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Comics Today's Date:

Blackest Night #6
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

To commemorate a "dead" week in comics shipping, DC sent Blackest Night #6 to shops a week early with the promise not to put it on the shelves until today. It's a move worthy of Paul Levitz' legacy, not because it's the only new "mainstream" book on available this week, but because it will pull in traffic that might wander around the shop looking at other books. Many stores have capitalized on this by celebrating "indy week," allowing focus to fall on that other 9% of the market not utterly dominated by Marvel and DC -- and that's good for the whole industry.

As a spotlight book, Blackest Night works like a huge summer or Christmas blockbuster. The beats are huge, and few write them more resoundingly than Geoff Johns. Here, teamed with artist Ivan Reis, Johns gives us panels that fanboys will be geeking over for weeks.

Only in comics can you not be embarrassed to turn the book sideways for the centerfold. Don't worry, mom, it's just John Stewart being chased by every Black Lantern in the universe. I'm going blind for a different reason - just out of sheer awesomeness, because the last two-page spread of the book outdoes that image.

Johns and Reis can tighten it down, too, into much more intimate action. Barry Allen (The Flash) and Hal Jordan try to outrace black rings looking to corrupt them into the Corps, and not one whit of their personalities matter except for their heroism and ultimately, their humanity. Nobody writes Hal as well as Johns (even if he had to essentially re-write him to do it) and he's rapidly making a case for his Barry Allen, too.

Even if you don't agree with all his interpretations, at least Johns goes out on a limb to illuminate and define some lesser lights. Until this issue, I would never have considered Mera a worthy opponent of Wonder Woman, but Johns makes me believe it. And if someone can pick the ball up from the seeds planted here, maybe Ray Palmer can be an ongoing major player again.

Grant Morrison's Final Crisis defined the metamythos of Superman; Johns has decided to take care of the rest of the DC Universe.

The (slight) downside is that like a summer blockbuster, some of the plot points start to hurt your head. Nobody has a good answer as to why Bruce Wayne was briefly re-animated as a Black Lantern when we all know - or think we know - that that isn't his corpse at all. (It's because Grant Morrison isn't telling.)

If Nekron has been the one allowing every resurrected hero to return from the dead, how do we account for Bart Allen and Connor Kent, who technically returned in the 31st Century, a full thousand years after the events of Blackest Night? And for that matter, where the heck is Resurrection Man?

Okay. Nobody actually asked that last question but me. With this kind of nit-picking, Johns may have created the perfect huge event. You have to go real big to have people taking those kinds of shots; just ask James Cameron or George Lucas. The real question is - how can anything in the DC Universe top this?

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think!

Derek McCaw


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