Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blackest Night #3 – A Review

Blackest Night #3 (of 8)

Publisher DC

Writer Geoff Johns

Pencils Ivan Reis

Inks Oclair Albert with Joe Prado

Colors Alex Sinclair

Geoff Johns appears to be on the way to achieving his magnum opus. When he was given Infinite Crisis I think people believed that series would be his great work, but that was put together by others and in my opinion fell short. This appears to be all Geoff Johns and it has been a damn good so far. Also this story seems to have grown organically as Johns has been putting his stamp on the Green Lantern mythos. I get the feeling that he struck upon this idea and then almost had to get this story out. He started to introduce the elements needed to lay the groundwork and it felt like it being done too fast. Maybe it was because this story was just busting at the seams to get out of his keyboard. Now that we are at Blackest Night Johns is hitting it out of the park issue after issue.

This issue just continues the string of excellence from Geoff and I love the way the story is being put together. The actual Blackest Night series is holding together as the heart of the story and I believe someone could read just this and get a great story. The first two chapters have given us the menace of the Black Lanterns and their main corps member the Black Hand. This chapter starts to pull the curtain back on what is going on and how the menace can be fought. From here we have to find out who is behind it and how to defeat the villain. Finally is everyone who died really dead? Will death have more or less finality at the end of this event? DC has me somewhat like a kid again looking forward to every week, wondering what happens next and wanting to read what happens next after that. Heck I almost try to ignore some of the news so I can get that surprised feeling when I read a new comic like I did years ago. Thanks Geoff!

The best part of this issue for me was the fact that we got some level of explanation about what can be done to stop the Black Lanterns. As I said, in the first two issues it felt like there was no stopping them and the heroes were only fighting a battle to survive because there really appeared to be no way to win. When the Indigo Lanterns show up suddenly and helped to take down the Black Lantern by channeling Hal’s power with hers the whole dynamic of the series was changed. The Black Lanterns were explained by the Indigo Lantern and how to defeat them was also explained. While it has been revealed in solicitations the main villain who is behind the Black Lanterns, we do not know who that is at this point. The explanation of the spectrum was well done and I like that we learned what is powering up the Black Lanterns are the emotions of the people they are attacking. I’m guessing the different emotions provide a different level of power. We are learning that the Black Lanterns are using the friends and loved ones of people to elicit a stronger response.

After revealing this and more Indigo-1 says she is looking for Hal to help pull the corps together because together they can replicate the white light of creation and stop the Black Lanterns. Hal is ready to take off until Barry stops him and asks him to first help save Earth. Indigo-1 basically ignores all of that and warps out with Hal and her tribe in tow, leaving Barry, Atom, Mera and Firestorm behind. A great scene with Ronnie Raymond Firestorm versus Jason Firestorm ensues and we lose another minor character, but what a death. Finally I like how the grouping of heroes has been very organic feeling as being more random then a forced or “comic book coincidence”. I mean the team of Mera, Atom, Firestorm, Flash and Green Lantern is very random versus the typical convention when it would happen the entire JLA would end up together fighting the battle. The action, the tension, the excitement, the anticipation that this series is building is incredible. The level of anticipation and looking forward to the next issue is off the charts. How many days till issue #4?

Moving over to the art side of the equation, every great story needs a great artist and Johns has it with Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Alex Sinclair. Reis is turning in the best art job of his career and has now jumped up to a level that very few artists can reach. In fact in the Neal Adams’ school of style I think Reis has surpassed Bryan Hitch or at least matched him. The first two page spread he does has three panels, with the first covering a page and a third, then two more panels. The action and amount of characters he is drawing is second only to George Perez (who can put more characters in a panel then anyone). The layout is dynamic and just out and out great action. The opening scene when Indigo-1 makes her entrance is another jump off the page panel. The two page spread as she explains the entire spectrum of corps would be the pride of any art collector’s collection. Not only does he have the action and battle sequences down, he has the quiet moments, the expressions and basically he runs the artist table. Albert’s inks enhance the work and bring out Ivan pencils without overshadowing them. When you have a strong pencil artists an inker needs to not impose his artist stamp on it, but to capture the strength of that artist and Albert does the job. Topped off by the best super hero colorist Alex Sinclair and you have a masterpiece with the art side of the book also. This has to be a tougher job for Alex as the book has to be dark, but still maintain that super hero style and it works on every page.

Overall Grade A – This book is making events seem like a good idea, I love this series.

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