Monday, October 05, 2009

Blackest Night + BN Superman reviews

I've got one more review post already written and scheduled to go up this week, then I'll be up to date on the recent releases.  At least I will be once I've finished reading Wednesday Comics, had a think about it, and written something.  I hope to start posting stuff over than straightforward reviews at some point soon.  Mind you, I've still got some Buffy omnibuses to talk about...

Possibly not 3 sentence ones as this time up it’s Blackest Night and I tend to want to gush.

Contains spoilers for Blackest Night #3, Blackest Night: Superman #1 and #2 (Yep, #1 finally got delivered to my store, hurrah!), in which I discuss horror movies, diversity, the importance of compassion and somehow manage to keep 2 out of 3 reviews shortish.
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Blackest Night #3
I finally understand why people are saying this series is following the conventions of the horror film genre, and that it is basically a horror movie produced panel by panel in comic book form.  I like horror movies, but I have mostly seen just the more obvious 80s slasher flicks – Nightmare on elm street, Friday the 13th, the  Evil Dead series, etc.  I have a special place in my heart for the idea of old style horror movies but I haven’t sent that many.  The Blob, The Birds, Tarantula and the Living Dead films are exceptions.

Nowadays, I very rarely have the inclination or the time to watch films so I’m unlikely to up my knowledge.  In a longwinded and roundabout fashion I’m trying to say that much as I wish otherwise, I don’t have a good knowledge of the structure, pacing and conventions of horror movies.

Back on topic and back to the comic.  Did I like it? Well yeah.  This is the first time I’ve seen or heard of the new Firestorm duo.  They were introduced in such a way that I had no problem working out how they operate and so no problem making sense of their space in the story.  And hey look, they ain’t white!  DC is trying to bring some diversity in.  It’s always going to be a problem to introduce diversity when you’ve got a universe that is peopled with characters created mainly between 80 and 30 years ago, when these same characters are still alive.  DC won’t want to introduce too many new folks because they need to keep the Universe fairly tight, plus there is probably a limit to the number of stories that can be told that will also allow DC to make a profit.  So, when they do bring in new characters, and make them break the mould, they should be applauded for it.

Again back to the story, Mera meets the new Firestorm and reveals that the Black Lanterns home in on emotions.  To get away from them you must completely calm and centre yourself.  Then Mera and Firestorm meet up with Flash/GL/The Atom etc.

It’s good to see the Atom is still alive – imagine the damage he would do as a black lantern, shrinking into the brains and hearts of the living people.  Soon after he comes back the Indigo Corps arrive.  This I love – an entire corps made up of compassion.  I desperately want compassion to exist in the real world.  I am convinced that if people only felt compassion and had respect for each other a lot of the world’s ill would be avoided.

The double splash page if Indigo-1 explaining the origin of the Universe as seen through the emotional spectrum is magnificent.  If I haven’t said so before the colourist on this book is in his element.  Ray suggests that the rings are wearing the dead and Indigo-1 reveals how to destroy the Black Lanterns – a ha, I see an end in sight!

Finally, the dead Firestorm forces Jason and Gen to swap roles, Gen is turned to a pillar of salt and the dead bad guys stored in JLA HQ are given black rings.

In conclusion, lots of reveals to move the story forward and some superb art.  Cracking.

Blackest Night: Superman #1
Anj over at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary was correct, I did like this book.  Considering James Robinson, who appears to be doing clich√© hack duties over on Cry for Justice writes it, I’m surprised by the quality of this issue.  I probably shouldn’t be - I’m really enjoying Superman: World of New Krypton (co written by Greg Rucka), Superman (the main title) isn’t a bad book in itself, and the one issue of Robinson’s Starman I’ve read was really very very good.  It’s just that Cry for Justice is very soap opera esque and not serious, which is what I expected from Robinson.

Blackest Night: Superman #1 was none of these things.  What we got is a tightly plotted, chilling look at what happens when a revenant Kal-L comes to Smallville and when a revenant Zor-El rises.  Sure, the illustrations of hometown Smallville life were a bit schmaltzy, but that fits in well with the horror movie themes and serves to highlight the monstrosity of Kal-L’s actions.

My absolute favourite parts of this was the colourist’s work, showing the emotional spectrum of the living.

Blackest Night: Superman #2
More wonderful snapshots of the emotional spectrum and only one silly soap opera moment – last page, Ma Kent declaring ‘It’s on!’.  How ridiculous.  I don’t care if Connor says it, Ma Kent shouldn’t.  I’m sure she has her own method of vocalising anger and determination.

The introduction of the Psycho Pirate is an interesting one and has certainly led to some good developments.  Lastly, the cover is very effective.

3 comments:

wiec? said...

well i'm happy with the pacing of Blackest Night. it seems to unfolding nicely. i kept waiting for something to be a major disappoint for me but i don't see it happening now. so far so great!

that said the Superman Batman and Titan side stories i'm just going to get in trade. i'm not following any of their books as it is lately and didn't see a reason to start for Night. that said thanks for the recap.

now there's only one question left to ask. are you really going to stick it out and buy issue #4 of Cry For Justice or have you learned your lesson?

today's captch: unhal

Saranga said...

Yep, def gonna keep buying the rest of Cry for Justice.
What can I say, it's making me laugh.
I know it's terrible, I know it's bad piece of writing, and the art, while very detailed and pretty, is also rather static and boring.
But it;s making em laugh, so i'm enjoying it, so i will keep on buying it. :)

wiec? said...

i'm hoping to get the trade (on sale/ used from Amazon) but i'm in no hurry. i agree the art is nice but dark and static (flat).

either way as long as you're enjoying it. i thought i was missing something but everyone i know who's reading it is say "guilty pleasure." they know it's bad but they're reading it anyway.