Blackest Night: JSA #1

by Doug Zawisza, Reviewer |

Wed, December 23rd, 2009 at 4:44PM (PST)


When I reviewed "Blackest Night: Batman" #2, I said, "DC seems to have gotten the 'supplemental' ideas right with 'Blackest Night'. While I do not feel compelled to purchase all of the 'Blackest Night' series and tie-ins, I have found myself at least wanting to sample them all. Some hit me more than others." This is certainly the case with this issue. James Robinson has been writing a great deal of material all across the DC Universe since his return to comics, but here, Robinson shines. His writing here is on par with where it was back before he left comics. Of course, these are some of the characters he is most familiar with and most passionate about.

Among the scads of potential Black Lanterns, Robinson singles out Wesley Dodds, Terry Sloane, and Charles McNider (with Hootie!) -- Sandman, Mr. Terrific, and Dr. Mid-nite. It is worth noting that of their modern counterparts, only Mr. Terrific appears in this issue. Robinson juggles an amazing amount of story in this issue, with several characters getting prominent roles, and facing their own Black Lanterns. Power Girl gets emotional about the maligned corpse of her cousin, the Earth-2 Superman. Jesse Quick is struggling with guilt over bringing Damage into the JSA only to see him killed and resurrected as a Black Lantern. Atom Smasher and Judomaster confront said Black Lantern Damage. Overall, there's a lot going on.

Eddy Barrows does a great job covering it all. He gets an assist from extremely talented Marcos Marz, who handles the flashback/recaps of the Black Lanterns. Both styles work well for this issue, with Marz handling the cleaner, simpler times of the lives the Black Lanterns once lived, and Eddy Barrows handling the present day blood and gore that the Lanterns are dispensing. The panel selections in the book lean towards the traditional in terms of all panels being traditionally rectangular, but the two artists completely fill the panels with detail and design. I am concerned, however, that there is a pretty massive art/story mix-up that slipped through all those involved in the creation of this story. Mr. Terrific calls for Green Lantern, Lightning, and Stargirl. The heroes that are brought to aide him are: Green Lantern, CYCLONE, and Stargirl. Ooops. That'll cost this book some points in our star-ranking. Getting past that though, at least Cyclone is well-drawn.

Rod Reis brings this story to life with is coloring. When the characters are viewed in Black Lantern-vision, with the emotions on display, those hues sing. They almost pop off the page, giving us a true appreciation for the Black Lanterns unique point of view of their prey. The costumes for the JSA members are well colored, the backgrounds are realistic and the gore is, well, gory.

This is a very good "Blackest Night" tie-in, perhaps one of the best yet, as Robinson steps up to the challenge. I just hope the other two issues are just as strong. If timing plays out, the "Blackest Night: JSA" #3 will come out the same week as "Blackest Night" #7, and I have to believe that the timing of those two issues, combined with the professional relationship between Geoff Johns and James Robinson is more than just coincidental. The JSA will play a big part in ending the "Blackest Night," but first they'll get much deeper into it.