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From the desk of the Superclerk – Blackest Night Tie-In Wrap up

7

Sep

Posted by Steve

In an effort to get all caught up on the site, here’s yet another round of reveiws from our man Superclerk.  This time, Superclerk runs through a quick wrap up of the tie ins to the Blackest Night crossover that is currently running through the DC Universe.   Here’s Jason:

Blackest Night Quick Hits – A quick look into the Blackest Night tie-ins and cross overs.

Blackest Night has begun…

Green Lantern Corps #39

green_lantern_corps_v2_39t1.jpgIt all gets pretty real for the GL Corps in this issue as the black rings find their way to Oa and the crypt of the fallen Lanterns.

We see the same thing we have been seeing in every issue of Blackest Night so far… The Green Lanterns are nowhere near strong enough to fight the Black Lanterns.  The black rings rip through the shields and constructs as if they were melting butter.  It all comes to a head when the fallen Corps rise and we realize that there is an army forming that is more powerful than anything we have seen before in the DCU and it’s made up of some of the best soldiers to ever enter the field of battle.

Oh, and Kyle Rayners dead ex fiancé comes back from the dead.  I would say things are looking up but that would be a lie.

Green Lantern #44 & #45

green_lantern_44.jpgIt begins with the rise of the Martian Manhunter.  I know what you’re thinking… “Thank God… we are saved!”  You would be wrong.  Don’t forget… a person coming back from the dead, at this time, is not a good thing.

It’s the beginning of the fight between Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and J’onn J’onzz and let me tell ya… it’s a humdinger.

Like all the other battles with a Black Lantern, this one doesn’t go well.  With all their power the two heroes can’t even slow down the Zombie Manhunter.

While the fight continues we get to see Black Ring swarms closing in on some very important places in the DCU… the home worlds of the other Corps.

The issue ends with John Stewart sitting on a chunk of rock in space.  There are lots of chucks of rocks where he’s at as this is the location of a planet that he is responsible for it’s destruction.  What’s left of the planet Xanshi is hit with a swarm of black rings and the call for it to rise is a powerful image that had me saying, “oh, crap…”

green_lantern_45.jpgIssue #45 opens with the resurrected planet.  Let me tell you, I dig that so much it hurts.

The rest of the issue is a battle between the Star Sapphires and the Sinestro Corps.  Sinestro and Carol Ferris yell at each other and punch each other in the face and that’s all well and good.  It’s when, in the middle of the fight, Abin Sur arrives with a group of Black Lanterns shows up that it finally comes to a head.

We then get shown two really cool things.  A swarm of black rings hovers above the home of the Blue Lanterns awaiting death so that they may claim more flesh and the really cool moment when the rings raise the corpses of the victims of Agent Orange.

Once again, “Oh, crap…”

Blackest Night: Titans #1

It’s Heroes Day and the Titans have gathered to mourn the loss of blackest_night_titans_1.jpgthe fallen team members.  Garth and Cyborg have a few words about the statue dedicated to Terra.  There is a little bad blood there as she did almost help murder the whole team.  Garth thinks she could have been helped and that there was a hero’s heart somewhere inside her.

Talk of other fallen loved ones continues through out the book and soon the dead begin to rise and we are greeted with a risen Terra and a very ghostly image of Donna Tory’s dead baby… creepy.

In the other story of the book the newer versions of Hawk and Dove must face the risen Hank Hall in a fight to the death.  It doesn’t look like the new Hawk is making it out of this one…

I still love the image of the black ring hovering over the grave of the original Dove and not being able to claim him.  Don Hall of Earth is at peace…

Blackest Night: Batman #1

blackest_night_batman_1.jpgI bet you thought the rings would bring back the fallen Bruce Wayne in this story.  It’s not going to happen here, folks.  There ate other people crawling from the grave in this book.

Our new Batman and Robin discover that the Grayson’s and Drake’s have returned to see how their sons have grown up… and to make sure they stop growing all together.

Deadman helps our heroes figure out what exactly is going on but they don’t have time to do anything about it because a big group of dead villains have also been given a second chance and they are now on the hunt for the Caped Crusader.

The scary part about this story is that we have seen some of the most powerful heroes of the DCU stand up to the power of the Black Lanterns and have absolutely no luck at all.  Now we have mere humans heading into the battle.

They are so dead.

Blackest Night: Superman #1

Kal-L of Earth 2 is commanded to rise and he is all too happy to BlackestNight.Superman_Cv1.jpgcomply.  I know for a fact that this isn’t going to end well.

Kal-L heads to Smallville and begins to kill lots of people in a way that doesn’t alert the visiting Superman.

Eventually Superman and Connor meet up with Kal-L and the sucky part of this meeting is that it’s over the grave of Jonathan Kent.  A fight ensues and, as you can guess, Superman and Connor have no luck at all at stopping the Earth 2 Superman.

A risen Earth 2 Lois Lane kidnaps Martha Kent and the book ends with a stand off on Smallville’s main street between Earth 2 Superman and Lois Lane and our Superman and Connor Kent.  What’s at stake?  The future of Jonathan and Martha Kent.

The really cool thing about this issue is that we see a lot of the POV of the Black Lanterns.  Now, we’ve seen this shown in other Blackest Night books but not in this way.  Every time we see a shot from the BL POV we see the emotion of the person they are up against.  If they are facing off against a Green Lantern, they glow green with will power, a Sinestro Corps member glows yellow with fear, and so on and so forth.  When Earth 2 Superman looks at our Superman he sees the entire spectrum in one person.  It goes back and forth depending on the situation but it’s still the first time we have seen all in one and I think that’s pretty awesome.

Also in this book, as if we didn’t have enough to deal with, we get the rise of Zor-El… Supergirl’s recently murdered father.

ALL IN ALL –

So far the first group of tie-ins and crossovers are a success and it keeps the Blackest Night books at the top of my reading list each and every week.

From the Desk of the Super Clerk – Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps # 1 Reviewed

7

Aug

Posted by Steve

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.  BNTOTC1a.jpgFires 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.

STORY:

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.

ART:

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.

BNTOTCV1.jpgCOVERS:

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.

From the Desk of the Superclerk: Blackest Night #1 Reviewed

27

Jul

Posted by Steve

Jason aka Superclerk on the forums joins the ever-expanding team as a regular reviewer of comics for the site.  Today he brings his reactions to the kickoff of DC’s big event this year, BLACKEST NIGHT.  Spoilers do abound, so if you haven’t read the issue yet and don’t want to know who is joining the Black Lantern Corps from beyond the grave, don’t read the review yet.

And now, from the desk of the the Superclerk:

The Blackest Night has begun…

For over a year we have known of it’s coming.  There were signs ignored.  Pleading from a Guardian of the Universe falling on deaf ears.  War broke out.

blackest_night_1.jpgWith the beginning of the Sinestro Corps war we began a story that has had time to grow and mature in a way we hadn’t seen before.  The DCU was taking its time.

As the war spread we were introduced to the idea of a coming event known as The Blackest Night.  An event that would bring the end of the Green Lanterns and everything they had ever fought for.  An event that the Guardians thought was just a tale for children.  Nothing that bad could ever occur as long as they were watching the vastness of space.  They ignored the signs and pushed forward new laws governing the Green Lantern Corps that did nothing but help the so-called tale become a dark reality.

The end of one war brought the beginning of a new one… the War of Light.  Red Lanterns, Indigo Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, Orange Lanterns, and the remaining Sinestro Corps channeling the Yellow light began to take hold all over the heavens and soon it was too much for the Green Lanterns to handle.

Within the chaos the Black Lantern began it’s work and now  we see the start of a challenge that the once mighty Green Lantern Corps cannot handle on it’s own.

Blackest Night #1 begins with The Black Hand, the vessel of the Black Lanterns, digging up the grave of Bruce Wayne with his bare hands.  Pulling the skull of the hero out of the mud is the start of something bigger.  At that point thousands upon thousands of black rings are set loose upon the stars.  The call for “flesh” whispering into the dark void.

The rings begin their journey as the Earth remembers the fallen heroes of their world on the anniversary of the death of Superman.  All over the planet people gather to remember the larger than life figures that gave their lives to make sure the world continued.

In Coast City the Green Lanterns of sector 2814 light a memorial to those fallen in the destruction of the original Coast City.  With this scene we travel into the past and witness the pain and loss of the heroes loved ones since accepting the rings of power.

Next we visit others.  The Kent family visits the grave of Jonathan Kent.  His passing has left a hole in the family that cannot be filled.  The newly returned from the dead, Connor Kent, wonders why he gets to continue when Jonathan Kent does not.

At the grave of the original Firestorm Professor Stein thinks of Ronnie Raymond.  A young man who he thought of as a son as the inheritors of the Firestorm identity look on and mourn a man they didn’t have a chance to know.

More scenes pass and we get a glimpse into the memorial chamber on Titans Island.  The Flash’s Rogues take time to honor their fallen as well.  The members of a former version of the Justice League visit the final resting place of Ted Kord.  We see a mass of heroes descend on Valhalla Cemetery in Metropolis.  Statues of the fallen heroes reach to the sky as they are remembered for their deeds.

Mera, the wife of the fallen Aquaman, visits his seaside grave with Tempest in tow.  While Tempest argues that Arthur should be entombed with the other kings and heroes of Atlantis Mera tells him that this is where he wanted to be.

Finally we begin to watch as the faithful butler and surrogate father of the Dark Knight begins his trek to the unmarked grave of Bruce Wayne.  As he nears he sees that the grave has been disturbed.  Bones stick up through the mud along with the splintered remains of a simple coffin.  His disgust, anger, and fear show clearly on his face.

Meanwhile, in the Hall of Justice… we see Hal Jordan and Barry Allen examining the final resting place of some of the Leagues villains.  They are kept under lock and key to keep people from trying to take powers and abilities from the remains.

Barry is upset that so many have fallen, good and bad, while he was gone.  The guilt of not being there to stop it burdening his soul.  He asks for Hal to tell him who has passed while he was gone.  Hal shows him with a ring construct all the heroes who fell.  It’s too much for Barry.

A confrontation between Hawkman and Hawkgirl brings forth memories of the deaths of Ralph and Sue Dinby.  The Atom has requested Carter Hall, Hawkman, to come with him to visit the grave of Jean Loring, the Atom’s ex wife.  Carter is angered at the request as it was Jean who brought about the death of the Dinby’s.

Hal finishes telling Barry about all that has happened in the time he was dead and that has brought the Flash to become still and sit down from the enormity of all the loss.

As this is happening the Guardians of the Universe and keepers of the Green Light have finally accepted that the Blackest Night is upon them.  As they decide to call the Green Lantern Corps home to prepare for the coming battle one of their own turns against them.  The one known as Scar, infected by the Black, rips one of the Guardians apart and tears his heart out.  As the other Guardians try and defend themselves the planet of Oa is invaded by swarms of Black rings.  The power of the Black rings is too much for the Corps and the rings find their way into the Crypt of the Green Lantern Corps.  They choose their hosts and soon the once dead Green Lanterns of many worlds are awakened and rise.

Elsewhere in space Black rings spread out calling for the flesh needed.  We watch as bodies are chosen.  J’onn J’onzz, Katma Tui, Ronnie Raymond, Arthur Curry… names of the fallen are called out from the darkness.

As the Green Lanterns on Oa are faced with their fallen comrades we see that an old friend meets Hal and Barry.  The Martian Manhunter has risen and he calls for his friends and challenges them about their own resurrections.

We end the issue with Carter Hall and Hawkgirl arguing about love, of all things.  As she finally admits to being in love with the angry hero she is impaled from behind.  As she falls forward bleeding Carter is attacked as well.  As they look upon their attackers they are shocked to find that the friends they thought last forever, The Dinby’s, have returned.  And they attack again.

Smashing the heroes into a bloody mess they call out with hateful words and lies.  As Cater and Kendra call out to each other the newly risen agents of the Black Lantern rip open their chests and tear their hearts out.

With the two Hawks murdered, Black Hand appears.  He holds in his hand the skull of Bruce Wayne and from that skull two Black rings emerge and call out to Kendra Sanders and Caret Hall of Earth.  They call for them to rise…

Story 5/5 :

I loved this issue. Geoff Johns does a great job bringing this story to life and giving us all the info we need regarding all the characters in the story without bogging the book down.  This is tough to do especially when you are dealing with so many characters.  My hat off to him.

I’m glad they are taking their time with this event and not trying to squeeze everything into three issues.  An eight-part epic is what this story deserves.  With all the months of build up it had to be this way.

The interactions between all the groups we deal with were just right as well.  Hal and Barry in the Hall discussing the fallen was a powerful scene as we continue to see Barry change from the Flash we once knew to a man with massive guilt for not being there for his friends.

I am also digging the Black Hand.  They managed to turn a b level villain into someone to be feared.  I love all his scenes and I really dig that he is using the skull of Batman as… I guess as something like a Power Battery.  I look forward to seeing how Bruce Wayne plays into the larger picture.

blackest_night_1_variant.jpgArt 5/5:

Not only was it great start to an event I have been waiting a year to see but it was a great looking book as well.  The art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert fit this story perfectly.  It’s realistic enough to really sell the danger of the whole situation.  I can’t see this story being drawn by anyone else.

There are some great splash pages in this book that really sell it for me.  The first is when Hal shows Barry the heroes that have been lost.  The grimness of his face and the shock on Barry’s give the two-page spread weight as we remember the heroes along with these two men.  There were even a few people in that image I had forgotten had died.

The other image comes with the first look at the risen Green Lanterns who have now joined the ranks of the Black Lantern Corps.  It’s a massive crowd and since we know the rings without hosts were more than the GL’s could handle… we see this dark mass and know people are going to die.

We also have the reveals of the risen DCU heroes as they make themselves known.  Martian Manhunter and the Dinby’s look awesome and bring with them a vision of horror.  Not only because they look like zombies but because these were once trusted and loved friends and now they call for the flesh of the living to join their ranks.  It is a true nightmare.

And lets not forget the colors of Alex Sinclair.  He helps add a mood to the book that gives it that horror movie feel and even a bit of the cinematic.  This is a team that works well together.

COVERS:

Regular Edition: 5/5
I love simple images.  The cover is dark and filled with the image of a skull with it’s mouth hanging open and the Black rings coming forth to find their hosts.  A Black Lantern symbol burns in its eye.

This image is made all the more creepy by the fact that this skull is the remains of Bruce Wayne.

Variant Edition: 5/5

This is a really great cover to showcase the people involved with the story.  Black Hand looms above the heroes holding a Green Lantern power battery in a way that closes off the openings that usually glow bright with power.  He has snuffed this power.  His army of undead heroes rising behind him ready to attack.

All in All –
I loved this issue.  I had to say that again.  I gave this book high marks because it deserved them.  Hopefully the rest of this series and the spin off books will continue to impress.