22 January 2011

Book 4 of 2011

This was a gift for my birthday, and I read it on our three day weekend.

Blackest Night

4) Blackest Night by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis
I almost hesitated to count this but then McBride told me to, so here we are. Once a collection reaches a certain page length (and considering I hadn't read any of the individual issues previously), I guess it counts. Blackest Night is the supposed culmination of a years long story where the Green Lanterns started to produce more lanterns of various colors. Each color of lantern (It feels wrong to say "colored lanterns" because it's already bad enough that the ultimate bad guys are the Black Lanterns and the ultimate good guys are that defeat the evil Black Lanterns are the, you guessed it, White Lanterns, but I'm getting ahead of myself.) represents a different part of the emotional spectrum. While green still stands for will, red covers rage and blue is all about hope. Each one, with the exception of the Sinestro Corps' yellow power source, is less interesting and less powerful than the Green Lanterns until the Black Lanterns roll up because they are dead zombie jerks.
See, the Black Lanterns represent death and the rings attach themselves to the dead. Of course, to really present a threat, Skar and Black Hand, the Black Lantern ringleaders (HA!), start taking over dead heroes or heroes who had previously died. This is comics and this is Geoff Johns, so there are a lot more dead heroes for the latter to work with than you'd think, especially the big guns like Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and the recently thought-to-be-deceased-but-actually-trapped-in-the-past Batman.

Geoff Johns is this mixed bag as a writer because he has some interesting ideas but he also doesn't know when to hold back. He thinks that shock, awe, and gore are a suitable replacement for tension and drama. So when a bunch of the dead heroes that he's responsible for killing in the first place start tearing arms and heads in half, it stops feeling shocking because he's done it so many times before. The closest equivalent to Johns that I can think of is former WWE creative writer and current TNA wrestling head booker, Vince Russo, whose philosophy towards his craft is to throw as much at the wall as he can muster and sort through what sticks. Then he collects it all up and throws it again, not really paying attention to what worked or did not work in the past. The "he" in the previous sentence can apply to either guy, by the way.

Considering this was a company wide crossover that has at least three other similarly sized collections of tie-ins that I can think name off the top of my head, it never feels like the main book, this one, tells the full story. Thumbing through the Green Lantern: Blackest Night collection confirms this and it makes it frustrating that DC doesn't collect everything in its proper order as opposed to the collection of the individual titles that they do collect.

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