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The Prophecy Fulfilled

August 1, 2009

     It’s time for the dead to rise all across the DC Universe in the pages of the big event of the year, Blackest Night.  The day that Superman died was declared a day of mourning, but since he came back, it’s become a day to commemorate the lives of all the superheroes who have died.  Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner, the Green Lanterns of Earth, fly above Coast City while they think about their own personal losses.  Various superheroes think about the people they have lost, including Superman, Firestorm, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Booster Gold, Atom Smasher,  Damage, and Tempest.  Even the Flash’s Rogues commemorate the deaths of the former members.  When Alfred Pennyworth goes to visit Batman’s grave, he finds that it’s been dug up.  Back at the Justice League headquarters, Hal tells Barry Allen about all the people who have died since Barry was gone.  Ray Palmer calls Hawkman to ask him to go with him to visit Jean Loring’s grave, but Hawkman refuses, since Jean was a murderer.  Back on Oa, as the Guardians of the Universe realize that they have failed to stop the prophecy of the Blackest Night come to fruition, Scar reveals herself and attacks.  Black rings attack Oa and start reviving all the dead Green Lantern Corps members.  As Hal and Barry investigate Bruce’s grave, black rings travel to Earth as well.  Martian Manhunter shows up as a Black Lantern at Bruce’s grave, and Hawkman and Hawkgirl are attacked by Elongated Man and Sue Dibny, also Black Lanterns.  Ralph and Sue kill both Hawkman and Hawkgirl as Hawkgirl confesses her love for Hawkman, and Black Hand shows up to induct the two into his corps.

     This whole issue is just so freaky.  The idea of the Black Lanterns, seeing all these people come back.  It’s not just some zombie story.  It’s all about these great and wonderful people coming back as twisted versions of themselves, striving to wipe out emotion in everything around them.  It’s awesome that they can see the various emotions that people are feeling, as you can see in the Hawkman/Hawkgirl scene.  The various scenes of personal loss that Geoff Johns went through at the beginning really set the stage for the shocks of what came next quite well.  He highlighted all the important people who would be coming back, like Aquaman, the original Firestorm, possibly Jonathan Kent, the Ted Kord Blue Beetle, the Al Pratt Atom, Jean Loring, and more.  These characters were all very specifically chosen so as to cause all the characters of the DCU maximum emotional distress, which is why it’s such a perfect story.  Add to that the fact that it’s built on the new Green Lantern mythos that Johns and Peter Tomasi so painstakingly rebuilt after Hal’s rebirth, and you’ve got a winner of a storyline.  Johns does great character work with each of the people in this issue, most of whom he’s written before, and you can see his skill ooze out of every page.  And Ivan Reis’ pencils are the most beautiful that DC has to offer while still being sufficiently creepy as to portray the Black Lanterns properly.  Without a doubt, this is Johns’ opus that all of his fans, myself included, have been waiting for.  And the first issue has not disappointed.

Plot: 9.6      Art: 9.7      Dialogue: 9.6      Overall: 9.7

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