On the day of this most illustrious of American tradition of Black Friday, I re-read Blackest Night #5 while at work being bored. I do work in a retail store but not one that is offering massive doorbuster specials that cause people to trample each other at 5 AM. Moving on…
So, the first time that I read this issue I was sitting on the couch after returning from the comic shop and kept showing my wife (bless her heart for acting interested) pages that caused me to say “Oh shit, check that out!” multiple times. The issue was surprisingly fast paced given that it’s the middle point of this series, traditionally where things slow down a bit.
If you haven’t read it yet, there are spoilers ahead, and definitely read Green Lantern #48 before you read this, as it fills in a gap in time between BN 4 & 5.
Blackest Night #5
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis
We begin with the leaders of all seven light corps gathering in Sector 666 to destroy the main Black Lantern Power Battery but it’s already gone. Everyone belts out their own corps oath, except Agent Orange who claims in a very Homer Simpson-esque way “I’m hungry”. After some bickering and some logical conclusions by the odd couple of Sinestro and Atrocitus, we move on to Earth.
Good old Earth is in a bit of trouble since Nekron appeared last issue and started raising 7 million dead folk from Coast City. He also makes a proclamation that can be interpreted a few ways : “Your death was the first, Barry Allen of Earth. And your rebirth the last. So says Nekron”. Nice. So is this the last of the Rebirth comics. I mean, Nekron says so.
Anyway…fighting, bickering, fighting, the other tie-in minis are recapped, many heroes show up, and the Rainbow Connection shows up to blast the evil Guardian with a healthy dose of white light. But, Nekron seems very calm about this and seems pretty satisfied with how things are going. Even though there is a fight going on, Johns and Reis succeed in giving off a “calm before the storm” vibe here because, quite frankly, a storm is on the next page. 5 words set it off : “Bruce Wayne of Earth. Rise”
Black Lantern Batman shows up, all hell breaks loose and it’s like the straw that breaks the superheroes backs. The end of this issue is quite a rollercoaster ride of emotion as Nekron sends a gift of black rings to all of the heroes who have died previously and come back since, as he explains, he let them live anyway. As Hal and Barry try to outrun the rings, Nekron gathers up his new playthings (i.e. Black Lantern Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow and more) and sets off to destroy the light of creation.
This issue was fantastic and action packed. The “Oh shit” moments came fast and furious, and the story kept moving along at a manageable pace. My one curiosity is why Nekron uses quotes around the name Bruce Wayne at one point. Given what happened in the last issue of Batman and Robin, this gives more credence to the belief that the skull that Black Hand had was not really Bruce’s (at least our Bruce Wayne, maybe some multiversal Bruce). Hopefully this will be explained in the next B&R arc, since they delayed it to tie into Blackest Night.
All in all, I’m loving this story. Every issue has been a joy to read and the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps issues just add to the depth of the event. Hopefully, Johns can make this story truly an event-level tale and that some of the consequences stick around and affect the larger DC Universe as a whole.