In our last episode, Troy harnessed the power of hope to make all of the comments positive. Then he found out that wasn't actually a blue power ring, it was a fruit loop. We also missed a stealth tie-in which we're adding in here before we get to this week's three all-new official Blackest Night installments. So slap on your black power ring, hunger for flesh, and get your reading on. Oh, and in case you're new to the column, SPOILERS AHOY
Tiny Titans #18: Aw Yeah, Zombies! As said in the intro, this is a stealth tie-in, as there's no mention of Blackest Night, zombies, or black lanterns on the cover at all. In what is sure to be an essential plot point, (not-so-Killer) Kroc throws a bowling ball that bounces over Janitor Darkseid's head and smashes the light bulb. Robin notes that the lack of light has turned it "into one of the Blackest Nights!" and searches for a lantern to brighten things up. Unfortunately, no green ones can be found, though Darkseid did have orange, red, yellow, and indigo ones in his tool box. Let the speculation begin!
Green Lantern Corps #39: The issue begins with Guy and Kyle recapping how they spent "Tribute Day," the day of remembrance for fallen heroes on Earth as they fly back to Oa. Kyle mentions visiting Jade's cemetery statue (hint: FORESHADOWING). He also reveals that Jennie Lynn-Hayden is the real true love that the Star Sapphire revealed to him (hint: MORE FORESHADOWING), not his current paramour Soranik Natu. The two Earthers meet up with Natu and Iolande, another female GL, and they are quickly and suddenly bombarded by black power rings. One that hits Soranik apparently turns her into a bobble head, while another takes out Guy with "one punch."
We cut over to Daxam, where we see. OOO, Batman: Arkham Asylum ad reminding you to get the strategy guide. Man, that game looks sweet. Anyway, on Daxam, where all the residents now have Superman style powers due to Sodam Yat's sun-conversion-sacrifice, Arisia is trying to help them rebuild after being a primary reason they survived the Sinestro Corps attack in the first place. The xenophobic Daxamites aren't having it though, and kick the "alien scum" off their planet.
Kryb is still the scariest Sinestro Corps member, and is telepathically communicating with her children, whom she regularly feeds babies to or something. I'm convinced she was just shown (on Zamaron being converted to a Star Sapphire) to freak me, personally, out. Thanks a lot, Pete Tomasi.
Mongul officially renames the yellow lanterns the "Mongul Corps" after enslaving Sinestro and Soranik Natu's home planet of Korugar.
We're back at Oa, where the four GLs get completely punked again by the hundreds of black rings. No one in the Corps can do anything to stop them, as they move to The Crypt of the Green Lantern Corps. You know, all these mass graves our heroes of the DCU keep around are really just asking for this kind of trouble.
The buzzing black rings go up against Darth Morro the Cryptkeeper, and his pointy hammer thingy is as useless against them as the green rings have been. Katma Tui of Korugar (man, that's a troublesome planet), Jack Chance of Garnet, and Tomar-Re, the bird-fish of Xandor, are among the newly-risen lanterns.
A black lantern sees the Rage in Guy, and the strength of Will in Kyle and Kilowog, and we find out that ALL of the deceased green lanterns have come back to "life" as damn dirty zombies. Finally, the big reveal, in a move no one saw coming (unless they've read a panel report, interview, or, ya know, the first couple pages of this book), JADE is one of the revived Lanterns, and she wants to eat Kyle's heart!
Blackest Night #2: We open on The Stonechat Museum of St. Roch, site of last issue’s ambush of the Hawks by Black Lantern Ralph and Sue. An antique phone rings . . . it’s Ray Palmer, The Atom, calling to reconnect with Hawkman. If you recall, Hawkman hung up on him after Ray asked his buddy to accompany him to visit the grave of his crazy super-villain ex-wife.
Unbeknownst to Ray, Dead Carter picks up the phone. Ray spends two panels pouring his heart out his pal, and believes that he’s earned an invitation to talk. The funny thing here is that Ray’s speech sounds exactly like the kind of thing that would have made Living Carter hang up again. Seriously, can’t you picture Hawkman hearing that and responding, “God, Ray, you’re such a pussy. I killed French Aristocrats during The Terror with more man-parts than you. Later, Nancy.” CLICK. That’s how you know that Ray is a scientist and not a detective; he says, “I’ll be right there.”
Meanwhile, in Gotham, James Gordon seeks solace in coffee, a chat with his daughter, and the world’s biggest nightlight. While it’s a bit obscure, it does seem that we’re being told that yes, Gordon knows Barbara was Batgirl. Barbara, who apparently really, really likes motivational posters, tries to cheer up dear old dad when . . . crash . . . Hal Jordan lands on the bat-signal. Ouch.
At Amnesty Bay, Mera, Tempest, and some Atlantean Redshirts come to collect Aquaman’s remains to move them to a vault in Atlantis so that Tempest’s approval ratings will go up. They discover, of course, that Aquaman has risen, and he doesn’t need a beard and a harpoon hand to be good and pissed. He views the redshirts in Emotional Spectrovision (they felt . . . fear? Well no kidding; their dead monarch is standing in front of them in a state of zombification). BL Aquaman rips the heart from one Atlantean, and the Black Lantern power meter goes to 2.63%; hmmmm.
In a different part of Gotham City, Deadman can hear the oath of the Black Lanterns as the dead rise across the universe. In a bit we’ll follow up with in Blackest Night: Batman, the body of Boston Brand rises. This does NOT affect Deadman directly, a notion which seems to indicate that while bodies are rising with some echo of personality, they may NOT be rising with the souls of the beings intact. We’ll have to watch for that.
In another cemetery near Georgetown University in Washington D.C., the black rings come to recruit former Teen Titans and crossover casualties Hawk and Dove. Dove, COIE, Class of ’86, actually doesn’t rise; the black ring tries, but is apparently rejected as it reports “Don Hall of Earth at Peace.” Hawk, Zero Hour, Class of ’94, does indeed rise. This bit also makes me wonder if the emotional state of the character at the time of their death has anything to do with how they rise. Don Hall, Dove, died saving a child; it’s probably the way that he would have preferred to go out. J’onn, Arthur, Ronnie, Ralph, Sue, the list goes on . . . none of them went in any magnificent, universe-saving fashion. Ironically, Hal and Barry did, and they’re back back. That’s another thing to watch for.
Back at Amnesty Bay, Mera’s not taking Dead Arthur lightly. Garth/Tempest, on the other hand, has Rayneresque problems as the late Dolphin and Tula (Aquagirl) come for him. And then, Aquaman does what stand-up comedians always remember him for . . .he talks to fish. Enter sharks, exit Atlantean redshirts.
The graveyards are hoppin’ tonight, kids! Now it’s party time at the grave of Boston Brand, and the Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, Zatanna, and Blue Devil are invited. Not invited? Black Lantern Pariah! But here he is anyway, and he bursts into a new spray of black rings. From afar, Black Hand then drops what’s probably a crucial set of clues as he bids Crispus Allen, the mortal host of the Spectre, to rise. Black Hand notes that Spectre is “ineffectual against my Lord’s power.” Before we get to ponder that overmuch, a giant BL Spectre emerges, and he proclaims, “I want Hal Jordan back!” That’s right; he is officially now the tallest member of H.E.A.T. Ron Marz? Hide NOW.
At the bat-signal in Gotham City, Hal Jordan wakes up and must focus on . . . Barbara. Seriously, does Hal EVER give it a rest? He’s had to make that “lasting more than four hours” call before, hasn’t he? As Hal plans to borrow Gordon’s car (just so he can destroy it; I guess even space cops hate Earth cops), Barry keeps BL J’onn busy.
The Amnesty Bay battle goes south quickly. As Mera learns that beheading doesn’t necessarily work, Aquagirl rips out Tempest’s heart. The Black Meter now reads 3.43%, an increase of .8% since the last time we saw it. Does that mean that the Black Lanterns need 125 total hearts to get to 100%? And when they hit 100%, then what? At any rate, Mera gets away, even as Aquaman calls after her that they could have their son (the late Arthur Jr.) back. I wonder if there was a line drawn about Black Lantern zombie infants; clearly, our own J. Caleb Mozzocco was rooting for this.
Back at the J’onn/Barry battle, Barry runs faster than J’onn can read his mind and completes a set-up for Hal. Hal drops Gordon’s police cruiser onto Barry’s flammable chemicals, and BOOM! Zombie Martian Barbecue. Or so they think. As Hal and Barry run down what they know so far, the BL JLA appears (J’onn, the Hawks, Ralph and Sue, Ronnie) .
Obviously, a lot was going on here, in particular some clue-dropping. Our own Russ Burlingame has been looking at possibilities for the big Blackest Night mastermind over in our Blog@Newsarama, and he has some good theories. At this point, I find myself wondering about Psycho-Pirate. He was slave to the Anti-Monitor (now inside the Black Lantern battery), and he’s all about emotion; yes, Black Adam killed him in Infinite Crisis, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not involved at some level. Not the “big bad” (the cat’s out of the bag on that elsewhere), but maybe a “level boss” somewhere?
Regardless, some events from #2 go directly to . . .
Blackest Night: Batman #1: Batman and Robin (Dick and Damien, now) follow up the earlier report about Wayne gravesite desecration and decide to move the corpses of Thomas and Martha. We then key to a version of the Deadman scene from above, only now we see that Deadman tries to enter and possess his risen form. That doesn’t work out, though he does catch of glimpse of the bigger “BN” picture. Not able to handle the pain of being in his BL self, Deadman hops out to go to someone that he knows he can count on: Batman.
Above Gotham, a cargo plane happens to be loaded with the corpses of Batman and Nightwing villains. Apparently, it’s part of a government program to get as many dead bad guys under the Hall of Justice as possible (Cash for Corpses, perhaps? Close for Cadavers?). Unfortunately for all concerned, a swarm of black rings rips through the plane, and Black Lanterns arise. Among the risen are Magpie, KGBeast, the Trigger Twins, Blockbuster, and the original Ventriloquist (making a ring-construct Scarface dummy, no less).
Meanwhile, in the Batmobile, Dick attempts to engage Damian in real conversation while Damian throws up his tough-kid act. This moment of bonding is interrupted by Deadman jumping in Batman’s body. Naturally, Deadman is freaked out that Batman’s isn’t Bruce, and Damian is twice as freaked out. They manage to wreck the Batmobile, then Deadman jumps inside Damian so that he can talk to Dick.
As good guys living and dead compare notes, more black rings arrive. The lucky winners? The parents of Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. This makes me wonder why Thomas and Martha wouldn’t have risen, too, unless that just hasn’t happened yet. Certainly, if I were the Blackest Night Big Bad, I’d want to make my super-powered servants rise first, then get to, y’know, aerialists.
Figuring that things are going this way by the empty graves, Batman calls Red Robin in Europe and asks him to hustle home. Robin asserts that this is a good idea, as the cracked image of the bat-signal in the sky has bodies on it. Question: was that Hal and shadows caused by multiple light sources, or is that other bodies on the signal?
Why is it important that the Black Lanterns analyze the emotions of others?
What’s the significance of the Black Power Meter?
Why would any woman ever, EVER, EVER touch Kyle Rayner?
Where’s Ray Palmer?
Why were Night Girl and Shadow Lass incorrectly identified as one another in Adventure Comics #1? Okay, off-topic, but that came out this week and they’re, like, shadowy and nighty and stuff.Seriously, how does Kyle Rayner keep getting women? Seriously!