Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Blackest Night #3 of 8
Johns, Albert & Prado
On the surface this issue is more of the same from the first two issues. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan are wandering around Earth as more and more of the lower level DCU heroes (sometimes villains) are killed off and brought back as Black Lanterns. However, as dull and repetitive as these scenes have become, this issue brings something new to the table that saves the issue from being lost in the noise of the event. The issue rises to just above the three goggle line because of that single element.
During the middle of the issue the Indigo Lanterns show up. We’ve only seen a little of them in other titles and we know very little about them. They apparently speak English and explain essentially everything to Hal and Barry. With this puzzle piece in place we now understand the motivation and powers behind each of the colors in the war of the colored rings. We also now understand how to defeat the Black Lanterns. It’s a terrific development. However, are two pages of origins and plot revelations enough to save this issue from mediocrity? No, but some of the other elements became interesting enough to make the issue stand out enough.
Up to and including this issue unless you have intimate knowledge of the DCU you will be lost on the many references and character continuity that is dragged up in this mini series. I still don’t understand all of the interactions between the Hawks, Atom and the Elongated family. However, this issue brings some fun dialogue when it drags in new obscure characters, like Firestorm, and it makes the issue more pleasant to read, despite the fact that I have no idea what the two Firestorms are talking about half of the time. At least there’s wikipedia.
A taste of the dialogue that I found laughing at may even be a touch on the racial side. The current Firestorm is a black, late teen, male. The dead Firestorm sucks the young guy into his head and says, “Welcome aboard Urkel.” Sure, it’s a reference to a TV show from twenty years ago but I got the reference and I found myself laughing. Will a twenty year old reading this get the reference? Probably not. Could someone find this statement to be offensive and a little racially loaded? Yes. However, I still laughed because I thought he did look a little like Urkel. The issue does contain some witty dialogue that left me interested in these characters that I’ve had no exposure to prior to this story.
However, Barry Allen, a character I followed thirty years ago, is becoming a nuisance. I understand he’s getting a revamp now and he needs to be marketed, but he is becoming annoying in this series. It’s nice for him to play the moral compass role for Hal Jordan but his involvement in this story could have easily been filled by John Stewart or Kyle or even Green Arrow. Is it really worth building up a retread character, in a Green Lantern event, at the expense of other Green Lanterns that now have deflected roles because of it? I would have preferred Hal talking to his ring instead. I find myself feeling the need to avoid the Flash and his titles like the plague as a result of his placement in this story.
The issue does jerk the story in a strange direction as the story tried to involve Hal’s personal life. Hal, after finding out how to stop the Black Lanterns, flees Earth in the hopes of helping his ex-girlfriend, Carol, who is now a Star Sapphire. She’s been a Star Sapphire before in the current Green Lantern series and dozens upon dozens of times over the last forty years. Hal freaking about it now further proves that jamming a personal life into the space cop bit just doesn’t fit. Whether it’s his brother’s family, his girlfriend or the fact that he has a job as a pilot simply makes no sense in the context of him flying off to the corners of the universe. It’s a gap in his character and the need to race to Carol’s side in this story simply makes no sense with the enormity of the Black Lantern invasion. However, I do understand it’s essential that Carol and Hal hook up to resolve all of this light of war, so go with it. It’s the actions that make Hal seem like an awful space cop though.
The artwork brings the issue to a nice level as well. The Indigo Lanterns are terrific and make a stunning entrance. The zombies all have little nuances to them that make each page fun to scan over. The artwork makes the issue memorable.
As is the case with the previous issues, if you follow the DCU then you will simply love this issue, provided you aren’t bored with the zombies yet. However, if you just follow the Green Lanterns you might still enjoy this as much as I did as it sheds some light on the Indigo Lanterns and pushes the potential solution to the Black Lanterns across to the reader. I would assume most people like Barry Allen and the love story between Hal and Carol so those folks will find something else to enjoy in the issue. The series is humming right along and I finally found something in the mini series that was import to deciding this event. This issue is definitely worth picking it up because of that.
3.5 out of 5 geek goggles