Blackest Night #1
Geoff Johns has always been great at setups, and like Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps War before it, the first issue of Blackest Night delivers in spades.
The issue begins by demonstrating why this event is so devastating to the DCU: loss of loved ones is a central part of being a superhero, but what happens when those loved ones come back...evil? We get some great character moments with a few of Johns' favorites (the Teen Titans, the Rogues, the JLI, the JSA, and the Hawks), as well as a beautiful splash page with Hal Jordan showing Barry Allen images of "everyone" who has died while Barry was gone. The conversation between Hal and Barry is especially moving, as is the discussion between the Hawks.
We also get a little bit of action in this issue, with the rogue Guardian Scar making her move, and the black rings racing out to claim soldiers for the Black Lantern Corps. The war begins on two fronts, with the rise of numerous dead Green Lanterns on Oa (and a few dead Sinestro Corps members and assorted criminals, I assume), as well as the resurrection of dead heroes and villains on Earth.
The deaths at the end hit especially hard for those of us who have followed these characters, especially given the identifies of the two people who commit the murders. Although death in comics is often used as a shock tactic, it actually works in this context, not only given the history of the characters who died, but the fact that it moves the plot forward by giving us some tantalizing hints regarding the goals of these Black Lanterns. It may not be quite as shocking as the last page of Infinite Crisis or the Sinestro Corps one-shot, but it is still an effective first issue.
The art from Ivan Reis is, as always, gorgeous. His two splash pages showing the dead DC heroes, and the resurrected Green Lanterns are both stunning, and he draws a mean (literally) Elongated Man.
I have been excited about this event for some months now, and this issue brought that excitement to a fever pitch. A great first issue.