writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy
After every Crisis, it's been difficult
to adjust to the new status quo. But that really is what
happens - a new continuity, a new melding of Earths in the
case of the Milestone and Red Circle characters and Charlton
before them, and most jarringly for characters that never
actually stopped having their stories told, new stories
about them. Characters in the DC Universe refer to themselves
as being on New Earth, but with the impending "Blackest
Night" event, I have to adjust to this really being Earth-Johns.
Not that that's a bad thing. He's one of
the best at putting new spins on characters, and in particular
with the villains, making them darker, harder and far more
fitting for these times. As Dan DiDio often claims, in contrast
he really does make the heroes that much brighter.
With this issue, he essentially recreates
Black Hand, tying him into his new tightly wound Green Lantern
continuity. In fact, Green Lanterns hardly appear in this
issue, showing up in flashbacks. On New Earth, which must
exist in a New Univ…whoops, sorry, the already death-obsessed
William Hand got caught in the crossfire of Hal Jordan and
Sinestro battling Atrocitus.
That event had been shown before, at least
a year ago in DC Universe #0, but seeing its real
consequences play out here is just chilling. Doug Mahnke's
pencils always have an edge that make heroes and villains
seem just slightly other than human, and that effect works
perfectly here. This William Hand was disturbing to those
around him long before he picked up a super-weapon.
In an earlier DC Universe, Hand had been
a clever crook with a photographic memory who invented his
weapon. Now, it's an alien weapon of prophecy, destined
to take down all the various Corps that have been popping
up over the last couple of years. With it, he'll lead an
army, and this issue also lays out that army's officers
will be - and worse, who will be the first to feel their
Before he can do that, he has to take care
of a few things, and if you read closely, you'll catch some
nice little Easter Eggs in the story. That adds to the depth
of the story, and a lot to the creep factor. If you've been
skipping the preludes to "Blackest Night," change your ways
now. The cover calls this Prologue, and make no mistake:
so has the drain on my wallet.
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