Monday, April 26, 2010

BRIGHTEST DAY #0

“Carpe Diem”


Writer: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi

Penciller: Fernando Pasarin

Inker: Fernando Pasarin, John Dell, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Dexter Vines & Art Thibert

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


In the wake of the Blackest Night, Boston Brand, the former Deadman, adjusts to life after being dead for so long. His White Lantern power ring flashes with energy and takes his across the world, to the other heroes and villains brought back by its power…


In Amnesty Bay, Mera awakens to find her husband, Aquaman, staring out at the sea, pensively. He wonders why he was brought back to life while so many others were not. Mera says that she doesn’t have any answers, but she’s happy that she and Arthur are together. She jumps into the ocean for a swim, and asks him if he’s going to join her. He’s not sure; he has a bad feeling…


At the Iron Heights Penitentiary, the Reverse-Flash is being kept trapped…for now. The Flash visits the original Captain Boomerang and offers his condolences about the criminal’s son. Digger doesn’t seem too choked up about Owen’s death. The Flash warns his foe against going back to a life of crime, and tells him he should turn over a new leaf. Boomerang, on the other hand, isn’t going to spend his time worrying about why he was brought back…


At the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch, Carter and Shiera Hall reacquaint themselves with one another after being apart for so long. Carter is worried that their time together will be too short, because fate and destiny will tear them away from one another before too long. Shiera, on the other hand, feels that their “curse” is a blessing, and that it should force them to live. Suddenly, a fragment of Chay-Ara’s crystalline heart bonds to the Claw of Horus, directing Hawkman and Hawkgirl to fly south, towards, the Andes Mountains in Pera, where a team of explorers have uncovered the skeletal remains of the winged wonders’ first bodies…


Maxwell Lord is hiding out at the abandoned JLI embassy in New York City. He has all the ice and blood that he needs to perform his biggest mental push ever. After making Guy Gardner forget who he was, Lord stretches his abilities to the limit, wiping the knowledge of his existence from the minds of everyone in the world…


Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner visit J’Onn J’Onzz on Mars, bringing him a gift basket of cookies and milk. The Martian Manhunter shows the Green Lanterns around Mars, where he explains that he plans to restore life on the planet using an underground aquifer. J’Onn’s resurrection has come with a new found sense of hope for the future, a future that may include the restoration of the entire Martian race…


On Oa, Green Lantern Soranik Natu runs a series of tests to see if Jade has fully recuperated. Jade, however, feels that Natu is trying to keep her from Kyle Rayner, but Jade realizes that her former boyfriend now loves Natu, and she’s accepted that. Unfortunately, Jade now feels that she doesn’t know how to fit into anyone’s life now, but Kyle tells her that she’s always been in their hearts, meaning that she never left. Jade is consumed with questions about why she returned, and tortured by the knowledge that she killed others while a Black Lantern. Kyle tells her that she needs to forget the past and embrace the future, but Jade is disturbed when her Starheart generates the White Lantern symbol…


Jason Rusch solemnly attends a memorial for Gehenna Hewitt in New York City, accompanied by Professor Martin Stein and Ray Palmer. Palmer and Stein discuss the fact that Ronnie Raymond is having trouble adjusting to his resurrection. Ronnie arrives at the wake, and tells Jason that he’s sorry that Gehenna died. Jason is furious, because he feels like Ronnie used him, making him an accomplice to murder. In anger, Jason punches Ronnie, causing them to form a very-confused Firestorm, one with Ronnie in control of the body, but Jason in control of the matrix…


Osiris has returned to Kahndaq and is welcomed by his followers with open arms. He arrives at the petrified statues of Teth-Adam and Adrianna Tomaz, and laments their current fate, as well as the state of his country. Osiris promises that he will return Kahndaq to greatness, beginning with the restoration of Black Adam and Isis…


In Arlington, Virginia, Hawk violently takes down a crew of arms dealers, ignoring Dove’s please to follow the rules of law. Hawk, however, is following his own rules, and reminds Dove that they are exact opposites. He’s all about showing the opposition that he’s right, no matter what it takes, and declares that this is only the first of his preemptive strikes…


Boston Brand arrives at his final destination, the ruins of downtown Star City, decimated by Prometheus. The White Lantern power ring shows Brand visions of the future, and then unleashes vast energies that create a huge star-shaped forest right in the center of the city. Confused, Brand asks the ring what he and the others were brought back to do. The ring answers…


“Help me live.”


Meanwhile, the White Lantern power battery has landed in Silver City, New Mexico, creating a huge crater in the ground. Intrigued bystanders attempt to get near it, but its energies are too intense for them. Thaal Sinestro arrives, ready to take the power battery for himself…


Notes


Page 1: Poor little birdie…


Page 2: Deadman, real name Boston Brand. First appeared – and died -- in Strange Adventures #205. Current powers and abilities unknown.


“Carpe diem” is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace that roughly translates to “Seize the day.”


Page 3: “They called me Deadman.” Technically, Deadman was Brand aerialist name as well; it’s not like, once he died, then they started calling him that. But, since he’s neither dead nor a circus performer anymore, the name doesn’t really make any sense, now does it?


Page 4: ‘The truth is, I was a pretty big bastard back in the day.” To my knowledge, we’ve never really seen much of Boston Brand’s life before he was killed, so we don’t know what he was like alive. Presumably, this series will explore some of that.


Page 6: So…is there a plan for that bird as well? Or was that resurrection just a freebie?


Page 7: Mera, Aquaman’s wife. First appeared in Aquaman (first series) #11. Able to form structures out of hard water.


Mmmmm…Mera…


Sorry. Lusting after fictional characters is just so creepy…


That lighthouse was where Arthur Curry grew up. It was damaged in Blackest Night #2 during a battle between Mera and Black Lanterns Aquaman, Tempest, Aquagirl and Dolphin.


Page 8: Aquaman, real name Orin, adopted name Arthur Curry. First appeared in More Fun Comics #73. Possesses enhanced strength and durability, able to survive underwater and can communicate telepathically with sea life.


Yay! Arthur has his hand back! No more harpoon, liquid metal or water hand…


“Why did I come back when so many others didn’t?” Well, read Brightest Day and find out, silly…


“Garth? Tula?” Garth was Tempest, the former Aqualad, killed in Blackest Night #2. Tula was Aquagirl, killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12.


Page 9: “At least Garth and Tula are together.” This is a nice sentiment, given that Garth and Tula were boyfriend/girlfriend...


But, and this is a huge “but,” in the years after Tula’s death, Garth fell in love with, married, and had a child with Dolphin, who is also dead. How does she rank? Does she lose out in the “who gets to spend eternity in the afterlife with Garth” contest?


“I don’t know.” A hot, naked redhead just asked you to jump into the water and have a swim with her, Artie…I think you should do as she asks.


Page 10: There’s Black Lantern Aquaman, staring back at Arthur. Does he remember his actions as a Black Lantern? Or does he feel like death is waiting for him once again?


Page 11: The Reverse-Flash, also known as Professor Zoom, real name Eobard Thawne. First appeared in The Flash (first series) #139. Generates a Negative Speed Force that allows him to move at superhuman speed.


After his return to life in Blackest Night #8, Thawne returned to the 25th century so that he could bring Barry Allen back from the Speed Force, as revealed in The Flash: Rebirth. At the end of that mini-series, Barry captured Thawne and trapped him in Iron Heights, as seen here.


Iron Heights Penitentiary is a prison that houses most of the Flash rogues and the metahuman criminals of Central and Keystone Cities.


Page 12: The Flash II, real name Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen. First appeared in Showcase #4. Able to move at superhuman speed due to his connection to the Speed Force.


Captain Boomerang I, real name George “Digger” Harkness. First appeared in The Flash (first series) #117. Wields an arsenal of normal and trick boomerangs with uncanny accuracy.


Page 13: “I’m sorry about your son.” Digger’s son, Owen Mercer, was the second Captain Boomerang. Owen was killed by Black Lantern Captain Boomerang in Blackest Night: The Flash #3.


Page 14: “There was this film some years back.” Digger’s talking about The Shawshank Redemption, which seems to air on TNT every other day.


“Why me and not my son or Cold’s sister or your ridiculous friend the Elongated Man?” Captain Cold’s sister was the Golden Glider. The Elongated Man, a.k.a. Ralph Dibny, was Barry’s friend and not among those chosen for resurrection.


“It’s a Flash Fact.” “Flash Facts” were little tidbits of scientific information that were inserted into Barry Allen’s stories back in the Silver Age.


Page 15: Hawkman, real name Carter Hall. The reincarnation of Prince Khufu of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in Flash Comics #1. Wears a harness made of Nth metal which allows him to defy gravity and affords him enhanced strength, vision and a healing factor.


Hawkgirl I, real name Shiera Hall. The reincarnation of Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt. First appeared (as Shiera Sanders) in Flash Comics #1 and (as Hawkgirl) in All-Star Comics #5. Wears a harness made of Nth metal which allows her to defy gravity and affords her enhanced strength, vision and a healing factor.


Rangda is the demon queen of the leyaks in Bali. She’s a terrifying creature that eats children and leads her witches against Barong, the leader of the forces of good.


Brian Kent, also known as the Silent Knight, and Lady Celia were two of Carter and Shiera’s past lives.

“And 1584 was a damn cold year for England.” That date must be in error, because the Silent Knight was active during the 6th century. The year 584 A.D. is more accurate.


Page 16: Boston Brand is a peeping tom, spying on the Hawks like that…


Scattered on the floor around Carter and Shiera are mementos of their past lives. Since many of these past lives have yet to be revealed, the items are, for the most part, unidentifiable, but the black shirt with the white bird design, red bandanna and holster belong to Hannibal Hawkes, a.k.a. Nighthawk, a gunman from the Old West.


Page 17: Man, these two just can’t be alone, can they?


Surrounding Carter and Shiera are the ghosts of their past lives. I assume that the two of the left are from Roman times, while the couple to their left are the ones who confronted Rangda the Demon Queen. In the center of the group are Nighthawk and Cinnamon from the American Old West. Next are the Silent Knight and Lady Celia. The two on the far right are unknown.


“Is this the last night I get to look into your eyes and see that you recognize me – that you love me – even after all these thousand of years?” After she died during the events of Zero Hour, Shiera was reborn in the body of her niece, Kendra Saunders, but had no recollection of her past lives, making this the first time in thousands of years that she and Carter were not together as lovers. With her rebirth after Blackest Night, Shiera once again has access to her past lives.


“Hath-Set” is their immortal foe, the one who cursed them to endlessly live and find one another, only to die and lose each other again.


Page 19: “Miri, the Star Sapphire, gave it to me.” That would be Miri Riam, one of the Star Sapphires, notable for restoring Kyle Rayner to life.


“She said it was a piece of my heart from Zamaron.” After Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara, Carter and Shiera’s first forms, died, their bodies seemingly crystallized and their love formed the first Star Sapphire gem. During Blackest Night, Khufu and Chay-Ara were transformed into Black Lanterns, causing the Star Sapphire power battery to explode.


The Claw of Horus was made thousands of years ago and is constructed from Thanagarian Nth metal.


Page 20: Why Khufu and Chay-Ara’s bodies are still intact after Blackest Night, and what purpose someone else would have for them, remains to be seen.


Page 21: Maxwell “Max” Lord IV, former head of the Justice League International. First appeared in Justice League #1. Able to telepathically control the minds of others.


“All it cost me was a few nosebleeds to get ready for my biggest push yet.” The use of Lord’s mind control powers is accompanied by a nosebleed. Due to the extreme nature of this “push,” he needs to acquire vast amounts of plasma so he doesn’t kill himself.


On the computer screens in the JLI Embassy are some of Max’s greatest hits. Included are Max as a Black Lantern, the post-Legends Justice League (cover to Justice League #1), Wonder Woman snapping Max’s neck and Max shooting Ted Kord. Good times.


Page 22: “…or executed for my alleged crimes against the world, a world I’ve always wanted to protect, not endanger.” For a time, Max was the Black King of Checkmate and made plans to protect the world from the threat of meta-humans, taking control of Batman’s Brother I satellite and creating the OMACs. After Ted Kord found out what his former boss was doing, Lord shot him. He even had Superman under his mental control, which didn’t turn out too good for him in the end.


Page 23: For more on Lord’s plan and whether or not anyone will remember him long enough to oppose him, check out Justice League: Generation Lost.


Page 24: Martian Manhunter, real name J’onn J’onzz of Mars. First appeared in Detective Comics #225. Possesses superhuman strength, invulnerability, speed, flight, vast telepathic abilities and the power to shape-shift.


That pyramid on Mars was J’onn J’onzz’s home. The Spectre moved it from Mars to Earth in Martian Manhunter #23. Superman returned it to Mars in Final Crisis: Requiem #1 so that J’onn could be buried there.


Page 25: Green Lantern II, real name Harold “Hal” Jordan. First appeared in Showcase #22. Power ring allows him to fly, create energy constructs, and draw upon the knowledge contained in the Book of Oa.


Green Lantern IV, real name Guy Darrin Gardner, first appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #59. Power ring allows him to fly, create energy constructs, and draw upon the knowledge contained in the Book of Oa.


Page 26: Once again, thumbs up for whoever decided that J’onn should wear pants.


Guy Gardner brought J’onn a huge create of Oreos – excuse me, Chocos. This is an old, old joke going back to the days of Justice League International. See, when the League first reformed, Captain Marvel enjoyed having Oreos and milk during meetings. J’onn tried the cookies and found that he loved them. Eventually, it just became a running gag. Later, in the pages of Martian Manhunter, it was revealed that the cookies had an adverse affect on J’onn, but, hopefully, with his rebirth, that problem has gone away.


On a kinder note, Batman left a Choco on J’onn’s casket after saying goodbye to his old friend in Final Crisis: Requiem #1.


Page 28: “That new hunk of red rock on your chest mean something…” I’m wondering about the significance of that stone, but only time will tell…


“I am your only Martian. For now.” Well, if that isn’t a bit of foreshadowing, then I don’t know what is…


Page 29: Jade, real name Jenny-Lynn Hayden. First appeared in All-Star Squadron #25. The daughter of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, who inherited her father’s power and connection to the mystical Starheart, which allows her to generate energy constructs and fly.


Soranik Natu, Green Lantern of Space Sector 1417. First appeared in Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1. Power ring allows her to fly, create energy constructs, and draw upon the knowledge contained in the Book of Oa.


Soranik’s a doctor on Korugar, which makes it appropriate that she’s running these tests on Jade. But why Jade is having the Corps run these tests as opposed to the JSA is a mystery to me.


“Come on, I’ve been at a hundred percent since the day that white rung hit my hand and I crawled out from under Mogo’s grass, haven’t I?” In Green Lantern Corps #44, Mogo absorbed all of the Black Lanterns threatening Oa into itself, ending their rampage. Jade was among these; when the White Lantern power ring revived her, she presumably was able to leave Mogo unharmed.


Page 31: Green Lantern V, real name Kyle Rayner. First appeared in Green Lantern (third series) #48. Power ring allows him to fly, create energy constructs, and draw upon the knowledge contained in the Book of Oa.


Oh, yeah, Kyle and Jennie used to date.


“Especially your father.” Jennie’s father is Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern.


Kyle is creating an energy construct of Jennie’s death – really romantic, dude – from Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special #1.


“I tried to kill you, Kyle – I tried to kill Natu.” This occurred in Green Lantern Corps #39-41.


So it seems that Jade remember what she did as a Black Lantern. Do the others recall as well? Or is it different for each of them?


Why does Jade’s Starheart create the Black Lantern symbol? And why is said symbol appearing in the form of white energy?


For more on Jade, check out Justice League of America.


Page 32: The Atom II, real name Raymond “Ray” Palmer. First appeared in Showcase #34. Able to shrink his body to varying degrees while controlling his weight and mass.


That’s Professor Martin Stein, who used to be a part of Firestorm, along with Ronnie Raymond. Nowadays, Stein does science stuff…I guess.


Jason Rusch has been Firestorm for the past few years. His girlfriend, Gehenna Hewitt, was killed by Black Lantern Firestorm in Blackest Night #3.


“He doesn’t remember anything between dying at the hands of the Shadow Thief and coming back in Coast City along with everyone else.” The Ronnie Raymond-Firestorm was killed in Identity Crisis #5. Unlike Jade, Ronnie doesn’t seem to remember his time as a Black Lantern.


Page 33: Once upon a time, Ronnie attended Pittsburgh University, hence the “Pitt U” T-shirt.


So, what was Ronnie’s excuse to his friends for being away? Witness protection? Visiting a sick aunt? Traveling through the Middle East?


Page 34: Jason’s got a bit of anger towards Ronnie…


Page 35: Firestorm X, real names Ronald “Ronnie” Raymond and Jason Rusch. First appeared (as Ronnie) in Firestorm (first series) #1, (as Jason) in Firestorm (third series) #1, and (as Firestorm) in Blackest Night #8. Able to fly, alter and restructure matter and project blasts of nuclear energy.


Other people have numbered and identified the various incarnations of Firestorm somewhat differently than I, and that’s cool, but this is what I’ve come up with, in the interests of being overly-anal and nitpicky. Check out my notes for Blackest Night #8 for a more detailed explanation.


So, why is the sudden arrival of Firestorm in the middle of this memorial service not causing more of a ruckus? Are Professors Stein and Palmer the only ones noticing this?


Page 36: Osiris, real name Amon Tomaz. First appeared in 52 Week Twenty-Three. Has a portion of Black Adam’s power, including superhuman strength, speed, endurance, flight and invulnerability.


Ah, Osiris. Good old, Osiris. How have we all missed thee?


My favorite Osiris story was the one in which he was horrible maimed and eaten by Sobek, his hungry crocodile friend. That’s how much I really like Osiris.


Oh, well, we can’t love all of the heroes and villains that came back from the dead, now can we?


How the hell long did it take to get all of those people in the plaza to stand so that they were in the shape of a lightning bolt? They must have been practicing that for weeks!


Page 37: Teth-Adam and Adrianna Tomaz, Black Adam and Isis’ human forms, were transformed into statues by Shazam in Justice Society of America (second series) #25.


What’s the over/under on when Osiris drops those statues and kills his only friends?


Osiris’ further adventures can be seen in The Titans.


Page 38: Hawk I, real name Henry “Hank” Hall. First appeared (as Hawk) in Showcase #75, (as Monarch) in Armageddon 2001 #2, and (as Extant) in Showcase ’94 #9. Possesses superhuman strength, speed, vision, stamina and healing factor.


Hawk is perched on the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, outside of Arlington National Cemetery.


Dove II, real name Dawn Granger. First appeared in Hawk and Dove (mini-series) #1. Possesses heightened strength and reflexes, expanded mental capabilities and the ability to fly.


Hawk and Dove have always had a…tempestuous relationship. It hasn’t gotten any better since Hawk returned from the dead.


Page 40: “Yep. We do have history finals tomorrow morning. No time to waste.” I feel like this scene must take place a little bit in the future. Most of the other vignettes we have witnessed take place shortly after the Blackest Night, but this one must take a few months down the road. If Hank Hall just returned, then would he really be enrolled in college classes already? And, even if he was, would he have finals yet?


Hawk and Dove are set to appear in Birds of Prey.


Page 41: Prometheus destroyed downtown Star City in Justice League: Cry for Justice #1.


Page 42: A view into the future of our heroes and villains. Starting from the twelve o’clock position, and working clockwise…


Black Lantern Firestorm – hey, I thought he was gone? – transforming the Atom into salt; been there, done that…


Mera and Aquaman experimenting with bondage…


Maxwell Lord, preparing to kill his second Blue Beetle…


Jade, wearing a Green Lantern power ring again…


A whole family of Reverse-Flashes…


Hawkman and Hawkgirl give up on the love and are sick and tired of one another…


Whoops, looks like Osiris does drop those pretty statues…


Captain Cold and Mirror Master attacking Captain Boomerang…


Hawk and Dove kissing…aww, how cute…


Um, someone skinned J’onn J’onzz? Gross…


Page 43: Who knew that Boston Brand had such a green thumb?


Pages 44-45: A huge forest has grown right in the middle of Star City. Anyone wanna take a guess as to where Oliver Queen’s gonna be hanging out the next few months?


Page 46: “The white light chose twelve of us to return from the dead.” It was fourteen…the twelve highlighted in this issue, plus Black Hand and the Anti-Monitor.


“—I’m the only one still wearing a white ring.” And I am sure that there is a compelling reason for that, Boston.


“Help me live.” Is this the Entity talking to Brand? Or something else?


Page 47: Silver City, NM.” This is s town in Grant County, New Mexico. Why the White Lantern power battery landed there is unknown.


Page 48: Sinestro, full name Thaal Sinestro. First appeared in Green Lantern (second series) #7. Power ring allows him to fly, create energy constructs and detect the fears of others.


I know, it’s silly, but I really like that Sinestro finally has a first name.


Thaal.


Thaal.


It just rolls off the tongue, don’t you think?



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BLACKEST NIGHT #8

Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Ivan Reis

Inker: Oclair Albert & Joe Prado

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


The Lantern Corps join with the heroes of Earth for one final stand against Nekron and the Black Lanterns! But even if they can succeed, who will live, who will die…and who will be resurrected?


Notes


Page 1: Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Black Hand and Thaal Sinestro last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52.


“Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” is a phrase from a Latin poem by Horace.


“Most people only know the first part,” mainly because they were really big fans of Dead Poets Society.


Pages 2-3: “I am bonded with the light of life itself.” Sinestro offered himself up as a vessel for the Entity in Blackest Night #7.


Sayd, Barry Allen, Saint Walker, Ganthet, Indigo-1 and Nekron last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52.


Page 4: “That was a rhetorical question, Ganthet.” That was funny. Pretty damn funny.


Ray Palmer last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52.


“Your annihilation marks the end of Abin Sur’s mission.” Abin Sur took it upon himself to locate the source of the energies that would bring about the Blackest Night. His journey brought him to Earth, where he died. Note that Sinestro has created energy constructs of Abin Sur to imprison Nekron.


Sinestro tries to do to Nekron what the Black Lanterns have been doing for a while now – rip his heart out of his chest. Think it will work?


Page 5: Hmmm, looks like it’s working so far…


“Nekron. Rise.” Nope. Didn’t work.


Page 6: “No more hiding, trespasser.” “Trespasser” is Nekron’s pet name for the Entity. It’s a little inside joke between the two of them.


Mera last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52.


Page 7: Sayd, Atrocitus and Wonder Woman last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52. Larfleeze and Lex Luthor last appeared in Blackest Night #7.


“I demand them, Guardian! I will have the power to save the world my –“ Lex is going a bit bonkers. His connection to the orange light of avarice is making him even more greedy and maniacal than usual.


Note that the Lanterns are falling towards a plaza; in the center of the plaza is a statue honoring heroes. The centerpiece of the memorial is a replica of a Green Lantern power battery, inscribed with the words, No Fear.” This plaza was last seen in Blackest Night #1, when Hal, Kyle, John and Guy appeared there on Heroes Day.


Page 8: Black Lanterns Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Superman, Green Arrow, Ice, Animal Man, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm last appeared in Blackest Night #7


Black Lantern Donna Troy last appeared in Adventure Comics (second series) #7.


Black Lantern Maxwell Lord last appeared in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3.


Black Lantern Hawk last appeared in Blackest Night: Titans #3.


Black Lantern Dolphin appears here erroneously; she was destroyed in Blackest Night: Titans #3.


That’s the Jordan family, watching Coast City get attacked once again – Jim, Hal’s brother, his wife Susan, and their children Howard and Jane.


Page 9: Yeah, there’s Mera battling Black Lantern Dolphin…maybe it’s the ghost of Black Lantern Dolphin?


Note that Jason Rusch is still struggling to free himself from Black Lantern Firestorm, as he has ever since he became trapped in Blackest Night #3.


Hal is using his ring to create an energy construct of the Martian Manhunter to battle Black Lantern Martian Manhunter.


Pages 10-11: Two-page spread madness time…


So I’m going to start at the bottom left corner of the spread and work my way around in a semi-orderly fashion, identifying characters as I go. The issue number in parentheses is the character’s previous appearance in the Blackest Night story (unless it’s already been mentioned).


BL Superman, Flash III (Green Lantern #51), Wonder Girl II (Adventure Comics #7), Power Girl (BN: JSA #3), Fire (Adventure Comics #7), BL Donna Troy, BL Ice, Zilius Zox (GLC #46), Arisia Rrab (GLC #46), Brother Hynn (GL #52), Fatality (GL #52), Slushh (GL #52), Bedovian (GLC #46), Tomar-Tu (Blackest Night #7), Ratchet (Blackest Night #7), Kryb (Blackest Night #7), Arkillo (GLC #46), Graf Toren (Blackest Night #7), Carol Ferris, Soranik Natu (GLC #46), Starfire III (Blackest Night #7), Beast Boy (Adventure Comics #7), Hannu (Blackest Night #7), Atom-Smasher (BN: JSA #3), Booster Gold & Skeets (Booster Gold #27), Cyborg (GLC #46), Black Canary II (Green Arrow #30), Mr. Terrific II (BN: JSA #3), Mera, John Stewart (GL #52), Barry Allen, Tekik (GL #52), Brother Warth (GL #52), Stel (GL #52), Kyle Rayner (GLC #46), Morro (GL #52), Bleez (GLC #46), Karu-Sil (GLC #46), Kilowog (GL #52), Munk (GLC #46), Miri Riam (GLC #46), Hal Jordan, Uncle Sam (Blackest Night #1), Flash I (BN: JSA #1), BL Martian Manhunter, BL Green Arrow, Green Lantern I (BN: JSA #3), Larfleeze, Sayd, Guy Gardner (GLC #46), Murr the Melting Man (Blackest Night #7), Ray Palmer, Indigo-1, Ganthet, Saint Walker, one of the Five Inversions (Blackest Night #6), BL Roixeaume (Blackest Night #6), Atrocitus, BL Qull (Blackest Night #6), one of the Five Inversions (Blackest Night #6), Romat-Ru (GLC #46), BL Maxwell Lord, Wonder Woman, Dove (GLC #46), BL Hawk, Black Hand, BL Aquaman, BL Animal Man, BL Hawkman, BL Hawkgirl, BL Firestorm, BL Prince Khufu (The Atom and Hawkman #46) and BL Chay-Ara (The Atom and Hawkman #46).


Phew.


But wait, there’s one more, a very special guest star, someone making his very first appearance in the Blackest Night saga. Yes, that’s right, we’ve saved the best for last…


Check out the space between Black Lanterns Hawkman and Animal Man. Yep, riiiiight there…


Black Lantern Freedom Beast! Real name Dominic Mndawe. First appeared in Animal Man #13. Possess superhuman strength, healing and the ability to fuse any two animals to create a powerful new creature. Killed in Justice League: Cry for Justice #1.


Pages 12-13: Oh goodie, more people to identitfy…


Start from the left, and work towards the right…


Kryb, Tomar-Tu, Wonder Woman, Slushh, Hannu, Maash (GL #47), Sister Sercy (Blackest Night #7), Ratchet, Fatality, John Stewart, Munk, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Arkillo, Skallox (Blackest Night #7), Kilowog, Guy Gardner, Brother Warth, Tekik, Zilius Zox, Romat-Ru, Miss Bloss (Blackest Night #7) Graf Toren and Barry Allen.


Deadman last appeared in The Phantom Stranger (second series) #42.


“Hey, Skeletor!” Skeletor is, of course, the skull-faced adversary of He-Man in the Masters of the Universe animated series, comic books and toy lines.


Page 14: The Entity of the White Light last appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #52.


Page 15: “Doomsday put you down, but you got back up.” Doomsday killed Superman in the now-classic Superman (second series) #75. Superman came back to life in The Adventures of Superman #500.


S.T.R.I.P.E., real name Patrick “Pat” Dugan. First appeared (as Stripesy) in Action Comics #40 and (as S.T.R.I.P.E.) in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0. A skilled mechanic who wears a sophisticated suit of power armor of his own design.


“Everyone you think you allowed back did it themselves.” All throughout Blackest Night, Nekron has claimed that those heroes who have returned to life did so because he allowed it. Hal isn’t buying that argument.


Pages 16-17: The White Lanterns strike back!


Yeah, it’s goofy. And predictable. So what? This is comics. Stop being mired in stodginess and have some fun already…


Superboy last appeared Adventure Comics (second series) #7. Kid Flash II last appeared in Green Lantern #51.


Page 18: “We chose to live again. Now we choose it for you.” Now then, this topic will come up again, in several pages, actually, but who gets to chose who lives and who is reborn? And what are the criteria?


Obviously, Black Hand’s “revival” is necessary to sever his connection to Nekron, but what makes the other resurrection so important?


Page 19: And, that’s about enough of you pesky White Lanterns…


Metamorpho last appeared in Outsiders (fourth series) #25.


Shazam, real name Frederick Christopher “Freddy” Freeman. First appeared (as Captain Marvel, Jr., historical) in Whiz Comics #25, (as Captain Marvel, Jr., modern) in The Power of Shazam! #3, and (as Shazam) in The Trials of Shazam! #12. Possesses magically-bestowed superhuman strength, speed, flight, healing, invulnerability and wisdom.


Blue Devil last appeared in The Phantom Stranger #42. I thought he was supposed to be hanging out in Nanda Parbat, watching over Boston Brand’s body?


Pages 20-21: The Anti-Monitor last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #46.


So…why does the Anti-Monitor, a genocidal maniac, get to live? What purpose does he serve? Is he going to wake up one day and feel really bad about all of the parallel universes he’s destroyed and work to redeem himself?


“I am your prisoner and power source no more, Nekron.” The Anti-Monitor has been trapped in the Black Lantern power battery since Green Lantern (fourth series) #25.


“Go back to your own universe, creature. This one is mine.” So, if Nekron had succeeded in his plan, would the anti-matter universe have survived? Or is he just content to let the Anti-Monitor rule there while he goes about his own business?


Pages 22-23: Nekron go “BOOM.”


“Digger Harkness of Earth.” A minor quibble, but, technically, Captain Boomerang’s full name is George Harkness. “Digger” is his nickname; it refers to one who was a member of the Australian army. I’m not sure how or why Harkness came to use the name, however.


Pages 24-27: Four-page spread…beautiful stuff, too…


“Live.” Come on…you knew this was coming…


Maxwell “Max” Lord IV, former head of the Justice League International. First appeared in Justice League #1. Killed in Wonder Woman (second series) #219. Able to telepathically control the minds of others.


Looks like Max is ready to go all black ops again. Too bad fir him, Checkmate has gone legitimate…


The Reverse-Flash, also known as Professor Zoom, real name Eobard Thawne. First appeared in The Flash (first series) #139. Killed in The Flash (first series) #324. Able to tap into a Negative Speed Force that allows him to move at superhuman speed.


Thawne has already returned, but now we’re seeing how he actually came back to life. The future-Thawne is currently being held in Iron Heights Penitentiary, as seen in Blackest Night The Flash #3.


Hawk I, real name Henry “Hank” Hall. First appeared (as Hawk) in Showcase #75, (as Monarch) in Armageddon 2001 #2, and (as Extant) in Showcase ’94 #9. Killed in JSA #15. Possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina and invulnerability.


Hawk looks as angry as ever…


Jade I, real name Jenny-Lynn Hayden. First appeared in All-Star Squadron #25. Died in Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special #1. The daughter of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, who inherited her father’s power and connection to the mystical Starheart, which allows her to generate energy constructs and fly. Last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #42.


Jade is wearing a costume similar to her original one, as opposed to the one she was wearing when she died…


Captain Boomerang I, real name George “Digger” Harkness. First appeared in The Flash (first series) #117. Killed in Identity Crisis #5. Armed with an arsenal of normal and trick boomerangs.


Digger seems to have traded in his goofy hat for something a little more hip and modern, because nothing speaks to today’s youth like a middle-aged guy who plays with boomerangs…


Okay, this one is a wee bit tricky…


Firestorm X, real names Ronald “Ronnie” Raymond and Jason Rusch. First appeared (as Ronnie) in Firestorm (first series) #1, (as Jason) in Firestorm (third series) #1, and (as Firestorm) in Blackest Night #8. Ronnie was killed in Identity Crisis #5, while Jason merged with Black Lantern Firestorm in Blackest Night #3. Able to fly, alter and restructure matter and project blasts of nuclear energy.


Ten Firestorms, you say? Isn’t that a bit extreme? Probably. Here’s the breakdown of who was who in each of the Firestorm incarnations, including the first appearance of each…


Firestorm I, Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein, Firestorm (first series) #1;


Firestorm II, Ronnie Raymond, Ronnie Raymond and Mikhail Arkadin, The Fury of Firestorm Annual #5;


Firestorm III, Ronnie Raymond and Mikhail Arkadin, Firestorm the Nuclear Man (first series) #85;


Firestorm IV, Martin Stein, Firestorm the Nuclear Man (first series) #100;


Firestorm V, Ronnie Raymond, Extreme Justice #4;


Firestorm VI, Jason Rusch (merging with whoever was convenient), Firestorm (second series) #1;


Firestorm VII, Jason Rusch and Martin Stein, Firestorm the Nuclear Man (second series) #22;


Firestorm VIII, Jason Rusch and Lorraine Reilly, Firestorm the Nuclear Man (second series) #23;


Firestorm IX, Jason Rusch and Gehenna Hewitt, Firestorm the Nuclear Man (second series) #35;


And, finally, Firestorm X, Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, Blackest Night #8.


Firestorm’s new costume is an amalgamation/update of his previous ones…


Now back to our regularly-scheduled resurrections…


Martian Manhunter, real name J’onn J’onzz of Mars. First appeared in Detective Comics #225. Killed in Final Crisis #1. Possesses superhuman strength, invulnerability, speed, flight, vast telepathic abilities and the power to shape-shift.


Oh my…J’Onn has finally been given a pair of pants! Yay! Not sure if the boots really go with the pants, though…


Aquaman I, real name Orin, adopted name Arthur Curry. First appeared in More Fun Comics #73. Killed in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50. Possesses enhanced strength and durability, able to survive underwater and can communicate telepathically with sea life.


Aquaman has returned to his classic look, with some tweaks here and there…


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


Hawkgirl I, real name Shiera Hall. The reincarnation of Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt. First appeared (as Shiera Sanders) in Flash Comics #1, (as Hawkgirl) in All-Star Comics #5, and (as Kendra Saunders) in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1. Killed in Hawkman (third series) #13, returned to life in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1, and then killed again in Blackest Night #1. Able to fly using her Nth metal belt and artificial wings; also has enhanced strength and healing factor.


Okay, another tricky one. After Shiera Hall died in Hawkman (third series) #13, her soul was supposed to be reborn in the body of her niece, Kendra Saunders, who attempted suicide. However, things went awry, and Kendra survived, but without Shiera’s memories. Thus, when Carter Hall returned, Kendra didn’t remember their past lives together, which put a dampener on their relationship. With Hawkgirl’s most recent resurrection, it would seem that Shiera is back, and in full possession of her memories.


Hawkman and Hawkgirl are pretty much unchanged, just some minor alterations. Not sure I like the hawk logo on Hawkgirl’s costume, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it…


Deadman, real name Boston Brand. First appeared – and died -- in Strange Adventures #205. He’s an invisible and intangible ghost who can instantly possess the body of any sentient being….well, at least, he used to

.

The biggest change? Well, he’s alive…


Osiris, real name Amon Tomaz. First appeared in 52 Week Twenty-Three. Killed in 52 Week Forty-Three. Has a portion of Black Adam’s power, including superhuman strength, speed, endurance, flight and invulnerability. Last appeared in The Power of Shazam! #48.


Maybe Osiris isn’t as much of a whining little snotnose as he used to be…


But somehow, I doubt it…


Page 28: Most people don’t realize this, but Aquaman is so visually stunning that he causes women to swoon, faint and have a heart attack when he walks into a room…


Page 29: “Her heart has stopped.” When Mera became a member of the Red Lantern Corps, her heart became useless. Now that her Red Lantern ring has been destroyed, she is in danger of dying because her body can no longer survive.


Carol Ferris is using Aquaman’s love for Mera to save her life, similar to the way in which Miri Riam and Soranik Natu restored Kyle Rayner to life in Green Lantern Corps #43.


Page 30: “Kendra. Chay-Ara. Cinnamon.” These are some the past lives that Hawkgirl has lived.


Page 31: Shiera is quite recognizable, with her flowing red hair and large earrings. And you know what I mean when I say “large earrings,” don’t you?


“J’Onn! You’re alive!” And the master of the obvious award goes to Superman…


Page 32: “Gen…He killed Gen.” Black Lantern Firestorm killed Jason’s girlfriend Gehenna in Blackest Night #3.


“Where’s Professor Stein?” It looks like Ronnie has a bit of amnesia about what’s going on the past few years; he and Stein haven’t been a part of Firestorm in a long, long time.


Page 33: “They touch me again they lose a finger.” Hawk is always a hit at parties.


Maxwell Lord is using his mind control power to make Guy Gardner forget he ever knew him. Max’s nosebleed is a tell-tale sign that he is using his ability.


Page 34: It’s a little awkward having Jade plant a big kiss on Kyle’s lips, given that his current girlfriend, Soranik Natu, is standing right there. As with Ronnie Raymond, it’s unclear as to when Jade’s memories end; does she still think that she and Kyle are together?


“I want to go home.” Oh, crap, Osiris is as whiny as ever…


“I am going home.” Presumably, the Reverse-Flash is returning to the 25th century; from there, he can set into motion his plans that will result in Barry Allen returning from the Speed Force, as seen way back in DC Universe #0.


“Take a nap, Digger.” Poor Captain Boomerang; he’s back from the dead for about sixty seconds and already he’s having his ass handed to him by the Flash.


Page 35: “Ralph? Sue?” Barry is looking for Ralph and Sue Dibny, who m he expects to be among the resurrected. Sadly, though, they are not.


“Why?” That’s the main question going into Brightest Day – why have these twelve (fourteen, really, if you count Black Hand and the Anti-Monitor) returned, and others have not.


Doctor Mid-Nite II and Stargirl last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #3.


Supergirl last appeared in Green Arrow (third series) #30.


Steel III, real name John-Henry Irons. First appeared in The Adventures of Superman #500. A genius inventor and engineer who wears a suit of powered armor of his own design.


Tri-Eye last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #46.


Robotman II last appeared in Doom Patrol (fifth series) #5. Presumably, Elasti-Woman and Negative Man are around here somewhere as well.


Page 36: Poor Deadman. He’s alive again. Wait, that’s a bad thing? So, who is he now, Aliveman? No Longer Dead-man?


Page 37: “You belong to me, blue one!” As per the agreement she hade with Larfleeze in Green Lantern (fourth series) #48, Sayd is now the Guardian of the Orange Lanterns.


Page 38: So the Indigo Tribe has taken Black Hand prisoner. I’d feel bad for Black Hand, if he wasn’t so damn creepy.


“Nok.” You said it…


Page 39: This story ends where it began, in a cemetery in Gotham City back in Blackest Night #0.


“That Black Lantern Batman didn’t recognize any of us. It wasn’t Bruce.” As revealed in Batman and Robin #7-9, the body that Superman recovered in Final Crisis #7 wasn’t actually Bruce Wayne’s. Rather, it was a mindless clone of Bruce, created by Darkseid.


This scene must take place after the events of that story; Dick Grayson attempts to revive the clone in the Lazarus Pit, with disastrous results.


On a related note, my one disappointment with this series and its conclusion is that Dick Grayson and Tim Drake didn’t make an appearance. Granted, it was chock-full of heroic goodness, and it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story at all, but even a cameo of Batman and Red Robin would have been appreciated. Oh well…


Pages 39-40: “No, I can feel it out there, Barry. Urging us to break away from the past and the Blackest Night and head into tomorrow.” Amen. Let’s put the past behind us and move onto newer, bigger and better stories. No more wallowing about failures and defeats from long ago. If I have to read about Gar Logan whining about Tara Markov one more time…


“And into the Brightest Day” Coming soon, to a comic shop near you…