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.
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.