Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BLACKEST NIGHT #3

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Oclair Albert
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Synopsis

The Flash and Green Lantern’s battle against the Black Lantern JLA is joined by both the Atom and Indigo-1, who demonstrates to the heroes how the undead ring-bearers can be destroyed. Indigo-1 teleports them to the Hall of Justice, where they meet up with Mera and Firestorm. This small band of survivors makes plans to fight back against their new foes. Indigo-I and Green Lantern vanish, in search of the representatives of the other Corps, while the Black Lanterns attack, splitting Firestorm into his two selves and killing Gehenna. A swarm of Black Lantern power rings invades the Hall of Justice and revives of group of fallen villains…

Notes

Page 1: Firestorm VI, real names Jason Rusch and Gehenna Hewitt. First appearance (of Jason and Firestorm) in Firestorm (second series) #1 and (of Gehenna) in Villains United #4 (shadow only) and Firestorm (second series) #17.

Okay, a few explanations for some of the above information…

I list Jason Rusch as the sixth Firestorm, which may raise some eyebrows. But follow my logic…

Firestorm I – Ronald Raymond and Martin Stein
Firestorm II – Ronnie, Martin and Mikhail Arkadin
Firestorm III – Ronnie, Mikhail and Svarozhich
Firestorm IV – Martin by himself
Firestorm V – Ronnie by himself
Firestorm VI – Jason, with both Martin and Gehenna

Technically, you could argue that Firestorm VI was Jason by himself (actually him merged with pretty much anyone he came into contact with, but the merges were unstable), Firestorm VII was Jason and Martin, Firestorm VIII was Jason and Firehawk, and Firestorm IX was Jason and Gehenna, but the changes aren’t as drastic as the earlier incarnations.

Also, as far as the actual series go…Firestorm (first series) was a five issue series that didn’t make it past the DC Implosion of 1978. The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man debuted in 1982; the cover title changed to Firestorm the Nuclear Man with issue #50 (but the indicia remained the same. Go figure.) With issue #83 it became simply Firestorm, and that run ended with issue #100. In 2004, Firestorm (second series) #1 appeared, introducing Jason Rusch; that title changed to Firestorm the Nuclear Man with issue #23. Phew.

Jason and Gehenna last appeared in Blackest Night #1.

Notice the card with “NaCl” on it in Panel One. As anyone taking Chemistry 201 could tell you, this is the chemical formula for table salt. That comes back to bite Jason in the ass later.

I really think that the JLA needs to get with the times and provide its members with smaller, less bulky communicators. That thing looks like an early ‘90s cell phone.

Pages 2-3: Assembled here are the members of the Black Lantern JLA – Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Sue Dibny, Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkgirl – battling Green Lantern II and Flash II. All last appeared in Blackest Night #2.

Firestorm V, real name Ronald Raymond. First appeared (as Firestorm I…I know, I know, I’m being overly technical) in Firestorm (first series) #1 and (as Firestorm V) in Extreme Justice #4. Killed in Identity Crisis #5. He returned in Firestorm (second series) #9, but then vanished again in Firestorm (second series) #13.

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. Killed again in Blackest Night #1.

Hawkgirl II, real name Kendra Saunders. The reincarnation of Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1. Killed in Blackest Night #1.

Page 4: “Professor Stein” refers to Professor Martin Stein, with whom Ronnie Raymond merged to become Firestorm.

Page 5: Black Lantern power levels at 50.32%.

“He will rise, invader! And there is nothing you can do to stop it!” Take note of this word balloon. It’s almost like whatever force is animating the Black Lanterns lost it’s cool for a moment after Flash tried to remove the power ring and stopped acting like Firestorm.

“We’re all connected, Barry. Including you.” Barry Allen recently returned from the dead, thus his “connection” to the other formerly dead heroes.

Page 6: The Atom II last appeared in Blackest Night #2.

“…Why did these things go after Carter and Kendra first?” Why indeed. Is it because they have died and returned many times over the ages? Or because they are somehow connected to the crystallized lovers linked to the first star sapphire gem found on Earth, which is currently on Zamaron?

Page 7: I still dig the Hall of Justice and really hope it doesn’t get destroyed anytime soon.

Pages 8-9: Firestorm is viewing the events of Blackest Night as they affect the rest of the DC Universe. Taking it from the top, and moving left to right…

The Justice Society of America (Green Lantern I and Stargirl shown) battle Black Lanterns in Manhattan…

Black Lantern Osiris in Kahndaq…

Ummmmm…no idea…next….

The broken Bat-signal in Gotham City, as seen in Blackest Night: Batman #1 and 2…

Black Lanterns Rainbow Raider, the Top, Golden Glider and Captain Boomerang invading Iron Heights Penitentiary outside of Keystone City…

Black Lantern Spectre, as seen in Blackest Night #2…

Smallville devastated, as seen in Blackest Night: Superman #1…

The Rocket Reds battling Black Lantern Rocket Red Dmitri Pushkin…

Well, it looks like someone forgot to pay the cable bill at the Hall of Justice…

Two panels depicting Black Lanterns (I can make out Wildebeest and Aquagirl I) flying towards Titans Tower in San Francisco…

The Black Lantern Unknown Soldier is freaking people out in Washington, D.C…

Page 10: Mera last appeared in Blackest Night #2.

Best dialogue of the month:

“Aquawoman?”

“No. Not Aquawoman. Mera.”

Those coffins that hold the bodies of fallen villains are in a vault underneath the Hall of Justice, as explained in Blackest Night #1.

Page 11: “Clark” refers to Clark Kent, Superman.

“Diana” refers to Diana Prince/Princess Diana, Wonder Woman.

“Wally” refers to Wally West, Flash III.

“Jay” refers to Jay Garrick, Flash I.

“You still feel bad about what Jean did to my lady, don’t you?” Ray Palmer’s ex-wife, Jean Loring, killed Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis #1.

“Compassion.” This is the first time that a Black Lantern has found anyone expressing the indigo energy of compassion.

“Jean brought along a flame thrower, ‘just in case.’” Yeah, you see, Jean wasn’t really all-together there mentally, if you know what I mean. Her plan was to get Ray to fall in love with her again by using one of his old belts to shrink to microscopic size and attack Sue Dibny, thereby making the heroes think that someone was out to get their loved ones, thereby causing Ray to worry about her. Good plan, Jean.

Unfortunately, she landed in Sue’s brain, killing her, and then tried to dispose of the evidence by burning Ms. Dibny’s body with a flame-gun, which she happened to bring along with her.

“Compassion. It’s so hard to find in this society, isn’t it bun? But a little bit can go such a long way.” Does killing one exhibiting compassion charge up the Black Lantern power level much quicker than other emotions? Do different emotions charge up at different rates?

Page 12: Indigo-1, first appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #25. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1.

Page 13: Accompanying Indigo-1 are other members of the Indigo Tribe, none of which have yet to be named.

Page 14: So, it looks like Black Lanterns Elongated Man and Sue Dibny are done for.

Page 15: “Garth” refers to Tempest, killed in Blackest Night #2. Flash calls him “Aqualad,” which is what Garth was called years ago, as a member of the Teen Titans.

The “possessions” collected by the JLA in their Trophy Room include…

A photograph of the JLA and the JSA memorializing the Unknown Soldier of Victory, which uncannily resembles the cover to Justice League of America (first series) #100;

One of Batman’s old utility belts;

Playing cards depicting members of the Royal Flush Gang;

Statues of Aquaman, Steel and Vibe, fallen members of the JLA;

A bow and two quivers belonging to Green Arrow.

Pages 16-17: A little bit of recap about the seven Corps, the emotional spectrum, and the War of Light. Most of this information was covered, in one form or another, in Green Lantern (fourth series) #25, as well as Blackest Night #0 and 1. But catching up and taking a breather every now and then is always good.

For the record, while the heroes of Earth are dealing with the threat of the Black Lanterns, the various Corps are having their own problems.

Atrocitus and the Red Lanterns are on Ysmault; where the Lost Lanterns are attempting to retrieve Laira’s body;

Sinestro and the Sinestro Corps attacked Zamaron to free their comrades, and are facing an assault by Carol Ferris and the Star Sapphires;

Saint Walker and the Blue Lanterns are fending off an attack by the Orange Lanterns on Odym, while Larfleeze watches from Okkara.

But, in the midst of all this come the Black Lanterns. They are attacking each of the Corps home worlds, including Oa, which is being defended by the Green Lantern Corps. Tough times, all around.

Page 18: “And the Black Lanterns are not the invaders in this war. We are the invaders. We are the trespassers.” Sure puts a new twist on this story, eh?

“Maybe the dead aren’t wearing the rings. Maybe the rings are wearing the dead.” This is why we keep Ray Palmer around, so someone can explain weird shit like this.

“Together the seven corps can replicate the white light of creation. Together we will be capable of locating and destroying the source of the black rings.” Um, does anyone really think that it will be that easy? I mean, it’s only issue three, remember?

“You have personal connections to the most powerful members of the five remaining corps.” Just to refresh your memory, they are…

Atrocitus (Red): Hal fought him during Green Lantern: Secret Origin, and even wielded a Red Lantern ring for a brief time;

Larfleeze (Orange): I wouldn’t say that he and Hal have any sort of personal relationship, but they have fought, and Hal took control of the orange ring for a moment;

Sinestro (Yellow): Before betraying the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro was Hal’s mentor and friend, and Hal took control of a whole bunch of yellow rings during the Sinestro Corps War;

Saint Walker (Blue): Walker recruited Hal to join the Blue Lantern Corps, and even wielded the blue light for….hey, what power ring hasn’t Hal worn?

Carol Ferris (Violet): Hal and Carol were involved for years…and, no, Hal never wielded a Star Sapphire, and I don’t think he’d look good in the uniform, either…

“John, Guy and Kyle aren’t here.” John Stewart is watching the planet Xanshi reform, as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #45. Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner are busy battling Black Lanterns on Oa, as seen in Green Lantern Corps #40.

“Alan Scott” refers to the original Green Lantern. “The Ray” and “Halo” are members of the Freedom Fighters and the Outsiders respectively, both of whom can wield light.

Page 19: “And since you’ve gotten back you’ve been living every day like it’s your last.” As seen in the pages of The Flash: Rebirth.

“But I learned the hard way, after everything the Reverse-Flash did when he brought me back, I need to slow down.” Um, yeah, this references stuff that we probably haven’t seen yet, considering that The Flash: Rebirth #5-6 still haven’t come out. I’m sure it will make more sense in a more or two.

Page 20: Okay, deep, introspective chat-time is over. Back to mindless Black Lantern violence!

Page 22: When Jason touches Black Lantern Firestorm, he gets a glimpse of things happening to other Black Lanterns, confirming the idea that each of these creatures is connected. From the top, working our way clockwise, we have…

A big, creepy eye, probably belonging to the big bad himself, Nekron;

Dove II, battling Black Lantern Hawk, as seen in Blackest Night: Titans #1;

Yellow Lanterns defending against Black Lantern Thunderers on Qward;

Black Hand;

Ragman, seemingly under attack, either by the Black Lanterns or by the black power rings, not sure which;

The Black Lantern Power Battery on Ryut;

Mera impaling Black Lantern Hawkgirl;

Scar, the corrupted Guardian of the Universe;

And the empty grave of Victor Sage, formerly known as the Question.

“Urkel” refers to Steve Urkel, who was a goofy character played by Jaleel White on the TV show “Family Matters.” Why, oh why must I reference horrible ABC sitcoms of the 1990s in my annotations?

Page 23: Yeah, this is a downright brutal page. Read at your own risk.

“What’s the chemical formula for table salt?” Ooops. See? I told you that was gonna come back to bite Jason in the ass. That just goes to show you – studying is bad, kids!

“You ever see ‘Ghostbusters’? Great flick. Remember at the end with the marshmallow man? They couldn’t keep their minds blank either.” A fantastic reference…and, if I need to explain it, you just won’t appreciate it in the first place. So, if you don’t know what Black Lantern Firestorm is talking about, go out and rent “Ghostbusters” so you have a clue, okay?

Page 24: Black Lantern power levels at 56.56%

Like Lot’s wife, who turned back to witness the fall of Sodom, Gehenna is transformed into a pillar of salt.

It’s appropriate that Gehenna’s fate is Biblical; “Gehenna” is cited in the New Testament as the final place where the wicked will be punished and/or destroyed after the resurrection. “Gehenna” also correlates to “Jahannam,” the name given to Hell in Islam.

Page 25: Damn. The Hall of Justice has seen better days.

Black Lantern power levels at 56.57…no, .58…sorry, at 56.59%. Black Lantern Firestorm is leeching off of Jason’s emotions as he is bonded to him.

Oh boy…more Black Lanterns coming our way…

Page 26: Hell yeah, these are the fun ones. I mean, it’s cool to see twisted and darker versions of the heroes, but, come on, they’re heroes! A bloodthirsty Elongated Man is only fun for so long. But these guys…these are the villains. They deserve to be warped and screwed-up! Shown here are…

Madame Rouge, real name Laura De Mille. First appeared in Doom Patrol (first series) #86. Able to stretch any part of her body to great lengths and alter her facial features. Killed in The New Teen Titans (first series) #15.

Maxwell “Max” Lord IV. First appeared in Justice League #1. Able to telepathically control the minds of others. Killed in Wonder Woman (second series) #219. Yes, yes, I know that he died in Justice League America and was revived by the Kilg%re in the body of Lord Havok…but does anyone really consider that story canonical anymore? I didn’t think so.

Copperhead I, real name unknown (listed as John Doe). First appeared in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #78. Wore a serpentine costume that allows him to contort his body and secrete a poison through fangs; later transformed into a human-snake hybrid. Killed in Manhunter (third series) #1. I love this character; I think I have an unhealthy fascination with him, actually.

Enforcer II, real name Mica Love (last name revealed in Blackest Night #1). First appeared (as Mica) in The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #14 and (as Enforcer) in The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #18. Wore a light-weight steel-hard fiber-plastic armor that gave her superhuman strength and was equipped with boot-jets that allowed her to fly. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #58.

Doctor Light II, real name Arthur Light (Technically, his partner Jacob Finlay was Doctor Light I). First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #12. Able to control and manipulate light for a variety of purposes. He was originally killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #36, but was resurrected in Suicide Squad (first series) #52. Killed in Final Crisis: Revelations #1.

Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three. First appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. A brilliant genius able to manipulate matter and anti-matter. Killed in Infinite Crisis #7. Gee, that was an easy one.

Psycho-Pirate II, real name Roger Hayden. First appeared in Showcase #56. Able to manipulate the emotions of others using his Medusa Mask. Killed in Infinite Crisis #7.

Brainwave I, real name Henry King, Sr. First appeared in All-Star Comics #15. Possesses various mental abilities including telepathy, telekinesis, image projection and psionic blasts. Killed in Infinity, Inc. (first series) #10.

Pages 27-28: It’s Chapter 1, Verse 2 of The Book of the Black, articulating more of Black Hand’s feelings about his recently murdered family, the Spectre, and rage in general. All in all, I’d rather have two more pages of story, but at least it’s somewhat interesting to read.

4 comments:

Justin said...

Just to let you know, I read all of your reviews and annotations, and I'm a big fan. I noticed that there's a severe lack of comments on your site, so I figured I'd just pop in and say, "Awesome job, dude. Keep it up." I look forward to more great reviews.

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Nice review. Very comprehensive.

In regard to Firestorm, I consider Firestorm VI to be Jason as a beginner when he'd fuse with anyone. I consider Firestorm VII to be Jason after he'd fused with Professor Stein (also with Firehawk and Gehenna). The Professor helped rebuild the matrix at that point, so I consider it a different Firestorm.

Regardless, nice job! Keep up the great work!

The Irredeemable Shag
http://firestormfan.com

Andrew Dowdell... said...

Thanks Justin! I appreciate it!

With regards to the multiple Firestorms, Shag, I agree with your point...but most of the general populace would call Ronnie "Firestorm I" and Jason "Firestorm II", so I figure the more I can cut down on the incarnations and the versions, the better...but thanks for reading and caring!

-- Andrew

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Fair point. Ronnie = Firestorm I; Jason = Firestorm II. I can get behind that for simplicity sake.

The Irredeemable Shag
http://firestormfan.com
http://onceuponageek.com