Blackest Night #7
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Nick J. Napolitano
Cover artists: Reis & Albert/Rodolfo Migliari (variant)
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99 US
Geoff Johns must’ve been really pleased when he saw Avatar or a little bit miffed (I’m assuming he saw it; given the box-office numbers on the flick, our entire species must’ve seen it). A central plot point and the main theme of the movie are reflected in the climactic revelation of this penultimate issue of Blackest Night. While not necessarily predictable, there’s definitely a certain logic to the plotting leading up to the reveal that keeps it from having that “wow” factor. Fortunately, the action that fills the scenes before that big moment makes for a thoroughly entertaining read. While many of the Blackest Night spinoffs/tie-ins have left something to be desired, the core event title has featured solid, fun super-hero storytelling.
As the leaders of the various Lantern Corps tries to stem the tide of Black Lanterns with the help of their new recruits, they must also contend with betrayal from within their ranks. Meanwhile, Nekron completes a ritual that brings him closer to his goal, as he seeks to wipe out all life in the universe by striking at a single target. In orbit around Earth, the Indigo Tribe has transported legions of Lanterns of various colors to the planet to join the fight against the Black Lanterns, and with the directions of their leaders, they stop fighting amongst themselves and focus on the billions of alien Black Lanterns bound for Earth.
Thanks to Alex Sinclair’s crisp, bright, glowing colors, the action among the new Lanterns early on in this issue is mesmerizing. The pulsing energy of their constructs really pops off the page. The bright colors make the infectious nature of the energy something the audience can easily accept and in which it can believe. I also loved how the Lanterns of many colors make for an eye-engaging mosaic as they gather to team up, be it to fight Nekron, Black Hand or a multitude of cosmically empowered corpses in orbit.
Ivan Reis relies on several (actually, four in total) splashy spreads running over more than one page to convey the over-the-top action. Some might see this as padding out the story, but I found it worked quite well with the climactic tone of this issue and the cosmic scope of the plot. The detail he brings to key moments is impressive, notably the double-page spread of Lanterns of Many Colors erupting from deep space, ready to join the battle. There isn’t any shortcutting or sketchiness to be found here. Furthermore, I’m pleased that the shifts between two different inkers hasn’t impacted the flow of the visuals. It’s seamless; that Oclair Albert was joined by Reis’s other frequent collaborator, Joe Prado, isn’t at all apparent.
Obviously, the big attraction in this issue is the action, but there are some interesting things happening in the plot as well. There are a lot of revelations made here as to what’s really been going on. The aspect I enjoyed the most is that the Guardians of the Universe, in a roundabout way, are revealed as villains of the larger story. They’re as responsible for what’s happening as the death-manipulating Nekron is. Johns reveals that the real threats are repression and hubris.
I really haven’t been paying much attention to the text pieces in the back of the various issues of Blackest Night, but this time, I perused the one-page story of murder and malevolence, written by Johns from the perspective of a younger incarnation of one of his villains. It’s a chilling piece, far removed from the super-hero genre elements of the main story in the issue. I really enjoyed how dark and brooding it was. Plot-wise, there’s a definite connection to Blackest Night, but in terms of tone and subject matter, it’s a world apart, so much so that it doesn’t entirely feel as though it belongs. I reiterate, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed it; I’m definitely going to have to go back and read the previous “verses” from “The Book of the Black.”
Much has been written about DC’s success with Blackest Night as compared to Marvel’s recent event brands. Personally, I think BN has clicked for fans of the super-hero genre because the concepts upon which it’s built are just so much fun. Sure, death and the macabre are inherent in the premise, but ultimately, there’s a simpler, old-school feel that widens a reader’s eyes and brings a smile to his or her face. 8/10
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