Blackest Night #1

Blackest Night #1After two years of buildup, Blackest Night has finally arrived.

As Ganthet predicted during the Sinestro Corps War, the other Corps have risen and the War of Light is now in full swing, with the Alpha Lanterns attacking the Red Lanterns on Ysmault, Ganthet’s own Blue Lanterns under seige from Larfleeze and the Orange Lanterns, and the Green Lanterns and Star Saphires fighting the Sinestro Corps on various fronts.  But now, the Black Lanterns are rising.

This is an exceptional first issue.  After two years of hype, and a PR blitz by DC over the last few months with previews, action figures and interviews, it would’ve been so easy for this issue to disappoint even if it had been good.  But it doesn’t.  Not by a long shot.  This is Geoff Johns finally being able to tell the story he’s been building to.   Unlike Final Crisis there’s no slow buildup here.  We’ve had the buildup, and now its straight into the main event as the black rings seek out various prominent characters from across the DCU.

There’s real horror in the reveal of the Black Lanterns who are rising, especially on Oa where the entire crypt of deceased Green Lanterns is brought back to confront the GLs.  Line of the issue has to be Guy’s “What the #@$%?”.

Ivan Reis is at the top of his game here as well.  He’s always been my favourite Green Lantern artist, but here he takes things to another level.  He’s dealing with some fairly horrific visuals which are apart from the space opera stuff we’ve usually seen him do, and he handles it beautifully.  There’s various splash pages throughout that just caused me to stop and actually look at the detail, and appreciate them fully, be it Hal showing Barry images of all the heroes who’ve died while he was gone, the Black Lantern reveal on Oa, or the reveal of Ralph and Sue as Black Lanterns.  Its astounding work.

And having mentioned Barry, here Ivan reinforces something I felt while reading the Blackest Night #0 preview, that Ivan draws one of the best interpretations of Barry I’ve seen.  He really captures the feel of speed in the character in a way I don’t think any other artist has done for me.  I just love it.

One of my big worries was when Blackest Night got moved from being a Green Lantern event to a DCU-wide event.  With it being the third part in Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern trilogy, and with all the build up to the War of Light being very Green Lantern-centric, I was really worried that this would prove to be a poor pay off to the dangling Green Lantern plot threads.  I needn’t have worried though, as Geoff manages to do a sterling job of making this feel like the natural continuation of the Green Lantern storylines while interweaving the larger DC universe.  He features the Green Lanterns, while also paying attention to other characters throughout the DCU, and it all gells together wonderfully.   My only worry would really be that anyone not following Green Lantern for a while may get a bit lost by some of what’s going on.

This was a cracking start to DC’s big summer event.  This felt like it had all the impact of Secret Invasion #1 and there promises to be a lot of good stuff to come.  Roll on the next issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps.

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