Sunday, June 19, 2011

Green Lantern Blackest Night hardbound Impression

With Green Lantern hitting theaters it’s time to go back and take a look at Blackest Night, an excellent tale of the various Lantern Corps.

The new Green Lantern feature film is getting reviews that are … less than spectacular which is sad for both Ryan Reynolds and Hal Jordan. Green Lantern is so much more than the film shows and for viewers new to the franchise do not judge on the film alone. The collected comics found in hardbound form for Green Lantern: Blackest Night is an excellent read that recounts what the Green Lantern Corp is all about while setting up the other seven corps of Rage (red), Avarice (orange), Fear (yellow), Hope (blue), Compassion (purple), Love (pink-ish purple) and Death (black). These seven along with Will (green) make-up the seven corps and Death as technically Death is not a corps in the sense of the others but that will be explained. Blackest Night is not an introduction as the film is but rather a telling of a great story with excellent art and pacing that is wonderful for fans both old and new.

The Story – Writer Geoff Johns takes readers into a world where there are seven corps formed from the emotional spectrum. Hal’s reason for wielding the ring are revealed and as the dead begin to rise a new battle and revelations loom on the horizon. The dead rise and confront those they left behind and behind it all is the mysterious black lanterns and each of the dead wear their rings and wiled a power born of aggression. As this darkness engulfs the entire galaxy the various corps must come together as only the full emotional and color spectrum can overcome the blackness created by death.

Consisting of a solid introduction, prologue and eight comic issues there is much more to Blackest Night than the paragraph above reveals but reading is the joy of revealing so no ruining here. Johns shows his chops and history with a tale that shows deep history for so many DC Universe characters from Hawk to Aquaman and the sheer number of characters involved never gets to be too much which is a true accomplishment. Johns manages to keep the story centered on Hal while branching just enough to bring in primary story threads and hinting at much more going on. This is the central tale in a large branched tree. For fans and noobs alike the movie may be fun but to see the true power of the rings, of the corps, well it does not get any better than Blackest Night, a well told story.

The Art – Ivan Reis makes the dead look gross-alicious. Skin hanging off and limbs bent each direction, oh yes this is no easy look at the dead heroes of the DC Universe, it’s not pretty or nice, it’s just dead. There are times readers can almost smell the decay and dirt, it’s just a well drawn comic that Reis brings to life. Each hero and villain looks as iconic as ever and the style is overall rock solid but that’s not the most impressive aspect. Nope, it’s the large group shots from all the Lantern Corps to all the heroes of earth in large action packed shots. Hours must have been spent on these layouts and they look outstanding. The included cover gallery collection and a scattering of the pencil drawings just enhances the overall experience and seeing pencils vs. final product also shows off the chops of the inkers and colorist. It’s a rock solid story well told and brought together with awesome art that is very poster worthy.

More Green Lantern – While Blackest Night does a good job of recounting the core points in Hal’s past if readers are looking for more check out the Green Lantern App with movie trailer, comics, previews and tons of features that will leave nobody and I mean nobody lacking in Green Lantern lore.

Overall, there is a ton of history to Green Lantern and not just Hal Jordan. The movie has its focus and picks its core story points to explore but keeping it simple may have helped. How about a Star Wars style scrolling recap of what’s happened? Can’t change the past but for those who love DC comics and Green Lantern, well they should already own Blackest Night but for comic fans in general and those who had to see the move then go out now and buy or download this story. It’s only part of the larger DC Universe but so much fun to read and enjoy.

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