Or – “By Your Powers Combined…”

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So, millions of dead folks have arisen, and the heroes of all galaxies have been driven to the edge of destruction trying to fight off their own dead…   The bearers of light have a big task ahead of them, especially given their own internal antipathy, and Nekron’s masterstroke at the climax of last issue.  Who’s walking away alive?  I can’t say as I’m willing to bet on anybody (but then, half the characters are dead already, so I’ve got better odds than many of my predictions.)

Blackest Night #6

Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Joe Prado  BN2.jpg

 

 Previously, on Blackest Night: 

This is the  true story… 
Of seven strangers… 
Picked to embody the emotional spectrum… 
And have their lives turned into a giant crossover… 
To find out what happens… 
When people STOP being polite… 
And start being DEAD. 

The Real World:  OA!

When last we saw our heroes, Nekron, the evil lord host of the hoary neitherworld, had revealed the final stage of his horrific plan: the use of the resurrected members of the DCU (Green Arrow, Superman, Impulse, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Donna Troy, Ice, and more) as his lifeline back into the corporeal world.  Worse still, he has managed to possess each of these formerly dead individuals the same way he was able to possess currently dead folks in previous issues, causing them to become soldiers in his Black Lantern army.  Hal Jordan and the Rainbow Coalition start out confused, but go from zero to “gonna die” in mere seconds, and Sinestro immediately wants to invoke deadly force.  Hal Jordan refuses to believe that his friends are past saving, but is distracted by a black ring trying to convert HIM after his own recent return from beyond.  Thankfully, Barry Allen is back on his game, grabbing Hal and telling him to hang on.  “[The Black Lantern rings] ‘re fast,” says Hal.  “I noticed that too,” says Barry.  “But I’m FASTER.”  Mr. Allen proceeds to have a badass moment unlike any since he blew up the antimatter cannon in 86, accelerating so fast that he jumps into his own future, causing the rings to lose their connection to him and Hal.  Hal and Barry ask themselves the million-dollar question:  If they stop Nekron, do their friends actually die?  And moreover, will their OWN resurrections be negated by defeating the lord of the dead?

Deep inside a Black Lantern ring, the odd couple of the Atom and Mera are still in the clutches of Black Lantern Jean Loring/Eclipso, when her body is suddenly possessed by an old friend.  Deadman reveals that he has discovered a crucial secret of the BLC:  They’re all on the same heading, under the same orders.  EVERY BLACK LANTERN IN THE UNIVERSE IS HEADED FOR EARTH.  Mera has a badass moment of her own, ripping Jean to shreds before she and Atom escape back into the macroverse, just in time to find more Black Lanterns than ever before.  Black Lantern Wonder Woman tries to kill them, but Mera goes toe to toe with her (and does anybody else smell a little rub here?  Who else is onboard for Mera headlining an “Aquawoman” series in 2010?) replying to the question of whether she can stand against Wonder Woman by snarling, “I always wanted to FIND OUT.”  Who knew Mera was hardcore?  The Rainbow Coalition regroups, just in time for Ganthet to arrive, and drop the last bit of important knowledge.  He reaches out, causing Hal Jordan’s ring to spawn a new Green Lantern band.  “I am Ganthet of Oa,” he says.  “I welcome myself to the Green Lantern Corps!”  Ha!  I love this moment.  He then causes the other six rings to spawn as well, and the bands seek out new Lanterns for each Corps.  The ring of Hope finds it’s savior in Barry Allen.  The ring of fear:  Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow.  The ring of Avarice finds LEX FRICKIN’ LUTHOR.  The band of compassion finds Ray Palmer, The Atom.  The band of rage alights on Mera.  And the ring of love tries more than once to get it’s bearer, but she already has a ring.  Star Sapphire worrries that she won’t be able to break free of the Black Lantern influence, but Barry Allen knows his old friend better.  “Diana Prince of Earth,” the ring announces.  “Welcome to the Star Sapphires.”  Seven new Lanterns leap into action as we fade to black…

This series has yet to disappoint me, though I’m once again surprised at the outcome.  I expected this issue to be more about the faux-dead, but instead, it became about hope and how to counter the Black Lantern Corps.  Turns out that the theory of rainbow power Captain-Planet-style is sound, they just don’t have enough light-bringers yet.  It’s interesting how this book is most fascinating when dealing with characters who don’t always get first-tier adoration and love: Ray Palmer, Mera, John Stewart and even Deadman have key roles here.  I’m liking where this issue leaves us, with our first glimpse of hope, and the choices for ring-bearers make perfect sense, especially Saint Barry joining Saint Walker in the Blue Lantern Corps.  (Maybe they should call him Saint Runner?)  Geoff Johns gives us new sides of characters we’ve been able to read about for decades without undermining their essence, and Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert deliver on the art side, with a neat “Sword of The Atom” looking Ray Palmer-as-Indigo Lantern design, and heavy-duty fight sequences that maintain subtleties like facial expressions and proper anatomy.  We’re still in summer blockbuster territory, but I’m still loving what is going on here, even as some of the crossovers start to weary me.  The issue ends with the covers of all seven of the “resurrected series” issues due next month, showing some interesting glimpses of what is to come, as Blackest Night #6 continues it’s streak, delivering 5 out of 5 stars overall, sheer entertainment that reminds me what brought me into comics in the first place:  A sense of wonder, and a genuine surprise here and there (regardless of nasty piratey downloaders.)

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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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19 Comments

  1. brenton8090
    December 31, 2009 at 7:30 am — Reply

    You’ve got incoming!

    What a page! Best two-page spread I’ve seen in a while. The entire planet of Xanshi about to attack Earth. I was floored by this issue. Awwwwwesome.

  2. Navarre
    December 31, 2009 at 8:34 am — Reply

    I have yet to read any of this event other than the Blackest Night: Titans issues. From reading the above, it sounds like a solidly written, epic, and fun-to-read event where the heroes are heroes in grand style, saving the universe as such heroes often do.

    Good review.

  3. TaZ
    December 31, 2009 at 8:48 am — Reply

    Thank goodness for an “epic” storyline that actually fits the description. Lex Luthor as an Orange Lantern should have been obvious to me but it apparently surprised me as much as it apparently did Matt. Perhaps this is DC finally heading back to what sets it apart as a “universe” from Marvel which is the classic concept of “hero”.

  4. Greg A
    December 31, 2009 at 9:02 am — Reply

    Aristotle and Ptolemy were correct, the Earth (at least the DCU version of earth) is the center of the universe. Given the number of universal (and multiversal) threats that seem to originate in some fashion from earth, I’m surprised the other great powers of DCU haven’t quarantined the heck out of earth.

    No wonder Green Lanterns weren’t allowed on earth during the 30th century, I’m sure the Guardians were afraid of setting off another Millenium Legend of the Countdown to the Final Infinite Crisis War on the Blackest Night.

    • December 31, 2009 at 1:01 pm — Reply

      Likewise, the USA is the center of the universe. I doubt the legion of incoming Black Lanterns is going to be scattering themselves evenly around the world… :/

  5. websnap
    December 31, 2009 at 9:34 am — Reply

    The one that both shocked me and was a no-brainer was the scarecrow to the Sinestro corps. That was such an “how did I not think of this before” moment. That alone would need bruce to come back.

    • Ricco
      December 31, 2009 at 12:20 pm — Reply

      At one point before the Sinestro Corps War, Crane was almost recruted into the Sinestro Corps after Batman was rejected for having had contact with a GL ring. John Stewart stoppped it from reaching him if I remember well.

  6. Brother129
    December 31, 2009 at 10:47 am — Reply

    Can someone please answer the question for me: If Bruce Wayne is trapped in time somewhere, how is that his dead body is being used in this Blackest Night story? Am I being obtuse?

    • Ricco
      December 31, 2009 at 12:26 pm — Reply

      Mutiple answers exist on the subject:
      it’s another Bruce Wayne/Batman from one of the other Earths in the 52, it’s his body since he must have died of old age at some point in the past, it’s really his body the Omega Beam forced him to be reborn in the past at random moment in time…

      • Brother129
        January 1, 2010 at 8:15 am — Reply

        Thanks Ricco…..gotta love the multiple answers!

    • January 2, 2010 at 11:27 am — Reply

      Can someone please answer the question for me: If Bruce Wayne is trapped in time somewhere, how is that his dead body is being used in this Blackest Night story? Am I being obtuse?

      See the thing here is, it doesn’t matter if that even WAS Bruce Wayne. What the presence of Black Lantern Batman, be he genuine or forgery, did was allow the emotional seed to trigger the other resurrected heroes. In fact, I suspect that the brevity of his appearance was entirely due to his “resurrection” being a sham.

  7. December 31, 2009 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    As someone who doesn’t follow the GL series, I wondered how often the “self-duplicating” ring feature has been shown before. I can’t tell if the idea that all the rings are built on Oan technology is a weak plot move, or something that’s been established in the mythology. Awfully convenient, Ganthet!

    • Ricco
      December 31, 2009 at 2:52 pm — Reply

      At least once in recent history has a Lantern made a copy from his own ring, Natu’s partener’s brother was given one by Guy(I think it was Guy, could be wrong).

      P.S.- please no Spaceballs joke…

    • Greg A
      December 31, 2009 at 4:08 pm — Reply

      I seem to recall an instance in which Hal made a working duplicate of his ring. Couldn’t tell you if it was from a Silver Age or modern Green Lantern story.

    • January 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm — Reply

      The pre-Kyle rings could self-duplicate. As a part of GL: Rebirth, Green Arrow said he was given a duplicate from Hal, and during the point where Jade was the Green Lantern of Earth, her ring was a duplicate of Hal’s given to her by Kyle after a duplicate was given to him by a young Hal after assisting him in temporarily defeating Parallax.

      I love time paradoxes.

    • January 2, 2010 at 11:36 am — Reply

      As someone who doesn’t follow the GL series, I wondered how often the “self-duplicating” ring feature has been shown before. I can’t tell if the idea that all the rings are built on Oan technology is a weak plot move, or something that’s been established in the mythology. Awfully convenient, Ganthet!

      It’s not a new feature. Kyle’s ring becoming able to replicate was a plot point during his run (Issue 105/106) of Green Lantern, and John Stewart got his own power ring via the duplication feature after Hal returned to the Corps waaaay back in Green Lantern V.2 #200 or thereabouts. Indeed, it’s a pretty clever return to an old-school trick that was removed during Crisis On Infinite Earths back in the day.

      • January 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm — Reply

        Thanks all. I’m happy to see that this plot device was, um, resurrected from the mythology and not a new innovation.

        At the same time, I bet when it was first introduced, someone complained that it was a too-convenient plot device. Isn’t it strange how these innovations become canon once other people affirm them?

        Ah the joys of narrative…..

      • Carl
        January 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm — Reply

        Actually, John received the ring of Tomar Re and Hal got his old one at the end of the Crisis.

  8. morpheus
    January 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm — Reply

    As someone that hasn’t gotten the shock factor that was intended or the emotional toll that others reading this series have gotten. I have to say this issue turned that all around. I am not a historian of the DCU and I really only know the major characters. But, this issue was so well written that before I realized it I was shouting “Oh Yeah!”. The new rainbow corps has me excited for the next issue (which is way too far away). I agree with the 5 out of 5 stars.

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