While the heroes and villains across the world honor their fallen allies on the anniversary of Superman’s death, a dark force stirs. The massive Black Lantern in Space Sector 666 sends forth a multitude of power rings, while on Oa, the rogue Guardian of the Universe Scar incapacitates her brethren. The power rings revive the dead, and these new Black Lanterns go after the living, especially those who have died and returned to life. Their first targets are Hawkman and Hawkgirl, killed by Black Lanterns Elongated Man and Sue Dibny…
Okay, a few ground rules. Because this book literally has a cast of thousands, I can drive myself absolutely insane trying to annotate every single character each and every time they appear. I’m going to focus of the details for the major characters, and give you the broad strokes for the minor ones.
Also, because this story deals so much with dead characters, I’m only going to note the issue number in which they died and the circumstances surrounding their death upon their appearance as a Black Lantern.
Page 1: This issue takes place immediately after the events of Blackest Night #0, given away on Free Comic Book day. If you didn’t get your hands on that book, basically Barry Allen and Hal Jordan chat about the recent deaths of Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Batman, and how they hope for a resurrection for their friends. Oh, and Black Hand digs up Bruce Wayne’s body. Gross.
Black Hand, real name William Hand. First appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #29. He was originally able to drain the energy from a Green Lantern power ring using a device of his own design. He recently got a creepy makeover in Green Lantern (fourth series) #43, on sale now. Basically, he’s now dead, and acts as the physical embodiment of the black portion of the emotional spectrum, akin to how Ion is the embodiment of the green portion of the spectrum.
In Green Lantern (fourth series) #25, the body of the Anti-Monitor was transformed into the Black Lantern power battery in Space Sector 666. The true power behind the Black Lanterns has yet to be revealed.
“The includes YOU.” Is Black Hand talking to me? Because that’s just rude.
Page 2: “And you are connected to them all.” I assume that this is a clue to the identity of the Black Lanterns’ master, and not a reference to Bruce Wayne, whose skull Black Hand is so lovingly licking.
Have I mentioned how creepy Black Hand has gotten lately?
Page 3: Superman died in Superman (second series) #75…which was back in 1992. This makes me feel old.
Pages 4-5: Damn, that Ivan Reis sure can draw.
Drum roll please, for the Green Lanterns of Earth…
John Stewart, first appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #87. Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 and currently a member of the Justice League of
Kyle Rayner, first appeared in Green Lantern (third series) #48. Member of the Green Lantern Corps Honor Guard and a former member of the JLA.
Guy Gardner, first appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #59. Member of the Green Lantern Corps Honor Guard and a former member of the Justice League International.
Page 6: The three panels at the top of the page represent times in which Hal Jordan has faced death…
Panel 1 – his father, as recently seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #29;
Panel 2 – Abin Sur, his predecessor in the Green Lantern Corps, as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #30;
Panel 3 –
Page 7: More events in the lives of the Green Lanterns…
Panel 1 – John Stewart and Katma Tui capturing the Predator. I’m not sure of the exact issue number, but it’s sometime around Green Lantern (second series) #190-192;
Panel 2 – Star Sapphire killing Katma Tui in Action Comics Weekly #601;
Panel 3 – John Stewart accidentally destroying the planet Xanshi in Cosmic Odyssey #2;
Panel 4 – Kyle Rayner discovering his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, dead and stuffed in a refrigerator after Major Force killed her in Green Lantern (third series) #54;
Panel 5 – Kyle Rayner watching as Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, cradles the body of his daughter Jade, a.k.a Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, as she dies in Rann-Thanager War: Infinite Crisis Special #1;
Panel 6 – Guy Gardner reunited with his formerly-dead girlfriend Ice in Green Lantern Corps #19.
Page 8: “I wish I could rebuild Xanshi like you’ve rebuilt
Professor Martin Stein, Jason Rusch and Gehenna visit the tombstone of Ronald Raymond, originally one-half of Firestorm.
To my knowledge, this is the first instance in which Gehenna’s last name – Hewitt – is revealed. I might be wrong about that, though, so don’t yell at me.
Note that all life seems to be dying in close proximity to the dead.
Page 10: Wonder Girl II, Kid Flash II, Cyborg, Aquagirl II, Wendy Harris and Geo-Force visit the statues of the fallen Teen Titans in
The members of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery meet at Avernus, a hidden graveyard first introduced in The Flash (second series) #217. Depicted here are the Trickster II, Captain Boomerang II, Mirror Master II, Weather Wizard and Captain Cold, standing before a statue of the original Captain Boomerang.
The name “Avernus” comes from
Former members of the Justice League International – Fire, Booster Gold, Black Canary II, Ice and Guy Gardner – honor their fallen teammate Blue Beetle II. I believe that this is the first time that his middle name “Stephen” has been mentioned. As mentioned in Page 14, Ted Kord’s body was sent back to his family because his identity as the Blue Beetle remained a secret. However, as seen in the OMAC Project #1, Ted’s body was cremated by Checkmate, so there wasn’t much left to bury.
Page 11: As the Rogues have Avernus, the heroes of the
Panel 1 – Heroes in attendance today are (on ground, left to right) Magog, Wildcat III, Wildcat I, S.T.R.I.P.E., Doctor Mid-Nite II, Mathilda Hunkel, Obsidian, Green Lantern I, Liberty Belle II, Flash I, Mr. Terrific II, and Hourman II; (in air, left to right) Starman
Panels 2-5 – Among some of the other mourners are Damage, Atom Smasher, Citizen Steel, Uncle Sam and the Ray II, honoring Commander Steel, the Atom I, Phantom Lady II, Black Condor II and the Human Bomb I.
Despite being the son of Al Pratt, the original Atom, Damage, real name Grant Emerson, never met his father. Atom Smasher, a.k.a Albert Rothstein, was Pratt’s godson and far closer to the Golden Age hero than Damage now can ever be.
Page 12: Mera and Tempest argue about the resting place for Aquaman. Apparently,
Note that, as of Titans #15, Tempest has assumed rule of Atlantis.
And now, for a little bit of a continuity discussion…
Mera: Arthur’s mother died bringing him back to the shore, back to his father.
Now then, as of Aquaman: Time and Tide, Aquaman was Orin, the son of Queen Atlanna of Atlantis and the wizard Atlan. Because Orin was born with blond hair, he was left on Mercy Reef to die. However, he survived and, as a boy, was taken in by lighthouse keeper Arthur Curry and raised. Orin eventually returned to Atlantis, where he learned the secret of his birth.
However, Mera’s one line of dialogue seems to invalidate all of this, and returns Aquaman to his original, Silver Age origins. During this time, Atlanna fled to the surface world and fell in love with lighthouse keeper Tom Curry, and they had a son, Arthur, who grew up to become Aquaman. Only time (and possible Rebirth mini-series) will tell what Aquaman’s current origin is.
Also, according to the Legend of Aquaman Special #1, Aquaman’s son Arthur Curry, Jr. is buried at Mercy Reef, where Orin himself was left to die. However, Tempest claims that the boy is buried at a tomb in Atlantis.
And, finally, as seen in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #53, Orin’s body transformed into water after he died, so I’m not sure what Tempest is worried about burying in the first place.
Page 13: As seen in Batman #687, Bruce Wayne is buried in an unmarked grave next to Thomas and Martha Wayne in
Pages 14-15: The Flash II, real name Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen. First appeared in Showcase #4. Died in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. Returned to consciousness in DC Universe #0, physically returned in Final Crisis #2. Former member of the Justice League of
In Nightwing #140-146, Talia al Ghul and Creighton Kendall use the corpses of various heroes and villains to genetically alter soldiers in their employ. As a result, the JLA moved the super-powered corpses to a holding facility underneath the Hall of Justice in Nightwing #151. According to John Stewart, it is “four hundred yards straight down…can withstand a nuclear attack and the containment walls are made of titanium, five feet thick.”
Of course, a minor gaffe occurs in that Nightwing story. In it, Captain Boomerang’s body is stolen and used in
This page seems to contradict what transpired in Nightwing #151. Now it seems that only the villains’ bodies are housed under the Hall. According to Hal
A few notes about some of the villains who are buried here…
The Cavalier buried here, Hudson Pyle, appeared in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34. Another villain by the same name, Mortimer Drake, first appeared in Detective Comics #81, decades before Pyle. However, because the Legends story takes place first chronologically, he is the first Cavalier.
The Fiddler’s true name is Isaac Bowin, not “Issac Bown” as spelled here.
Pages 16-17: Okay, deep breaths time, kids. This is a doozy.
Everyone seen here died between Barry Allen’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 and his return in Final Crisis #2. Okay, okay, technically Batman died after Barry returned, but why quibble?
Starting from the upper left corner, and working my way across the page, we have…
Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), Sue Dibny, Phantom Lady II (Delilah “Dee” Tyler), Skyman (Sylvester Pemberton III), Tarantula I (John Law), Atom I (Al Pratt), Negative Woman (Valentina Vostok), Wildcat II (Yolanda Montez), Hawk I (Hank Hall), Dove I (Don Hall), Wildebeest, Vibe (Paco Ramone), Black Canary I (Dinah Drake Lance), Human Bomb I (Roy Lincoln), Osiris (Amon Tomaz), Doctor Fate V (Hector Hall), Aquaman (Arthur Curry/Orin), Fury II (Hippolyta Trevor-Hall), Amazing Man II (Will Everett III), Kole (Kole Weathers), Steel II (Hank Heywood III), Sandman I (Wesley Dodds), Batman I (Bruce Wayne), Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), Black Condor (Ryan Kendall), Tempest I (Joshua Clay), the Question I (Charles Victor Szasz), Bushido (Ryuku Orsono), Harbinger (Lyla Michaels), Rocket Red (Dmitri Pushkin), Commander Steel (Henry Heywood), Crimson Fox (Vivian and Constance D’Aramis), Aquagirl I (Tula), Doctor Midnight (Beth Chapel), Blue Beetle I (Dan Garret), Azrael II (Jean-Paul Valley), Dolphin, B’wana Beast (Mike Maxwell), Pariah (Kell), Firestorm I (Ronald Raymond), Jade I (Jennifer-Lynn Hayden), Air Wave II (Harold Lawrence Jordan), Celsius (Arani Desai), Pantha (X-24), Doctor Fate I (Kent Nelson), Doctor Mid-Nite I (Charles McNider), Blue Beetle II (Ted Kord), Omen (Lilith Clay-Jupiter), Aztek (Uno), Katma Tui and Mister America II (Trey Thompson).
Once again, a few notes…
Negative Woman threw me for a loop. For one, she hasn’t has her powers nor has she worn her bandages in years and, from what I remember, she became the White Queen of Checkmate after Amanda Waller was kicked out. However, Negative Woman was part of the strike force that attacked Blüdhaven in Final Crisis #4, so I guess she somehow got her powers back and then was killed, but how all this happened remains to be seen.
It’s interesting to note that, out of all the heroes seen here, only two died a natural death – Black Canary and the Question, both from cancer. Granted, Dinah Drake Lance’s cancer was caused by radiation poisoning from battling Aquarius, but it was a lot more peaceful than some of these deaths.
Kole technically died twice; after the first one died, a duplicate was created by Monarch, but she was killed off too.
Rocket Red was never “Rocket Red #1.” While in his original armor, he was “Rocket Red #4.” During a trip into space, his armor was destroyed and he later donned a suit of Apokoliptian design which the Rocket Red Brigade later adopted as their new armor.
I will admit that Johns and Reis may have meant for this to be Josef Denisovich, the first Rocket Red, who died battling Kilowog. However, he only appeared three times before he died, and I assumed that Hal was showing us Dmitri Pushkin, who had a far more decorated career as a hero.
Crimson Fox died twice because she was two sisters who shared the costumed identity. Both were killed in the line of duty.
Omen…that one took me a while. I only recognized her after flipping through The DC Comics Encyclopedia. Go figure.
Page 18: When Firestorm first joined the JLA in Justice League of
Likewise, Barry was extremely close to Ralph and Sue Dibny; news of their deaths would hit him particularly hard.
Page 19: The
Hawkgirl II, real name Kendra Saunders. The reincarnation of Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1. Former member of the Justice Society of
Hawkman I, real name Carter Hall. The reincarnation of Prince Khufu of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in Flash Comics #1. Killed in Hawkman (third series) #13. Was reincarnated in his current body in JSA #23. Former member of the Justice Society of
Page 20: Carter has a bit of a temper, in case you hadn’t noticed.
The statues that decorate this wing of the museum are of Carter and Kendra's past lives. From left to right, they are...
Lady Celia Penbrook and the Silent Knight, real name Brian Kent, during 5th Century Britain;
Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara from Ancient Egypt;
And Nighthawk, real name Hannibal Hawkes, and Cinnamon, real name Kate Manser, ginfighters in the American Old West.
Jean Loring, Ray Palmer’s ex-wife, murdered Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis #1.
“Jean’s dead.” Jean was later possessed by Eclipso, and after Mary Marvel stole the Eclipso black diamond for herself, Jean fell into the ocean and died.
Page 21: Here’s the skinny on the winged Romeo and Juliet here…Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt were killed by the evil Hath-Set. Due to the mystical properties of the Nth metal knife used to kill them, they were reincarnated many times through the ages, blessed to meet and fall in love over and over again, and cursed to die at the hands of the reincarnated Hath-Set.
However, in their most recent reincarnation, Chay-Ara – now Kendra – has no memory of their lives together, and constantly resists Khufu/Carter’s talk of destiny and love. This is cause for great conflict between Hawman and Hawkgirl, but don’t worry…it won’t last for too much longer.
The Atom II, real name Raymond “Ray” Palmer. First appeared in Showcase #34. Former member of the Justice League of
Scattered on Ray’s desk are remnants of his pretty-screwed up life. From left to right, we have…
A photograph of the Atom and Hawkman, actually the cover to Hawkman (fourth series) #8;
A copy of Drowning in the Pool: The Murder of Sue Dibny, written by Roy Raymond, Jr., who appears as Owlman in the Outsiders series;
A photograph of the “satellite-era” line-up on the Justice League of
And files with papers regarding Jean Loring’s last will and testament as well as her and Ray’s divorce papers.
Page 22: Star Sapphire, real name Carol Ferris. First appeared in Showcase #22, became the Star Sapphire in Green Lantern (second series) #16. In Green Lantern (fourth series) #38, she accepted a violet power ring and became the Star Sapphire once again.
Page 23: Oa, in Space Sector 0, is the home of the Guardians of the Universe and the central precinct for the Green Lantern Corps.
Pages 24-25: The Guardians watch as the various corps battles one another in the war of light. This, the Blackest Night Prophecy, is written in the Book of Oa, Verse 6…
The light of the emotional spectrum will rise!...
…The red throes of rage, the orange light of avarice…
…the yellow fires of fear, the blue rays of hope…
…the indigo glow of compassion and the violet aura of love.
And in the center of it all, the green might of will power.
And as the light rises, so shall an unknown darkness!
A darkness with no satiation.
A darkness with no life!
“Ganthet” was a former Guardian of the Universe who, along with Sayd, left his fellow Guardians and formed the Blue Lantern Corps in Green Lantern (fourth series) #25.
Scar is a female Guardian who was badly wounded by the Anti-Monitor in Green Lantern (fourth series) #25, and this injury has had unfortunate consequences. She has been actively looking for the Anti-Monitor’s body, and has manipulated William Hand into becoming the physical embodiment of the black portion of the emotional spectrum. She apparently has a connection to whatever force is behind the power of the Black Lanterns.
Page 26: Yuck. Scar seems to have a taste for Guardian flesh.
As we will see on the next few pages, Black Lanterns derive their power from the hearts of the living…well, they’re not living after their hearts are forcibly ripped out of their chest. Hearts of the just dead? Sure, why not?
Page 27: Morro is the crypt keeper of the Green Lantern Corps. First appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #12.
The Green Lanterns flying with Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are Kilowog, Brik, Salaak and some robotic guy. I know, I know, that’s really helpful.
“You abandoned emotions eons ago. Your hearts are useless.” The Guardians of the Universe consider emotions to be detrimental to their work. Since they have driven emotions from their lives, their hearts are “empty” and useless to the Black Lanterns.
Pages 28-29: The Black Lantern rings fall across the universe in search of hosts.
The only issue I have with this – and it’s a minor one, but one that needs to be addressed nonetheless – is that there are several heroes whose bodies were never recovered, so how can they be revived as Black Lanterns? Ronnie Raymond, Jenny-Lynn Hayden, and Arthur Curry all died without leaving bodies to even bury, much less reanimate. Are we going with the idea that the Black Lanterns can revive their bodies by latching onto their essences and energies, despite lack of a physical body? Do I get a No-Prize for this?
Once again, full notes and comments about each of these characters as they make their debuts as Black Lanterns.
Pages 30-31: Okay…we got some Black Lanterns here…
Full confession time – I am not a die-hard Green Lantern Corps fanatic. I love the Earth-bound GLs, but I really only became a follower of the entire Lantern mythos the past few years. So, while I can list anyone who has ever been a member of any branch of the Justice League, pretty much in order of their joining (a useful skill, I admit…), with the Green Lantern Corps, I’m a little lacking.
However, in the interest of being a completist, I broke out my copy of the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files and Origins #1, scrolled through Wikipedia, and did my damndest to identify as many of these dead Lanterns as I could. I’m positive about roughly 90% of them, and the other 10% I can go either way on. Feel free to correct my egregious errors.
Starting from the lower left corner, and working from front to back, and across the two-page spread, we have…
Arkkis Chummuck (looks like he’s about to eat us), Kreon (patch over left eye), Arx (first fuzzy faced guy behind Kreon), Rak Arranya (second fuzzy faced guy behind Kreon), the Unknown Lantern (the head and body with wings), Cherniss (looks like a pale dinosaur in the back), Chogar (little insect creature flying around way back there), Ebikar Hrui (under Chogar, look like Mobius the Living Vampire, only dead), Zharan Pel (beaked guy with tentacles), Ayria (peeking over Kreon’s left shoulder), Galius Zed (the large bulbous head, you can’t miss him), Ch’p (the cute little zombie chipmunk), Katma Tui (right there, front and center, above the “RISE”), Jack T. Chance (between Katma Tui and Galius Zed), Starkadr (big guy to Jack T. Chance’s right), Spak Drom (thr four-armed guy waving as us), Eddore (the gaseous being behind Spak Drom), Tanakata Z (big lizard-dragon guy in the rear), Adara (girl wearing the headband), Tylot (weird little guy with strange hair to Katma Tui’s left), Reemuz (the lizard guy who likes shoulder pads), Davo Yull (guy with Mohawk), Avir (girl with Mohawk…is this a prerequisite to be a GL?), Hollika Rahn (looks like she’s checking out Davo Yull’s butt), K’ryssma (woman with wings), Brin (the horse-like GL), Branwilla (the one who looks like Kilowog, only dead), Chthos-Chthas Chthatis (big guy in the back, looks like he’s about to eat everyone), Blish (guy with a fin on his head who looks like he’s about to be eaten), Kendotha Kr’nek (the giant grasshopper), Flodo Span (kind of looks like an undead starfish), Barin (big slug with an ax), Skr’kl (wee tiny insect under Barin…trust me, he’s there), Pelle (pale skin, long hair, looks strung out on drugs), Ahtier (long pale face, fashionable sash across her left shoulder), Cundiff Cood (the Guardians seem to have a soft spot for GLs that are just large, bulbous heads), Diamalon (large head, Mohawk, single eye…they’re getting freakier), Remnant Nod (white hair, Ollie Queen beard and moustache), Bzzd (the small, fly-like GL flying in the front) and Ke’haan (the scowling guy with horns in the bottom right corner).
(Not that you can see it now…but my spell-checker is going crazy with all of these alien names. It’s pretty funny, actually.)
“RISE” Anyone else hearing Emperor Palpatine right about now?
Page 32: The Martian Manhunter, real name J’onn J’onzz of Mars. First appeared in Detective Comics #225. Former member of the Justice League of
“You should both be dead.” Despite so many heroes and villains dying over the past few years, there have been an astounding number that have come back to life. Geoff Johns has stated that this series will address the issue of the “revolving door of death” in the
Page 33: “Rage.” The Black Lanterns seem to be able to see the emotions that the living are experiencing, and equate them with their colors. Thus, Hawkman is mad, experiencing “rage,” and has a red aura surrounding him.
Page 34: “Love.” Likewise, as Hawkgirl talks with Hawkman, his aura turns to violet to match hers to reflect the love they have for one another.
Page 35: Whoops. Saw that one coming. Still sucks, though.
Page 36: The Elongated Man, real name Ralph Dibny. First appeared in The Flash (first series) #112. Former member of the Justice League of
Sue Dearborn Dibny, first appeared in Flash (first series) #119. Wife of Ralph Dibny. Killed by Jean Loring in Identity Crisis #1.
In 52 Week Fifty-Two, Ralph and Sue were reunited as ghost detectives, and later appeared in Batman and the Outsiders (second series) #3-5 with the ability to inhabit the bodies of the living. However, they seem to be more than a little pissed off here.
“I smell a mystery.” When he was alive, Ralph’s nose would wiggle when he sensed that a mystery was afoot. Hence, he “smelled it.” This tended to gross out those around him, including Sue, although she told him she thought it was cute.
Page 38: “Were they, bun?” Ralph’s nickname for his wife was “Sue-bun.”
“Carter..I…never hated…I…I…I love…you…” Man, way to tear my heart out.
Page 39: And I mean, way to literally tear my – I mean, their – hearts out.
Page 40: It seems that Black Lanterns power their rings by consuming the hearts of the dead, but it does so extremely slowly. At this point, their power level is only at 0.02%. What happens when it gets to 100%? And is it charging the rings, or Black Hand’s power battery?
“Carter Hall of Earth. Kendra Saunders of Earth. Rise.” Whoops. Two more Black Lanterns. This can’t be good.
See you next month.