blackest night is over

Spoilers may follow.

Last night, I finished reading the big DC crossover event, Blackest Night. (That link goes to the collection of the eight core issues, not the full hundred issues of crossover matieral.) I’d read all the preliminary material, but had stopped at “Prelude to Blackest Night” (or whatever it was called) so that I could wait until I had all the issues to read them in one go. With all 100 (or so) issues in my possession, I got to work this week and tore through it. It was good, but it had a bunch of problems.

It was too long, for one thing. By the end, I was sick of it. There were so many specific fights that were basically all the same as each other, with nearly nothing of interest unless you really wanted to see how Blackest Night affected, say, Captain Cold. They didn’t just do this to show how Blackest Night was everywhere, of course, they did it so they could use the big crossover event as a massive change of various characters. Hawk came back, Captain Boomerang, Jr. died, Zoom is active again, whatever. I’d prefer if DC didn’t need to have a huge crisis event every five years to produce sweeping changes.

They did a lot of buildup to the White Lanterns, but it seemed totally wasted, in the end. Sinestro as White Lantern was a joke. They forget that he really was the greatest Green Lantern, sometimes, and make him act like a second-rate villain. If Jordan is greater than Sinestro, it shouldn’t be by all that much. Otherwise, who cares? The WL corp should have been introduced much earlier, so we could’ve seen them do something beyond one boring collective action.

I will not get into all the stupid plot holes or continuity errors. There were some, and I wish there had been fewer.

They acted like Black Hand was going to be a big deal in Blackest Night. He was important, in theory, but he really only got about two or three issues of appearance and after that he was, at best, an occasional Renfield-shaped shadow in the vicinity of (yawn) Nekron. And where was Black Flash? He totally belonged here as more than just an offhand allusion.

The Superboy Prime stuff was horrible. It was some of the worst self-referential meta-crap that I’ve read from DC in a long time, and writing that sort of drivel that jokes about how everyone know it’s drivel does not make it any less drivelly! Similarly, it seemed clear that Vibe was brought back only as a sly wink at long-time readers. It was a waste. The old Doctor Light was also underwhelming, considering his importance in Identity Crisis. With a huge army of people who play on emotional ties, not using Doctor Light to the fullest seemed like either a case of amnesia or playing it overly safe.

The scale of the event was really hard to fathom. Did billions of zombies really descent on Coast City? Really? How long did Blackest Night last for? I’m not sure it wasn’t just “one night,” given that I can’t remember a single shot of Black Lanterns in daytime, but it was really very unclear. Were there massive normal-human casualties? It seems likely, but it was never addressed. Typical! In all hundred issues, I only remember one shot of normal people reacting to everything. It was Hal Jordan’s brother’s family looking out of their apartment window at the battle and trying not to be afraid. That’s it. Nothing else. Maybe every major DC crisis-like event should be followed by a Marvels-like mini showing us what happened to the 4% of humans without super powers.

Even so, I’d probably call this the best (least frustrating) major DC crossover. Just hope that they can stop doing these huge crossovers for a while again. I also won’t mind if they keep the other lanterns around, as long as I don’t need to see every other DC character briefly become a member of each corps in turn. Even seeing Guy Gardner as a Red Lantern wasn’t worth it. The only two temporary conversions I thought were worth it were Wonder Woman as a Violet Lantern and Barry Allen as a Blue Lantern.

We’ll see what happens.

Written on June 8, 2010
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