Sunday, November 1, 2009

BLACKEST NIGHT #4

Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Ivan Reis

Inkers: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


While Hal Jordan attempts to recruit representatives of the other Lantern corps to his cause, the Flash, the Atom and Mera race against time to inform the members of Earth’s super-hero community about the threat of the Black Lanterns and how to defeat the undead menace. Atom and Mera arrive at the JSA Brownstone to aid the team in confronting revived JSAers and Freedom Fighters, but they can’t prevent the death of Damage at the hands of Black Lantern Jean Loring. As the Black Lantern power level reaches 100%, the Flash witnesses a Black Lantern power battery rising in Coast City, as well as the rebirth of the lord of death, Nekron…


Notes


Page 1: Since we’re at about the mid-point of the story here, I’m going to re-cap all of the essential players as they appear. I know, I know, it’s nitpicky and anal-retentive, but it’s what I do…


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to move at superhuman speed due to his connection to the Speed Force.


Black Hand, real name William Hand. First appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #29. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. 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; 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.


Martin and Jessica Jordan, whose names are seen on the tombstones as Black Hand passes by, are Hal Jordan’s parents.


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. Able to fly using her Nth metal belt and artificial wings; also has enhanced strength and healing factor.


Mera, Aquaman’s widow. First appeared in Aquaman (first series) #11. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to form structures out of hard water.


The Atom II, real name Raymond “Ray” Palmer. First appeared in Showcase #34. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to shrink his body to varying degrees while controlling his weight and mass.


Hawkman, 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. Able to fly using his Nth metal belt and artificial wings; also has enhanced strength and healing factor.


Oh, yeah, and Black Lantern power levels are at 93.55%. Getting closer…


“The Indigo Lanterns claimed we would only be capable of neutralizing the Black Lantern rings with a Green Lantern. And yet they teleport Hal Jordan away?’ This is a nice little recap of what transpired in Blackest Night #3. As seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #46, Hal was teleported to Zamaron to aid Carol Ferris and Sinestro.


“Where’s Firestorm?” Did you really have to ask that, Barry?


Pages 2-3: From left to right, we have…


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. In Blackest Night #3, he killed Gehenna and absorbed Jason Rusch into the Firestorm matrix. Able to rearrange the atomic structure of matter, alter the density of objects, fire atomic blasts and fly. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3.


Moving on…


The Cavalier I, real name Hudson Pyle. First appeared in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32. Killed in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #34. Technically, this Cavalier appeared second; the original Cavalier, Mortimer Drake, first appeared in Detective Comics #81. However, in DCU continuity (always a tricky thing, I agree with you) Pyle appeared sometime during Batman’s first year of activity, and may have inspired Drake’s identity. However, the Cavalier is erroneously depicted in Drake’s costume as opposed to Pyle’s. Either way, he’s an expert fencer and marksman.


Brainwave I, real name Henry King, Sr. First appeared in All-Star Comics #15. Killed in Infinity, Inc. (first series) #10. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Possesses various mental abilities including telepathy, telekinesis, image projection and psionic blasts.


Baron Blitzkrieg, real name unrevealed. First appeared in World’s Finest Comics #246. Killed in Infinite Crisis #7. Possesses superhuman strength, heat vision and flight.


Madame Rogue, real name Laura De Mille. First appeared in Doom Patrol (first series) #86. Killed in The New Teen Titans (first series) #15. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to stretch any part of her body to great lengths and alter her facial features.


The Gambler I, real name Steven Sharpe III. First appeared in Green Lantern (first series) #12. Near as I can tell, his death (suicide) never actually appeared in a comic book story; it was referred to by his granddaughter, Rebecca Sharpe, a.k.a. Hazard, in Infinity, Inc (first series) #35. By my best guess, his chronological final appearance was in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9. He was an excellent gambler and a master of disguise…wonderful traits when going up against the original Green Lantern. Sheesh, what was that guy thinking…


Maxwell “Max” Lord IV, former head of the Justice League International. First appeared in Justice League #1. 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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to telepathically control the minds of others.


Black Bison, real name John Ravenhair, also known as Black-Cloud-in-Morning. First appeared in The Fury of Firestorm #1. Killed in Day of Vengeance #1. Able to control the weather and bring inanimate objects to life when using his mystical stick and amulet.


Killer Frost I, real name Crystal Frost. First appeared in Firestorm (first series) #3. Killed in The Fury of Firestorm #21. Able to absorb heat from living beings and project ice and cold.


Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three. First appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. Killed in Infinite Crisis #7. A brilliant genius able to manipulate matter and anti-matter.


The Weasel, real name John Monroe. First appeared in The Fury of Firestorm #35. Killed in The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1. Possessed superhuman strength and claws, making him the perfect foe for a guy who can restructure matter at will.


Fiddler I, real name Isaac Bowin. First appeared in All-Flash #32. Killed in Hawkworld Annual #1…and then again in Underworld Unleashed #1. Take your pick. Used his violin music to hypnotize others and generate powerful sonic waves.


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. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #58. 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.


The Bug-Eyed Bandit I, real name Betram Larvan. First appeared in The Atom #26. Killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. Designed mechanical insects to commit crimes. Yeah, scary stuff, kids.


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. 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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Able to control and manipulate light for a variety of purposes.


Copperhead I, real name unknown (listed as John Doe). First appeared in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #78. Killed in Manhunter (third series) #1. Last appeared in Blackest Night #3. Wore a serpentine costume that allows him to contort his body and secrete a poison through fangs; later transformed into a human-snake hybrid. Note that he has been resurrected in his original costume, and not his later form. I love this character; I think I have an unhealthy fascination with him.


Whew. And we’re only on page three…


Page 4: “With Jason on board, I can transmute organics --!” Unlike Ronnie Raymond, Jason Rusch could alter and control organic matter as Firestorm.


Page 5: Jason has taken control of Firestorm, forcing the Black Lantern out of the driver’s seat.


“I can hear a v-voice in the black ring. It wants…Barry Allen…You have to outrun it. It’s coming for you too. For all of them.” Barry Allen, like many other DC Universe heroes, died and came back from the dead. Particular focus seems to be on these heroes who have cheated death, like Hal Jordan, Superman, Superboy, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow.


Page 6: Aquaman I, real name Orin, adopted name Arthur Curry. First appeared in More Fun Comics #73. Killed in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. Able to communicate with sea life, swim at high speeds, survive indefinitely underwater, and possesses enhanced strength and endurance. Not sure when he showed up to join the rest of these Black Lanterns, as he was absent from the Black Lantern Justice League’s attack on the Hall of Justice in Blackest Night #3.


Page 7: The Scarecrow, real name Jonathan Crane. First appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3. Uses a variety of chemicals and toxins to make others experience their deepest fears and phobias.


Notice that, while those around the Scarecrow are experiencing fear, he’s not expressing any emotion.


Page 8: Azrael II, real name Jean-Paul Valley. First appeared in Batman: Sword of Azrael #1. Killed in Azrael: Agent of the Bat #100. Possessed enhanced strength and combat skills due to the mental conditioning of “the System.”


Black Lantern power levels at 95.44%.


“I want to feel the terror, but I’m immune to it, you see. I used my fear gas, oh, one too many times.” Scarecrow is immune to feeling fear…or much of anything else, it seems, making him inconsequential to the Black Lanterns.


Black Lantern power levels at 95.45%.


Page 9: Lex Luthor, full name Alexander Joseph Luthor. First historical appearance in Action Comics #23, first modern appearance in The Man of Steel #2 (although it can be argued that this has been changed to Superman: Secret Origin #1). A brilliant scientific genius who…come on, this is Lex Luthor. Surely you know who he is?


The Calculator, real name Noah Kuttler. First appeared in Detective Comics #463. Possesses a genius intellect and is a master manipulator and strategist.


According to the Cheetah, the new Doctor Polaris, John Nichol, was killed by the original Doctor Polaris, Neal Emerson, who is now a Black Lantern whose body was kept in the Hall of Justice.


Now this is the Luthor I remember…”And to be thoroughly honest, I’m sick of you and the rest of those delusional scabs hugging the edge of my greatness as if somehow we were all on the ‘same team’. We’re not.”


I assume that the faces on Luthor’s screen in the last panel are those that he has killed over the years.


Page 10: “You two need to find Alan Scott.” Alan Scott is the original Green Lantern.


The Martian Manhunter, real name J’onn J’onzz of Mars. First appeared in Detective Comics #225. Killed in Final Crisis #1. Last seen in Blackest Night #3. Possesses superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, flight, shape-shifting and telepathy.


“And tell them the Justice League is on this.” Uh, Barry? You been reading Justice League of America lately? The JLA can’t get enough members to have a bake sale lately, much less save the world.


Although, this does lead into the best conversation of the issue…


Atom: The Justice League isn’t on anything yet, Barry.

Mera: We need to get Superman and Wonder Woman.

Flash: Right now you two are Superman and Wonder Woman.


Niiiiice….


Page 11: This page might just be Barry trying to rally Ray and Mera to action, but it’s really a damn good little speech he gives.


“We need to run in, take charge and kick ass like we were born to. And Ray? Mera? We were born to.”


Page 13: Oh, goody. More huge crowd scenes…


First, a note about some continuity issues. Now then, within the next week or two, I plan on re-reading each issue of Blackest Night and all of its tie-in mini-series and crossovers so that I can write up something resembling a coherent timeline of events in the story. However, it does seem like the next wave of Blackest Night mini-series, focusing on the JSA, the Flash and Wonder Woman, will take place before the events of this issue, and at the same time as the previous three mini-series, the ones featuring Batman, Superman and the Titans. I fully expect to see the Black Lantern JSA and Freedom Fighters attacking the JSA Brownstone, the Black Lantern Rogues confronting the Flash, and a Black Lantern Maxwell Lord stalking Wonder Woman. If any of this information changes, I will adjust my thinking accordingly.


Stargirl, real name Courtney Whitmore. First appeared in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0. Wields both the Cosmic Converter Belt and the Cosmic Staff designed by Ted Knight, the original Starman.


Wildcat I, real name Ted Grant. First appeared in Sensation Comics #1. An expert fighter in peak physical condition, despite his age.


Citizen Steel, real name Nathan “Buckeye” Heywood. First appeared in Justice Society of America (second series) #1. Coated in organic metal skin that grants him superhuman strength and invulnerability.


Damage, real name Grant Emerson. First appeared in Damage #1. Able to absorb and generate energy that he can use to enhance his physical attributes, as well as release power blasts or explode like a bomb.


Phantom Lady II, real name Delilah “Dee” Tyler. First appeared in Action Comics Weekly #636. Killed in Infinite Crisis #1. Armed with devices that allow her to project holograms of herself, evade electronic surveillance, and fire tasers.


Human Bomb I, real name Roy Lincoln. First appeared in Police Comics #1. Killed in Infinite Crisis #1. Able to detonate objects with which he come into contact.


The Flash I, real name Jay Garrick. First appeared in Flash Comics #1. Able to run at superhuman speed due to his connection to the Speed Force.


Atom-Smasher, real name Albert Rothstein. First appeared (as Nuklon) in All-Star Squadron #25 and (as Atom-Smasher) in JSA: Secret Files and Origins #1. Able to grow to nearly 60 feet in height, with an increase in strength and endurance.


Mr. Terrific II, real name Michael Holt. First appeared in The Spectre (third series) #54. An Olympic-level athlete with a genius-level intellect who cannot be detected by electronic equipment; armed with his T-Spheres.


“You think your maligned profile was a casualty of war, Damage? At least you made it out alive.” In Infinite Crisis #1, the Secret Society attacked and killed most of the members of the Freedom Fighters, including Phantom lady and the Human Bomb. Damage, however, was horribly mutilated by Zoom, forcing him to wear a full-face mask.


Page 14: Wonder Woman II, real name Princess Diana, also known as Diana Prince. First historical appearance in All-Star Comics #8, first modern appearance in Wonder Woman (second series) #1. Killed in Wonder Woman (second series) #125, became the Goddess of Truth in Wonder Woman (second series) #127, and became a mortal again in Wonder Woman (second series) #136. Possesses superhuman strength, resistance, speed, flight, combat skills and her Lasso of Truth.


The Unknown Soldier, real name unknown (duh). First appeared in Star-Spangled War Stories #151. Although a character called the Unknown Soldier appeared in Our Army at War #168, this is “an” Unknown Soldier, as opposed to “the” Unknown Soldier. Who knows? As to when he died…no idea. Sorry. He’s a skilled soldier and an expert in disguise.


Green Arrow I, real name Oliver “Ollie” Queen. First appeared in More Fun Comics #73. Killed in Green Arrow (second series) #101. Returned to life in Green Arrow (third series) #1. A master archer and skilled martial artist armed with an arsenal of normal and trick arrows.


Black Canary II, real name Dinah Laurel Lance. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #75…sort of. Pre-Crisis, the Black Canary that was a member of the JLA was really the original Black Canary from Earth-Two, who came to Earth-One after the death of her husband. However, it was revealed in Justice League of America (first series) #219 that it was Dinah’s daughter, also named Dinah, but mom’s memories were placed in her body, and then she went to Earth-One…Okay, it’s a bit confusing. That’s DC continuity for you. In any event, she’s an exceptional martial artist who wields an ear-splitting “Canary Cry.”


Black Canary I, real name Dinah Drake Lance. First appeared in Flash Comics #86. Died in Secret Origins #50. An expert in hand-to-hand combat. Hey, that was easy!


The final panel on this page corresponds to the end of Blackest Night: Titans #3, with the assembled Titans beating the Black Lantern Titans from Titans Island in a very Titan-like manner. Titans Together!


Ahem. From left to right, we have…


Cyborg, real name Victor “Vic” Stone. First appeared in DC Comics Presents #26. Possesses enhanced strength and durability as well as advanced sensors and weaponry due to cybernetic prosthetics.


Beast Boy, real name Garfield Mark “Gar” Logan. First appeared in Doom Patrol (first series) #99. Able to shape shift into any animal. He went by the name “Changeling” for years, but has since returned to his original codename.


Starfire III, real name Koriand’r, also known as Kory Anders. First appeared in DC Comics Presents #26. Can absorb solar energy so that she can fly and project destructive blasts known as starbolts.


Donna Troy, real name…well, Donna Troy. First appeared (as Wonder Girl I) in The Brave and the Bold #60, (as Troia) in The New Titans #55, (as Darkstar) in Darkstars #23, and (as Wonder Woman III) in 52 Week Fifty. Killed in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day #3, but was returned to life at the end of that issue. Possesses superhuman strength, speed and fighting skills as well as flight. And if you dare to try to make sense of her continuity you will be forever frustrated…mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!


Dove II, real name Dawn Granger. First appeared in Hawk and Dove (mini-series) #1. Seemingly died in Armageddon 2001 #2, but this was later revealed to be a deception by Mordru. Possesses heightened strength and reflexes, expanded mental capabilities and the ability to fly. Sister to Holly Granger, Hawk II, who was destroyed in Blackest Night: Titans #3.


Wonder Girl II, real name Cassandra “Cassie” Sandsmark. First appeared (as Cassie) in Wonder Woman (second series) #105 and (as Wonder Girl) in Wonder Woman (second series) #111. Possesses god-given flight, superhuman strength, speed and durability as well as a mystic lasso.


Kid Flash II, real name Bartholomew “Bart” Allen. First appeared (as Impulse) in The Flash (second series) #92, and (as Kid Flash) in Teen Titans (third series) #4. He also briefly donned the identity of Flash IV as of Infinite Crisis #5, but was killed in The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13. He returned in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3. Able to move at superhuman speed due to connection to the Speed Force.


“But some of you out there might be able to weaken the rings enough with your own light to destroy them.” As shown in Blackest Night: Titans #3, something about the nature of Dove and her abilities can destroy the Black Lanterns.


Page 15: Black Pantern power levels at 97.77%.


Black Hand is at the Hand Mortuary, owned by his family, which was last seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #43. It’s where Black Hand killed his entire family and then committed suicide. Happy place, it is.


That skull supposedly belongs to Bruce Wayne, better known as the Batman, killed in Final Crisis #6. Black Hand dug up Bruce’s body in Blackest Night #0 and has been carting around the skull as a power battery ever since. Creepy, I know.


“Barry?”

“Wally?”

I am convinced that the only reason we didn’t actually see Wally West in the pages of this issue is the fact that The Flash: Rebirth mini-series hasn’t concluded yet, and it’s supposed to debut a new look for Wally. I can’t prove this, but this is what my gut is telling me.


Oh, goody, more Black Lanterns…


Black Condor II, real name Ryan Kendall. First appeared in Black Condor #1. Killed in Infinite Crisis #1. Possessed telekinetic abilities that allowed him to fly, as well as limited empathy and an accelerated healing factor.


The Atom I, real name Al Pratt. First appeared in All-American Comics #19. Killed in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #3. Possessed superhuman strength, stamina, speed and invulnerability.


Sandman I, real name Wesley Dodds. First appeared in Adventure Comics #40. Killed in JSA: Secret Files and Origins #1. A brilliant criminologist and inventor who also experienced prophetic dreams due to an encounter with the entity known as Dream.


Doctor Fate I, real name Kent Nelson. First appeared in More Fun Comics #55. Killed in Fate #0. He’s a mystic, and can pretty much do anything he wants.


Doctor Mid-Nite I, real name Charles McNider. First appeared in All-American Comics #25. Killed in Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #2. In addition to being a doctor and a skilled athlete, can also see in the dark as if it were day.


Mister Terrific I, real name Terrence “Terry” Sloane. First appeared in Sensation Comics #1. Killed in Justice League of America (first series) #171. Possessed a genius-level intellect, photographic memory and was an Olympic-level athlete.


Page 16: Burn, Black Lanterns, burn!


Power Girl, real name Kara Zor-L, also known as Karen Starr. First appeared in All-Star Comics #58. Possesses standard Kryptonian power set.


Wildcat III, real name Tom Bronson. First appeared (as Tom) in Justice Society of America (second series) #1 and (as Wildcat) in Justice Society of America (second series) #3. Able to shift to a were-cat form with enhanced strength, speed, reflexes and senses, claws and a prehensile tail.


Hourman II, real name Richard “Rick” Tyler. First appeared (as Rick) in Infinity Inc. (first series) #20 and (as Hourman) in Infinity Inc. (first series) #21. Uses Miraclo to grant himself enhanced strength, stamina and reflexes for an hour at a time.


Sandman IV, real name Sanderson Hawkins. First appeared (as Sandy the Golden Boy) in Adventure Comics #69, (as Sand) in JSA #1 and (as Sandman) in Justice Society of America (second series) #1. Able to shift to a silicate form and can manipulate the earth in his vicinity; also experiences prophetic nightmares. (For ease of numeration, I didn’t include the Dream or Daniel Hall versions of the Sandman here, just the DC Universe incarnations.)


Page 17: “Though to tell you the truth, I wasn’t that aware of your father until after I took the name.” Unlike many other Silver Age heroes, Ray Palmer shares very little in common with his Golden Age counterpart. Like Ray says, pretty much the only thing that he and Al Pratt shared was the Atom name.


Page 18: This is like an Atom family reunion here. We have the Golden Age Atom, the modern age Atom, Atom-Smasher (Al Pratt’s god-son) and Damage (Al Pratt’s biological son).


Page 19: Damage is experiencing rage, fear and love.


Ew, Ray. That was gross.


Ray’s words of inspiration have Damage feeling some hope.


Too bad it won’t last…


Page 20: Eclipso III real name Jean Loring. First appeared (as Jean) in Showcase #34 and (as Eclipso) in Day of Vengeance #1. Killed in Countdown to Final Crisis #17. Wields the Heart of Darkness which bestows superhuman strength, invulnerability, and the ability to project eye blasts.


“This will be twice I’ve turned your little world inside out.” In Identity Crisis #1, Jean Loring, Ray’s ex-wife, killed Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, in an effort to get Ray to love her once again. Once Ray learned of Jean’s actions, he shrunk himself down to microscopic size and vanished for over a year.


Black Lantern power levels at 100%. Oh boy, this will be a doozy…


Page 21: The planet Ryut, in Space Sector 666, was the home of the Black Lantern power battery…until now. It looks like it’s moving day.


“I feel…something.” Presumably, because Barry Allen died and came back to life, he has a connection to Nekron’s power that those who never died do not.


Page 22: Huge, scary Black Lantern appears in the middle of Coast City? Probably not a good sign.


“Nekron. Rise.” Yeah, not looking good.


Page 23: Coast City. Rise.” Definitely not good.


Pages 24-25: Nekron, also known as the Lord of the Unliving. First appeared in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2. He can…well, he’s the freaking lord of the dead. He draws power from and commands an army of the souls of all who have ever died. Which is a lot of people. A whole lot.


Pages 26-27: It’s Chapter 1, Verse 3 of The Book of the Black, which gives a little more insight into William Hand, Coast City and his connection to Nekron. Nothing essential, but fun to peruse.


4 comments:

DoctorMarmalade said...

http://www.dccomics.com/sites/greenlantern/?cr=black

This might help.

Andrew Dowdell... said...

I'm confused...might help with what?

DoctorMarmalade said...

Oh, just thought it'd help with the names of the Lanterns

Andrew Dowdell... said...

Oh, ok...I've check that site, the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps Secret Files, Comic Book Database, Wikipedia, the DC Comics Database, and the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe on a regular basis to identify various Lanterns...sometimes I just figure that if they're too obscure, then they're not important enough to identify...