Damn Dirty Zombies 4
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Hello there, I'm Kal-El, last son of Krypton. This is Krypto, my fearless friend. One day, fabulous powers were revealed to me when I crash landed on a planet with a yellow sun and said, "Where the heck am I?" I became SUPERMAN, the most powerful man in the universe!
Then I found out there was another me from another Earth and another Krypton who was bigger, faster, and stronger. He went a little nutso for awhile, but came to his senses and died heroically with me fighting alongside this older counterpart. I'm going to be very busy being fearful, hopeful, willful, loving, and enraged (avarice and compassion can shove it), so Troy and Lucas here are going to take over now and fill you in on what happened in the last two weeks of DC's big event, Blackest Night. Spoilers are on, so if you haven't read the issues in question, you've been warned.
Blackest Night: Superman #1: It's the big day of Memorial, Heroes Day, that Blackest Night (or Damn Dirty Zombies) readers should be plenty familiar with by now. If you hadn't already seen the action figure, the early designs, countless interviews, implications, and panels at conventions, then the cover and the first page should tell you right off just how big this baddie is. That's right, Kal-L, Superman of the OG Earth 2 is zombified. It's interesting that when he rises, the Black Ring properly identifies him as Kal-L of Earth 2, showing that the black has an understanding of the multiverse.
We cut to a quick look at supporting cast members, with Pete Ross, former President of the United States (where are his Secret Service Agents?) hanging outside the Smallville General Store. He and two others catch just a short glimpse of the risen Kal-L, but not enough to make any identification. BL Kal-L goes on a bit of a rampage through Smallville, striking obvious fear in all who see him; just before they are brutally murdered.
After gaining a few ticks on the 'ole Power Ring, BLKL heads to the Kent farm, where Clark, Conner, Ma, and Krypto are happily dining away. Clark and Conner immediately know something's up, and their first view of BLKL is fearful. He's dub out Pa Kent's coffin. An yes, this ridiculously powerful Kryptonian wearing a power ring used a shovel and dug. Why would he use the power ring or raw strength when there's a perfectly good shovel?
Here's where things get interesting. The fight starts, and Kal-L instantly identifies Conner as someone who had been dead, telling him to "Be one of us AGAIN!" His ring then recognizes both Fear and Will in Conner at the same time. After this attack begins on Kon, Kal-El goes after Zombie Supes, and here we see Fear, Will, Rage, Hope, and Love all in Superman at one time. It's interesting to note that not only can these characters have equal levels of nearly all the emotions of the spectrum, but that the black ring can identify them all.
Unfortunately, we soon find out Kal-L isn't the only Earth 2'er who has risen, when Krypto gets punked hard back at the homestead, and Zombie Earth-2 Lois comes waltzing in, instilling fear into poor Ma.
Back to the Super-fight, some words are exchanged, with BLKL disparaging Conner as a "creature," and HOLY CRAP, SUPERMAN JUST PUNCHED HIS FACE OFF! Uh oh, he's all T-1000 on us and regrows it, then throws Conner down back towards Earth. Superman's Fear and Love for Conner shows, and he catches him mid-freefall, losing BLKL in the process.
Another brief cutaway shows Kara and Alura, her mother, on New Krypton visiting Zor-El's grave. Interestingly again, the black ring identifies him as "Zor-El of New Krypton" before going all Altered Beast and telling him to rise from his grave.
Finally, the coda sees Kal-El and Kon-El finding Krypto in the ruins of the farmhouse, just barely alive, with Ma nowhere to be found. They rush to Smallville and realize there's no sound other than Ma's heartbeat in the entire town. Clark, full of Will, and Conner, full of Rage, face down zombie Lois and Kal-L, who have Ma hostage, promising to reunite her with the deceased Pa Kent.
Green Lantern #45: Things get moving quickly as we pick back up with John Stewart in Xanshi space. As Black Lantern Pariah looks on, spouting taglines, the remains of the planet and the swarm of black rings coalesces into . . . Mogo’s Black Lantern opposite. Y’know, that makes three Corps with planets that are members (Mogo, the Sinestro Corps’ Ranx, and now BL Xanshi). The other Corps need to step it up, though I’ll concede to the Reds that it’s probably hard to construct your planet with napalm vomit.
We then shift to the Star Sapphires, as the Sinestro Corps is attacking them with the intent of liberating their fellows from the Sapphires’ “Conversion Chrysalis.” Sapphire Carol Ferris then drops a micro-bombshell: when thinking about the “great couples”, she knows that Clark and Lois are “Clark and Lois” and all that entails. What the frell? Since when? Even if we assume that Carol knew back in the day, I seem to recall a couple of stories that dealt heavily with the SSV being mind-wiped. I want a ruling on this one.
Also, I’m very curious about the two souls from Earth (I’m guessing they’re Rose and Bernard). I’ve also gotta say that I love the captions that appear when a Sapphire is in danger: “Love is in jeopardy”; when I see that, my brain fills in “ . . . baby! Ooooh-ooooh-ooh-ooh!” Yes, you got a Greg Kihn reference; don’t push me, or I’ll work in Climie Fisher.
Actually, Carol Ferris IS in jeopardy, because Sinestro has arrived. As Sinestro makes fun of Carol’s complicated continuity, he begins freeing the imprisoned members of his corps. (Wow, the last part of that sentence sounds vaguely pornish.) Sinestro then reveals his true power: exposition.
Over on Ysmault, which is giving being a Red Lantern planet the college try, the GLs that are trying to take Laira back to Oa for burial (oops) are actually putting quite the hurting on the soldiers of Atrocitus. This is largely due to Alpha Lantern Boodika, who is indiscriminately blasting Red Lanterns through the head. As Atrocitus attempts to turn the tide, the black rings begin to arrive. That little wrinkle means that a) Boodika just made several big mistakes, and b) that burial isn’t going to be quite so urgent.
Back with the Yellow vs. Violet, we also see that the Sapphires’ rings call out “Scan for Lost Love Initiated”. Yes; the Star Sapphires are powered by one giant Personals column. Sinestro’s duking it out with Carol, and it’s actually a bit funny; Carol may be a Love Lantern, but listen to how Sinestro goes on about Hal! Sinestro is the Man-Crush Lantern. Carol briefly turns the tables on him by forcing him into a flashback to the love of his life, Arin; turns out she was Abin Sur’s sister. I’m not sure if we knew that, but it seemed new to me. Obviously, this enrages Sinestro, but, like Eric Caryle’s Grumpy Ladybug, he spits invective and prepares to leave. As a couple of Yellows grab Carol, former Sinestro and GL Corps Black Lanterns arrive, letting on that the rest of the Sinestro Corps are under attack by Black Lantern Weaponers of Qward at their own base.
On Odym (home of the Blue Lanterns), the black rings begin to circle like vultures (nice image). And on Okaara, the dead that Agent Orange has been piling up over the centuries begin to rise. As we roll out, we’re given the impression that Indigo will have a big part to play.
Blackest Night: Titans #1: Ed Benes drew this, so it’s time to set the “Gratuitous Butt-Shot Clock”. Wait . . .nevermind . . . Zombie Ass right there on the cover. I’d reset it for the interiors, but that would be sort of like hitting snooze repeatedly.
Anyway, first page: Deathstroke, Red Star, and Ravager get a check-in, letting us know that they’ll get involved later on. For the record, it looks like Slade leaves dead HIVE members on Grant’s grave, Red Star drinks Stereotype Vodka when he mourns Pantha and Baby Wildebeest, and Ravager is mean.
In San Francisco, a number of Titans, Teen Titans and related characters are in Titans Tower. It’s Heroes Day (see Blackest Night #1, or the top of the page), so the characters are preoccupied with paying their respects and recalling dead friends (or, as we like to call it in English class, foreshadowing). We also see that Gar (Changeling/Beast Boy) STILL believes that the first Terra wasn’t a traitor as he tells Cyborg and Starfire’s ass that “If given the chance, she could have been a great Titan.”
Meanwhile, Hawk and Dove (Holly and Dawn, recovered from Titans East) discuss the original Hawk, Hank Hall. Holly’s not a Hank fan. That’s unfortunate, because we get to see his empty grave next. It’s a revisiting of the previously seen moment with the black ring repeating “Don Hall of Earth at peace.”
Sometime later in Washington D.C., Holly and Dawn are walking and come across a dead hawk and dove. As the ladies transform into Hawk and Dove, they follow a trail of more dead hawks and doves (the birds) to the Georgetown library. Before you can say “Dewey Decimal”, Black Lantern Hawk (Hank Hall) is in ambush mode.
Back at Titans Tower, Donna mourns her late child and Gar takes a walk. He finds . . . Terra, looking much as she did when she was alive. She lays some BS on him about her whereabouts, and she and Gar kiss. Things aren’t going so well at the library. Hawk draws blood from Hawk, then knocks her across the room. Dove displays her acrobatic prowess, dodging attacks and landing some shots. This allows Holly to get back in on the action.
Another jump, back to SF. Cyborg and Starfire find Black Lantern Lilith, and she’s the one that’s been making Gar see a normal Terra. Terra is, as the cover implied, a Damn Dirty Zombie. Inside the tower, in the absolute creepiest scene thus far, Donna is awakened by the word “Mommy” and the SKEEEK of a stroller. That is several floors below “wrong”.
Also wrong is anyone operating under the assumption that Dawn and Holly were going to win. Hank’s got them outmatched, and on the last page, he plunges his hand into Holly’s chest for her heart. She just can’t catch a break, can she?
What’s the significance of the two souls taken from Earth by the Zamarons?
If space is cold, how much colder are the Star Sapphires?
There’s a planet named Cairo?
Are Kryptonians the only ones who can balance their emotions across the spectrum? Could this be the key to defeating the Black Lanterns?