Last month, I was in the minority when I was bitterly disappointed by the first issue of Blackest Night. Perhaps my expectations were too high. The style of the book certainly isn’t suited to my tastes. And the first issue included way too many recaps for my liking. Going into this issue, my expectations were greatly lowered.
Issue 2 picks up where last issue left off. Ray Palmer is still trying to make Carter Hall understand why he feels the need to visit the grave of his ex-wife. Honestly, I didn’t buy most of what Ray was selling, but that doesn’t really matter.
The point of the scene was that Black Lantern Hawkman invited Ray over to talk and Ray accepted his invitation. The first two pages work in that “first scene of a horror movie” kind of way. And for better or worse, this story is clearly taking on the tone of a horror story.
I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way now: I don’t care for the tone of Blackest Night. While I don’t mind including elements of horror stories in super hero comics, I don’t like the way this story feels like a straight-up horror story that just happens to have super heroes as the main characters. Most people seem to love this. So, I’m in the minority here. I’ll move on.
The story continues in Gotham City as Barbara Gordon accompanies her father as he lights the Batsignal. They discuss what it was like when Batgirl “disappeared”. The dialogue seems to me to be setting up the upcoming Batgirl book, but I have no idea how. The conversation is cut short when Hal Jordan crashes into the Batsignal.
The next plot thread of the issue is introduced as Mera and Garth attempt to exhume Aquaman in order to move his remains to Atlantis. Of course his tomb is empty. Soon, Black Lantern Aquaman has ripped the hearts out of the Atlantean guards.
The story cuts back to Gotham City as Deadman tries to resist the call of the Black Lanterns. He fails and is resurrected as a Black Lantern against his wishes.
One of the more interesting pages follows. In a cemetery in Washington DC we see the familiar sight of Black Lantern rings seeking out hosts. Hank Hall, the former Hawk is resurrected. However, his brother Don Hall is not because he is “at peace”. Like I said before… interesting…
The story returns to the fight between Aquaman and Mera and Garth. Aquaman is aided by Black Lanterns Dolphin and Aquagirl. The scene has lots of the “evil taunting” I didn’t care for in issue 1. But I guess that comes with the territory.
There was a pretty cool moment when Aquaman summons a bunch of dead sharks to eat the remaining soldiers of Atlantis. I usually roll my eyes at this sort of thing. But even I have admit that zombie sharks are pretty cool. And it’s good to see Aquaman finally get a moment even if he is a zombie.
Back at Deadman’s grave, some members of the Shadowpact have assembled. Their investigation into Brand’s resurrection is interrupted by the appearance of Black Lantern Pariah. The interruption is then interrupted by Black Hand who personally recruits Crispus Allen to his Corps.
Meanwhile, Garth and Mera fight for their lives. The fight doesn’t go well as Blackest Night claims yet another casualty. The lone survivor escapes to fight another day. I’m glad to see these characters finally being used. I just wish it was under different circumstances.
The issue ends with the fight between Martian Manhunter and Barry and Hal that started in the last issue of Green Lantern. The resolution of the fight isn’t especially original. But I did enjoy the way Barry and Hal worked together as a team. It’s honestly the first time I thought maybe it was worthwhile bringing Barry back.
Last month, I took a bit of a beating because I neglected to praise Ivan Reis. I won’t repeat that mistake this month. Reis’ art is always a treat and I shouldn’t take him for granted just because he’s consistant. While I haven’t always enjoyed the tone of Blackest Night, at least it looks great.
On the whole, the issue is a vast improvement over the recap-heavy first issue. While the story isn’t exactly suited to my tastes, at least the plot seems to be moving forward. And even I have to admit that it is shaping up to be an interesting ride!