Blackest Night #8(of 8 ) - 'Blackest Night' - Johns, Reis, Albert and Prado
Story - So it's come to this. The end of Blackest Night. The culmination of 5 years of Green Lantern stories, the ultimate battle between life and death. Heady stuff. But is it any good?
Eh, it's OK I guess, I've read better.
I suppose I have mostly myself to blame for the feeling of apathy I hold towards Blackest Night #8, I read the spoilers for this issue a week before I read it, and already had time for the ensuing events to percolate in my brain and for me to form an opinion, without even reading the comic. But surely a comic lies in the telling? If all I'm interested in is spoilers, why don't I join the Wikipedia Review Group? The events of Blackest Night may have pissed me off in their blunt, factual form, but has Geoff Johns found a way to convey them which makes it work?
The answer is no. I've often found Johns to be a rather clunky and unsubtle writer. His dialogue is leaden at times, and his reliance on splash-pages and cool catchphrases annoys me. He's like Mark Millar without the sense of humour and original ideas. Blackest Night #8 is probably one of the lesser Johns issue's I've read. It just seems kind of... perfunctory, Nekron is despatched rather easily, and then a bunch of seemingly (I say seemingly, more later) random characters are resurrected, and Hal and Barry are back where they started, staring at Bruce Wayne's graves like lusty Necrophiliacs.
The thing that annoyed me most about this issue was probably how Nekron was dealt with, it just seemed so unspeakably lame and unlikely. I know this is a DCU crossover, and you have to suspend your disbelief a lot more than some other companies' events (Secret Invasion's main threat was ended by a gunshot to the head, that I can buy, even if it's a laser gun and the victim was a big green alien) but here... I just came out of nowhere. I never bought Nekron as a proper threat anyway, and his demise underlines that, all the JLA had to was dress up as the Ku Klux Klan and he'd go bye-bye? Lame. And what was the point of the Anti-Monitor in this story? Wasteful.
And then there's the resurrections. A selection of classic DCU characters (and Osiris) have been brought back to life. Only some, not all. Why only these guys? Obviously most of them are there to set up a new series spinning out of this event, but at this stage it seems kind of arbitrary that these characters and these only are back. It pulls you out of the story, you're acutely aware of a writer's hands being behind this, you know Johns picked these, and right now, it seems like he just chose his favourites, and that sticks in my craw. By all means use your favourite characters (or versions of characters), but don't be so blatant about it. The silver-age nostalgia here is also worrying, does Johns love the past so much he's willing to kill his own characters and replace them with long-dead ones? (See Kendra/Shiera). DC of course are saying that it's not random, that this was all part of a plan, and these characters and not, say Ted Kord, are back for a reason, and maybe they are, we'll see, but for now... not good. I will say that some of the possibilities are interesting, I like seeing the classic Aquaman back, the relationship between Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond is ripe for good stories, and Deadman being alive fascinates me.
Overall, this is an OK ending to an OK event, it has it's problems, Johns' own short-comings, and the seeming randomnness of the resurrections, but I am interested in several future stories spinning out of this, so I suppose this issue has done it's job. At least this issue actually featured all the Green Lanterns, which is only appropriate for a Green Lantern event, too often in this book, they were absent.
Oh, and I'm deducting a point for Larfleeze, he's eye-rolling at the best of times, but he was particularly odious here. Ugh.
Art - At least Ivan Reis is on top form, this mini-series has shown he's capable of handling pretty much anything thrown at him, the 2 page spreads in here are wonderful, and without him, this book would really be terrible. He reminds me of Neal Adams in his clean, classic style. I can't wait to see what he's up to next, I'd like to see him on Superman.
Best Line - Um... Johns' dialogue is pretty bad, I suppose it's 'LIVE', sums up the book.
5/10 It would be 6, but as I said, Larfleeze.