DAMN DIRTY ZOMBIES 17: "Parallax Rebirth"

DAMN DIRTY ZOMBIES 17: Parallax Rebirth

So, there's this limited series going at DC right now called "Blackest Night." Basically, there's a bunch of different colored power rings, one for each color of the rainbow, and there's a black one that wants to devour all the others to make the universe devoid of life, and of emotion. Wait a second, you know that already, don't you! We have the last of the "back from the dead" books and a couple of mini-series tie-ins, plus the not-so-surprising return of a character! Dig in! SPOILERS ON

The Atom and Hawkman #46: The Atom and Hawkman, if held to truth in advertising, would have to be titled "The Atom and Hawkman (for a couple pages)." This is the Atom’s story, as he learns to use his new indigo ring. In a move we haven’t seen in at least a couple of weeks, The Atom spends a good portion of this book shrunk down, doing battle inside a power ring (Indigo-1’s to be specific). In his brawl with his ex-wife, his compassion only grows, and he quickly learns to wield the indigo power, and how to tap into the other points along the spectrum. His determination allows Indigo-1 to put out the call to arms to the rest of the corps, and the issue closes out with Atom asking her for help in figuring out how to resurrect Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

Blackest Night: JSA #2: Just as the Justice Society is gigantic and continually accrues more and more members, so does this book. There are 2 writers, 6 artists, and 4 editors on this bad boy. At any rate, the story continues to bring the JSA against the dead members of the team, and as just pointed out, with as many as there have been, they have their work cut out for them. Mr. Terrific is close to synthesizing the right kind of white light using Stargirl, Lightning, Alan Scott, and Dr. Fate, but the Black Lantern JSA is knocking on the door. Oddly, that’s a close to literal description, as most of these undead Society members are being incredibly kind to their living compatriots, going so far as to beg for forgiveness and death. This is, of course, all a clever ruse that somehow not one of the seasoned JSA members manages to see through, and BL Damage blows up the brownstone. BL Earth-2 Lois comes in and gives up her Black Ring (I guess she couldn’t grab one of the other 20 billion flying around the universe at the moment) in order to bring Kal-L back once again.

The Question #37:  Classic Question creators Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan get in on the act with Greg Rucka (and Cully Hamner on cover!) to put together this one.  Stepping outside of the “poking fun” box for a moment, this is probably the best of the “they’re back” titles so far (with Starman up there).  The creators get the characters from all sides, they use an innovative technique to combat the BL Question, and everything reads extremely well.  In fact, the side effect is that it really makes me long for book by these creators featuring BOTH Questions, not to mention Shiva and Rodor.  The chances of this happening are probably the same as a snowball living through Red Lantern Napalm Vomit™ (available soon from DC Direct!), but I can dream, can’t I?  Incidentally, the plot: Montoya fights Shiva.  BL Sage shows up.  Emotions are scanned.  The heroes outsmart BL Sage.  He leaves.  Montoya resolves to kick his zombie ass.  And scene.

Green Lantern #50: You’ll NEVER guess what happens in this issue! I mean, the solicitation text, and the cover, and the big 200-point text on the cover totally don’t give anything at all away about this book! Seriously, guess. Just guess. What? Parallax is back and Hal has merged with it once again? Well, yes, that’s exactly what happens, how did you know?

Anyway, it’s about the journey, not the destination, in this oversized Blackest Night tie-in. Coast City is overrun with Black Lanterns, and the New Guardians and their new Deputy Lanterns are on the scene to even the odds. There are short montages of each of the leaders/apprentices trying out their new powers and coming to grips with what just happened, starting with Barry and Saint Walker trying to free Jason from the Firestorm Matrix. Mera and Atrocitus, Carol and Wonder Woman, Atom and Indigo-1, they all get their brief moment in the spotlight. Hal’s apprehensive to say the least about Scarecrow and Lex Luthor having power rings, seeing as they’re both completely homicidal lunatics. But the big bad black lantern Spectre comes a-calling before he can do anything about it. The Spectre ever so briefly makes Hal a Black Lantern before the Guardians help free him.

After another brief montage, Ganthet and Hal team up to make a gigantic green spike, and drive it through the BL Spectre, nearly severing his ring’s connection. Hal decides to free Parallax from within the power batteries, and after Sinestro and Hal argue/fight for a moment over who gets to host the embodiement of Fear, Hal gives Carol a kiss, eats Parallax, and gets so big that you have to turn the comic ON ITS SIDE to see his power as he taunts Spectre.

Blackest Night Wonder Woman #3:  Thus far, Blackest Night Wonder Woman has offered a strangely impressionistic vista of events occurring on the periphery of key moments in the mainline Blackest Night narrative.  Either that, or Rucka got into Morrison’s stash.  Whichever interpretation you prefer, there’s certainly been some general weirdness going on in the book, and that’s without even discussing the wardrobe.  Near the top, we’ve got a brief conversation between Wonder Woman and fellow Star Sapphire Carol Ferris that seems to indicate that Carol’s main problem is not a) being cold or b) inevitable back discomfort as she ages, but rather her inability to just love Hal Jordan (honestly, I think that’s just exercising universal spill precautions, but to each their own).  Diana, we are again told, has both a problem and a gift in that she loves everything so much; she’s apparently like a super-powered Care Bear with gigantic breasts.  

Joining the bigger fight against the BLs, Diana again encounters, and shreds, Maxwell Lord, but the main event of thematic import would be her second confrontation with Mera.  It turns out that both women have enormous secrets that don’t involve the use of double-stick tape.  The imagery surrounding Mera’s secret is diffuse; it could be a callback to her extremely oddly placed line about never having wanted children, but that’s still a bizarre secret (and a very strange line; if someone points a loaded zombie baby at me, I’m not gonna say, “I never wanted kids!”, I’m gonna say something like “Holy S#!+” or “Sweet Jesus!”  or “Quick, somebody get me an axe!”).  Diana’s secret, which was made pretty explicit last time around, is that she still loves Bruce Wayne.  Awwww.  Mera and Wonder Woman’s moment of understanding is interrupted by Hal Jordan and THE NEW GUARDIANS.  Hal is ready to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and he’s all out of ass.  Something like that.

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