Our good friend Superclerk (aka Jason, who you can hear share his ramblings on various movies by listening to The Flicks Podcast over on iTunes) returns to keep EVERYONE abreast of what’s happening with DC’s big event BLACKEST NIGHT. In this installment, Superclerk brings us his recap and review of “Tales of the Corps #1.” Read on to see what he thought:
Blackest Night has begun…
We begin this first issue of Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps with battle scene on Odym, home world of the Blue Lantern Corps.
It seems Agent Orange, Larfleeze, has sent a team of constructs to the planet in an attempt to acquire a Blue Lantern ring of his own. As the fight rages on and the Blue Lanterns fight against the orange constructs we see Saint Walker plead with Larfleeze to end his attempt to take the power of Hope. Larfleeze will not listen, as he is mad with greed and wants the power of the blue rings for himself.
Saint Walker tells him that Hope is not something to be taken but something that is shared. As he says this we travel back to the origins of Saint Walker…
As the planet of Astonia is in the throws of a war that is bringing the world to an end we see the family of Saint Walker huddled inside a church building. Fires have broken out, death is filling the air and the aged sun is a dark red while Walker attempts to calm his family and father. He tells them that they need to head to the top of Mount Helious as foretold in their holy books. It says that a messiah will be found on the top of the mountain in a time of great need. Though they are hesitant they agree to follow him. As they leave the church a flaming spear smashes through the window and the building is enveloped in flames.
The family heads up the mountain all the while knowing that the path is perilous and their survival is not guaranteed. The heat from the sun bakes them as they make their way through dense jungle and rocky cliffs. Saint Walker tries to keep the family positive by talking about their faith and letting his young son know that even if they fail in their mission, they will be together in another life and all will be well.
As they are crossing a very old wooden bridge stretched out across a great divide Walker’s father falls through some rotted planks and falls to his death on the rocks below. After burying his father and saying a prayer from the holy book the family continues on the path before them. The heat pounds them from above and the children cry out to their father that they are thirsty. Walker can do nothing but comfort them with words as they continue the climb. It’s a blessing when they come across a creek flowing down the mountain and they can drink and cool themselves in it. As the children laugh and play Walker and his wife discuss the faith he has in the scriptures from the past. While she has found herself doubting the words he has found comfort and energy from them no matter what the situation is.
As they talk a flash flood rages through the stream and the children are pulled away by the raging waters. The parents run after them and in the attempt to rescue the children Walker’s wife and daughter drown in the rushing water leaving Walker and his son to mourn they’re passing.
After another burial the two head father up the mountain. As they climb sharp rock and brave the heat once again the young boy Jatt finds a tree that bares fruit. Before Walker can stop him he has eaten of it and soon falls sick. With only the words of his faith to give his son, Walker soon finds himself alone on the mountain with the last of his family to bury in the ground.
Walker climbs hard to the top of the peak. Even at night the heat rages and the sharp stone cuts into his flesh. After hours of pulling himself up the rocks he comes to the top where he expects to find his messiah…
But at the very top he finds nothing but a blank stone. The faith that has carried him up this mountain and helped him deal with the loss of his family and even his world crumble beneath him as rage consumes him and he shouts out to the god he believes failed him. Rain pours down upon him in response and the blank stone becomes slick with rain. As the water beats down Walker sees that the stone is much like a mirror and staring back at him is his own reflection.
In silence he climbs back down the mountain and returns to the city in the midst of war and stands on the street and preaches to anyone who will listen. He continues to do this until people have gathered and take in the faith that his people had discarded. Soon the war subsides and peace begins to settle in the hearts of all.
As the people of this planet renew their faith and hope the aging red sun begins to crackle with blue energy and the people watch as the sun is revitalized and grows young once more. From that sun comes a ring.
The blue ring comes to Walker and admits him into the Blue Lantern Corp for his ability to instill great hope. As the ring powers up and forms the uniform around him he sees the family that he lost and the words “All will be well” Can be heard.
As the flashback comes to an end we see that Saint Walker is surrounded by the constructs of Agent Orange and even though his fate looks grim he knows that no matter what happens to him this day… all will be well.
In the next story we are shown a young Mongol on the dead planet of Debstam IV.
He awakens from sleep as his father, the senior Mongul, heads out into the world without a word. Mongul wishes that he could join his father on whatever journey he is heading out on but knows that he would not be allowed. Instead he puts on his fathers battle gear and trains himself to be a mighty warrior as well.
He looks over video of his father battling the mighty heroes of Earth. He makes battle dummies from the bones of the dead and fights them. He attempts to use his father’s weapons with less than impressive results. In the end he knows he is only fighting bones and dreams.
As he smashes away at the dummies he witnesses a ship crashing to the surface of this lonely world. He rushes to the crash site to find the pilots climbing out. They greet him in peace in hope of finding help in fixing the ship but are greeted instead by the might of the small Mongul. He uses his death ray to kill one of the survivors as a lesson to the rest. They have now become his first slaves.
He orders them to build a statue in his honor and when they aren’t doing that they are ordered to fight him so that he may train against opponents that fight back. When one of them gets in a good hit he kills slave without warning.
He is so busy with his new slaves that he fails to notice his father coming up behind him. His father isn’t pleased with the boy and when he finds out the ship is too far gone to get them off the dead planet he vaporizes the rest of the crew and destroys the statue built to honor his son. There is only one ruler on this planet…
As the father goes on about his business the younger Mongol rebuilds the statue and uses the bones of his slaves as bowing worshipers kept hidden from his fathers sight.
In the last story of the book we are shown the Indigo Tribe…
In space sector 3544 we see a silent tribe crossing a desert at night. The indigo light burns in their staffs. Their leader seems to be a woman who stops them to witness a battle taking place in the distance. Green and yellow light dance over the sand. They head towards the light and come upon a man bleeding on the ground. He is a Green Lantern by the name of Sarolis. He tries to tell them they need to leave area, as the person he is fighting is very dangerous. They ring attempts to translate but the language of the tribe is unknown.
The woman reaches out and puts her hand to his chest and seems to absorb the green power. She can sense that it is the power of will. Sarolis reaches out to her and soon he passes and the ring flies out to find another to bear the Green Lantern power.
Witnessing this from a hidden place is the Sinestro Corps soldier who inflicted the mortal wounds to the Green Lantern. The tribe sees him and he fires upon them with his yellow energy. The woman’s staff absorbs it and she uses the yellow fear against him and he flies off into space filled with the fear he once instilled in others.
Alone once more the tribe continues on with their travels through the dark desert.
Saint Walker – 5/5
Geoff Johns wrote an excellent origin for this character. His pain and struggle that lead up to him receiving the power of Hope works well for the character and I really want to see more involving him and the other members of his corps.
Mongol – 4/5
While I liked the story it wasn’t one I really needed to see. Mongol is a villain from the Superman books and his rise to power after his father died has been well documented. It does give us a little insight into his childhood but it’s not anything new for readers who know the character. Peter J. Tomasi does well in it’s telling though as he keeps it simple.
Indigo – 4/5
Geoff Johns gives us a look into the Indigo Tribe that leaves us with more questions than answers. The fact that the Tribe doesn’t speak in a language we understand makes it hard to review the story. I don’t really know what they are doing in this tale but it makes me want to see more of them and I guess that’s the point of this book.
Saint Walker – 5/5
Jerry Ordway brings this story to life. His art shows us the emotions of these characters perfectly even though they don’t have normal human features. I feel the heat of the planet with the way he has drawn the people as they make their way up the mountain. I truly dug it.
Mongul – 5/5
While I dig artists who go into every little detail I really love artists who are able to be very simple without watering down the world we are trying to see. Chris Samnee does this very well with this story. I dug the art and would like to see more from this guy. It’s a simple but powerful style he is rocking that I dig.
Indigo – 5/5
Rags Moralez is given a simple story set in a simple background but he has to have the characters emote in an effective way, as we don’t get one side of the conversation. He does this perfectly as we can see the pain on the face of Indigo as she interacts with the dying Green Lantern. This art works perfectly with the weight of this story.
Regular Edition: 5/5
I rate this five out of five when put together as a whole with the other two issues. When set side by side they have the main characters from each of the Corps doing battle in space. It’s a sweet image. Ed Benes and Rob Hunter get the job done.
Variant Edition: 5/5
A simpler image but one I think is pretty sweet. It shows the hands of the various Corps raised in the air and energy coming from the rings. I dig it. Dave Gibbons makes it work.
All in All – It’s a good start to the mini series that will give us a deeper look into the characters that we will be seeing through out the event. I recommend it to those wanting to be in the know when it comes to the major players.