Reviewer: Mathan “Hal All The Way!” Erhardt
Story Title: Blackest Night
Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled and Inked by: Ethan Sciver
Colored by: Moose Baumann
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics
Ten years after the controversial “Emerald Twilight” storyline (which saw Hal Jordan go crazy after the destruction of his home, Coast City, and Kyle Rayner take the title of Green Lantern) Hal Jordan is on the verge of becoming Green Lantern again.
The issue begins with a very brief origin of the Green Lantern Corps, as an emerald ship rockets from the sun. It crashes on Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range. Two hikers who happen to be passing by approach the ship. There they encounter a beaten Kyle Rayner, whose ring is no use to him. He warn them to tell them “it has a name.” Then he collapses next to a coffin that bears the emblem of Parallax.
Next we see Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan’s former girlfriend (and sometime nemesis) who visits the site of her former company, Ferris Aircraft, just outside Coast City. As she speaks to her husband via cell phone, she is drawn to Hal Jordan’s old jet.
On the other side of the country current Green Lantern John Stewart and former Green Lantern Guy Gardner plan to attend a Yankee’s game in the Bronx. They reminisce about being their time with the Corps, their time with the Justice League, and of course Hal Jordan. Hal arrives to watch the game with them but once he sits down everyone in the stands feels compelled to confess to him. He takes leave so his friends can enjoy the game.
In Star City, Green Arrow and his new sidekick Mia are ambushed by Black Hand, an old Green Lantern foe, who is looking for a Green Lantern ring that Hal gave Green Arrow. As Black Hand takes the ring, Hal arrives and transforms into the Spectre. The Spectre enacts wrath against Black Hand and disappears. Leaving Green Arrow to worry about his old friend.
Back in NYC, Guy and John share a moment at Warriors, Guy’s establishment. All of a sudden Guy loses control of his body and his powers, and destroys the building. Then we get a glimpse of another Green Lantern foe, Hector Hammond. He’s noted Kyle’s return to earth, and he’s paying attention to Kyle as well.
On the moon the JLA try to help relieve Guy of some pain, but it turns out that his body is rejecting itself. Aquaman and the Flash go to Coast City and find that not only is it in the process of rebuilding, but Hal Jordan’s old apartment is fully rebuilt.
Batman doesn’t like what he thinks that means, that Hal is trying to “make things right again.” John Stewart comes to Hal’s defense, but when Green Arrow arrives, Batman’s fears are all but confirmed. The issue ends with Carol at Ferris Aircraft and Hal appearing out of nowhere. To be continued.
Johns does a masterful job of making this issue accessible to everyone. He allows the characters to explain everything, but in a way that doesn’t seem forced and even appears in character. He also creates mysteries that readers want answered; what’s in the coffin, why is Coast City returning, is Hal a “bad guy?” He also gives John Stewart one of the most three-dimensional portrayals in a long time. Johns has taken on perhaps Comicdom’s greatest challenge, but he starts out on the right note.
Van Sciver’s art is a thing of beauty. From the cover, (featuring aspects of all of Hal’s incarnations; Spectre, Parallax and Green Lantern) to the last page, every thing is filled with attention to detail. He can really capture emotions, from Kyle’s exhaustion (page 4) to Carol’s surprise (page 6) to Black Hand’s desperation (page 13) to Guy’s agony (page 19) to John’s rage (page 27) this book looks perfect. And his portrayal of a perpetually shadowed Batman is a great approach for the character. He even manages to make Guy Gardner look cool, and that is a feat unto itself.