This is the first of any of the Blackest Night books by Geoff Johns that felt as if it was out of place and more importantly, out of space. There was so much going on within its pages, that this issue feels rushed and given the strength of the series up to now, I think this limited series is probably not going to have enough issues to tell a satisfying story.
The war of light is raging throughout the galaxy and each battle in itself has a good story to tell. However, each story could easily have carried an issue. The battle between the Sinestro Corps and the Star Sapphires was something that has been brewing for three issues and I expected more of a struggle. I expected to see more of the Sapphires’ defence, and possibly have a closer look at Sinestro’s core members’ souls in the chrysalis chambers. Unfortunately, the battle is too short and before the end of the book the key issue, regarding what to do with the trapped yellow ring bearers, is pretty much resolved. During the resolution, and the subsequent interaction between Carol Ferris and Sinestro, we are shown different aspects of the War of Light. Specifically we see the Green Lanterns recovering Laira’s body and the war between Blue and Orange lanterns. At the end of the issue these scenes are all linked fairly cleverly by Johns, with the arrival of Black Lantern rings (some attached to hands) at each location.
Fortunately, even though it is broken up in an unfortunate way, the interaction with Carol Ferris and Sinestro is very well written. It provides Carol’s motivation for accepting the Sapphire and how it links to Hal Jordan. Through the taunts of Sinestro we see the strength of the Ferris character and her conviction in what she does. The dialogue is compelling, with Ferris’ own comments being completely in character with her previous appearances, both in Johns’ own run and recent history. Finally, in these scenes Johns lays down story threads that are intriguing, presumably for future story arcs.
My one major disappointment, and somewhat of a complaint, is that this is the second issue that John Stewart has been on display and yet very little happens in his storyline. Again, I feel like there are not enough pages, or not enough issues, to handle what could have been a very compelling story for Stewart and finally put him at peace with his previous failings.
The art chores on the book are competently delivered by Doug Mahnke and the rest of the art team. The colourist Alamy, in particular, does an amazing job mixing and matching the color schemes of the lanterns and having it affect the background colours mimicking the physical phenomenon of colour continuance. The pencils by Mahnke are very good, especially with the lantern constructs, such as the giant skeletal hand that Sinestro uses in one panel. My only real complaint is with Carol. While I have accepted (grudgingly) the new uniform of the Star Sapphires, Carol seems to be much bustier than she is depicted typically.
Overall, the book is above average in general, and very good for the current crop of DC titles on the shelves currently. It is does not match the outstanding work done in issue #44, but certainly keeping with the quality of Blackest Night overall. This mini-series could be a real legacy for Johns if the quality continues at this level all the way to the end.
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