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Incentive variant cover of Blackest Night 1 (Jul 2009). Published in a 1:25 ratio. Art by Ethan Van Sciver.
|Publication date||June 2009 – May 2010|
rest of DC Universe
"Blackest Night" is a 2009–2010 American comic book crossover storyline published by DC Comics, consisting of an eponymous, central miniseries written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Ivan Reis, and a number of tie-in books. "Blackest Night" involves Nekron, a personified force of death who resurrects deceased superheroes and seeks to eliminate all life and emotion from the universe. Geoff Johns has identified the series' central theme as emotion. The crossover was published for eight months as a limited series and in both the Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps comic titles. Various other limited series and tie-ins, including an audio drama from Darker Projects, were published.
The storyline was first mentioned at the conclusion of the "Sinestro Corps War" in Green Lantern vol. 4, #25. As the war between the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps reaches its climax, the four Green Lanterns of Earth—Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner—are told by the Guardians Ganthet and Sayd of the Blackest Night prophecy. According to the prophecy, the two existing Corps would be joined by five new ones, each driven by a specific emotion and empowered by a specific color of the emotional spectrum, leading to a "War of Light" that would subsequently destroy the universe. Johns says the prophecy has its origins in the story "Tygers" by Alan Moore, which touches on the rising up of the Guardians' enemies the Weaponers of Qward, Ranx the Sentient City, and the Children of the White Lobe, the destruction of the Green Lanterns, and shows Sodam Yat and Mogo dying. Atrocitus, however, denies the accuracy of this prophecy, suggesting that it blended the Blackest Night and the Sinestro Corps War with pure falsehood.
Johns later said that Nekron was the leader of the Black Lantern Corps in an interview with IGN, though he originally intended to keep that plot element secret. Commenting on selecting the character as the mastermind behind his event, Johns said:
|“||"For me it honestly was never a question. If I was going to do a Green Lantern storyline about the dead rising, the character I was going to use was going to be Nekron. He's pretty obscure, but like Black Hand, Sinestro and Hector Hammond – you know, these characters that had been a little under the radar for years or even decades – he's someone I wanted to pull out and reimagine and rebuild. And again as you're seeing, Ivan has done an incredible job, along with Joe Prado, on redesigning the character."||”|
The teaser for the storyline states that "...the armies of fear and willpower must come together, because across the Universe, the dead will rise." An image depicts a hand wearing a black ring bearing the symbol of Green Lantern villain Black Hand emerging from the earth. Both Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver said that Blackest Night is the third part of a Green Lantern event trilogy that began with "Rebirth" and continued with "Sinestro Corps War". In an interview with IGN, Johns stated that he has the monthly Green Lantern book plotted up until issue #55. More details for the event were revealed in "DC Universe #0", which depicted Black Hand discovering the black power battery on the planet of Ryut.
"Blackest Night #0" was released on May 2, 2009 —Free Comic Book Day—and portrays a series of events directly leading into "Blackest Night #1". The standalone, self-titled miniseries consists of "Blackest Night #0" and eight monthly issues. Tie-ins include issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps starting with issues #43 and #38 respectively, and nine 3-issue limited series: Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps, Blackest Night: Superman, Blackest Night: Batman, Blackest Night: Titans, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman, Blackest Night: Flash, and Blackest Night: JSA. Ethan Van Sciver had planned to work on the opening book, but because of his work on The Flash: Rebirth miniseries he was not able to complete both effectively. Van Sciver and Ivan Reis created many of the designs for this storyline.
Green Lanterns Ash and Saarek find the Black Central Power Battery at a reportedly classified location within Sector 666. After touching the battery, Saarek reports that their presence has awoken something. The two are killed when two monstrous hands emerge from below them as the battery calls "flesh". In Green Lantern Corps, a field of asteroids in an unknown region of space is depicted with the colors of the spectrum in the background. The asteroids, which are apparently the remains of the planet Xanshi, are shattered and a large quantity of black power rings move through them.
In Gotham City, Black Hand removes Bruce Wayne's skull from his grave and carries it with him, and a Black Lantern power battery begins to charge. The Guardians of Oa observe the War of Light and realize that Ganthet and Sayd are correct but are kept from intervening by Scar, who swiftly kills one and imprisons the rest. Thousands of black rings assault the Corps' crypt, creating a Black Lantern Corps. Hal Jordan and the newly revived Flash investigate Bruce Wayne's grave and are attacked by Black Lantern Martian Manhunter. On Oa, the Green Lanterns are met by all of the resurrected Lanterns, now reborn as Black Lanterns. Hawkgirl and Hawkman are killed by Black Lanterns Elongated Man and Sue Dibny and join the growing Black Corps.
The Atom is tricked into visiting Black Lantern Hawkman, and Deadman is the first to realize the dead superheroes are not their true selves when his physical body revives as a Black Lantern while he is still free. Aquaman and his Black Lantern family attack Mera, who flees. A black ring strikes the Spectre, binding the spirit Aztar and reviving Crispus Allen as a Black Lantern. The black rings are unable to revive dead characters who are at peace, such as former Dove Don Hall, even as his partner Hawk and his brother Hank rise. In Gotham, Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are confronted by several Black Lanterns, including Ronald Raymond. Hal, the Atom and Flash battle the Black Lanterns when the Indigo Tribe appear and use their Indigo power with other rings to obliterate the Black Dibnys. Mera finds the new (still human) Firestorm and Gehenna, who merge to create a new Firestorm. Indigo says that the Lantern Corps must unite to defeat the Black one. The Indigo Tribe depart with Hal and leave the other heroes to fight the invading Black Lanterns. Black Lantern Firestorm separates Gehenna and Jason, kills Gehenna and absorbs Jason's consciousness. Black rings revive the villains whose remains have been in storage in the Hall of Justice.
Mera and Flash flee the Black Lanterns and use Atom's powers to escape through a telephone line. Flash leaves and gives all the superheroes in the US the key to defeat the Black Lanterns—merging lights with a Green Ring—and the Atom, Mera and the Justice Society of America battle many Lanterns together. Jean Loring kills and causes Damage to revive as a Lantern, which fully empowers the Black Lantern power battery. Barry arrives in Coast City, where Scar has teleported with the Black Central Power Battery. Black Hand then summons Nekron, who revives the residents of Coast City. The JLA, the Titans, Wally West, and Bart Allen fight the Coast City Black Lanterns. Dove can destroy Black Lanterns with her presence. Hal and Lantern Corps members Larfleeze, Atrocitus, Sinestro, Carol Ferris, Saint Walker, Indigo-1, Ganthet, and Sayd return to Earth and attack Scar while she is attacking Wally West. Nekron has Batman's corpse—later revealed to be a clone briefly reanimated to gain a necessary connection—and sends rings to Superman, Wonder Woman, Superboy, Green Arrow, Kid Flash, Donna Troy, Ice, and Animal Man, previously killed and revived into Black Lantern members by Nekron as Hal and Barry try to outrace their rings.
Allen time-travels himself and Jordan two seconds into the future and disables their rings. Mera and the Atom arrive. John Stewart warns Hal that every Black Lantern in the universe is heading for Earth. Jordan says they need the entire seven Corps to unite to produce White Light. While they summon the seven Corps to Earth, Ganthet duplicates the seven colored rings present and deputizes non-Corps members Ganthet as Green, Barry Allen as Blue, Mera as Red, Lex Luthor as Orange, Scarecrow as Yellow, Atom as Indigo, and Wonder Woman as Violet after separating her from her Black Ring. The Corps Leaders and deputies fight Nekron but cannot stop him, partly because Luthor is overwhelmed by the Orange light of avarice. John Stewart is trying to stop the horde of Black Lanterns when the combined Six Corps arrive to join together and battle the Black Lanterns. In Coast City, Dove tries to reach the Black Lantern Battery but is forced to retreat as a being from within the battery tries to escape. Nekron kills a Guardian and uses his blood to cause a cocoon to emerge. Ganthet reveals that this is the White Light Entity that triggered existence and that life actually began on Earth, not Oa, and that the Guardians upheld the lie to protect the Entity and justify their power. Nekron stabs the Entity, causing living beings across the universe to feel pain, and Sinestro surrenders to his anger at Abin Sur's death and stabs Ganthet.
Hal realizes the Entity is like Parallax and Ion and needs a guide, and tries to merge with it, but is blocked by Sinestro, who is angry that Hal recently reused Parallax, who Sinestro feels he deserves. Sinestro demands the Entity's power, emerges and is told "Thaal Sinestro of Korugar. Destiny awaits". Sinestro is promptly killed by Nekron, but the White Ring revives him. Sinestro retaliates and kills Nekron, but Nekron's scythe is picked up by a Black Lantern human who transforms into Nekron and says "death cannot be stopped". Ganthet notes that Sinestro cannot properly control the Entity as it is being powered by Sinestro's ego rather than his will to live. The united Lantern Corps attacks Nekron. Deadman possesses Guy Gardner and explains that Black Hand is Nekron's tether and that he must be revived to defeat Nekron. Nekron separates Sinestro from the Entity and Hal says that Nekron opened the door to death but it was the decision of the heroes to live. Hal merges with the Entity and transforms himself and the Black Lantern heroes into a White Lantern Corps, who restore Black Hand to life. This causes Black Hand to regurgitate a White Ring which revives the Anti-Monitor trapped in the Black Lantern Power Battery. Nekron briefly fights the Anti-Monitor and banishes him to his home in Qward, the Antimatter universe. Black Hand regurgitates a cluster of white rings that destroy Nekron. The rings bring only twelve Black Lanterns back to life: Maxwell Lord, Professor Zoom, Jade, Hawk, Captain Boomerang, Firestorm (Ronald Raymond), the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman (Boston Brand), and Osiris.
Upon seeing Aquaman alive, Mera's love causes her ring to depart, sending her into cardiac arrest. Star Sapphire and Saint Walker join their powers together to restore her, and Aquaman and Mera share a joyful reunion. Hawkgirl recalls her past lives, removes her helmet to reveal that she is again Shiera Hall and embraces Hawkman. Superman expresses his happiness that J'onn has returned. Firestorm forcibly separates into Ronald Raymond and Jason, the latter upset that Ronald has killed his girlfriend. As Mera comforts Jason, Ronald is confused and asks Atom what is happening and where Professor Stein is. Guy lets Lord, who is controlling his mind, escape. Jade kisses Kyle, unaware he is in love with fellow Green Lantern Soranik Natu. Osiris is confused and says he wants to go home. Superboy and Kid Flash, who only knows him by name, try to figure out who he is. After Professor Zoom flees, Flash knocks out Captain Boomerang. Barry notes that Ralph and Sue Dibny have not been revived. Deadman, the only one of the resurrected still wearing a White Ring, is stunned to realize he is alive and something is wrong. Larfleeze returns an unconscious Lex Luthor stripped of his ring, who briefly realizes that he has given something away, and demands that Sayd honors her debt to him.
Ganthet protests but Sayd tells him all is well and believes she can somehow help Larfleeze. Sayd says the future of the Lantern Corps must be discussed. Saint Walker notices that the Indigo Tribe and Black Hand are missing. On the Indigo home world, Black Hand is now a member and prisoner of the Indigo Tribe, and is chained to an indigo power staff. Hal and Barry realize that because Black Lantern Batman was a fake, Bruce Wayne is still alive somewhere. Barry wonders what became of the Entity; Hal says it is still out there, urging them all to move past the events of the Blackest Night. Elsewhere, on a distant road, a White Power Battery is found in a crater.
DC announced in January 2010 that following the end of Blackest Night, it would launch Brightest Day, a 25-issue bi-weekly comic book written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi. Also, Action Comics would feature a story arc in which Lex Luthor starts a universal quest to locate the energy of the Black Lantern Corps after being infused with the Orange Light of Avarice.
The series and its tie-in books have been collected into a number of volumes:
- Blackest Night (collects Blackest Night #0–8, 304 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2693-0; paperback, July 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2953-0)
- Blackest Night: Green Lantern (collects Green Lantern vol. 4 #43–52, 272 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2786-4; paperback, July 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2952-2)
- Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps (collects Green Lantern Corps vol. 2 #39–46, 264 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2788-0; paperback, July 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2805-4)
- Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps (collects Tales of the Corps #1–3 and stories from Green Lantern vol. 4 #49 and Adventure Comics vol. 2 #4–5, 176 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2790-2; paperback, August 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2807-0)
- Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Volume One (collects Blackest Night: Batman #1–3, Blackest Night: Superman #1–3, and Blackest Night: Titans #1–3; 256 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2784-8; paperback, July 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2804-6)
- Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Volume Two (collects Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1–3, Blackest Night: JSA #1–3 and Blackest Night: The Flash #1–3, 240 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2785-6; paperback, July 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2803-8)
- Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lanterns (collects The Atom and Hawkman #46, The Question #37, Phantom Stranger vol. 2 #42, Starman vol. 2 #81, The Power of Shazam! #48, Catwoman vol. 3 #83, Weird Western Tales #71, Green Arrow vol. 4 #30, and Adventure Comics vol. 2 #7; 256 pages, hardcover, July 2010, ISBN 1-4012-2789-9; paperback, August 2011, ISBN 1-4012-2806-2)
The series has received generally positive reviews. Comic Book Resources gave the first and third issues in the series 5 out of 5 stars, and the second received 4.5 stars. IGN also reviewed the series favorably, and rated the first three individual issues between 8.7 and 9.3 out of a possible 10.
In other media
- There are skin pack DLCs available for Injustice: Gods Among Us, featuring "Blackest Night"-inspired skins for Superman, Batman, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Doomsday, and The Flash.
- An upcoming Blackest Night Batman skin will appear in Batman: Arkham Origins.
- Rogers, Vaneta (2009-02-19). "Ivan Reis: Preparing for Blackest Night". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/020919-Reis.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Rogers, Vaneta (2009-03-09). "The Eve of Blackest Night: Geoff Johns on...Everything". Newsarama. http://newsarama.com/comics/070903-Geoff-BN.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Rogers, Vaneta (2007-12-13). "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over) - Geoff Johns on Green Lantern #25". Newsarama. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=139577. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- Reintroduced in Green Lantern Corps #6, January 2007
- "Tygers" (by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, 1986)
- Johns, Geoff. Green Lantern v4 #37
- George, Richard (2009-08-13). "Blackest Night's Mastermind Revealed". IGN. http://uk.comics.ign.com/articles/101/1013816p1.html. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Johns, Geoff (w). Green Lantern v4, 25 (January 2008), DC Comics
- Spiegel, D. "(none given)". Wizard (198): 82. "[from Geoff Johns] And yes, it's Earth and that's Black Hand's symbol on the ring."
- Phillips, Dan (2007-12-14). "Green Lantern: The Dawn of Blackest Night". IGN. http://comics.ign.com/articles/841/841724p1.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Manning, Shaun (2008-02-22). "WonderCon: DC Nation Panel". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12649. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Rogers, Vaneta (2009-04-04). "The Road to The Blackest Night I: Where Things Stand". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/040904-Blackest-Night.html. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Mitchel, Bill (2009-07-16). "In-depth: ethan van sciver". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=22074. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Siuntres, John (2008-08-08). "Word Balloon: Ethan VanSciver - Flash, GL & More". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080808-WBEthanVanSciver.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- Rogers, Vaneta (2008-04-25). "Ethan Van Sciver - Behind the Lanterns' Looks". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/040925-EVS-BlackestNight2.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- "DC Comics Explores the Blackest Night". Dreadcentral.com. 2009-11-26. http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/34701/dc-comics-explore-blackest-night. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
- Johns, Geoff (w). Green Lantern 42 (July 2009), DC Comics
- Tomasi, Peter (w). Green Lantern Corps v2, 38 (July 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 0 (July 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 1 (September 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 2 (October 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 3 (November 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 4 (December 2009), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 5 (January 2010), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 6 (February 2010), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 7 (April 2010), DC Comics
- Johns, Geoff (w). Blackest Night 8 (May 2010), DC Comics
- Segura, Alex (January 11, 2010). "DCU in 2010: Kick Off Your Monday With Some Major News". The Source. DC Comics.com. http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/01/11/dcu-in-2010-kick-off-your-monday-with-some-major-news/. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Melrose, Kevin (January 11, 2010). "DC announces Blackest Night follow-up: Brightest Day". Comic Book Resources. http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/01/dc-announces-blackest-night-followup-brightest-day/. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
- Cornell, Paul (w). Action Comics 890 (June 2010), DC Comics
- Doug Zawisza (2009-07-15). "Review: Blackest Night #1". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=1220. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Benjamin Birdie (2009-08-13). "Review: Blackest Night #3". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=1299. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Doug Zawisza (2009-09-16). "Review: Blackest Night #2". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=1406. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Jesse Schedeen (2009-07-15). "Blackest Night #1 Review". IGN Entertainment. http://comics.ign.com/articles/100/1004158p1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Dan Phillips (2009-08-12). "Blackest Night #2 Review". IGN Entertainment. http://comics.ign.com/articles/101/1013596p1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- "Blackest Night #3 Review". IGN Entertainment. 2009-09-16. http://comics.ign.com/articles/102/1025641p1.html. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
- Blackest Night mini-site at DC Comics
- Blackest Night mini-site at IGN
- Blackest Night at the DC Database
- Blackest Night at the Comic Book DB
- Rogers, Vaneta (2009-03-17). "Green Into Black: Geoff Johns on the Night to Come". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/comics/030917-Johns-Black.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.