Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blackest Night by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reiss, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado

Seven colors, each with their own set of ring-wielders, have arisen in the galaxy. Red, the color of rage, Orange, the Color of Avarice, Yellow, the Color of Fear, Green the Color of Will, Blue, the Color of Hope, Indigo, the Color of Compassion, and Violet, the Color of Love.

But why these colors and their defenders? Because another color has also arisen- Black, the color of death. And to get its own defenders, Black rings are seeking out and finding dead heroes, like Batman, and Aquaman, and dead villains like Nekron, who becomes the voice and the face of the Black Death entity.

And it's not just the heroes and villains who are on the side of the entity, but one of the Guardians who has gone over to the black side, Scar, who kills one of the guardians and imprisons the rest, preventing them from interfering. While the Green Lanterns try to prevent the Black rings from spreading through the galaxy, the representatives of the other rings travel to earth, where the bearer of the Indigo ring tells them the only thing that can fight the black rings and Nekron is to come together and use all the rings to reconstitute the greatest light possible, the anti-black, white.

Meanwhile, Deadman discovers that the dead heroes holding the black rings are not truly those heroes, because his own body is resurrected, but his spirit is untouched. So, who exactly are these dead? And when the black rings take heroes who were once dead but revived, including Superman, Donna Troy, Mon-El and others. It is revealed that life first began on Earth, and that the Guardians concealed that to justify their importance in the universe. The White Light entity is cocooned within the Earth, and Nekron wants to kill off all life and all emotion in the universe, to wipe out the filth that is life.

But can the heroes overcome death to destroy Nekron, and what will become of him? Likewise, what will happen to all the dead heroes returned to a half-life by the Black Rings? Can death be overcome? Or is it too powerful, even for the other seven flavors of color?

I wanted desperately to like this comic. I really did. But even though certain pages evoked a response in me, I just felt the ending was "Meh" and could have been way, way better. Part of what troubles me are story things, like when the author of the story sets up religion as being the opposite of science: "When a man of science like me turns to god..." It made me scrunch up my face, because plenty of scientists are believers, and that left a bad taste in my mouth through most of the rest of the book.

This is probably the best "event" comic recently, but that's actually weaksauce, considering how lame some of those event comics have been. The biggest problem for me is that I never actually felt thrilled or excited when I was reading it. It was okay, but I could have stopped reading in the middle and not cared about finding out the ending.

And that just seems wrong to me. Geoff Johns is okay, but when it comes to stories that I actually find exciting and interesting, he just seems to miss the mark. Here, part of that was the story itself and part of it was the ending, which seemed wholly arbitrary in who it brought back and who it left dead. Why not Ralph and Sue Dibny, for heavens sake? And the story doesn't really end, it just wanders on, to be finished in "Brightest Day", or whenever that gets published.

To be frank, I was disappointed in the book, the dialogue and especially in the ending which wasn't really an ending, just a stopping point. And while vaguely epic stuff occurred, it didn't quite feel epic enough for something that was so heavily hyped. Yeah, it had its moments, but it left me feeling bored. Not recommended.

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