Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BLACKEST NIGHT #5

Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Ivan Reis

Inker: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


Hal Jordan and the representatives of the other Lantern Corps return to Earth to find that Nekron has risen. Earth’s heroes unite in Cost City to defend against the Black Lanterns, as the seven Lanterns combine their powers against the Black Lantern Power Battery – to no avail. Nekron then kills eight heroes and transforms them into his newest Black Lanterns; Hal and Barry Allen are next…


Notes


Page 1: Ganthet, Sayd, Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Sinestro, Saint Walker, Atrocitus, Indigo-1 and Larfleeze last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #48. In fact, that issue leads right into this one.


“The Black Lantern is not here.” The group is on the planet Ryut which, up until recently, was the home of the Black Lantern power battery. When the Black Lantern power levels reached 100% in Blackest Night #4, Nekron and the battery manifested on Earth.


Pages 2-3: Just a fun, two-page spread of the representatives of the Lantern Corps powering up and reciting their oaths. Pure comic book, geeky fun, and I don’t car what the detractors say.


One important thing to note is Indigo-1’s oath. True, I don’t speak or read whatever language it’s in, but it does refer to “Abin Sur” twice, meaning that he has some connection to the Indigo Tribe that I assume will be explained within the next few months. Remember, Indigo-1 has repeatedly mentioned that she knew Abin Sur before his death.


Page 4: “You vowed to assist us against the Black Lanterns in exchange for a Guardian, Larfleeze.” In Green Lantern (fourth series) #48, Larfleeze gave the others trouble about going up against the Black Lanterns. Sayd agreed that, after the crisis was over, she would become the Guardian to the Orange Lanterns if he would aid them.


Page 5: Barry Allen, Nekron, Scar and the Black Hand last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


“Your death was the first, Barry Allen of Earth. And your rebirth the last.” Barry Allen has been a key player in this story from the beginning, and this is why; His death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 can be regarded as the start of the revolving door of death in the DC Universe; heroes and villains would die, only to return years, sometimes months, later. Perhaps, with Blackest Night, that door will stay shut for a little while.


Page 6: “That skull? You were the one that dug up Bruce’s grave!” Black Hand dug up Bruce Wayne’s grave and stole his skull in Blackest Night #0.


“Emotional Tether Manifested.” In Blackest Night #1, Black Hand licked Bruce’s skull – yes, he licked it, ewww – and said, “And you are connected to them all.” Now then, Bruce Wayne, as Batman, would have a connection to most of the heroes and villains on Earth. When Barry tries to take the skull out of Black Hand’s grip, it seems to create this emotional tether from Bruce to Barry, which will later allow Nekron to transform those “connected” to Bruce into Black Lanterns.


However, since this may or may not be Bruce’s real body and he may or may not be really dead, how this all works out remains to be seen. But more on that later.


“Don’t worry, Flash. I won’t disturb your body. You aren’t my type.” In Green Lantern (fourth series) #43, we learned that Black Hand is attracted to the dead. Whether or not he’s a true necrophiliac is up for debate, but he does imply that his first kiss was with a corpse. Ew again, I know. In fact, his costume was created out of a body bag, and he seems to enjoy lying in open graves next to desiccated corpses. I’m going out on a limb here and say that Black Hand isn’t into guys, which is why he won’t disturb Barry’s body.


That plaque lying on the ground which was dedicated to “The Seven Million Who Died in Coast City” refers to those who died when Mongul and the Cyborg-Superman destroyed Coast City back in Superman (second series) #80.


Page 7: Flash III, real name Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West. First appeared (as Kid Flash) in The Flash (first series) #110 and (as the Flash) in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. Able to move at superhuman speed due to his connection to the extra-dimensional Speed Force. Wally’s new costume debuted in The Flash: Rebirth #5, a look used to differentiate him from Barry Allen.


“Kyle mentioned a Nekron before.” Kyle Rayner battled Nekron in Green Lantern (third series) Annual #7.


Page 8: Whoa, lots of heroes joining the fight. Because most of these characters are making their first full, real, non-cameo appearance here in the pages of Blackest Night, let’s do a little recap here, shall we?


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Superboy, real name Conner Kent, also known as Kon-El. First appeared in Adventures of Superman #500. Killed in Infinite Crisis #6. Returned to life in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4. Possesses the standard Kryptonian powers of superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, senses and flight, as well as tactile telekinesis. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Superman #3.


Animal Man, real name Bernhard “Buddy” Baker. First appeared in Strange Adventures #180. Killed in 52 Week Thirty-Six, returned to life in 52 Week Thirty-Seven. Yes, yes, I know that he died several times during the run of his own series, and I know that it was after Animal Man #51, and he was resurrected, became some kind of a shaman, etc, etc. However, I long ago got rid of those Vertigo Animal Man issues – way too trippy for me – and none of the usual websites I consult for first appearance-death-rebirth issues had any useful information on the matter. So you get the important death, the one that actually happened in the DC Universe. Oh, yeah, and he can utilize the abilities of any animal that exists or has even existed due to his connection to the Morphogenetic field.


Fire, real name Beatriz Bonilla DaCosta. First appeared in Super Friends #25. Able to transform her body into a green flame capable of flight and flame projection. She hasn’t died, nor has she returned to life; this one is way too easy. Last appeared in Blackest Night #1.


Ice, real name Tora Olafsdotter. First appeared in Justice League International #12. Killed in Justice League Task Force #14; returned to life in Birds of Prey #104. Able to produce vast quantities of ice and snow. Last appeared in Blackest Night #1.


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


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 a first time in War of the Gods #3; returned in War of the Gods #4. Killed a second time 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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Superman, real name Kal-El, adopted as Clark Joseph Kent. First historical appearance in Action Comics #1, first modern appearance in The Man of Steel #1. Killed in Superman (second series) #75. Returned to life in Adventures of Superman #500. Possesses superhuman strength, speed, senses, invulnerability and flight. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Superman #3.


Donna Troy, real name…well, Donna Troy. First appeared (as Wonder Girl I) in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


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 Hawk III. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Black Canary II, real name Dinah Laurel Lance. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #75. I went on a ranting tirade about her continuity in the notes for last issue; go look them up if you like. One of the world’s greatest martial artists who wields an ear-splitting “Canary Cry.” Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Green Arrow, 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. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Page 9: Ray Palmer, Mera, Black Lanterns Jean Loring and Damage, and the JSA last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Black Lantern Jean Loring killed Damage in Blackest Night #4, a death which raised the Black Lantern power level to 100%. Damage was then raised as a Black Lantern as seen here.


Page 10: “Under the Sea” was a song from the Disney film, “The Little Mermaid.” Quite the Disney reference for Jean, even though it’s twenty years out of date.


Page 11: Heroes smash zombies!


Sorry.


“Dove? Of Hawk and Dove? I thought they were both dead.” Even though Hank and Don Hall died after Barry Allen, Barry learned of their deaths from Hal Jordan back in Blackest Night #1.


It was revealed in Blackest Night: Titans #3 that the Black Lanterns can be destroyed by a white light that Dove manifests when they try to kill her.


Page 12: Donna Troy was bitten by Black Lantern Robert Long, her undead son, in Blackest Night: Titans #2. She began manifesting a connection to the Black Lanterns shortly thereafter.


Scar incapacitated the Guardians of the Universe in Blackest Night #1 and has been holding them, trapped, ever since.


Page 13: “The pendulum always swings between order and chaos. Love and hate.” On the emotional spectrum of the Lantern Corps, the violet light of love is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the red light of anger/hate.


Pages 14-15: Well, it’s about freaking time you guys decided to show up! Hal Jordan left Earth with Indigo-1 and Munk in Blackest Night #3 to recruit the other representatives of the Lantern Corps.


Let’s put this story in perspective, shall we?


According to a sign in front of the Hand Mortuary seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #43, this story takes place sometime around Easter; in 2010, Easter will fall on April 4 (I’m using 2010 because that’s when this story will end). So, arbitrarily, I’m going to say that this story takes place on the Saturday before Easter; I just picked it because it seems like an easy day to use. So, on April 3, 2010, the sun will set in San Francisco, CA, it will be at 7:33 p.m.


Why California? Because, according to Blackest Night #1, we assume that the first Black Lanterns fell across the Earth when it was nighttime all across the U.S. So, let’s say that it was 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.


Now then, when Nekron arrived on Earth, the skies went “pitch black,” as described by Wally West. However, even before Nekron arrived, we never saw a sunrise (I consider the sunrise depicted in Blackest Night: Superman #3 apocryphal, because it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the series).


And, on April 4, 2010, Easter morning, sunrise in New York City, NY will be at 6:21 a.m.


So, even if it’s 6:00 a.m. in New York City in Blackest Night #5, the events of this story have taken place over the course of a about seven hours, give or take a few minutes here or there. So Hal’s only been off-planet for, what, two, maybe three hours at most?


I really have far too much time on my hands, don’t I?


Thanks to www.sunrisesunset.com for the sunrises and sunsets.


Page 16: Scar isn’t looking too good, is she?


“I want this one! She’s different from the others. And what’s different is worth more!” Man, Larfleeze is really beginning to grow on me.


Page 17: Poof. Scar goes bye-bye.


“Hal! You’re late!”

“That’s my line.”


It’s a running joke that Barry Allen, the Fastest Man Alive, is always late.


Heh. “Running joke.” Funny.


“We must recreate the white light that gave birth to life, Sinestro.” Indigo-1 revealed her plan to gather the representatives of the Lantern Corps to combine their powers and destroy the Black Lantern to Hal Jordan and the other heroes in Blackest Night #3.


Page 18: “I think I saw this on a Saturday morning cartoon.” Hal’s referred to the seven Lanterns as both the “Rainbow Rodeo” and the “Color-Coded Cavalry.” With Carol’s comment about the Saturday morning cartoon and Hal’s agreement, Geoff Johns is basically admitting that this is a silly idea, but, within the context of the story, it works.


At to which cartoon they were watching…damned if I know.


“Guardians. Your lie is about to be exposed.” This lie has yet to be revealed, but it seems to be the major motivation for Nekron’s actions thus far, so it better be good and damning.


Page 19: “I’m ch-changing…I’m s-seeing things.” Quick! Drive a stake through Donna’s heart before she turns!


Oh, wait, that’s a vampire. Sorry.


Wonder Woman is expressing love for her stricken sister.


“Is it just me or is this not doing a damn thing?” No, really, you think? Did anyone think that this plan was going to work?


Actually, it was flawed from the start. The Black Lanterns were going around and killing those experiencing emotions – rage, avarice, fear, hope, compassion and love – and those deaths fueled the power of the Black Lantern so that Nekron could emerge. Why would adding more of that power to the Black Lantern then destroy it?


“It is, Green Lantern. It’s making Nekron stronger.” See? Black Hand totally agrees with me…


“Bruce Wayne of Earth.” Oh, yeah, here it comes…


Pages 20-21: “RISE” I have so been waiting for this moment since Blackest Night #0…


Batman, real name Bruce Wayne. First historical appearance in Detective Comics #27 and first modern appearance in Batman #404. Died – we think – in Final Crisis #6. An incomparable athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, as well as the world’s greatest detective, strategist and crime fighter.


Hey, DC Direct? You really, really, really need to make a figure of Black Lantern Batman. Like, pronto. He looks far too cool not to.


Pages 22-23: “Emotional Tether Registered.” As mentioned previously, Batman has a connection to all of the heroes here, and his “resurrection” would strike a powerful emotional chord with all present.


When a friend of yours returns from the dead and then vomits up black power rings that then kill you, that can be considered a “bad day.”


Page 24: “You have served your purpose, ‘Bruce Wayne.’ Back to rest.” So, yeah, Bruce Wayne may or may not be dead, depending on how you look at it. In Final Crisis #6, Darkseid attacked Batman with his Omega Sanction, which seemingly killed him and gave his body a nice, mummified sheen. However, at the end of Final Crisis #7, we saw Bruce Wayne back in pre-historic times, hanging out with Anthro the Cave Old-man, hinting that Batman was flung backwards in time. So, really, he wasn’t dead.


However, I don’t care how smart and resourceful Batman is, even if he survived Darkseid’s initial attack, he’s still stranded millions of years in the past. Which means that, in the present, he’s dead. Long dead. Like, dead many, many, many years before he was even born.


What this statement indicates to me is that the body that was buried in Bruce’s grave wasn’t Bruce’s, and Nekron knows this. And Bruce might be in his realm, or he might not. But the reappearance of Batman served its purpose, which was to reclaim those who had previously escaped Nekron’s power and transform them into Black Lanterns. Bruce Wayne’s true fate is a story to be told at a later date, it seems.


Pages 25-26: Superboy, Animal Man, Wonder Woman, Kid Flash, Donna Troy, Green Arrow, Ice and Superman are now Black Lanterns. Not good.


Oh, and Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are next. Really not good.


Gee, things are looking pretty bad, don’t you think?


Pages 27-28: More incessant ramblings from Black Hand in “The Book of the Black,” Chapter 1, Verse 4. Something about how he’s always been a sick little bastard. He really gives me the creeps, if you want to know the truth.



No comments: