Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Future is the Past

Well well well... Look who's coming back to Batman. It's funny, because I was just rereading Winick's earlier run on Batman (as a means of refreshing myself on the most recent Black Mask appearances). While I was reading them I was thinking:

"Damn, Winick writes a good Batman story. I wish he'd come back and write some more."

And lo, it did occur. Really, with the exception of his pre-"War Games" arc Judd Winick's Batman fired on all cylinders from beginning to end. Snappy dialogue, brilliant fight scenes (though a lot of that was Doug Mahnke), and a fantastic take on Jason Todd. Really, Winick is the only one who's been able to write a decent Jason since he came back from the dead.

Might that be telling us something? Judd Winick's the go-to guy for Jason Todd, after all. Maybe we'll be seeing him under the cowl. I figured Jason was a big long shot, but now... Who knows?

Oh, and for the record: I've never been one of those people who hates Judd Winick's work. In fact, you could probably put me in the "Judd Winick Fan" category (if there is such a category). Despite the wailing I always hear on the Internet, the man must be doing something right. Otherwise he wouldn't still be writing comics.

And one more thing... I really hope Black Mask is coming back. Because Winick's Black Mask was the best. Period.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Not Me?

I'm sort of confused about this new Outsiders team. As far as I understand it Alfred has gathered together a group of heroes who represent different aspects of Batman's personality.

Well, that I understand. I guess what I'm having trouble is this: where's the part of Batman that steps over the edge and brutally beats criminals within an inch of their lives? I mean, that's a classic part of what he does, no? Why didn't Alfred get in touch with someone who has the requisite skill set to freak out and start kicking bad guys in the face?

Every team needs a guy like that...

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking LXXXVI

Look at that: I finish up the Black Mask story and it's suddenly Thursday! Thursday Night Thinking!

You didn't even realize that was Jason Todd, did you? Cookie cutter Robins...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back in Black, Part 3

This is it: Batman #387 and part three of the origin of Black Mask! Yesterday we reached point the where things seemed to be coming together. Black Mask had found his "queen" and Batman was fed up with trying to ferret out his masked adversary.

Oh yes, and I promised you a masquerade, didn't I?

Indeed. It is the most obvious trap available. And Black Mask agrees. But Black Mask doesn't know that Batman is trying to bait him; he thinks it's just Bruce Wayne. And Black Mask assumes that Bruce Wayne is setting an obvious trap that he believes Black Mask will see through and therefore pass up. Which is exactly why Black Mask decides to go.

Confused yet? That's okay. All you need to know is that Bruce Wayne is having a masquerade ball and Black Mask is attending. With a date, of course.

Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, attends alone. But there's a crasher at this party... And it's not Black Mask! After all, he received a fancy invitation.

Yes, Bruce Wayne -- as he was wont to do in the 80's -- bumps into one of his many exes. It doesn't go particularly well. Lots of soap opera back in those days... But at least he eliminates another guest as Black Mask.

Still, at this party it's Alfred doing all the detective work. He eliminates guest after guest until...

I don't have to tell you who's wearing the raccoon mask, do I? This is a Batman comic, after all. Roman Sionis takes a shot... But this is Batman and Robin we're dealing with. Things don't go according to Black Mask's plans.

Bruce Wayne and Robin tag team Roman Sionis, who flees the scene in a classic "jump through the window" move. The guy has style, I'll give him that.

But Roman doesn't get away scott free. Robin trails him back to the cemetery where he discovers that Black Mask is headquartered out of the Sionis family crypt. Robin quickly summons Batman.

Oh yeah, the Batman is on the case! Very soon he meets up with Robin at the phone booth by the cemetery. (it was the 80's! no cell phones!) Together the Dynamic Duo enter the graveyard, intent on putting an end to Black Mask's reign of terror.

But Black Mask didn't get where he was by being completely stupid. He's got help as well:

Still, Batman and Robin make short work of the False Facers. After all, they're only flunkies, right? Guys like that are a dime a baker's dozen in Gotham City. After taking out the thugs, they approach the crypt. Batman warns Robin to "stay sharp."

Black Mask disappears into the coffin! What a crazy guy! He can't get away there! Unless...

Yeah. False bottom, tunnel. Which obviously leads to...

Yes, he drives a hearse. I said the guy had style, didn't I?

Batman and Robin pursue in the Batmobile. Black Mask retreats to the old Sionis family estate, vacant since Black Mask abandoned the identity of Roman Sionis.

But for Black Mask, abandoning that identity isn't enough. He's decided that he has to completely and irrevocably kill Roman Sionis.

I told you he was crazy.

Really crazy.

Really, really crazy.

So as Batman and Robin struggle against the last of Black Mask's thugs, the man himself sets out to destroy Roman Sionis once and for all.

With the False Facers finally put down, it's time for the final, climactic showdown with the leader of the False Face Society: Black Mask!

Perhaps I should have said anti-climactic. Faced with the defeat of his minions, Roman Sionis flees wildly into the flames.

Still, Batman and Robin are able to save Roman Sionis from the fire. But not from himself.

The heat and the flames have burned the mask onto his face. As Batman puts it, Roman Sionis has been "masked for life." He is taken away to Arkham Asylum... Where he receives one final visitor.

Thus ends the origin of Black Mask. Obviously, Black Mask escapes. He continues with his petty vengeance and crime lord activities off and on for years. He's never really much of player. That is, until Ed Brubaker brings him back in the pages of Catwoman.

In Catwoman Black Mask is a wholly different animal. Smarter, more sadistic, and far more compelling. It's never explained how he gained his now iconic "death's head" look. But he wore it until the end. And since this is a post about the beginning of Black Mask, it's only fitting that I should show you his (apparent) end:

With that, Black Mask dies. He had a long strange journey as a villain in Gotham City. He started with a gimmick and gained an army. He became Catwoman's archfoe and ruled Gotham's underworld not once but twice. He killed a Robin and then was killed himself.

And now he's back. Which version of Black Mask will we see? Is it Roman Sionis behind that leering skull? Only time will tell...

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back in Black, Part 2

Tonight: Detective Comics #553 and part two of the first appearance of Black Mask! When we last left our story, a man had been murdered with poison makeup in a mask. Not unlike this:

Yes, Black Mask has struck again, sending his "False Facers" to slay another new member of Janus Cosmetic's board of directors. But neither of these murders have passed unnoticed by Gotham City's vigilant defender... The Batman is on the case!

Despite the comic's title, no detective work is necessary. Batman knows exactly who has been comitting these murders. Black Mask isn't exactly discreet.

But it's worse than simply murder (if any murder is simple). Black Mask is raising an army, and in a short span has risen to be the central figure in Gotham's underworld. It seems that you just can't cut it as a mobster in Gotham anymore without a gimmick, a mask, or a name like "Dr. Fang." What is the world coming to?

Black Mask's murders have had repurcussions not just for Gotham City and Batman -- Bruce Wayne has also been affected. After all, both of the murdered men were members of the Wayne Foundation. And the aura of fear surrounding Janus Cosmetics is threatening to pull the entire foundation down with it.

In order to keep things running smoothly, Bruce Wayne agrees to attend a big benefit dinner. Really, he only does it so the reader gets a good look at the latest dame to attach herself to Bruce Wayne's arm. While the benefit goes on, Black Mask's secondary revenge plan is set in motion. It's time for Black Mask to move on the woman who spurned Roman Sionis.

Yes, she made him lose face. So in a logical extension of that Black Mask locks her in his mother's coffin. For a whole day. Craaaazy. Then he prepares for her a very special mask...

Meanwhile, Batman and Robin have tracked down a pair of Black Mask's "False Facers." The dynamic duo promptly beat the crap out of the thugs and demand answers. No answers are forthcoming. Black Mask has been far too careful at covering his tracks.

Back at the Sionis family crypt Circe hides her face and weeps in shame. Her face has been ravaged by the poison makeup. Black Mask forces her to make a choice: die or wear a mask. She makes a choice.

With his "queen" now at his side, Black Mask prepares to set his final plan in motion. Revenge against the man he blames for all his misfortunes: Bruce Wayne!

Tomorrow: the stunning conclusion of Black Mask's origin story in Batman #387. And of course there's a masquerade ball!

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back in Black, Part 1

Battle for the Cowl hits on March 11, and I'm looking forward to it. I love events like this, especially when they involve the Batman universe. There's such a huge variety when you consider Gotham City, the Bat Family, and Batman's Rogues. There really isn't anything else quite like it in comics.

Everybody is going to be in it. The solicitations have told us so. They also say that Battle for the Cowl will feature the return of a villain thought dead. This preview shows us who:

Black Mask is back.

I don't know how or why he's coming back. And though it's not clear that this is the original, there's no sign that it's not.

For a long time Black Mask was a bit of an also ran among Bat-villains. That all started to change a few years ago when he showed up in Catwoman with a new look and a new modus operandi. He murdered Selina Kyle's brother-in-law and tortured her sister into insanity.

Selina let Black Mask slip off a roof, and he didn't show up again until War Games. He burst out of nowhere, and in the process he seized control of Gotham's underworld and murdered a Robin. That's a pretty exclusive club.

To be fair, Stephanie Brown didn't stay dead. But then, neither did Jason Todd. Black Mask continued to be a thorn in Batman's side as Gotham's sole crime boss until Catwoman decided to put an end to his reign of terror. She shot him in the head.

That seemed to be the end of the story. And maybe it was. Maybe this Black Mask is not Roman Sionis. But I wouldn't bet on it. The really nasty villains never stay dead.

Almost everyone who has read Batman comics in the past few years knows who Black Mask was and how he met his end. But how many people know his origin? After all, Black Mask as a character is over twenty years old. So let us travel back to 1985 and Batman #386, the first of the three part story introducing Black Mask.

Woo boy. That's quite a legacy to live up to. Is Black Mask truly "crazier than the Joker" and "deadlier than Ra's al Ghul"? Decide for yourself!

The story of Roman Sionis begins at his birth. Mere moments after coming into the world, little Roman gets dropped on the floor.

Yes, Black Mask's sinister origin begins with his being dropped on his head. Surely things can only get better? Right? After all, Roman Sionis is not just any child. He is the son of Gotham nobility, heir to the valuable Janus Cosmetics makeup firm.

As he grows up in Gotham high society Roman learns about masks. The masks his parents wear when they try to impress influential people they hate. People like Thomas and Martha Wayne. Indeed, Roman is forced to wear a mask of his own when his parents make him be friends with the Waynes' son, Bruce.

Time passes, and Roman Sionis takes a trip to the country with his parents. There, he has a fateful encounter with... A raccoon.

But like all of young Roman's relationships, this one is doomed to end poorly. The raccoon is rabid... And it bites him. Then he goes nuts.

Wow. That's quite a hallucination. Roman is rescued, but that isn't the end of the story. Just like when he was dropped as a baby, they say that the encounter has changed Roman Sionis.

The years go on and eventually Roman's father brings him into the family business. Nepotism works wonders for one's career, and soon Roman rises through the ranks of the company to a position of power. Then he meets a woman.

Her modeling name is "Circe" and Roman Sionis falls under her spell. His parents do not approve of the relationship and demand that Roman break it off. He dutifully does so. Then he burns them alive.

Roman begins to waste his fortune. He wastes it on many things, but mostly on masks:

Roman Sionis then bets everything on a new line of face-paint. It fails miserably, and Janus Cosmetics is headed towards bankruptcy. Desperate to save the company, Roman rushes a line of waterproof makeup to stores without proper testing. It disfigures hundreds of women. Circe leaves Roman and Janus Cosmetics is ruined.

But at the last minute, Roman Sionis' company receives a reprieve from an unexpected quarter: the Wayne Foundation.

It is the ultimate humiliation for Roman Sionis. He loses everything and is saved by someone he has always despised. But more than Bruce Wayne, Roman Sionis has come to despise Roman Sionis. An identity that he hates more than anything. Filled with hatred towards his parents and himself, Roman Sionis goes to his family's crypt.

The crypt is thrown open and Roman Sionis enters into the blackness. There, he surrenders to his rage...

And finally snaps. From the broken lid of the coffin he carves an ebony mask. Then Roman Sionis vanishes. His home is found empty. Nothing is missing but cash, a gun, and... Masks.

The scene changes, returning to that lonely graveyard. There a pair of street toughs approach the Sionis family crypt. They've heard that there is money to be made by those willing to pay another price. They enter into the dark crypt and come face to face with... Black Mask.

Roman Sionis, like his mother's corpse, is gone. The only one remaining is Black Mask.

A few days later a man is discovered murdered. The murdered man was the new chairman of Janus Cosmetics and a member of the Wayne Foundation. He was murdered by poison makeup... In a mask.

Thus ends part one of Black Mask's origin! The story continues tomorrow with Detective Comics #553 and "The False Face Society of Gotham!"

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Detective Action

I want to thank everybody who commented on last night's post. Sometimes I just have to rant a little. That little manifesto was just such an occasion. If anybody has any more thoughts on the subject, go ahead and put in your two cents.

Tomorrow I have a big post planned, so I'm going to keep it short tonight. I just wanted to comment on something I noticed: very soon here Greg Rucka will be writing both Action Comics and Detective Comics. As far as I know, that's the first time that's happened.

Am I right? Or have there been other occasions where a single scribe has written both of DC's flagship titles?

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Short Manifesto

I'm tired of Watchmen. I'm tired of seeing it around and I'm tired of hearing people talk about it like it's the end-all-be-all of comics.

But mostly I'm tired of people trying to say that Watchmen is super-heroes "for adults" -- as though all of us reading Batman and Superman are mentally children or something.

More than anything it's this idea that has grown up in the greater culture that if you want to read something with colorful costumes it's got to be something that mocks them while it's doing it.

"Look at their stupid capes!"

That's the sentiment that seems to pervade most of popular culture. It's why newspapers can't get their facts about Batwoman in Detective right. And it's why after all these years they still start every article about comics with a "Bam" and a "Pow."

I guess this post isn't really about Watchmen. But then, I don't really have a beef with that series per se. My issue is the way the world looks at super-hero comics. The world seems willing to accept something like Watchmen because it's "adult." But it views your standard super-hero comics as though they are inherently flawed and must be changed from what they are to be made worthy for consumption.

How exactly do you reconcile this contradiction? After all, the general populace seems to like super-heroes perfectly well. The Dark Knight just broke $1 billion worldwide. But while Watchmen trade paperbacks are selling to the general population, how many sales of Batman comics did The Dark Knight bring about?

Not many, I'd imagine.

Why does it work this way? Why are people impressed when you talk about Watchmen but laugh when you talk about Aquaman? Why are "graphic novels" acceptable but "comics" for children? And why do people expect me to be ashamed that I read Action Comics monthly?

I'm not ashamed. Not even a little bit. Because despite what the big world and the creators of convetnional wisdom think, there's nothing wrong with reading super-hero comics. There's nothing wrong with reading what people deride as "corporate comics" either.

There's a reason these characters and concepts have survived in this form for so many decades. Super-hero comics are an institution. They are a form of entertainment that has survived longer than a heck of a lot of others. And just like people shouldn't be ashamed of their tastes in music or movies, there's no reason to be ashamed of one's tastes in comics.

So next time you hear people talking about comics, don't feel like you need to hide the fact that your favorite comic is Green Lantern rather than Preacher or Batman rather than Sandman. Share your love of super-heroes with the world. Don't confine it to your blog. Makes sure everybody knows that you believe a man can fly.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm Going to Get This One Right

In commenting on last Friday's post about Tales of the Green Lantern Corps and Nekron, a loyal reader has pointed me to an item to be released in stores next week:

Written by Mike W. Barr, Len Wein, Paul Kupperberg, Robin Snyder, Kurt Busiek and Todd Klein; Art by Joe Staton, Dave Gibbons, Carmine Infantino, and others; Cover by Brian Bolland

A key piece of Green Lantern Corps history is collected for the first time in this new trade paperback presenting the 3-issue TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS miniseries from 1981! Also included are backup Corps stories from GREEN LANTERN #148, 151-154, 161, 162 and 164-167.
DC Universe 160pg. Color Softcover $19.99 US

On Sale February 25, 2009
Transcendant fakeout? Or supreme vindication?


Labels: ,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Night Thinking LXXXV

This is Thursday Night Thinking. Tonight we have our very first Thursday Thought Submission. Will Emmons of Mostly Roses has provided us with a delicious thought:

Do you have a thought you wish to share? Send it my way and I'll put it in the queue. There's plenty of thinking to go around...

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

May Solicitations

I'm back! I spent a few days visiting a friend in Louisville, Kentucky. My friend does not have the Internet, so it was like being thrown back in time to the 1990's. I'm pretty sure I saw Azrael and Superman's mullet.

Luckily, Louisville does have a fine selection of comic book stores and I was able to spend much time rifling through 50 cent bins and the like. One store had a delightful box full of "complete runs" packaged together in sets. I managed to score the entire run of Chase (which I've heard good things about) for five dollars. Can't beat that, eh?

On other notes, here be solicits:

Written by Tony Daniel
Art by Tony Daniel & Sandu Florea
Covers by Tony Daniel
With the destruction of Arkham Asylum, the return of the Black Mask, and dozens of Gotham City’s most lethal villains rioting through the streets, Nightwing, Robin and their allies seem to have their hands full. But when you add a deadly Jason Todd masquerading as a gun-toting Batman to the mix, things have definitely spiraled out of control!
This is the issue everyone’s been waiting for – find out who wins the Battle for the Cowl! Who earns the right to take on the mantle of the Bat? Will it be Robin? Jason Todd? Nightwing? Azrael? Catwoman? Two-Face? Damian Wayne? Batwoman? Or someone completely unexpected? This 3-issue series continues to shock and surprise as the battle comes to a startling finale for the ages!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 10 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Tony Daniel), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Tony Daniel). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale May 20 • 3 of 3 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Completely unexpected, eh? Is that Killer Moth I spy on the cover? The original anti-Batman? Perhaps the Moth's day has finally come!

Written by James Robinson & Greg Rucka
Art by Pete Woods
Cover by Gary Frank
Variant cover by Eric Canete
With Superman now drafted into New Krypton’s Military Guild, it seems that General Zod finally has the Man of Steel under his control. But when given a command to commit an act of brutality against his fellow Kryptonians, Superman must choose between following orders and following his conscience – at the risk of being branded a traitor by his own people!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Gary Frank), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by Eric Canete). Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale May 6 • 3 of 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
This *wham* is *bam* me *crack* banging my head against the wall! *WHAM*

Twelve months of this New Krypton crap? I'm bored of it already. Sure, I'm looking forward to Mon-El and the Guardian and Nighwing and Flamebird and all that. But I do not want to read about Superman getting conscripted into some damn Kryptonian militia or some such bull.

Braniac! Luthor! Get Kandor back in that bottle stat!

Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art by Don Kramer
Cover by Ladrönn
A wave of heroes arrive in Gotham City in this one-shot with hopes of helping stem the tide of chaos threatening to overwhelm everybody! Starring Huntress, Batgirl, Misfit, Ragman, Manhunter and many others. Will these heroes succeed – or will they be victims of Gotham City's madness? And if they do succeed, what does the future hold for them?
On sale May 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
YAH! Jeezy Creezy, you see that cover? What the hell is up with Batgirl's breasts? Yeah, something ain't right about that. Look, I'm only an amateur artist who doodles for fun. But even I know that women's breasts don't look like that. I know they're hard to draw, but even I can draw better breasts than that. Does DC wish to pay me to draw boobs? I will, you know.

Oh, and where's Green Lantern? Delays are not acceptable...

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 13, 2009

The School of Night

Everybody and their uncle knows that Green Lantern: Blackest Night is coming. It's a highly anticipated story and if Sinestro Corps War was any indication it'll be a huge hit.

The conventional thing to do on comic blogs when a big story is coming is to speculate on it. Everyone knows that I have a bit of a habit of doing that. I like to make predictions. Especially about the "secret villain behind it all." Sometimes I get things half right. Other times I miss things by a quite a bit. But a win/loss record like that isn't going to keep me from speculating on Blackest Night as well.

There is someone behind this Blackest Night build up. I think everyone can agree on that, more or less. Black Hand talks to someone in the shadows, the Anti-Monitor is turned into a black power battery by a mysterious force, and Scar speaks of someone hiding in the black. Who could it be?

Perhaps the answers are hidden in 1981's Tales of the Green Lantern Corps. This three issue miniseries was scripted by Len Wein (who attended the NYCC Green Lantern panel) from a plot by Mike Barr. Let's delve in, shall we?

Our story begins with Hal Jordan speeding toward Oa, having been summoned by the Guardians of the Universe. On his way he is intercepted by another Lantern: cosmic jailbait Arisia, who meets Hal Jordan here for the very first time.

Jesus Christ, Hal. Retcon be damned, she's like fifteen. It's obvious.

Anyway, Hal, Arisia, and the entire Green Lantern Corps arrive on Oa where they wait for the inscrutable Guardians to arrive and say whatever it is they want to say. While they wait, Hal regales Arisia with tales of his, er, conquests. Specifically, the time he took on Krona. I wonder why he would choose to tell that story?

The Guardians eventually arrive and tell Hal to shut his flapping pie hole. Unfortunately, Hal's wasted too much time chatting up his new friend, and well...

Gee, I wonder whose ominous mailed hands those are? Could they be... Krona's!?

Boy, it's a damn good thing Hal told Arisia (and by extension the reader) about that time he kicked Krona's ass. We'd all be lost, otherwise.

What's that? I didn't bother to post that page? Ah, well then... Krona -- as seen by his blue skin -- is of the same immortal race as the Guardians. He decided that he wanted to see the birth of the universe, did a lot of nasty stuff, and then was doomed to wander the universe formless for the rest of time. That's the short version.

Luckily, that's all you need to know. Krona, understandably, is still a bit pissed about the whole being doomed to wander the universe formless for the rest of time. I suppose I can understand that. Luckily, he's only a viewscreen. Seemingly a bit shaken by this whole affair, the Green Lanterns decide that maybe now would be a good time to charge up their rings. Maybe.

They move on with that classic oath, but something is not right. The central power battery begins to shake violently. And then it...

The battery blows up and kills a whole lot of Lanterns in the process. With only 24 hours of ring charge left, The Guardians order all the Green Lanterns to get their asses in gear, find Krona, and put a stop to him.

Neither Guardians nor Lanterns are aware that Krona is merely a pawn in the game of a greater evil. One that a group of advance Guardians are soon about to know all too well...

The Guardians discover the gaping wound in the cosmos through which Krona returned to physical form. And there for the first time they come face to face with their true foe:

The Guardians of the Universe realize that they're outmatched. They send one of their number back to call the Corps off of Krona and summon them to the rift. Meanwhile, the GLC is locked in combat with Krona and his minions. They manage to capture one of Krona's creatures, and the pitiful beast reveals to them a terrible secret:

Krona is dead. So is this pitiful informant. They are both of them and more besides dead, and yet they live. You see, when Krona was cast out he drifted through dimensions. Eventually he drifted into the Realm of the Dead. The paradox of an immortal in the Realm of the Dead caused a rift between dimensions. As you can imagine, that piqued the curiosity of the Realm of the Dead's boss. This guy:

Yeah, y'all can see where I'm going with this. That's Nekron, Lord of the Unliving. He rules over the Realm of the Dead and all who dwell therein. He's also powerful enough to bind Krona to his will and kill Guardians.

With each immortal Nekron slays, the rift to the Realm of the Living gets a little wider. And that's Nekron's plan: he wants into our world. I'm sure you can imagine some of the things that a godlike being from the Realm of the Dead might do in the Realm of the Living.

Anyway, back to the story. Krona beats on Hal and the rest of the Corps, then hightails it back to the rift where he starts knocking heads and killing the Guardians that Nekron hasn't already snuffed out. The rift gets bigger and Nekron gets happier and happier.

The Green Lantern Corps arrives and a battle royale ensues between them and Nekron's army of the dead. Nekron pulls out all the stops, summoning the dead loved ones of Corps members to slow them down.

It starts to work, until Hal Jordan decided to do one of the things he does best: something stupid. He flys through the portal into the Realm of the Dead.

But then, Hal's not a complete idiot (I can't believe I said that). You see, he has a plan. Something Nekron said got those rusty wheels in his damaged head turning. Hal realizes that if everyone who has ever died is in Nekron's Realm...

Then it's full of Green Lantnerns.

Hal gets the deceased Lanterns to fight against Nekron. They can't actually hurt him -- he's too powerful and can't be destroyed. But they distract Nekron long enough for the Guardians to strike out at Krona and his army. Without Nekron's powers propping them up, they fall like a house of cards. The Guardians use their vague powers to close the rift, saving the universe from certain destruction. And then everything goes back to normal.

The story of the Green Lantern Corps' battle with Nekron, Lord of the Unliving is probably not well remembered. I only heard about it through some determined research into obscure Green Lantern villains. Because I know that Geoff Johns loves to dig up obscure villains, make them over, and turn them into genuinely frightening and powerful menaces.

Which is why I think he's doing the same thing with Nekron. Geoff Johns is the kind of writer who these days will try to reuse an old concept or character before he creates something out of whole cloth. And the parallels are hard to ignore. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps was the story of a mysterious entity summoning up an army of the dead to destroy the living. And as far as we can tell, Blackest Night is going to be the story of a mysterious entity summoning up an army of the dead to destroy the living.

I won't be at all surprised if Geoff Johns takes Nekron (who's quite frightening, despite his silly name) throws him into a mixer with some fixins and then pulls out a villain that keeps me from sleeping at night.

(As an aside, I'll be away from home and without Internet access until Wednesday. So spend some time ruminating on what I've said here today, would you? Let me know if you think I'm on track -- or wildly off base.)

Labels: , , ,