Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blackest Night #1 (of 8)

Geoff Johns is rightly praised as one of the best writers in the comics business today, and his work to date proves he's earned his reputation.

He's done outstanding work on a number of titles, including the Sinestro War crossover, building the modern version of the Justice Society of America, and restoring classic characters Green Lantern / Hal Jordan and The Flash / Barry Allen. His only sour note was Infinite Crisis, and that one had the definite stench of editorial interference.

So that brings us to his long-awaited mini-series, Blackest Night, and what a dark and intense series it promises to be!

It's a story set on a big canvas, with the War of Light heating up in the Green Lantern books, the Guardians of the Universe in the middle of things (not always for the better), and a new universal menace rising - the Black Lantern Corps.

This issue sets up the conflict, puts the characters in place, brings us up to date on them and on the loved ones they've lost - the dead characters who will apparently make up the Black Lantern Corps. But even though the story in involved and touches almost every modern-day character in the DC Universe, it never feels confused or strained, like a certain other event series I could name.

One of the things I really like about this issue is that it focuses on the characters who are at the heart of the Justice League, with some great scenes with the Flash and GL, and with Hawkman, the Atom and Hawkgirl.

The characterization throughout is spot on (something DC sometimes struggles with), and the heroes soon find they're up against the most terrifying menace they've ever faced.

Special praise should go to penciler Ivan Reis and inker Oclair Albert, who turn in some amazing work here. Their detail work is very impressive, each character is distinct and dramatic, and their horror work is outstanding.

With some shocking moments and a force that may be impossible to beat, this series is off to a fantastic start. It's a bit gruesome for kids, but it's hard to imagine any DC fan not enjoying this series.

The series is off to a very strong start. It's big, it's bold, and it promises to change the face of DC. Oh, and you get a free Black Lantern Corps ring when you buy the comic. Hard to pass that up!

Grade: A

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