Retcon This! Blackest Night and it’s Consequences

In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.

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Blackest Night was billed as an event that would shake the DC Universe to it’s core. Sure there were some changes, even some good ones, but did Blackest Night deliver as promised? Was it the penultimate Green Lantern story we were told was going to be delivered? I say thee nay. Geoff Johns delivered a well told story, that has had little to no real consequence in the DCU. Where Blackest Night has had impact in titles like Brightest Day, Justice League: Generation Lost, Action Comics, and the Green Lantern books themselves, it was far from the universe-shattering event we were promised.  Titles are slathered with the Brightest Day banner that have had little or no influence from the effects of Blackest Night.

Let me just get it out of the way and say that I enjoyed Blackest Night until the last issue. It was a tight, robust story, that seemed to be on it’s way to shaking up a status-quo. With shcking moments in the first issue like the deaths of the Hawks, the desecration of “Batman’s” grave, and the Martian Manhunter’s attack on Green Lantern and the Flash, I thought we were on the way to a story that was going to impact every title in the DCU.

Then the rest of the issues started coming in. It was nerdgasm moment after nerdgasm moment, and it was great for the issue. It was Nerdporn on the level we have never seen from DC. We learned things about the Black Lanterns that made them seem unbeatable.

Our heroes rallied, but it was the wrong heroes. Instead of the Green Lanterns cleaning up their mess, we were introduced to the Justice League as the White Lantern Corps, who struck the humbling blows to Nekron. The Hawks, who were so brutally murdered at the start of the series were brought back to life. Characters that had just died in Final Crisis were brought back. The genius stroke of inducting various DC characters into the various Corps was undone. The DCU had been returned to the state it was in before Final Crisis and Blackest Night, with only a few minor changes.

Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Deadman came out in the best shape after this series. Deadman had his entire character re-written. He was Deadman, and now he is back among the living. Aquaman had some real pathos in his adventures for the first time in a long time.  The Martian Manhunter was back, and not tethered to the JLA. These are good things. I expected more of this from Blackest Night. Instead most books went back to the storylines they were dealing with before Blackest Night. New books were started under the Brightest Day banner, that weren’t affected by BN in a meaningful way. Green Arrow’s new setting was from Cry to Justice. If anyone can explain to me the reason that Birds of Prey has the Brightest Day banner, in a way that makes sense, I’d be appreciative.

There was a way to have done this better, and live up to the promise of this series.

First of all, some of the new recruits should have kept their rings. The Scarecrow was a natural for the Sinestro Corps. It would have been an evolution for that character, and upped his threat quotient. Barry Allen as a Blue Lantern should also have been kept. It would have differentiated him from the other 2 Flashes, and allowed Wally West fans to still have that character in a Flash title. The Atom could have stayed in his Corps, and maybe we wouldn’t have had the needless death of Ryan Choi. (Luthor I understand not having been able to keep his ring, because of Larfleeze. It also set up the brilliant run in Action Comics right now.)

The resurrected characters could have been the White Lantern Corps. The Martian Manhunter as the host for the White entity would have been great for that character, taking him away from the Justice League, and letting him be in charge of a new league of sorts. If the White Lanterns lost their rings, bang they would die again. Imagine the storytelling potential there. Deadman would have some serious choices to make, does he stay among the living, or go back to his old, familiar setting being dead. The Hawks would stop their constant death and rebirth cycle. What would happen to Firestorm?

The Green Lantern Corps should have defeated Nekron in the end. If there was a Doomsday story that the plot started in a Superman book, and Superman didn’t defeat Doomsday and some new character did, you’d be like WTF? It was the Green Lantern Corps chance to shine, instead of the now non-existant White Corps. The Black Corps also should have not been decimated and destroyed at the end of the event. They should have been an insidious, ever present threat. All the potential for stories with the Black Corps was wasted.

Overall, Blackest Night was a well written, exciting event. But, just like any event, it had it’s problems. What are your thoughts? Am I completely off base, or is there a shred of truth in my theories? Let me know in the comments below.

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Who ARE these people!?

Nick Brammer is a contributing writer for Panelsonpages.com and sometime co-host for the Panels on pages PoP!Cast. Originally from Bedford MA, Nick now makes his home in sunny Florida.

Comments (15)

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  1. Batman25JM says:

    I posted a comment yesterday that for some reason doesn’t appear to be showing up, so I’m going to repost. If they both end up showing up later I’m sorry.

    The reason that the Brightest Day banner is on Birds of Prey is because Hawk is now on the team and he is one of those who was resurrected at the end of Blackest Night. Also, Dove is somehow connected to the White Lantern energy. And Green Arrow has the banner because he is dealing with the Star City Forest that was created from the white energy.

    I loved Blackest Night. It had it’s flaws, and I would have preferred the Green Lanterns to be the ones to defeat Nekron, but all in all, I still loved it.

    Honestly, I’m kind of glad the Scarecrow didn’t keep the yellow ring. I don’t want Batman fighting a member of the Sinestro Corps (at least not in his own book), and I don’t want the Scarecrow to not be a Batman villain anymore. I’d have have loved for Barry to keep the blue ring though. We have enough Flashes where it could have been an interesting ongoing plot. Also, I loved me so BL Flash.

  2. Batman25JM says:

    No problem.

  3. Heytherejeffro says:

    Did the comments get retconned?

  4. Batman25JM says:

    lol

    That’s the second time my comment has been erased. Damn you PoP! gods!!!

  5. Nick Brammer says:

    Yeah kind of weird. Sorry for the problems guys.

  6. Spider_Fan14 says:

    Pretty good article Nick, is this your first?

  7. Nick Brammer says:

    Nope lol. You can click my name at the top of the page to see the rest of the stuff I have written. If you like this, you may like some of my other stuff.

  8. lordd3r3k says:

    Let me say first that I enjoyed Blackest Night. I think it was great to see an event focused on the GLC, because the Green Lantern books have been nothing short of phenomenal over the last 5+ years. With that said, I don’t think the story was overly flawed enough to warrant a retcon. Not to say that some of your suggestions aren’t without merit, but let’s examine some of those comments..

    “If the White Lanterns lost their rings, bang they would die again. Imagine the storytelling potential there”

    Not a bad idea. But I like the idea that the resurrected heroes don’t have a free pass. There’s a mission they all need to complete in order to stay alive. I like the notion that they have to earn their right to live.

    “The Hawks would stop their constant death and rebirth cycle”

    Isn’t that pretty much where Brightest Day seems to be taking them? I’m almost positive in the beginning of the series Hawkman says something along the lines of “Let’s find Hath-Set so we can finally end this cycle”

    “The Black Corps also should have not been decimated and destroyed at the end of the event. They should have been an insidious, ever present threat. All the potential for stories with the Black Corps was wasted.”

    As seen in Brightest Day, the Black Lanterns aren’t gone for good. Johns even noted after BN that we’d see more of the Black Lanterns in the future.

    “The Green Lantern Corps should have defeated Nekron in the end”

    But that’s not possible. 1. One Corps isn’t strong enough to defeat Nekron. 2. BN wasn’t limited to an Earth event. It was universe-spanning. The GLC was busy defending the rest of the galaxy, and to say they weren’t used properly is a huge disservice to the awesome story and visuals Tomasi and Gleason delivered in their books. Besides, it was still Hal Jordan, a Green Lantern, who led the final assault on Nekron

    So in closing, in my opinion, the some story elements you propose changing go against the logic of the situation, and some of the things you would have liked to see seem to be currently unfolding in other books anyway.

  9. Batman25JM says:

    I’m going to post this for the 3rd time, hopefully this time it won’t be deleted.

    The reason that Birds of Prey has a Brightest Day banner is because Hawk is on the team and he’s one of the heroes that was resurrected. Also, Dove is somehow connected to the White Lantern energy.

    The reason that Green Arrow has the banner is because he is dealing with the Star City Forest that was created with the White Lantern energy.

    I’m actually glad that Scarecrow didn’t keep the yellow ring. I loved him with it in this story, but I wouldn’t want Batman going up against a member of the Sinestro Corps (at least not on a solo or Bat-Family adventure), and I wouldn’t want Scarecrow to not be a Batman villain anymore.

    I actually would have liked Barry to keep the blue ring. I loved his BL costume, and with so many Flashes around it would have been a nice change of pace. Maybe he’ll be approached in the future about joining them.

    I loved Blackest Night. To date it is my favorite event book. Sure, there are some things I would have changed, but all in all I thought it was great.

  10. Jason Knize says:

    John Michael…it’s the first comment…

  11. lordd3r3k says:

    Don’t be too hard on the kid, yesterday morning his comment wasn’t showing up for me either.

  12. Batman25JM says:

    Yeah, it wasn’t showing up yesterday. I posted it once, then it was deleted. I posted it again (the one that is now showing as comment #1) and it was deleted again. I waited a few days and neither had reappeared, so I posted it again. Then a few hours later the my second post reappeared. The PoP! gods are messing with me. 🙂

  13. Nick Brammer says:

    Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get to these comments. My sinuses are still trying to kill me.

    @Batman25JM I understand the reasons why the Brightest Day banner is on those titles. It just feels like a weak tie in to me. Especially the Birds of Prey banner.

    Why wouldn’t you want Bruce fighting a Sinestro Corps powered Scarecrow in his own book? Scarecrow’s whole deal lately is that he’s either terrified of Batman, or trying feel fear. With a Sinestro Corps ring there are a myriad of stories that could be told. He could be in Batman, he could be in Green Lantern, or any book. It would up the profile of the character, and that can only be a good thing. After the Scarebeast debacle this character does need a lot of rehab.

    @ Lordd3r3k

    With the “mission” the resurrected characters are on, it just seems really to be dragging on. I would have liked to see them as a functioning unit, and not have it take how many ever issues it has taken for some of them to come together. If you add the idea of the rings being basically what powers their life, combined with the strong personalities that would be in play, I think Brightest Day would be a lot more interesting. They still would have to deal with their missions, but doing it together instead of each one having a separate goal, would have made for a tighter story, and something I’d be more interested in reading.

    My complaint with the Hawks is the fact they were brought back at all, further cheapening the impact of their deaths, and over all the impact of Blackest Night itself.

    With the Black Lanterns they wasted so much potential by killing off most of them. I know that the Black Lanterns are supposed to make a comeback, but they should have been established right after their event to be a threat, and not slink back into the shadows.

    Umm, one Corps did defeat Nekron. The White Lanern Corps did so pretty handily, and anti-climactically, if I may add. The other Corps had come to together for survival and were fighting with the Green Lanterns out in space. The other Corps could have taken care of the fights in other sectors, leaving the Green Lantern Corps to take care of a problem that had been started by their Guardians.

    It seems illogical to me that a story that was supposed to be about the Green Lantern Corps gave them a back seat in the climax of the story. Yes, some of the threads I talked about are being dealt with in other books, but if they had been dealt with in some of the ways I have suggested, the story would have been tighter, and not relegated the Green Lanterns to being spectators at the end of their own event.

    I’m glad this has sparked a lot of discussion. People feel pretty passionate about this event, and shows that it was a successful story. I just feel there are some glaring weaknesses in the execution of mostly the final issue, and Brightest Day.

  14. Batman25JM says:

    @Nick: I just don’t really care for Batman going up against threats or enemies that are supernatural, mystical, cosmic, or things of that sort. While the ring is technically advanced technology, it has the same properties you’d have with a mystical threat. In solo Batman books (or Bat-Family books) I prefer things to stay as realistic as possible. I like them going up against mobsters, gangs, and assassins (with more colorful villains in the the mix too, just not ridiculous ones). Now, I’m fine with villains like Mr. Freeze or Poison Ivy, who are less realistic, but that’s mainly because they are so ingrained in me as Batman villains that I accept them.

    Now, I can handle less realistic things if the story is good. I actually quite liked the Scarebeast thing (I’m a big Judd Winick fan), but as a rule I like them to steer clear of it. I don’t want Batman fighting aliens, time traveling, or going into space. Now, when he’s with the JLA I’m fine with that stuff because of who he’s with. It’s weird I know, but that’s how I feel.

  15. lordd3r3k says:

    @ Nick – Again, I do like your idea with the white rings, but I also don’t mind what’s currently happening as well. Both ideas could lead to some interesting stories, imo.

    The Hawks – I actually glad they didn’t stay dead. Plus, as part of the 12 that has a mission, is it a joint effort where if they fail they both die, or do they each have their separate part? If Hawkman succeeds, but Sheira fails, will they be forever separated by death? These are things I’m looking forward to seeing. Plus, Hawkman is one of those character who I feel still hasn’t seen his full potential, so for him to be permanently killed off before then would be quite disappointing.

    The defeat of Nekron – Yes, it was the White Lantern Corps that defeated him, but only because they were the antithesis of his power. The culmination of all life in the universe. Not just will, or rage, or fear. That’s why no one Corps could defeat him. It had to be the combination of them, which is essentially what the White Light is.

    The GLC – I can understand your point that yes, it wasn’t the GLC who defeated Nekron, but like I said before, I thought the way they were used was smart and more realistic since Nekron was a universal threat and not limited to Earth. And if the story in GLC sucked then I’d be more sympathetic, but alas, it was pretty damn awesome :tongue:

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