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Saturday, August 01, 2009 

Plain Dealer fawns over Blackest Night and Dark Reign

No sooner does a paper like the LeHigh Valley Express-Times do it, the Cleveland Plain Dealer makes sure to pay its own lip service to Geoff Johns's latest monstrosity. Starting with the following foolishness, they say:
If you have been reading comics for a long time - I'm talking decades - today's stories can't get any better.
No, they can't. They can only get worse with people like Johns at the helm.
Writers are crafting stories that pick up trailing pieces of plots left hanging back when John Kennedy was president. They are woven carefully into current story lines so new readers, unaware of their existence, don't blink an eye. But old readers let out a little smile of satisfaction.
Not this one. This reader can only let out a very big frown, especially at the blatant sugarcoating job they're doing here. Nor are they carefully woven, no matter how much time they supposedly took to plan. Curiously enough, they may have admitted how tripe like Blackest Night are not new-reader friendly, one of the biggest problems with today's mainstream output.
One of the best at doing this is writer Geoff Johns. I've praised Johns so often I feel like a stalker, but the guy is that good.

The first issue of his long-awaited series "Blackest Night," which is rejuvenating the "Green Lantern" franchise, was released last week.

Not only is it good, it's even better than expected.
Please, spare us the suffocating fluff. Not only is it insulting to the intellect, it's also hurting the GL franchise just as much.
Johns resurrected a grade-C villain called the Black Hand and gave him a weapon of ultimate power - the black lantern ring. The ring allows him to summon dead heroes and villains of the DC universe and give them power rings of their own - then set them against the living.

That includes deceased heroes like the Martian Manhunter; Aquaman; Firestorm; Elongated Man and his wife, Sue; and the original Superman, among others.
Interesting how the writer calls Black Hand a C-grader, which IMO is only putting down better writing of yore, and referring to him as though he were literally obscure.
I suspect when the story line plays out months from now, it will give DC the option to keep many of the "dead" characters alive. While I'm sure the Martian Manhunter and Aquaman are on that list, I hope DC does not go crazy and bring back everybody. For stories to matter, death must have meaning.
But what about the bloody killings in the current monstrosity that is Blackest Night? Does that have meaning? I am quite tired of these mainstream would-be comic fans arguing over how this or that character must remain dead regardless of whether it was done in good or bad taste, and there's no garuntee that Aquaman and J'onn J'onzz will return in good health.
The look on Flash's face when GL uses his ring to show him all the heroes that died in the intervening years is memorable.
Oh, I'll bet. More likely that it's tiresome.
My favorite scenes are those between Hawkman and Hawkgirl, as she explains why they can never be lovers as they had been in thousands of past lives.

Johns shows his understanding of Hawkman's complex personality through his treatment of his best friend, the Atom.

Hawkman refuses to accompany Atom to visit the grave of Jean Loring, the Atom's ex-wife, who killed a mutual friend in a twisted plot to get the Atom to fall in love with her again. Hawkman will not forgive her for the murder and for what she did to his best friend: "She made the Atom feel small."

That line would almost be a joke if it came from anyone else. But Hawkman means it.
Ahem. That line is sick and offensive, and does no more than to perpetuate considerable damage. But the newspaper, in all their pretentiousness, won't admit it.

They then go on to fawn briefly about Dark Reign:
Speaking of death and dying, the Punisher's facing the long, dark walk again in "Punisher" No. 8 as part of the story line "Dark Reign: The List."

Don't worry too much about the Punisher; he's been dead before and it didn't last.

Marvel's "Dark Reign" is proving to be a lengthy and fascinating look at what happens when the bad guys win. It's a story line running through all the Marvel comics, with serious implications for everyone.
Yes, and that includes the audience! If it runs through all series they're publishing, it only grinds plausible storytelling to a screeching halt, and the emphasis on the villains winning has gone much too far already. And I think Frank Castle becoming a ghost again is just a retread of the territory he traversed in 1996, which went nowhere, just like this latest balderdash. "Lengthy" is certainly right, it's going much too long.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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