The column is likely weekly for the duration now, as tie-ins have increased in frequency. That's not a promise, of course, though it might be a threat. With the dead rising at an increased rate and the big bad standing revealed, there are still a couple of surprise turns for the heroes of the DCU. But first, a couple of tie-ins showing how far reaching (and nasty) this event can get.
Teen Titans #77: Despite the homage cover and the fact that the title is in fact "Teen Titans," this issue is actually the Deathstroke show. He has been a longtime Titans villain and his daughter Rose, aka Ravager, is a recently-former Titan so there's that.
At any rate, we start this issue as many of the tie-ins are now starting, with a memory download into a black ring. This time it's William Randolph Wintergreen, Slade WIlson's former assistant. If' you're saying "who?" you're in the majority, but the handy recap tells you all you really need to know.
Slade, conveniently enough, is currently in Wintergreen's house, reading his diary. Then he gets kicked in the face. A sword fight between Deathstroke and Daughter, along with a couple more boots to the head, gets rudely interrupted by Ravager. This one though is the Black Lantern of Rose's older half-brother, Grant.
Rose seemed content to see daddy dearest become zombie meat, but decided to step in and cut Grant in half. After reforming, he gets a little stabby on his own, then slams her through the floor. Waiting for her on the bottom floor is her dear uncle Wade Wil- er DeFarge (yes, another Ravager). They start fighting, and Wintergreen and his old friend, Adilene (Slade's dead wife) stop in to say hi to the Terminator, letting him know that the only right thing for him to do at this point is die.
Ravager vs. Ravager continues, and the young (alive) one throws Uncle Black Lantern Ravager into a fire... and out comes Jericho.
This twisted Blackest Night family reunion isn't over at this point though, as Federal Law mandates that all tie-ins must run for at least two issues.
Justice League of America #39: Because YOU demanded it, it's the return of... VIBE! Now we know precisely why Vixen and her gal pal from Justice League Detroit are around while this book waits for its new cast to be available.
After the obligatory memory download recap, the Justice League of Replacement Heroes explores the Hall of Justice, which of course is mostly in ruins due to the events waaaay back at the beginning of Blackest Night, when that large crypt (which gets explained decently by Red Tornado here, as a repository for the dormant energies that reside within the powered villains) rose from their collective grave.
As we now know, the Black Lanterns that have shown up are custom-tailored to specific individuals, to get the biggest emotional response. As such, the first one to greet the JLA is Zatara, Zatanna's father. They begin a 14 panel backwards words fight (that's a lot of backwards typing!) while the other leaguers go off on their own. Soon enough, Dr. Light II flies off from the pack, leaving Red Tornado, Melting Plastic Man, Vixen, and Gypsy on their own.
Vibe enters the scene, and after getting torn apart by Red Tornado, quickly reforms and tries to tear out Plas's heart, only to find it's also all rubbery and melty. Vixen tries to take him on, but gets quickly taken down, and Steel, another JLD'er reveals himself.
Finally, we catch up with Kimiyo, as she happens upon Dr. Light I. He is busy pretending he's a deer, licking the salty head of Gehenna, formerly one half of the Firestorm Matrix with her boyfriend Jason. With one quick, strong blast of black light, he takes out Kimiyo. Then he crouches over her lifeless body on his knees and says "Now Let's see what YOU taste like."
And that's the end of that issue, but not the story, cause, well, we've run that into the ground already.
Green Lantern #48: It’s important that the Editors tell you that this issue takes place before Blackest Night #6. It’s also important to tell you that it takes place before #5, which came out this week. I know, I know: details, details.
Things get rolling as Orange Lantern Larfleeze hauls ass away from both Black Lanterns and Red Lantern Atrocitus. Fortunately for him (and his Looney-Tune-esque sense of humor), the rest of the Color Guard, er, New Guardians, arrive. We’ve got Saint Walker (Blue), Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire, Violet), Indigo-1 (well, Indigo), Sinestro (Yellow), and the guy that the book is named after, Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Along for the ride are blue (okay, literally and in terms of allegiance) Guardians Ganthet and Sayd. The gang makes short work of the Black Lanterns.
As conversation commences, we receive a big revelation: the Guardians are dicks. Wait, we knew that? All right, then. Still, the tiny blue skirt-aficionados manage to piss off everyone when a note comparison demonstrates that they were the ones that set the Orange and Blue against one another. Furthermore, everybody catches on to the fact that the Guardians inadvertently triggered the War of Light they were trying to avoid. All together now: dumbasses.
Hal’s mad enough to quit (again), leading to another thisclose argument with Sinestro. That gets cut short by a waking Atrocitus. Attempts to contain him don’t last long. Agendas flare as Sinestro asks his cooperation in exchange for helping him destroy the Green Corps later. Larfleeze wants his own Guardian now (he’s apparently the friend that dates the girl with a terrible past even after you’ve warned him, only to see him wind up in the line of wreckage, too). The bickering all gets put on hold when all present see the image of BL Eclipso (Jean) taking out Damage on Earth, bringing the BL level-up to 100%.
The gang teleports to Ryut in Sector 666 to find that the big Black Lantern is gone. The sight of his decimated former homeworld pushes Atrocitus to join the gang, and Larfleeze follows when Sayd agrees to be his Guardian when (if) they win. Ganthet produces everyone’s batteries so that they can charge up, and New Guardians get ready to chase down the Black Lantern Lantern.
Blackest Night #5: This one should be read AFTER “Green Lantern”, but BEFORE “Blackest Night” #6. Everyone got that? Okay. We pick up immediately after the end of “GL” with the New Guardians charging up with the various oaths (except for Larfleeze, who apparently never had one. I think it should just be, “MINE!”). Quick pause to drop props on Alex Sinclair; he’s like the hardest working colorist in comics by default these days.
On Earth, Barry’s facing off against Nekron and Black Hand in Coast City. Nekron makes some interesting pronouncements, indicating that Barry’s death “was the first”, and that Barry’s “rebirth [will be] the last”. Apparently, there’s something really specific about Barry’s death, as he wasn’t even the first hero to die in Crisis on Infinite Earths, let alone the DCU. As for his “Rebirth” being the last, I suppose that’s up to Geoff, Ethan, and the size of the truck that DC backs up for them. At any rate, Barry struggles with Black Hand, who is a) fast and b) gross. Barry somehow recognizes the skull of “Bruce Wayne”, leading to a lovely necrophilia joke from Hand. (Note: This is nowhere near as disturbing as the Dr. Light bits in this week’s “JLA”.)
Just then, Wally arrives, assuring his fanbase that he at least survives “Rebrith”. After a quick recap, the rest of the cavalry arrives: Superman, Wonder Woman, Fire, Ice, Animal Man, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Superboy, and the whole mess of Titans that just got here from “Blackest Night: Titans #3”.
We then adjourn to Manhattan for a moment, where BL Jean Loring Eclipso has just smoked Damage (who nevertheless appears in house ads for “JSA All-Stars” #1 in this very issue; that either takes place first or he gets better). BL-JLE grabs Mera and The Atom (Ray Palmer version) and gets small, apparently inside Damage. I’m guessing this is the set-up for “Blackest Night: JSA”, as we’re done here.
Back to Coast City, where the Flash Family continues to do super-speed recaps. Among the shared notes is the fact the Dove can’t be harmed by the BLs, due to her “White Light”. I’m frankly very happy that no one has as of yet referred to it as the “White Power”. That’s even more awkward than Dr. Light’s necrophilia humor. The Flash trio makes a play to free the black-goo ensnared Guardians, but Scar steps in. Fortunately . . .
The New Guardians are here!! (You know, still not feeling that. It is, however, better than “Go, go, Power Rangers!”, which might also be appropriate.) Hal and Sinestro demonstrate their different styles as Hal makes a pun and Sinestro basically declares that he’s just ready to kill some motherf%^&ers. This time, Sinestro wins. It only takes a couple of pages for the combined forces of the New Guardians to obliterate Scar. If that’s the last of her, then I say she went out easy for someone that narrated several months worth of Bonus Features.
At this point, the Color Guard, following up Indigo-1’s suggestion that the combination of their powers (“The White Light” again) will destroy the Black Lantern and reverse its effects, turns their attention to the big battery. Nekron taunts the (old) Guardians that their “lie is about to be exposed”. It seems that the power is making Nekron stronger. To make matters worse, he unleashes a ring that causes Black Hand’s pet skull to rise as Black Lantern Batman.
This totally freaks the heroes out, so much that three big guns blurt out Batman’s real name, once again confirming that it’s the worst-kept secret in comics. (Yes, even Dove now that knows that Bruce Wayne is, was, whatever, Batman.) Nekron then drops the knowledge that he’s allowed the various resurrections that have happened among the DCU pantheon before unleashing a new flight of black rings from the mouth of BL Batman. Wait . . . are these going for characters that were once dead? That couldn’t be that man— oh, crap, they brought WHO?
Yep. Wonder Woman, Superman, Superboy, Kid Flash, Green Arrow, Ice, Animal Man . . . all of whom spent time dead . . . get snatched up by the black rings. It’s at this point that Nekron calls BL Batman “Bruce Wayne”, as in Bruce-Wayne-in-parentheses, implying that he’s NOT the Bruce Wayne we know, apart from the death thing, of course. He then causes BL Batman to blow apart, saving that question for another time.
What’s left is a two-page spread of the formerly dead heroes (including Donna Troy) as Black Lanterns. Tucked in the bottom of each page is a small shot of a ring each headed for Hal and Barry. Dove’s another once-dead hero, but I’m guessing the White Light is going to keep her safe. This does lead to a lot of questions: what about the once-dead Doom Patrol? How would Resurrection Man play here? What about Lobo? Or Roy’s arm? Sorry; guess that’s an entirely different thing.