Review Roundup: “Blackest Night”
The first issue of "Blackest Night," the biggest DC event of the summer, came out on Wednesday, raising numerous DC characters from the grave as evil zombies. The reviews are now in, and we've collected the best of the bunch for your reading convenience:
Admittedly, the whole issue feels like more of a zombie movie than a major event comic, which I could see pissing some fans off, but I loved it... I think the best part is that in-between the zombie mayhem, Johns is addressing what death really means to the DC universe, both to itself and fans. Johns goes out of his way to show how death has affected these characters (mostly the Green Lanterns), and how they cope with it. But in a universe where characters are constantly being resurrected, when that exists as a genuine hope both to comic readers and the superheroes themselves, having their comrades resurrected as evil flesh-eating super-zombies is genuinely devastating.
"The prose in this thing is so purple that it oughtta have its own set of rings powered by schmaltz. The scene with Damage and Atom Smasher at the cemetery where they talk about how he's not turning his back on his father is amazingly awkward, but it reads like Shakespeare next to Hawkman's hilarious "She made the Atom feel small" line, a pun that surpasses even Peter Davidian levels of smug, aren't-I-clever self-awareness. And of course, Johns continues the trend of having Barry Allen and Hal Jordan stand around talking about how much it sucks to be super-heroes, which doesn't do a whole lot to make me want to read about them. Seriously, between this and Cry For Justice, these guys are whining way too much, and I say that as a Spider-Man fan."
"It's not bad, provided you like this sort of thing... This is gross, it's decadent, it's laughably "mature" in the more-gore-and-violence-the-more-sophisticated-the-comic-must-be kind of way, and yes, it balances quite well on that razor thin line between "completely retarded" and "totally awesome" that Johns' monthly Green Lantern has been dancing upon for the last year or two... But hell, this is Night of the Living Dead in the DCU-by this point in the game, everyone should be fairly well forewarned as to the fact that Geoff Johns' Green Lantern is for fans of a very particular aesthetic sensibility and/or embrace of his particular worldview of the DCU."
And finally, ComicsAlliance's own Chris Murphy:
"For a crossover event launch issue, this one hits all the right notes. The stakes are clearly laid out and devastation is already falling around the heroes. If there's any character in the DC Universe you're particularly fond of who's dead when the issue starts, be prepared to get upset with Geoff Johns. Undeath's an effective horror metaphor. We hate to say goodbye to those we love, but then we're presented with the alternative: That they could change into someone unrecognizable, and that someone who was once a friend could now be out to destroy us. That seems far worse, and Johns masterfully uses this by showing us the characters' distress at the same time we're experiencing it ourselves."
Bonus: Chicago Comics holds the ultimate Blackest Night promotion: an actual blackout.