We are now officially at the halfway point of the "Blackest Night" storyline for DC. While the main story has been pretty amazing up until now, it's easy to see how this could be scaring some folks away. DC has a long history of having one running series and a dozen offshoot stories that you must purchase to properly follow along, and this one isn't really an exception.
The exception this time through is how good the main story is, how easy it is to keep following even if you miss some of the offshoot series, and how it appears to be building. Geoff Johns has done an incredible job of salvaging DC after the "Final Crisis" fiasco last year.
Here's how things stand up to this point:
Blackest Night (the main series) -- Winner!
From the opening pages of the story, it's been an intense ride that hasn't stopped. Having Elongated Man and Sue Dibny kill Hawkman and Hawkgirl right off the bat showed us how serious this story was. Since then, heroes have been dropping like flies and some have been returning with a really mean streak to them.
This is the first book I open when the new batch of comics come in. Definitely worth every penny. While I usually wait and collect the trade paperbacks of most series now, this is one I collect every month and enjoy. And even though we know Nekron is behind it all, now we get to see what part Batman plays in all this (remember, Black Hand is holding Bruce Wayne's skull in most images and in the story)!
And now with Hal Jordan off to the other side of the galaxy, it's nice to see Barry Allen stepping up as leader of the heroes. He's showing strong leadership that Wally West wouldn't have been able to give us in this role.
Blackest Night: Teen Titans -- Winner!
If you missed this three-issue miniseries, you have got to get out there and find it. It's no secret I love the old Hawk & Dove team, and I knew they were coming back as baddies so I ordered this. Instead, Don Hall (Dove) can't be affected or touched by the rings so he couldn't be resurrected (guess who that means can't be touched either)! And while the dead Titans have come in with a vengeance to do their nasty work, the one person I thought would pretty much be useless has turned out to be the most important player in the story!
I won't give anything away, but issue 3 closed the miniseries out by showing us the one person who can singlehandedly defeat the dead heroes. My guess? This person will also become the first White Lantern when the time comes. Get this series!
Blackest Night: Batman -- Neutral
While it was a real thrill to see Deadman in action again, and the idea of him being both dead as a hero, and alive as a Black Lantern, was cool, I can't say the story was central to the plot.
The pieces were all there: Both Dick Grayson and Tim Drake had lost their parents at some point, and their parents were now back as the undead. Yeah, that was cool. Watching the Tim's undead dad relive those final moments against an undead fat Captain Boomerang as they did in "Identity Crisis" was cool. Even Deadman possessing Etragan was cool! But somehow they didn't add up to a "must read" story.
This one felt more like an independent story that just gave you a taste of what Batman had to face. Unlike the "Titans" storyline (which will obviously play a huge part in the main story), this one didn't seem like it was necessary. It's still a good story though, so I'll keep the verdict neutral.
Blackest Night: Superman -- Loser!
Krypto ripped dead Lois's arm off to get rid of her ring. That was pretty much the best moment of this three-issue bust.
This one had probably the most potential of all of them, as Superman from Earth 2 and even Jonathan Kent were at DC's disposal to come and wreck havoc in Clark's life. Unfortunately, this Superman vs. Superman fight seemed almost just like any other.
I can't see where the actions that terrorized Smallville will hold any real implications to the final "Blackest Night" storyline. This is one you could easily skip and it not affect your understanding of the story. It's a real shame too. This could have been the strongest of the bunch.
Blackest Night: Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps -- Winners!
What can you say about these? Hal Jordan is doing all he can to fight dead heroes coming back and even faces the return of his predessessor Abin Sur. Kyle faces the return of the love of his life, Jade! And topping all this off is the revelation that Guy Gardner will soon become a Red Lantern (thanks to the death of Ice and her subsequent return as a Black Lantern)!
While some of the story seems to be filler right now, there's no doubt this is where the main action will be taking place in just a little bit. The introduction of the Indigo Lanterns and what they can do with a Green Lantern present is huge.
The thing I like about "Green Lantern Corps" is the fact that every GL that dies comes back as a Black Lantern. The tide is turning against the good guys with every death and I love the story!
And now DC has announced several "one shot" comics coming in January that will carry things along. We'll even see the return of The Question, and if you'll remember that's something I've been hoping we'd see! I have no idea how DC is going to collect all these into TPBs later on, but you definitely need to pick them up if you aren't following them now.