ROBOT OVERLORD: I long for the day when I can raise an army of the undead to swarm across the Earth and do my bidding.Â Until then, I, your Robot Overlord, must live vicariously through the pages of Geoff Johns Blackest Night. If you think my plans to take over the world are insane, you havenâ€™t spent enough time with Stephen or Matthew.Â Iâ€™ll let them illuminate you in the ways of Nekron and his plans to crack open the shell of The Entity.Â RISE Gentlemen, and commence with the review and commentary!
Previously in Blackest Night:Â THE DEAD LIVE!Â THE DEAD LIVE!Â AIEEE!
STEPHEN: DAMN!Â If you thought the major reveals in previous issues were big, nothing beats the final page (more on that in a bit), but more importantly, readers discover that the Guardians of the Universe have been lying for billions of years. Instead of Oa, Earth is the source of all light in the universe that triggered all existence.Â I love this big reveal, as Johns has now explained away 75 years of alien invasions, and why ever warring army in the universe is drawn to the uncharted backwaters of the Western Spiral Arm of the Milky Way galaxy and to the small blue/green planet called Earth.Â Instead of it being a bump in the intergalactic highway, beings are drawn here by the power.
MATTHEW: That very reveal is one of the moments that I absolutely disliked about this issue, actually.Â There have been literally dozens of stories in the decades of DC that SHOW us the origination of the DC Universe taking place on Oa, including the original Crisis itself.Â Making Earth the bestest and most important smacks again of the use of Barry Allen as the greatest thing since sliced wheels.Â It distracts me from the story, and makes me analyze questions like, “What real difference does this change make?”, “How in the world does keeping this secret help the Guardians,” and most importanly “How self-centered are we humans?”Â Immediately after that, Nekron and Black Hand murder an immortal Guardian of the Universe (on panel, showing that they apparently have guts that glow with the emotional spectrum) and we’re introduced to “The Entity,” a creature might be Gee-Oh-Dee itself.
STEPHEN: Itâ€™s also interesting to see those serious religious connotations with this big reveal.Â Thereâ€™s the implication that first there was Earth, and then everything else.Â Iâ€™m sure the xenophobes and religious zealots on New Earth will use this as future stories play out in the DCU.
MATTHEW: That’s bothersome to me.Â While I freely admit that comic books use theological evils constantly (Marvel alone has eight different “Satan” characters) it bothers me to have both of the Big Two companies roll out characters with the powers of God in the space of the same two months.Â Given how divisive religious elements can be, I question their inclusion here, and hope that the denouement of all this makes sense.
STEPHEN: Iâ€™ve seen some people exclaim that the final White Lantern reveal threw them, as earlier pages of the issue seemed to imply Lex Luthor would gather all the rings and become the White Lantern.Â I donâ€™t know about you, but I saw Sinestro coming from a mile away.Â For years he was prophesied to be the greatest lantern of the all, so now itâ€™s his time to step up to the plate and let the good times role.
MATTHEW: Yeah, that was no surprise to me.Â Speaking of Lex Luthor, thought, his blatant stupidity was a surprise.Â I can’t help but believe that, even under the influence of an alien ring, Lex would maintain some of his intellect.Â I’m also troubled that, after a couple of years of explaining how difficult it is to tap the power rings, that Lex just puts on a Sinestro ring and bursts with power, like the rednecks who stole Hal’s ring back in the day.Â I was also troubled by the sudden appearance of Dove and the Titans in the midst of it all, as they haven’t really addressed the plot points in the main book.Â I’m sure if I read Blackest Night: Titans, all would be clear, but this moment was the first jarring moment of “Wait, what was going on there?” in this crossover.
STEPHEN: I like that Johns is once again bringing back long time story elements into this series, and as weâ€™ve already seen, Brightest Day looks to be a way of wiping clean all the dark and brooding tales from the last twenty years.Â Are you liking that change in direction that looks to bring back the Silver Age of comics?
MATTHEW: I’m skeptical at best.Â Recapturing the Silver Age doesn’t mean bringing back the core characters of 1959 or resurrecting Barry.Â Recapturing the Silver Age would mean a sea change in the nature of comics and the editorial process, a change in the thought processes behind the comics, the kind of change by which the characters themselves might actually suffer.Â There was a lot of ultra-violence, sexism, and nastiness in the Silver Age, too, albeit in a more sanitized form…Â Brightest Day seems to be a vehicle for a specific brand of storytelling, so I’m interested in seeing where it goes, but I think that going entirely bright and shiny would be as problematic as the entire line going grim and gritty.
STEPHEN: Speculation time.Â Geoff Johns came to DC with a great way to bring back Hal Jordan, and his stories show how much he loves the GL Universe.Â While he redeemed Hal, do you think heâ€™s also trying to redeem Sinestro in the eyes of the reader?
MATTHEW: Oh, I’m certain he’s going to try.Â But Geoff has an issue with his “redemption” stories, in that the characters he wants to be noble have a tendency to be mass-murderers and lunatics.Â Sinestro is a cosmic Mussolini, with an absolutist viewpoint and little in the way of redeeming value.Â Sure, he’s interesting, he can be nuanced, but he isn’t a hero, and his crude grasp for power here only underlines that.Â I hope they’re not going to play the Black Adam card again…
STEPHEN: I hear you, I wonder what the Major Spoilerites think of this?
ROBOT OVERLORD: YOU HEARD HIM! MAKE WITH YOUR COMMENTS IN THE SECTON BELOW, MEAT BAGS!
STEPHEN: As nice as these plot points are, I did have a problem following parts of this story.Â Not because the writing was bad, in fact, I would probably argue that everything is spelled out for the reader without confusion.Â However,Â the highly detailed art by Ivan Reis causes causes so much visual overload on the page that I found myself constantly distracted in trying to keep everyone in place in this fast paced issue.
MATTHEW: The coloring was also partly to blame, with super-high contrast and giant light-bright glowy effects that removed a lot of the color cues that are necessary to figure out who is whom in comic shorthand.
STEPHEN: Actually I love the coloring – especially on the page when The Entity rises, that has everyone but Black Hand bathed in light – are rendered out in a way that is almost blinding.
MATTHEW: Well, as someone once said, mileage does vary.
STEPHEN: I wonder who said that?Â Toyota, Ford?Â Anyway…
I still unsure whatâ€™s going to happen in this series beyond the fact that the good guys will win and the Brightest Day will follow the Blackest Night. Iâ€™m really curious how non-Lanterns will react once their time on the various Lantern teams is over.Â Will they be deeply changed, or will things return to the status quo?Â Will Wonder Woman look at humanity any differently?Â Will Scarecrow snap, wanting to get his fear powers back?Â And what about Lex, who finally admits he wants to be Superman? Those are the moments that are yet to be told, and need to be told. If we donâ€™t get those stories at some point in the next couple of months, Iâ€™ll be really disappointed.Â Characters need to have a cathartic moment if they are to grow, and if characters donâ€™t grow and change this entire series (and all the tie-ins) are worthless.Â This is arguably the biggest event in DC history, and if only some people come out with slight changes, then Iâ€™ll be even more concerned about the direction the company is taking.
MATTHEW: This issue had a couple of missteps for me, actually.Â The Lanterns bursting into Earth’s atmosphere as the cavalry was very reminiscent of scenes in both Final Crisis AND Infinite Crisis, and the space cowboys rushing in and saving the day is getting old.Â The character moments are much more lacking here (though we get one for Air Wave, oddly enough, as well as Luthor and Scarecrow) than in previous issues, and Nekron doesn’t get much in the way of development.Â Kilowog somehow manages to overcome the weakness of the green rings against Black Lanterns, and even *I* was a little offput by the sheer number of characters on the stage.Â I felt like I was going to be trampled by heroes like a kid at a Who concert, circa 1979…
STEPHEN: I enjoyed this issue, even if the ending was a tad anti-climactic.Â The story was well paced, and the swerves and reveals fell in just the right spots.Â Itâ€™s not an issue that Iâ€™ll be spending weeks pouring over again and again to try and see if there is some hidden message to be revealed, but it is an enjoyable read. Those who have been following the series thus far should probably pick it up.Â Iâ€™m giving this issue 3.5 out of 5 Stars.
MATTHEW: Sadly, this issue is the least effective (to me, anyway) and the least interesting to date.Â Taking the focus away from the human characters and focusing mostly on a dialogue between an alien death-god and an immortal Smurf with rainbow innards bothers me, and the revelation that Earth is the center of the universe makes Galileo weep, I’m sure.Â All the Lantern Corps (what IS the plural of Corps, anyway?) joining together is done in an entirely straight-forward panel of dialogue, and is a bit ‘on the nose’ for me.Â I’ve always felt that Geoff Johns strength is in setting up these plots and situations, but as the dominoes started to fall here, I just felt that there were fewer and fewer good ways for this to go.Â When the giant zombie started hitting God with his scythe, making the entire universe cry, it really disconcerted me.Â When the last man I’d ever want to have absolute power actually obtained it, it was more than an anticlimax.Â At that moment, I officially became ready for the big crossover to end…Â Blackest Night #7 earns 2 out of 5 stars overall from Matthew, with the hope that the last issue makes this storytelling lull worth the time.