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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blackest Night #2 - Oct. 2009

Comics Weekend "Blackest Night" by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Oclair Albert.

With Hawkman and Hawkwoman now part of Black Hand's throng of zombies, things get worse for the heroes who are left.

We see The Atom about to get suckered into visiting with who he thinks his old friend Carter. Meanwhile, in Gotham, Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara are talking on the roof of the GCPD building, when someone, er, drops in:
Over at Amnesty Bay, Mera has agreed to let Garth bring her husband's remains back to Atlantis, but of course things aren't even that easy:
After seeing more dead heroes rise, we come back to Amnesty Bay, where Mera, Tempest, and the rest are fighting off this zombie who claims to be Aquaman.

But he's not alone: undead versions of Dolphin and Tula also rise, and attack Garth, who is initially too stunned to react. Some of the Royal Atlantean Guard prepare to attack, but Aquaman commands his finny friends to attack, and be as vicious as their leader. The ocean fills with blood.

While Green Lantern catches Gordon and Barbara up with what's happening, the battle at Amnesty Bay continues. Garth, recovering, blasts the zombie Dolphin, turning her into crystal. Mera then shows no mercy:
But even without most of a head, the zombie Dolphin keeps coming, while zombie Tula turns her full attention on Garth, leading to her plunging her hand into Garth's chest, ripping out his heart.

The lighthouse they're fighting in explodes, dumping Mera onto the ground several feet away:
Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Flash continue battling the zombie Martian Manhunter. They think they've defeated him by immolating him, but our heroes are still a little behind in figuring out these are zombies they're fighting: Manhunter arises unscathed, along with zombie version of Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Firestorm, and the Elongated Man! To be continued!

I feel like from here on in I should, whenever mentioning Aquaman in this series, put his name in quotes, because I don't believe this is actually Aquaman.

Whether its an illusion, some undead clone, I don't know...but I just can't believe that DC and Geoff Johns--who clearly loves these characters--is going to have so many of their flagship characters commit gruesome, bloody carnage and then at some point try and sell the idea that all is forgiven when they all inevitably come back.

Maybe I'm even farther away from what modern superhero comics are than I think, but I don't think you can bring any of these people back as heroes, having once murdered their friends. "Sorry I ate your flesh...so, wanna go fight Darkseid?" Therefore, these aren't the "real" versions of Aquaman, Elongated Man, etc.

Besides, there is no Aquaman body to reanimate. Back when he was Dweller of the Depths, he was dispersed into water, leaving no corporeal form behind. So...close but no cigar, Black Hand.

On a more positive note, I love how tough and resourceful Mera is here. In too many stories, she was weepy, unstable, a nag, or some combo of all three. Here, she's a true hero--tough as nails, undeterred by seemingly impossible odds, but also knows when to retreat when the time is right. If/when Aquaman comes back in his own strip, please please please have him back with this Mera!

This issue is shipping with a variant cover, this one Aqua-centric:
Hopefully soon, we'll see this image again, except with a non-zombie Sea King.

Speaking of, this week also sees the return of DC's long-running Adventure Comics title, which was of course Aquaman's home for many years.
The book is currently featuring Superboy as the lead and the Legion as the back-up, but man would I love to see Classic Aquaman (along with Mera!) back in Adventure Comics.

The back-up could be filled by any one of the thousands of great, currently homeless characters DC has as its disposal--Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, Adam Strange, Hawkman and Hawkwoman, The Vigilante, Captain Fear, Ultra the Multi-Alien...anybody!


Saranga said...

I saw that variant cover for Blackest night, but it was for double the usual price, so I left it. Pity though. It's a brilliant image.

Did you see Wednesday comic this week? The Supergirl strip features Aquaman, looks like he's gonna be in it for the next few weeks. It's a bizzare sort of yuppie Aquaman, but is still good.

rob! said...

We'll be talking about Aquaman in WC on Monday!

wich2 said...

>I just can't believe that DC and Geoff Johns--who clearly loves these characters--is going to have so many of their flagship characters commit gruesome, bloody carnage and then at some point try and sell the idea that all is forgiven ... I don't you can bring any of these people back as heroes, having once murdered their friends. "Sorry I ate your flesh...so, wanna go fight Darkseid?"<

Alas, Rob, as profoundly stupid as that idea is; and as deeply disrespectful as it is to the creators of the characters -

Just watch.

-Craig W.

David J. Cutler said...

I have to agree with Craig W.--they did, after all, have Hal Jordan go crazy and kill millions in the mid 90s, and he's back as heroic as ever. All is forgiven (somehow) by way of evil possession and mind control. I'm sure the black rings are making them say and do things they normally wouldn't and when they come back there'll be some token strained relationships that'll be gotten past and never referred to again within a year.

That said, unlike the rest of you guys, I'm enjoying Blackest Night. I think I'm involved deep enough in the story that the perversion of these characters doesn't make me resent Johns et al., but Black hand and the secret mastermind for twisting DC's face like this.

rob! said...


The Hal Jordan example is the thing that makes me think this will be the same characters who be revived.

I'll say, I think the execution of the story is great: there's a real sense of menace and foreboding, and I love the scene of Mera silently running off into the fog when she sees she's outmanned at the moment.

But like anything, there's conception and execution. Its the basic idea--turning these venerable characters into murderous, flesh-chomping zombies--that I just can't get behind.

But I'll be reading it all, to see how it comes out...

Wings1295 said...

Gah... this is what I was afraid of. Carnage, death, horrible crap.


Russell said...

I didn't buy issue one of BK but I did buy this one 'cause of the Aquafamily appearances. Let's just hope this all goes away soon...!

Classic Aquaman also dies in this month's issue of BOOSTER GOLD (with the fan on the cover) if you want to see more Aqua-death. Atleast as drawn by Dan Jurgens he looks real nice. :-)

Oscar Olalde said...

@Rob!: I was reluctant at first with your point of view regarding Blackest Night, but after a while I see were you are coming from.

I think I wanted to see Aquaman on BN because I want to see him being relevant in the DC Universe and it's current events, but you are right, if anything, there are ways to portray the great character Aquaman is without resorting to a "tough and dark" style.

Also, where is the update on the Aquaman hoodie? I already received an email that says it's available, did I missed it? I'm buying!

rob! said...


I wrote about it last Wednesday . But maybe I should put something on the sidebar about it...

Oscar Olalde said...

Sorry, visiting the Shrine made me suddenly post/mail without checking up first... anyhoo, there is no damage on wearing it during Halloween or in a comic convention, what's more, try and stop me in the next SDCC, recognize!

zookeeper dan said...

Since Deadman's body became a black lantern without affecting his ghost-self, I'm assuming it's just their bodies that are doing horrible things. Hopefully their "souls" remain pure.

Plus, as a lover of zombie movies, you always kill the zombie. Even if it looks like someone you knew, it's something completely different and evil now.

Scurvy said...

Wow. Nice to see Mera portrayed like that.

Brian Knippenberg said...

Geoff Johns has some great comments about Aquaman and even moreso about Mera from Blackest Night #2, here: