Writer Geoff Johns
Pencils Doug Mahnke
Inks Christian Almay
Colors Randy Mayor
I have been waiting for Blackest Night to start for what seems like forever. The last year has been slowly building up to it and during that time I was a little alarmed that Peter Tomasi was making the GL Corps a better book then Green Lantern. I mean I have had favorite writers burn out on me before or just have a few misses here and there, but GL and Blackest Night was John’s baby. This book (oddly enough) put all those fears that Johns was losing his edge to rest. The Prologue to Blackest Night was a great book and a stellar start to what looks like an event that could be worth the hype.
The funny thing about the book is after all was said and done it hardly had Hal Jordan in it (only as a flashback), it was about Black Hand. John recreated Black Hand and made him into the first Black Lantern. In a coincidence of serendipitous proportions I had just recently read an old 100 Page Flash book from the 70’s and it contained a reprint of Hal’s first fight with the Black Hand. Black Hand cut GL in half and stole half of his power. William Hand was beaten when Hal faked (via his ring) having a whole body. Hal startled Black Hand because no way could Hal be whole and Hal beat someone with exactly half his power. Visually it was a very cool book and the story was not half bad (unintended pun). John’s like the character and kept tiny bits of what he was and reworked him into a sick and twisted guy who is obsessed with death.
William Hand is shown as a young boy and the middle of three sons, with a father who was a mortician. His father saw death as a job; William saw death as the preferred way of life. We then have the comic coincidence of Hal and Sinestro (years ago) fighting Atrocious. Atrocious noticed the darkness in Hand and gives him a device that can absorb Green Lanterns’ energy. From there we see Black Hand’s career as a villain, losing his hand and more. At the end William Hand shows back up at home where he proceeds to kill his entire family. After that he obeys the voice he has been hearing and ends his own life. Scar the Black Lantern Guardian shows up and pukes up a black ring. We see Hand come back to life as the first Black Lantern.
A great touch was the first page of the book as we learn what has been going on with all of these corps springing up left and right. In the span of six panels Johns explains all the madness that has been going on, what this portends and gives us some hint of the darkness to come.
Art wise this book was turned over to Doug Mahnke and this guy is becoming DC’s go to guy and their star player. Doug’s early work actually put me off as I remember it being a little too exaggerated, now he has all that power in his powers, but keeps a tighter reign on it and it is great. Doug is one of the top ten artists in the business and I hear that he can actually keep up a monthly (or more) schedule. Heck he came in to kick ass at the end of Final Crisis.
So we now know that as all of the lights rise (the various corps), darkness will grow and that darkness has no life, the Black Lanterns. This issue we see the origin of the first Black Lantern and now it begins.
Overall Grade A – Great start, great story, great art.