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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

April 19, 2010

Sorry for the smaller cover, but it was classified and all.  So Blackest Night #8 is out, and the DC event of 2009-2010 is over.  And what a final fight.  Sinestro faces off against Nekron with his big shiny new toy, and he manages to rip out Nekron’s heart rather easily.  However, Nekron revives himself through another Black Lantern, and he starts to separate the white entity from Sinestro.  Larfleeze knocks out the still raving Lex Luthor, and all the remaining Black Lanterns swarm in for the kill.  Fortunately, the multi-colored cavalry arrives from space in time to assist.  They all focus their power on Nekron, and Deadman gives a little bit of info about Nekron and Black Hand, saying that Hand is the key.  Nekron separates Sinestro and the white entity, and Hal Jordan flies in, taking in the entity and spreading its power to all of the revived heroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Barry Allen, Donna Troy, Superboy, Green Arrow, Animal Man, Kid Flash, Ice).  They revive Black Hand, who in turn revives the Anti-Monitor.  Then, Black Hand vomits some white rings, killing Nekron.  The rings seach and and revive multiple other characters, who are Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawk (Hank Hall), Jade, Osiris, Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness), Maxwell Lord, Professor Zoom, and Deadman.  Mera nearly dies when love compromises her red ring, but Carol Ferris, Saint Walker, and Aquaman manage to save her.  Hawkgirl reveals that she’s Shiera, not Kendra, and Jason Rusch freaks out, as he and Ronnie Raymond, the man who killed Gehenna, were making up Firestorm.  Hank Hall gets pissed, Maxwell Lord uses his powers to escape, Jade kisses Kyle Rayner, Osiris wants to go home, Zoom runs away, and Barry Allen knocks out Boomerang.  Everyone is sad to see that Elongated Man and Sue Dibny weren’t revived, and Deadman freaks out, saying that he’s supposed to be dead.  Larfleeze tells everyone to take Luthor, then claims Sayd as his prize.  Elsewhere, the Indigo Tribe has fled, and they’ve taken Black Hand and chained him up to an Indigo Lantern staff, forcing him to be an Indigo Lantern to keep him in check.  Later, Hal and Barry talk about the white light and that Batman must still be alive, and elsewhere, a white lantern is found in a crater.

Well, to be honest, Geoff Johns stumbled a little bit in the end.  He got so excited with some of the implications of the white light that the rest of the story suffered a bit.  For one, Ganthet and Deadman do a little too much exposition in this issue.  This wasn’t as much a problem before, but by the end, it would be nice to let everything just speak for itself.  It was disappointing to see Sinestro separated from the white entity after so short a time, and it was rather silly with all the resurrected heroes becoming White Lanterns.  The dialogue preceeding that, as well as the dialogue at the end, was rather clunky and un-Johns-y, again because Johns probably wasn’t doing his best storytelling thinking at the time of writing this.  Likewise, the resurrections of various characters were a tad too convenient, considering the fact that they didn’t exactly follow the lines of which Black Lanterns were gone or not, and as Johns noted, they were purely chosen for whose resurrections would provide good story material.  Obviously that’s how it would happen no matter what, but the way Johns has phrased it in interviews, and the way characters were seemingly so oddly chosen (Osiris, Captain Boomerang) just made it seem too contrived, especially considering that some of those characters’ stories were over (Maxwell Lord, Ronnie Raymond).  Plus, a few of them were revived in ways that didn’t follow up with their status as of their death (Boomerang, Hank Hall), though Hawkgirl makes sense, considering her convoluted continuity.

Now, I want to qualify what I’ve just said.  Blackest Night is one of the best event books I’ve ever read, and this issue was still quite a fun read.  However, by the end, I feel like Johns was just too excited about Brightest Day and what was to come later, so that great character moments were missed, dialogue was awkward, and poor choices for resurrection were made.  I personally think that Sinestro should have stayed a White Lantern, what with all the great possibilities for that.  I also think that the vast majority of those dead characters should have stayed dead, since the only two I’m really happy to see back are Jade and Martian Manhunter.  But then again, I’m a big hater of comic book deaths.  Ivan Reis continues to prove himself as one of the best comic book artists today, with great panel after great panel, as well as one great two-page spread of all the various Lantern Corps and Earth’s superheroes fighting the Black Lanterns, and the four-page spread of the revived characters.  Even the White Lantern two-page spread looked great, even if I didn’t agree with the story decision behind it.  He really is an artistic superstar, and I’ll be glad to see him working with Johns on Brightest Day.  So even though the ending to this storyline was less than ideal, seven issues of high quality shouldn’t just be discounted.  Johns and Reis did some of the best work in their careers on these pages, and I’m willing to let the ending slide somewhat because of what’s to come and how good the storyline was overall.  Johns and everyone else had just better make good use of what’s come out of this storyline, so that when I look back at it in a few years, I can completely excuse the fumbles at the end.

Plot: 8.4      Art: 9.5      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 8.8

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