Did everyone have a good holiday? We hope so! Fortunately, the war against the agents of death didn’t take a two-week break. We have lots of story threads continuing, and even beginning to merge more closely together. Spoilers set to maximum, as your recaps begin… NOW.
Green Lantern #49: Oh, Xanshi, the world wrought with death at the hands of none other than John Stewart. Now, it’s a Black Lantern Planet, and its inhabitants are determined to make the Green Lantern one of their own. The consummate soldier (although he’s actually an ex-Marine; Soldiers are Army, but I digress) starts off his massive battle by trying to simply blow up an old Lantern Battery that had ostensibly been floating in space since the destruction of Xanshi. We get a brief John Stewart history lesson, showing he’s been a killer for a long time. In taunting the Green Lantern, the BL’s got what they wanted, some strong Will. It comes out in spades, with his own “corps” based off his fellow Marines, lining up alongside him. In the middle of the fight, he realizes that he simply can’t beat the residents of Xanshi, and needs to regroup on Earth, where we’ll see a familiar line of dialogue in a couple of summaries. There’s a backup story that briefly details Nekron’s birth as guardian of Death, and notes that he allowed certain people to escape death solely so they would be his to control later.
Teen Titans #78: The Deathstroke Family Holiday Reunion Special continued in part two of this tie-in. Deathstroke, Ravager (Rose), and Jericho were beset by dead mothers, dead brothers, dead assistants, and dead uncles. Apparently, the point of this two-parter, apart from hitting the same Black Lantern beats as the other tie-ins and reminding us again that Felicia Henderson was supposed to have been the regular writer of this book, is the set-up for the new status quo for the OTHER Titans book, wherein Deathstroke is apparently going to be leading a team of his own. As we ponder the possibilities of a team leader that’s know for being a) a hired killer, and b) willing to sleep with underage girls (yes, Terra was insane, but “Officer, she was insane, and looked over 18” still doesn’t hold up in court), we at DDZ would like to suggest that all of the Wilson family members seek serious, serious therapy. While in prison.
Blackest Night: JSA #1: This book picks up on threads of another tie-in mini-series, but calling it Blackest Night: Superman 2: Electric Bugaloo didn’t get past focus testing. The now traditional “Memory Download sequence” gets a bit of a twist here, as it is interspersed with the ongoing fight simultaneously. Nonetheless, we see Wesley Dodds, Charles McNider, and Terry Sloane rise from their graves as the Black Lantern JSA. The non-undead JSA is still wrapped up in the fight in the middle of NYC, while Michael Holt, the current Mr. Terrific, analyzes the re-dead bodies of Earth-2 Superman and Psycho Pirate. The implications of Blackest Night are so far reaching, that in a mere four panels, they make Power Girl go from remembering that Superman was her Cousin, to thinking he was her Uncle. Man, Nekron is EVIL! Michael comes up with a plan, but doesn’t divulge it, and sends Flash out to grab Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Dr. Fate, Lightning, and Stargirl. He comes back with all of them, and apparently accidentally brought Cyclone back too, just for funsies. Jesse “Liberty Belle” Quick begins a face off with her dear old undead dad, and Powergirl speeds off to defend Ma Hunkel from BL Lois Lane while BL Damage tears a civilian’s heart out literally and Atom Smasher’s heart out figuratively. With that, it’s “to be continued…”
Blackest Night #6: The cover says “The New Guardians”, but Ram, Jet, Extrano, Gloss, Floro, and, er, Betty are nowhere in sight. That’s right; our rainbow-colored alliance of Lanterns are here and ready to . . . run like hell? At least that’s what Hal has to do, as there’s a black ring with his name on it. If you recall, last issue ended with Nekron taking over a slew of resurrected heroes and sending rings after both Hal and Barry. As we open in Coast City, both good guys are still playing Dodge ‘Em.
Hal picks up a GL Corps merit badge for “Historian” with his succinct recap of how all the resurrected/BL heroes originally died and came back, though he does skip a couple that seem to be otherwise occupied (Tora, Buddy . . . Hal’s got no love for you). Barry thinks fast (it’s what he does, kids) and pulls Hal two seconds into the future to shake the black rings.
Miles away, inside Damage, Deadman manages to take over BL Jean Loring Eclipso for a few seconds to allow the Atom (Ray Palmer flavor) and Mera (any remark regarding anything remotely resembling fish flavor is sure to either be edited or get me tweeted about by humorless, self-important bloggers, so I’ll…oh, what the hell. Leave it, Lucas; it’s just more hits) to escape. Since the Black Lantern rings are all connected (), Atom and Mera jump out of . . . BL Wonder Woman’s ring and right into the Coast City fray. Two clever points to Geoff for making that all work out.
Going back to our earlier mention of “running like hell”, that’s what John Stewart is doing in space. Remember how he spent several issues of this mini approaching Xanshi, which was sure to be loaded with damn dirty zombies? Yeah. In GL, he found ‘em. And now they’re after his GL ass and headed straight for Earth. Sure, he could probably try to swerve and get them to attack Venus, but I don’t think they’re gonna buy that one.
On the ground, Mera gets red with rage as she prepares to throw down with BL Diana. THAT is interesting, since you may recall that the Morrison-era JLA frequently flirted with possible couple-dom between WW and Aquaman. Is Mera not only enraged but . . . jealous? Where would jealousy fit in the emotional spectrum? Jealousy is the “green-eyed” monster, but will is green. Greed is kind of like jealousy, since jealousy is about wanting something you don’t have. But as it is, Mera may be all “Uh-huh, no Marble Girl’s puttin’ her hands on MY Aquaman”, so I suppose that Rage will do just fine.
By now, Barry and Hal are back, and the Color Gu—sigh—New Guardians realize that they’re going to need the combined might of ALL the Corps ALL together to break the big Black Lantern. Knowing that they need more color gun, Ganthet deputizes himself and becomes, after eons of being a Guardian, a Green Lantern. Ganthet uses the self-replicating emergency system inherent in the various rings to get the other jewelry to pop out MORE multi-hued rings that would “deputize” other sentient beings for each corps for up to 24 hours. So, some of those earlier cameos? Payoff time.
Blue Lantern? One hopeful Barry Allen; I can only assume that this was because Barry was closer than Barack, which is sure to disappoint Caleb. Red Lantern? One angry Mera. Indigo Tribe? The compassionate Ray Palmer, who has had to come to terms with the sentence, “Sorry that my wife stepped on your wife’s brain.” Sinestro Corps? Scarecrow, perhaps the only guy on Earth more appropriate than Lee Ving. Orange? The rather inspired choice of Lex Luthor.
And love? Life’s sweetest reward? The ring goes to Wonder Woman, breaking the BL connection and providing her with an outfit that Hippolyta probably wouldn’t approve of (“You go out dressed like that? What’s Man’s World going to think? You’re supposed to teach peace, not give it away.”).
So, by the end, faster than you can say “Care Bear Stare”, we’ve got NEW New Guardians, complete with power rings, all already possessing super-abilities, and at least two more waves of DC Direct figures using pre-existing body molds.
Where does that leave us? Next month is a skip month for the regular big mini, but there will be the eight “returning series” that fill the month with one-shots. You’ll see “The Atom and Hawkman”, “Phantom Stranger”, “The Question”, “Starman”, “Weird Western Tales”, “The Power of Shazam!”, “Suicide Squad” and “Catwoman”. Some people have accused DC of doing this as a cynical marketing stunt. I can prove it isn’t. Do you see “Blackest Night: Sonic Disruptors”? Well there you go.