DAMN DIRTY ZOMBIES 9: "Whats that make him?" "THE FLASH"
Best Shots Extra: BLACKEST NIGHT #4
An ancient force seeks to find their rightful place and get revenge against those that have done it wrong over the years. So, using a combination of mystical energy and technology from outer space, this force raises the dead; friends and enemies alike of the force's foes, and uses them to inflict its revenge.
No, we didn't switch to covering Marvel's Necrosha. We're still here with DC's Blackest Night epic event! Let's dive in, shall we?
Blackest Night: Superman #3: When last we left, Krypto had gotten knocked the woof out, Supergirl was getting pummeled by daddy dearest, Martha was about to do her best Human Torch impression, and Conner had turned on Superman.
With all that setup, this issue starts off with a nice lovely tea party where everyone talks about their feelings.
Seriously though, Krypto awakens and flies off to action before we see Supergirl, full of will and rage, blasting the face off Black Lantern Daddy and punching a hole through his chest.
Back on Earth, in the smallest of villes, Superman is ably holding his own against BL Kal-L and BL Psycho Pirate-controlled Superboy. Conner's insecurities come to the forefront, while Clark tries desperately to snap him out of BLPP's control.
After Martha burns thousands of dollars of crops in an effort to stop Black Lantern Earth-2 Lois, she makes the connection that the Ring is the real power here, and directs Krypto to take care of that problem. Krypto successfully bites the hand off BLE2L, showing exactly how he differs from Superman, only to have her reform from the hand around him. A good zap of heat vision sends her careening into a Canyon (presumably he flew at superspeed to one?). After checking on Ma, Krypto goes off to "help the boys."
DEUS EX MACHINA ALERT! The Kryptonians have a weapon that can keep out Black Lantern rings and Black energy. What the Oans can't figure out, the various Lantern corps haven't figured out, all the brightest minds on Earth haven't figured out, the Kryptonians manage based on one scan of one Black Lantern. In other words, in next year's New Krypton vs. Earth war? We's in trouble.
At any rate, this weapon will create a super-dome around all of New Krypton, but they have to kick out BL Zor-El first, and Alura sets out to do just that.
In Smallville, Clark reaches out to Conner's soul, telling him he's his brother, and he wants his help.
Finally, fear, love, hope, and rage break Conner free from BLPP's control just in time to smack BL Kal-L with a little Tactile Telekinesis.
A very brief interlude shows Alura similarly saving the day, blasting Zor-El's hand off just as he's reaching into Kara's chest.
Superman vs. BL Superman round umpteen starts while Kon flies off to take on Psycho Pirate. Conner snags the Medusa Mask and uses it to push Will, Love, Compassion, and Hope upon the citizens of Smallville.
Back on New Krypton, Alura and Kara slap BL Zor-El out of the atmosphere just in time for the big purple dome of Black-Lantern Repellent (TM) to be activated, keeping all Black Lanterns out of New Krypton, and the 100,000 Supermen out of the rest of the Blackest Night crossover.
Back to Smallville, Conner uses the Medusa Mask to project the entire spectrum of emotions at BL KL, deactivating his ring and sending it smashing into the mask, destroying it, but defeating that Black Lantern, at least for the time being. If nothing else, at least it used the emotional spectrum, and foreshadows the ultimate downfall of these Damn Dirty Zombies.
Blackest Night #4: This issue is so full of action, emotion, and story development, that it's honestly a bit hard to make any fun of. So this one will probably be a it dryer than normal.
There are two primary narrators in this issue, Black Hand and Barry Allen, The Flash. Black Hand talks to Nekron throughout, while Bruce Wayne's head does its best Yorick impression, telling his lord how the black is gonna kick ass. The Flash, meanwhile, rallies the troops and does what he does best: inspires everyone he talks to.
Mera (Aquawoman?) and Ray Palmer, The Atom are deeply embroiled in fighting the BLJLA alongside The Flash. They're suddenly swarmed upon by the combined might of about 30 villain and hero Black Lanterns.
BL Firestorm reveals that he has absorbed Jason, and can thus transmute organics, eliminating a weakness of the original. Jason manages to break forward and take control of their joined body just in time to prevent him from killing Barry, and he warns Barry "It's coming for you too. For ALL of them." Ronnie takes back control, and leads another charge alongside BL Aquaman. After some quick hand action by Barry holds them back, The Atom takes all three of them through a phone line to temporary safety.
In Gotham City, Scarecrow is desperately wanting to be scared, and Jean Paul Valley, Azrael, is killing and scaring people just fine on his own, continuing to raise the power levels of the black rings.
In Metropolis, Lex Luthor decides it's time to pull the ultimate Luthor move- run and hide. He probably heard the prophecy/history note from Secret Origin #2 and wanted to play it as safe as possible. Whatever his reasons, he locks himself in a deep bunker, and observes a screen full of random dead people.
Back to the temporary Justice League of Atom, Flash, and Mera, The Flash notes that all the dead have strong emotional ties to our heroes. Barry makes an inspirational speech telling Mera and Atom that for the time being, they are Wonder Woman and Superman before he runs off to spread the current intel out to all the heroes. Mera and Atom share the best line of the series so far, presented for your enjoyment:
"If I'm Wonder Woman and You're Superman, what's that make him?"
With that, they jump through the phone line to one of Mr. Terrific's T-Spheres, hoping Alan Scott Green Lantern can be of SOME kind of help.
Here, we see the JSA fighting the undead Freedom Fighters, including the perfect matchup of Damage vs. The Human Bomb. Atom Smasher and Damage have a moment of "sibling rivalry" just as Ray Palmer arrives with Mera in tow.
The Flash does what he does best, and runs. He runs by the heroes all over the world, encouraging them to keep their emotions in check and hold down the fort until Green Lantern and the light brigade gets back to take care of business. He also calls upon anyone with light powers to take point and try to weaken the black rings.
As the Black continues to grow in power, we see Black hand reach his destination.
Back to the JSA vs. the BLJSA, Ray Palmer tries to give the son of the original Atom, Damage, a bit of a pep talk. Right on cue, Al Pratt, complete with Black Ring, shows up, taking Atom Smasher down with one punch.
The Atom jumps into the Atom and grows to full size from inside him as he taunts his son, tearing the Black Lantern in two. He encourages Grant, allowing him to feel hope, as denoted by...
Jean Loring- as she punches through Damage's chest, tearing out his heart, and bringing the black ring power levels to 100%.
Barry is suddenly attacked by a voice declaring this 100% point being reached, and knows he needs to get to Coast City as soon as possible. Scar and the Black Power Battery are transported instantaneously from Sector 666 to Sector 2814 just as Barry arrives to see Black Hand. The no-longer b-list villain declares "NEKRON. RISE." and black energy emits from every angle around The Flash. A lipless face says "Coast City. RISE."
Finally, Nekron stands revealed while zombies crawl from their graves, and he tells the frightened Flash, "Barry Allen. You owe me your life. YOU ALL DO."
Meanwhile, Cyborg and Starfire are still trapped by Omen. However, Gar fights back and disarms Terra. Ha! Disarms! At any rate, Vic and Kori snap out of it and engage the phalanx of Titans Black Lanterns. Starfire shows that even though she’s been on Earth a long time, she still needs to work on her fight banter. Honestly, “I don’t know what you creatures are, but everything BURNS” is this year’s “What happens to a toad when it gets hit by lightning?”
As that fight continues, Donna (now in costume; I wonder if Bart dressed her at super-speed) gets in on the action with Cassie and Bart. Donna gets her Amazon up and punches right through BL Terry’s chest. And just to prove that she is F@#%ING HARDCORE, she pops the Black Lantern infant version of her son’s head with her bare hands. For the record, revenant baby heads go KRRCHH when squeezed too tightly.
On the other hand, I think we can say that Gar is over Terra.
The tide totally turns for the heroes with the arrival of Dove. We knew she’d make it here; she’s on the cover. As a matter of fact, she’s even more important than that. The White Light inside of Dove results in BL HollyHawk getting her “Connection Severed”, leaving only the black ring. The other BLs turn on Dove, and much to their chagrin, if zombie-esque beings feel chagrin, the same thing happens to the ten of them on a much larger (two-page spread) scale.
After that, Dawn/Dove has a vision of Don/Dove. I’m going to quote this directly, as I’m sure it has enormous implications for the rest of the event. He says, “You can save [Hank]. Just like me, you never gave up on him. Please don’t give up on him now.” Since Hank is still dead, one wonders if message boards guessing is accurate and the White Light that Dove at least partially possesses can be harnessed to bring the dead heroes back to life.
As we wrap-up, Bart, having just passed Barry while running, brings everyone up to speed. (HA! Speed! Alf would love that one). While Donna discusses practical things like strategy and getting Dove to the front lines, Gar decides to be a complete tool and declare that despite nearly being eviscerated by BL Terra, he knows that there’s a girl out there for him. Please don’t let all the zombies and killing get in your way of finding her right now, dips#!+. Nonetheless, things end on an ominous note, as the infected Donna begins seeing her friends in “Black Lantern SpectroVision” and asks Dove to stay close in case she (Donna) needs to be put down. Heavy.
Meanwhile, on Korugar, Hal, Sinestro, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris and Indigo-1 square off against the risen Sur family. It doesn’t take long for the four of them to get their s#!+ together and blast the Surs to pieces. Again, we see the all important “Connection Severed” notice. There’s some debate about which Lantern to get next and who’s going to be in charge, but faster than you can say, “Alpha, recruit a team of teenagers with attitudes”, Sinestro’s told his Corps to mind the store and the Gang of Four is off.
Over in Sector 1313, John Stewart continues on his mission to do something really lacking in self-preservation.
On Odym, the Blue Lanterns continue to have a hard time with OL Larfleeze’s constructs. The Color Guard (yeah, I’m calling Hal, Carol, Sinestro and Indigo-1 the Color Guard; wanna make something of it?) arrives. Star Sapphire reflects on the beauty of Odym, then considers doing a nude scene in her first film after this project to distance herself from her kid-friendly image.
Regardless, their arrival really pisses off the Larfleeze construct.
However, he can’t dwell on that. The constructs vanish and we shift back to Okaara as the Black Lanterns of his victims have Larfleeze on the run. Just as he seems totally hosed, Atrocitus shows up to save him. In the lower right, we see “Next: The New Guardians”.
The New Guardians? They’re gonna call the assembled Lanterns “The New Guardians”? Like Jet, Ram, Gloss, Extrano, and, uh, Betty? They need to get on board with The Color Guard. Or maybe Jungle Fury.