Following on from John’s misadventures on Xanshi, its straight back to Earth where Nekron’s true threat had been revealed, and black rings had claimed a variety of resurrected heroes and were targetting in on Barry and Hal.
I must admit, I really loved the way Johns dealt with the cliffhanger here. I’ve gone on about Johns writing of the Flash a lot here, and this is no exception with the neat little timejump trick in order to sever the rings connections.
The rest of the issue rattles along quite quickly. Atom and Mera escape via Wonder Women’s ring (with the hint that her ring is glitching in some way), and then the Corps reform their plan, realising that one member from each Corps is not enough to truely recreate the white light, and they need everyone to head to Earth. In the meantime others can be temporarily deputised, which leads to the fan-service everyone’s been waiting for, and various DCU characters being inducted into the various Corps. Some work well and are logical (Barry as Hope I can see, Scarecrow as a Sinestro Corps member is a no-brainer and Lex Luthor being an Orange Lantern is a great moment). Some however I felt were a little forced, specifically Mera and Wonder Woman. Mera’s rage hadn’t really been teased much throughout the series until this issue (although Lord knows she got a lot to be angry about), and Wonder Woman I just thought would be a better fit for compassion than love. The rest of the recruitments were well done I thought, but these two just seemed a little forced to me.
In fairness however, I’m not picking up the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman series and I know it expands on their conflict quite a bit, and I believe Aphrodite is involved with Wonder Woman’s recruitment. Of course, at the time of recruitment, Diana is still a Black Lantern, so the Sapphire ring overcomes the Black Ring. I thought this played well off of what happened with Kyle over in Green Lantern Corps, where again, we saw the Star Sapphire power being used to overcome death. Given the tight links between the series, I can only assume this was a bit of deliberate foreshadowing to introduce that aspect of the violet light.
Largely this issue is a setup issue in terms of the new Corps members, so I thought it came across feeling a little light compared to some of the other issues in this series, but it now puts the Blackest Night event in an interesting place. With January being a skip month, making way for all the one-shot resurrected books, we’re going to see Indigo Lantern Atom turning up in the Atom/Hawkman book for example. I imagine the BN: Wonder Woman and Flash series’ third issues will also address their temporary status quo and show them dealing with their new powers. In Barry’s case this should be interesting indeed, given we’ve seen the level of Hope required to properly wield the ring before, and Barry doesn’t strike me as quite the same type as Saint Walker. I wonder if it’ll be shown as significant how the Blue Lanterns have tended to recruit manually rather than rely on the automated system.
And now I think about it, we know the violet rings come with a corrupting influence that up until now Carol’s been the only one resistant to. I wonder if they’ll address this point with Wonder Woman as well.
Another good issue in the series, and I’m very intrigued to see what happens with the promise of all the Corps descending on Earth. That promises to make for a very dramatic finale. I also have to wonder if needing all the Corps also points to the rumoured “White Lantern” solution not being involved afterall.