Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blackest Night #2 Review

I'll try and review this week's reviews tomorrow but for now I am going to review the latest issue of Blackest Night. Be warned my review will contain spoilers for Blackest Night #2 in case you have yet to read the issue.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Oclair Albert and Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Story – Blackest Night Chapter II

Review
Geoff Johns has some high expectations to live up to with Blackest Night. While the road to Blackest Night started right after Sinestro Corps ended Johns has really been building up to this event ever since he brought Hal back to life in Green Lantern: Rebirth. For that reason I gave Johns a pass in the first issue of Blackest Night since he not only had to take that build and start giving long time readers a payoff for the build-up but new reader friendly for those readers jumping on the Blackest Night bandwaggen.

But now Johns has written three issues of Blackest Night related material (Blackest Night #1 & #2 and Green Lantern #44) and there isn't any reason why we should be stuck in the same position we were with the first issue. With how big this event is Johns has yet to progress the plot as this issue did nothing but hit the same notes as the first issue and Green Lantern #44.

The only real interesting plot point that Johns gave us in this issue was that the Black Lantern rings can't bring back everyone that is dead. In this issue while the Black Lantern ring did bring back Hawk for some reason the ring could not enter Dove's (Don Hall) grave and make him a member of the Black Lanterns. From the looks of things people who were pure of heart and did not any malice or regret during their lives cannot be brought by the Black Lantern rings. It's an interesting little sub-plot that Johns introduced and it will be interesting how this will work into the rest of Blackest Night.

Even with learning that little fact about the Black Lantern rings that was really the only plot progression we got in this issue. One of the problems I had in the first issue was that Johns did not show us much of the War of Light that is currently going on in the universe. And that problem continues again in this issue and to make things worse there was not even a single page in the whole issue that was dedicated to the War of Light. Instead Johns opted to focus the whole issue on what is happening on Earth specifically his pet characters Hal, Barry, Hawkman, Atom, and Aquaman, more on that problem in a bit.

While I understand that Earth is a very important part of the DCU, since that is the location to most of the DCU heroes, but Blackest Night is not your typical DC Comics event. Johns has not built this event as your typical DCU event, like Infinite Crisis or Final Crisis, were it is about Earth and its heroes but as a GALAXY spanning event that encompasses all the heroes/villains, the Lantern Corps., that inhabit the universe. And instead of focusing on the war going on across the whole universe, not just one planet, Johns has opted to yet again focus on Earth and its heroes.

The only thing that Johns gave us in this issue was more senseless gore and death going on in Earth. While Johns tried to masks all of the gore and death by showing us heroes depressed over their fallen loved ones at no point did I feel like there is any consequences to that will affect the universe with what is going on in Earth. It just feels like another event that will be solved by Superman flying in and saving the day as he has done in all of DCU's events. And Johns has way to many aspects and characters to explore Blackest Night that he and Tomasi have been building up and introduced in the road to Blackest Night that Johns can't waste time exploring just one single planet where there is only one Green Lantern.

Before people start making the excuse that Johns has it planned out for the War of Light to take place in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. I do not want to hear it. I heard the same damn thing with the recent events by Grant Morrison and Brian Bendis were both writers used other ongoing and mini-series as crutches to tell their actual stories. So I'm really not up for hearing such an excuse by Johns. If anything it only gives more of a reason why this story should have only been told in the two Green Lantern titles. This may show me as a cynical fan but I have been screwed over by these events to many times and I am not willing to not call out the writers out on this type of BS anymore. Johns should take a look at what DnA did with the recently finished War of Kings as an example of how to tell a universe spanning event effectively.

As I mentioned before the thing that hurts Johns story even more is that instead of showing us the War of Lights he instead opts to give us a bunch of action scenes that are nothing but death and gore. None of the action is moving the plot along. Two issue in and I am starting to think that just like when he wrote Infinite Crisis that Johns has way to many characters to juggle and that he is cracking under the pressure of the expectations for this event.

Also the other big problem that this issue faced is that the whole issue reads like Johns is purely writing this event for his pet characters that have not gotten much attention for the past few years and writes them here. Instead of giving some page time to the seven different Lantern Corps and the interesting characters that each Corps has he has instead dedicated 1/3 of the issue #1 and #2 on Hawkman and Aquaman, respectively. I get that these two characters are among Johns favorite but his favoritism should not get in the way of his storytelling and plot progression.

And I am going to say this with the knowledge that these two characters have many fans and it may piss them off that I say this but I am going to be honest in saying that I really getting tired of reading about Hal and Barry. Not only have Johns dedicated the three issues of Blackest Night he has written to the two but also all the issues of Flash: Rebirth that have been released so far. And honestly Hal and Barry don't have the most interesting personalities and they really need someone else to be involved in there scenes to interest me as I am just starting to roll my eyes and think "Oh great more scenes with just Hal and Barry. This should be dull and depressing."

With so many interesting characters that Johns could focus on that are participating in the War of Light it would the story much more if really started focusing on all of these characters and just gets over his pet characters. Because I am not reading this event for just it being another event that focuses on Earth's heroes but on the actual War of Light. But so far there are no signs of the war or the Lantern Corps members other than Hal Jordan.

The only saving grace for this issue is Ivan Reis spectacular art. Reis and Albert do a great job giving Blackest Night an epic feel. And even though the story is thin they make all the action look great. I especially like all the emotion they insert into all the characters involved. And the Black Lantern Corps members look both creepy and awesome as they look like characters straight out of a horror picture flick.

Issue Rating
Story: 3.2/10 – Johns tells a very thin story and has yet to introduce the reader to the real story of Blackest Night as he has opted to make this an action filled story that doesn't look like it is going anywhere.
Art: 9.5/10 – Reis and Albert's artwork is the only thing that saves this issue from being a complete horrible issue. They give Blackest Night the epic feel it should have even though the writing doesn't feel that way.
Overall: 6.35/10 – Blackest Night #2 was a very disappointing read. John needs to stop letting his fanaticism get in the way and move the story out of Earth and start focusing on the War of Light because so far there has yet to be any real plot progression to the story.

12 Comments:

Anonymous said...

wow. you are wrong. entirely. most agree this was completely satisfying.

Anonymous said...

wow ... blackest night is about the DCU and other DCU characters. not everything going on in the universe. Like Geoff Johns has said before the blackest nights has grown beyond what it was going to be. its not just about the war of light but the DCU as a whole. If you want to see whats going on with the war of light then read green lantern corps. and possibly green lantern in the later issues. Why fault an issue cause of that??? The issue as a whole was really good. good writing and characterization. memorable scenes. heck ... why dont you fault "the dark Knight" for not having more than one batman villian? thats kinda the same thing you did here. lol. psh

Manuel said...

You HAVE TO remember. this is a STORY ARC. This is only the 2nd issue. its a story arc thats going to last 8 issues. did you want EVERYTHING TO BE REVEALED THIS ISSUE? we get clues as to what the black rings do but not the whole shibang. I guess people gotta complain about everything. i enjoyed it immensely and so did most everyone else. so its all good. read green lantern corps and green lantern if you want the war of light.

renophaston said...

Hi. It's "nice" to see that someone else isn't loving this series. :) I was starting to think my shop was getting a different book. The first two issues feel like tie-ins I regret having bought, and I'm honestly baffled by the unanimous praise its been getting. I've been getting everything Green Lantern since Rebirth, and if this doesn't start telling a story next issue, I'll be dropping it.

I mean, uhh... yes. you are right. completely. most are wrong this time.

Kevin said...

@Anonymous: This is just my opinion but I know many people liked the issue.

Kevin said...

@Anonymous: Your right this is a DCU event. Not an Earth based event but a DC Universe event. But so far Johns has yet to show how what is going on with the Black Lanterns affect the whole universe. So far it just feels like another isolated incident that is just on Earth.

Also what I meant by wanting to see more of the War of Light is that there are just so many characters that Johns has built up in all the Lantern Corps that he has yet to write about in the main event other than Hal Jordan. And in reality Hal is not the only main character of this series but also we have characters in every Lantern Corps that are suppose to be big players that we have yet to see. And the excuse we are going to get that in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps gives even more of a reason that Blackest Night is more of a tie-in than an actual main event book.

Kevin said...

@Manual: I am not saying that I want everything revealed in one issue. What I am saying is that we should get some plot progression within each issue because other than the Don Hall thing we did not get any actual plot progression in the whole issue. And if I have to read Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps to get plot progression than what is the point of the Blackest Night book? Why isn't the event happening in GL and GLC? Let Johns and Didio say Blackest Night is just a tie-in to the event. But they haven't. They said we would get a complete story without having to read GL and GLC which is not happening.

Kevin said...

@renophaston: LOL! Glad I am not the only one that did not like this issue. Your right and Johns really needs to start telling and developing the story because so far we have only gotten an action/horror filled issues.

Andrenn said...

Damn seems you pissed off everyone with this review, man. I myself think you have plenty of good points and reason not to like this issue.

that and you suck.

Kevin said...

@Andrenn: Thanks man. I guess this just shows what happens when your in the minority on something. Just got to take it I guess.

And let me just finish by saying, you suck sir.

Bryce said...

I have to say, at first I was pissed that you gave it a bad review, but then I was thinking about it and I find that I agree with you in a lot of aspects, if not as vehemently. My gut tells me that this series is going to be a lot like Secret Invasion where the main mini is a big fight and the tie-ins carry all the emotional weight. Now, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy parts of it. I think Johns said somewhere that the first two issues were only setup and intro to the BL on purpose but hey... to each their own. Kudos to actually posting a minority view. Keep it up.

Kevin said...

@Bryce: Thanks man.I'm glad that you saw what I was trying to say. Even though I hated this issue I really hope that Johns improves in the next issue because I want to like this event but it is hard when the last few big events have been duds, other that War of Kings which was awesome.