Or – “Oh… My…  Stars.


So, um…  I read this book, and yeah…  Looks like we got us a game.

Blackest Night #5


Written by Geoff Johns
Art and cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert
Variant cover by Rodolfo Migliari
Sketch variant cover by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

Previously, on Blackest Night:  So, the evil plot has been revealed.  Black Hand and Scar have raised the honored dead of the DC Universe in order to emotionally truamatize the heroes, thus powering their Black Lantern power battery.  The death toll has mounted, and now that their power level has reached 100%, the Black Lantern has been activated, allowing their evil other-dimensional “Guardian” to enter our reality.  The problem with that is that their Guardian is Nekron, an old-school Green Lantern baddie whose entry into our reality has always been prophecied as a bad idea.  Not just bad, but ROYALLY bad, BIBLICALLY bad, “Define bad, Egon” kinda bad.  Nekron’s battle plan is sound, as heroes who fall in against the Black Lanterns are raised as Black Lanterns themselves.  The only hope we have is the Rainbow Coalition (Atrocitus of the Red Lantern Corps, Agent Orange, Sinestro, Hal Jordan, Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps, Carol Ferris and Indigo-1) who have banded together their various colors of the wind in order to paint the town red, make the other heroes green with envy, and beat Nekron black and blue.

We open on Ryut, moments after this week’s issue of Green Lantern (a long story which I’ll be getting to later) as the seven Corpsmen realize that the Black Lantern battery has disappeared.  They all bust out their lanterns, and light ’em up, charging their rings to full power, each reciting his or her own oath.  In a cute moment, Walker, Sinestro, Hal, Atrocitus, Carol and Indigo do their ryming couplets, and we cut to Larfleeze:  “Eh?”  Heh.  Saint Walker and Hal help him to charge his ring (shoving his face in the battery seems to work) while Barry Allen confronts Nekron back on Earth.  Barry is horified to see the perversions of the dead, and leaps into action against Black Hand.  Wally West arrives (in his new JLU-style Flash suit), along with the Titans, a good chunk of the JLA, Superman, Wonder Woman and more.  In Manhattan, Mera and Atom Ray Palmer are overwhelmed by Black Lantern Eclipso/Jean Loring, who grabs them and shrinks them (?) down into the Black Lanter ring that has just animated Damage.  Things go well for the heroes, as they realize that Dove is immune to the BL’s powers, presumably because of her nature as a creation of the Lords of Order.  The Titans also report that one of their number, Troia, has been bitten by a Black Lantern, and is getting sick because of it.  The heroes try to free the Guardians of the Universe (who Nekron has brought with him) but are overpowered by evil Guardian Scar.

Luckily, the Rainbow Coalition makes their dramatic entrance and Roy G. Biv’s her out of existence before  heading for the power battery to combine their spectra into the counter-balancing White Light of Creation (“I think I saw this on a Saturday morning cartoon,” says Carol Ferris) that will kill Nekron.  Nekron and Black Hand pull out their trump card before the Lanterns prevail, though, as Hand powers up the skull he stole from the grounds of Stately Wayne Manor in issue #1, and Nekron growls, “BRUCE WAYNE OF EARTH… RISE.”  Black Lantern Batman hisses and leaps forward, vomiting black rings, each one intoning “Emotional tether registered.”  The horrified heroes are brought to a halt by the sight of their lost friend, and the lord of the dead takes his moment to win back control of the battlefield.  Nekron doesn’t have a face, per se, but I imagine he would be smiling as he says, “Many of you died…  but you came back.  *I* allowed your numerous resurrections.”  The rings fly forth against the heroes, calling out their victims as they strike.  “Buddy Baker of Earth.  Tora Olafsdotter of Earth.  Conner Kent of Earth.  Bart Allen of Earth.  Oliver Queen of Earth.  Diana Prince of Earth.  Kal-El of Krypton…  DIE.”  Flash races around to see what is wrong as his friends collapse, convulsing in pain, while Hal uses his Green light to destroy the Batman abomination.  The story literally takes my breath away as I realize that, in a matter of seconds, most of the heroes fighting AGAINST Nekron have turned to his side, (including SUPERMAN and WONDER WOMAN) standing ready to serve their new master.  As we fade to black, two more rings slice forward towards Flash and Green Lantern, calling for Hal and Barry to join them…

Oh, deary deary dear.  Can I just say “Holy Carp?”  (You read that right, I didn’t want to be scatalogical.)  I certainly did not see that one coming at all.  I had worried that the gathering of the light-bearers was going too quickly, and their move this issue made me worry that things were going to be anticlimactic.  Since this story is only about sixty percent done, I felt that there was a danger of things being too predictable, but the revelation that the revolving door of death in the DCU was all a part of Nekron’s evil master plan is a pretty clever bit, and turning some of the biggest heroes into Black Lanterns is more than just a little bit shocking.  This issue keeps the Blackest Night streak going, as Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert really sell it all, especially the double-page spread of possessed heroes ready to rend human flesh for Nekron.  My only disappointment here (and it’s a really minor one, given that I suspected this already) is that converting Superman and Wonder Woman is stone-cold proof that being a Black Lantern will wind up being a reversible condition.  Blackest Night #5 one-ups the previous reveal, gives us some real drama with some nice art, and I found myself completely drawn into the story (even the parts with Atrocitus and Larfleeze, who by all rights could undermine a bit of the drama) earning 5 out of 5 stars overall.  I keep referencing the first Crisis in my reviews of this book, but that feeling of real consequences, of real jeopardy and far-reaching effects is exactly what I keep being reminded of here.  Blackest Night manages to be more than just a summer crossover, it really feels like high stakes for the DCU, in which heroes will change, worlds will die, and things may never be the same again.  I truly hope that the ending can deliver on the expectations being set…


In my very first Blackest Night review, I took a moment to show off my souvenir authentic space-zombie ring, and this issue of Blackest Night came packaged with a Red Lantern ring, completing my set of rainbow Lantern baubles.  My overall assessment of the rings is highly positive, as each one is shinier and more fun that the last.  My daughter was thrilled to complete HER own set, but it’s nice to have a collectible that, first of all, FITS on my rather chunky fingers, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m a nine-year-old giant nerd.  Though I prefer the version of the Green Lantern ring that looks like an actual lantern, these are a nice piece of ephemera, and even managed to help DC sell a couple of struggling titles (REBELS and Doom Patrol come to mind.)  It’s a win-win, as the rings drove business to the store, we sold out of even the most esoteric of titles, and it was a fun little treasure hunt over the course of the last few months.  I’m going to wear my Red Lantern ring to work, allowing my agents to see when I’m powered entirely by rage…


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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  1. Josh Mayfield
    November 26, 2009 at 12:24 am — Reply

    i just got the chance to read this. Earlier in the day, i flipped through it before work and saw the Batman double page spread and was like, “Well yeah, that was bound to happen.” and didn’t give it a second thought. Then I read it, and I literally said “Holy Carp!” as well when I got to the end.

    I am just utterly delighted at how well this story is working, because when you tell a person not inundated with Lantern Lore about it, they laugh it off or make a Skittles reference. Despite that it’s not only good, it’s VERY good.

    I completed my set of rings today as well, and while my favorite GL ring was the one they distributed with GL: Mosaic back in the 90’s these new ones are exceptionally great, too. I was wondering if we’d get a White Lantern ring with the final issue, but considering the fact that the story may not be as predictable as we first thought, who knows at this point?

  2. November 26, 2009 at 12:56 am — Reply

    I agree that the reversible death thing is a bit of a dissappointment, but one thing to point out is that those characters didn’t have their hearts ripped out. Nekron just commanded them to die. So, possibly the people (heroes, mostly) that had their hearts ripped out will remain dead, and the heroes that were merely commanded to die can reverse back to life.

    I’m glad Animal Man got featured in this issue.

    Your rings aren’t following the spectrum…
    Red and Pink are on opposite sides.
    Black exists outside of the spectrum… so, I just put it on my thumb or pinky.

    • November 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm — Reply

      Hmm… You’re right. For some reason, I was thinking blue-violet-indigo.

  3. James
    November 26, 2009 at 8:52 am — Reply

    Just a odd thought… If Batman is the only one of the trinity that Nekron did not bring back, will he somehow factor in on how the storyline wraps up?

  4. November 26, 2009 at 9:00 am — Reply

    Did the combining of the of the lantern powers look anything like this?


    • Katzedecimal
      November 26, 2009 at 11:49 am — Reply

      They even had the courtesy to make a meta-crack about “I think I saw this in a cartoon once.” Now that’s class.

  5. Katzedecimal
    November 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Blackest Night is doing what Final Crisis only dreamed of: It’s working. #5 sold out at my LCS, much to the disappointment of a fella who’d just discovered that it existed as its own title. Quite a contrast to FC, where our LCS had people cancelling the title (one even asked for a refund, that was funny.)

    This issue’s was definitely a worthy climax. We knew ol’ Brucie’d be involved at some point and it’s fitting that he be the vessel of the Big Bad, considering that, despite what they like to tell us about Superman being the inspiration, it’s more like Batman’s characterisation that’s been driving the tone of the DCU and the behaviour of its heroes, over the last twenty-five years. (the Schadenfreude part of me wishes that Timmy had been there to see it…. :3 ) Sudden ‘All your heroes are belong to us’ switcheroo is sudden and nobody in my circles predicted that one, so speculation around the LCS is making for some animated discussions.

    • ~wyntermute~
      December 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm — Reply

      “Blackest Night is doing what Final Crisis only dreamed of: It’s working.”

      Quoted for _absolute_ (imho) truth. This series got kinda zombie-heavy for a month or two so it’s not perfect either, but at this point I care WAY more about what happens than I did by the same time in FC.

  6. Ricco
    November 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    I keep thinking I should have seen it coming, how can the multicolored Lanterns destroy the BL baterry with emotions, when it has been slowly powered by those same emotions since the begining of Blackest Night! It’s so obvious it was going to fail now that I think about it…

  7. November 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    Waitaminnit: Does Hal destroy Batman? I thought Nekron sent him back to the grave: “Back to rest.”

    One thing I notice about this book: I generally know exactly what’s going on. The only thing I wasn’t sure of here was whether Ray and Mera were being grabbed by Jean or by someone else (it looks like the BL who grabs them has long hair). But I also looked at this week’s Wonder Woman and Cry for Justice, and the artwork in those issues actually confused me: When the heck did Phinea get switched?

    Cry for Justice was much worse: When did Flash show up in the satellite? Where did Freddy go between pages 16 and 22? And Hawkman, for that matter? And is Bill screaming because Kara used her heat vision on him, or is he attacked by someone else?

    And WHAT THE HECK does the cover have to do with the rest of the issue????

  8. Ultraexactzz
    November 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    Did anyone else get a good look at the Indigo oath, printed here for the first time? Notice the name of an old friend from 2814 there? I think Abin sur has more to do with this than we thought.

    • GeorgeWook
      November 28, 2009 at 7:05 am — Reply

      Yeah, in the Green Lantern 48, there’s also a line where Indigo-1 says “We cannot fail my Saviour Abin Sur” – Hal then says “Your Saviour???”, then the story just continues without explaining what she meant by that… my guess is that having seen the blackest night prophesy before his death, Abin Sur somehow founded the indigo corps to help fight the black lanterns – would seem to make sense as they seemed to know what was going on right from the start..

  9. Hardman
    November 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    Yeah, I don’t think Hal destroyed BL Batman… it seemed pretty clear that it was Nekron who put him down because he served his purpose.

    • November 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm — Reply

      Your interpretation makes more sense on second reading. I was seeing Hal in the background of the shot in “shooter’s pose” and was thinking he zapped away the big bad Bat.

      • ~wyntermute~
        December 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm — Reply

        Y’know how they’ve been emphasizing that the animated Black Lanterns “aren’t really [Insert Character]?”, but more like personality-constructs downloaded into a corpse by the ring… So I’m thinking that was “not really Bruce Wayne” that we saw, but instead some kind of ‘spirit of Batman’. ‘Cuz Tim Wayne (nee Drake) knows, as do we all, that Bruce ain’t dead — he’s lost in time! (I’m not even sure how serious to take myself here, so don’t feel bad if you think I’m huffing glue.)

  10. Discount Lad
    November 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm — Reply

    I want to like Blackest Night, but it all feels very paint by numbers and rudimentary. At the end of it, I don’t feel the threat is ever, well, threatening. And with the instance death of the heroes in the last segment, it only reinforces the fact that this book takes the tone of a kind of clean up act than something with an actual story to tell.

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