Palmer tries desperately to reach his friend.Â He is relieved when the phone is answered, and so doesn’t even notice how strange Hawkman sounds.Â “Come on over, Ray,” croaks Carter, “Let’s talk.”Â That will end badly, mark my words.Â In Gotham City, Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara wait on a rooftop, commenting on how dark it seems on this particular night.Â Barbara tries to calm her dad down, but their conversation is interruptedÂ by the arrival of Green Lantern, who is thrown through the Bat-signal, smashing it’s soothing light.Â Near a lighthouse in New England, the new king of AtlantisÂ (Tempest, the former Aqualad) and Queen Mera arrive at the interrment site of Aquaman, preparing to move their king’s remains to Atlantis, only to find said remains walking around and ready to rip out a few hearts.Â In the most horrifying moment of the issue (and that’s saying something) Boston Brand, aka Deadman, is lying on his own grave desperately trying to stop his body from rising and animating.Â “I don’t WANT to come back,” he says, but his skeletal remains have their own ideas, bursting from the earth and flying away.
At the grave of Hank and Don Hall, a ring hovers, and for the first time we see that not ALL the dead will be coming back.Â “Don Hall of Earth at peace,” reports the ring, as Don’s brother’s hand rips forth from the Earth.Â “Same old, same old, huh Bro?” comes a voice from the ground.Â “Hawk’s gotta do all the dirty work HIMSELF.”Â That’s an interesting new wrinkle.Â Back at Mercy Reef, Aquaman summons the bodies of Dolphin and Aquagirl to fight Tempest, and brings a squadron of zombie sharks to rip apart the Atlantean troops.Â Bad turns to worse, as the Shadowpact investigates the resurrection of Boston Brand with the assistance of the Spectre, when Black Hand arrives and uses a ring to POSSESS THE SPECTRE HIMSELF.Â The Spirit of Vengeance suddenly demands that it wants former host Hal Jordan back, and heads off into the world.Â Tempest and Mera fight off their lost loves, and an important question gets answered when Dolphin’s head is frozen and shattered in battle:Â She grows it right back. Aquagirl tears out her former lovers heart, and Tempest is welcoming into the Black Lantern Corps alongside his mentor and girlfriends.Â “Power Levels 3.43%,” announces Black Hand’s ring as the former Aqualad rises.Â Mera flees, while Flash and Green Lantern put the clues together and figure that two Justice Leaguers graves being disturbed can’t be coincidence, but their math is off.Â “I gave my HEART to the League,” snarls the zombified remains of J’onn Jonzz, accompanied by Firestorm, Elongated Man, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the Black Lantern Justice League.Â (I could have sworn there were more dead Leaguers out there…)
This issue is as effective as #1 was in creating an air of menace and horror, and captures the whole “Monkey’s Paw” moment of a dead loved one returning to rip out your heart perfectly.Â The scene with the Atom (who, by the way, doesn’t appear with the League at the end, making me wonder if they ate him or something) is skin-crawling, and even the bravado of Green Lantern can’t overcome the feeling of oppression and impending doom created here.Â I was slightly less enchanted with the art this issue, but it’s still a good job, and the moment where Black Lantern Aquaman raises the dead sharks is purely shocking.Â I wasn’t expecting the body count to continue rising with this issue, and I’m a little concerned over what happens after the series is over.Â I hope it’s not one of those “Kill the head vampire” moments where Garth, Hawkman and company just revert to normal because of the Worcestershire sauce helpline.Â Either way, this issue is once again an example of event writing done right, using the history of the DC Universe to evoke some real displeasure about the return of beloved characters, and giving us something truly frightening and well-done.Â Blackest Night #2 earns 4.5 out of 5 stars overall, and makes me fear for our heroes in this brave new (dead) world.