Blackest Night Graphic Novel

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Expert Author Allan Libby

Blackest Night is the first graphic novel in the 7 book series by Geoff Johns. The story opens with Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and the Flash brooding over Bruce Wayne’s (the Batman) grave. They reminisce about their friendships with him and the meaning of life. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by a shadowy figure.

This figure turns out to be Blackhand, the first Black Lantern. He digs up Bruce’s skull and begins a reign of terror by bringing dead heroes back to life with Black rings. In this story line there are more power sources than green, which is used by the Green Lanterns. Each color corresponds to an emotion; Yellow is fear, Orange is avarice, Green is will, Blue is hope, Indigo is compassion, Violet is love, and Red is rage. This new black power source symbolizes death.

When a hero is taken over by a black ring they retain all powers they had in life as well as all their memories and personality. Now they are consumed by the need of the black source to destroy life and return the universe to the peace of death. Each bearer of the black rings can sense emotions of the living and when those emotions reach a peak, they kill and power up their ring.

This graphic novel was stunningly drawn. The colors were vibrant where they needed and reflected the mood of each scene perfectly. Seeing the different colored light rings operate was a treat. Also seeing some of the well-known heroes wield these rings was fascinating. For instance, the Flash acquired a blue ring in addition to his normal powers.

Johns took a beloved character, Green Lantern, and rejuvenated him with this novel. Green Lantern throughout this story is the main character, as opposed to ones such as Superman or Batman. I always liked Green Lantern so this was a special treat for me. This story makes me yearn for the live action move that much more.

For those not caught up on the DC universe, the story is a bit hard to follow at times. There is a lot of character interaction that seems to assume the reader knows all the current DC plot lines. I am not one of those people, so for me I spent a lot of time confused. For instance, who is Firestorm? And why are there two of them? There was also a large amount of time travel implied by having people from the future all over the place. This made everything very hard to follow.

All in all, I give Blackest Night a 9 on the d10 of superheroes. I would have given it a 10 if the story was less confusing for those picking it up with no prior knowledge of this universe’s superheroes. The story that was not dependent upon previous works was engaging and the artwork was superb, however, thus the 9.

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