Blackest Night #0 (June, 2009)
“Death Becomes Us”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Ivan Reis
Inkers – Oclair Albert & Rob Hunter
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
When I first decided to do this Boo Haunted Blog thing, I had figured that I’d cover a whole lotta Blackest Night. That didn’t really turn out to be the case, but I definitely want to get at least one issue from the main series in here… so here we be.
We open with Hal Jordan paying his respects at Bruce Wayne’s unmarked grave. He takes the opportunity to reflect on his rather rocky relationship with his caped and cowled pal. They had different ways of “doing business”, and often didn’t see eye-to-eye. Perhaps they were both just headstrong enough to drive the other, ahem, batty…
With a flash of lightning, the newly returned Barry Allen arrives on the scene. He laments the fact that without the Bat-Signal being illuminated with any sort of regularity these days, Gotham City has turned into an even worse cesspool of crime.
Barry notices that Bruce’s grave is not marked, and feels bad that there was no ceremonial funeral for his friend. Hal informs him that it was Bruce’s wish for there not to be. He continues by revealing that while Batman is “officially” dead, Bruce Wayne is not. He continues by saying Robin believes Bruce is still somehow alive. In a cute moment, Barry’s mind immediately goes to Dick Grayson… Hal corrects him, and it’s the first time I considered that there’s an entire generation of heroes that Barry’s never met!
The pair then compare their own funeral stories. Barry died a hero… or a saint. Being the insanely popular and beloved dude that he was, his funeral was standing-room only. Hal’s, on the other hand… was quite the opposite. He died a villain… and his tombstone was even desecrated… by another hero.
The conversation turns to other friends they’d lost in the not so distant past, including Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. They talk up the revolving door of death in their particular universe, and believe if there’s any possible way to come back from death… Batman will figure it out. We then get a cute scene between Hal and Bruce where they discuss losing their fathers. It’s really a nice little scene.
The pals take their leave… and we see that they were being watched. A zombified arm reaches into Bruce Wayne’s burial site, and pulls his very skull from the ground. The Black Lantern oath starts ringing throughout the universe… but who could this be?
Why, it’s Black Hand! The very embodiment of the Black Lantern. We close out with the end of the oath, promising that the “Dead Shall Rise”… and a scarred Guardian of the Universe with a satisfied smile.
How about that… a Free Comic Book Day issue that actually mattered! Not some reprinted piece from a continuity (or two) ago, not some animated series tie-in originally published in the early 1990’s… and not a preview catalog disguised as anthology. An actual, honest to goodness story… that leads to something. Let’s do more of these, DC!
For the story itself, I really enjoyed it. I feel the time between Flash Rebirth and Flashpoint was criminally short. Just as it appeared that Barry was getting comfortable back among the living… bada bing, welcome to The New-52! Here we actually get to experience Barry and Hal doing a bit of reconnecting, and getting… ahem… up to speed on current events. It’s brief, but I really dug it.
Especially interesting (and eye-opening) was Barry’s mind immediately going to Dick Grayson when he hears the name Robin. I’d completely taken for granted that he’d never met Tim… hell, I’m not sure he even met Jason. Such a neat thing for Johns to include here… really puts things into perspective insofar as just how different the world was when Barry last walked… er, ran… it.
The Batman/Hal Jordan relationship was cool to see on display as well. I can’t really speak for much in the pre-Crisis as it pertains to their level of chumminess… but, I do know that ever since Green Lantern Rebirth, Batman has been particularly cautious with how he deals with Hal. I like them being at-odds… not extreme like the Green Arrow and Hawkman relationship… but, still not seeing eye to eye is a pretty neat dynamic.
We get a pretty good idea of just who’s “coming back” via the Black Lantern rings, which was a great way to whet the appetite of DC fans. I mean, at this point who didn’t want to see the Dibneys alive and well? Or Firestorm or J’onn? This was such an exciting time to be a fan… part of the reason why I (and presumably many others) were so salty when this universe was swept under the rug just two-years later.
Emotional Spectrum Tour: