Night has fallen on the DC Universe.

General Information

Title: Blackest Night #1

Author: Geoff Johns

Illustrator(s): Ivan Reis (penciller), Oclair Albert (inker), Alex Sinclair (colorist)

Cover Date: September 2009

Cover Price: $3.99 US

Premise

The Blackest Night launches, and with it, a huge number of black rings. The dead are returning, but the living aren’t ready to deal with them yet.

High Point

While many would appreciate the nuts and bolts recap that can get a new reader up to speed quickly, I like the scene with Hal and Barry. It says a lot about what’s going on with Barry’s return, but also hints at how dangerous the Watchtower could become at any moment.

Low Point

“You know it’s bad when a man of science turns to God.” I’m a man of science. (I’m an atheist with two physics degrees.) However, it always bugs me when people treat science and religion as mutually exclusive. I’ve met a lot of very religious people working in science. Most of those who don’t seem to think they work together seem to count themselves on the religious side, because they’re under the impression that following science means trying to use science to explain God/Allah/Quetzalcoatl/etc. This approach is doomed to failure. It is, however, quite common for people to use God/Allah/Quetzalcoatl/etc to explain science. This approach is fully functional.

The Scores

This kicks off a miniseries based on an original concept. The dead rarely stay dead in comics, but rarely do they come back in this fashion or in these numbers. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is great. Black Hand is creepy as hell, and the pain in Barry’s face is readily apparent. Add in the viceral nature of the attacks by agents of the black power, and you’ve got some great stuff. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story doesn’t start with the level of action I expected. It’s not that there isn’t action, but rather there are a few pages devoted to filling in the background new readers will need to follow the story. Accessibility to new readers can be a big issue for such event comics, so it’s really hard to fault Johns for going out of his way to make it a non-issue. It’s still good, and there are a few moments that are quite shocking. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization is well done. We’ve got a few players coming down the pipe, and they all have their moments. Black Hand and Scar have become extremely effective villains in a fairly short amount of time. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is strong. Despite the fact that I expected a bit more action, this has more than enough to keep things running, and the non-action scenes with Black Hand are incredibly disturbing. I give it 6 out of 6.

The flow is smooth and well paced. The various stages are set early, and the backdrop of the day of mourning neatly puts a connecting thread through all of the scene changes. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a very effective kick off to the next big DC event. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Blackest Night #1 receives 37 out of 42.

Blackest Night Checklist

A History of the DC Universe: Green Lantern

Preliminaries

The Main Event

  • Blackest Night #0 (Free Comic Day edition), #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, complete series
  • Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1-3
  • Green Lantern #44-??
  • Green Lantern Corps #39-??
  • Blackest Night: Batman #1-3
  • Blackest Night: Superman #1-3
  • Blackest Night: Titans #1-3
  • more to come…