ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 6, 2010
For the purposes of this review, and for the follow-up next week of Volume 2, I’ll be reviewing each of the smaller stories within on their own merits. Volume 1 contains the three-part Blackest Night miniseries’ for Batman, Superman and Titans.
I want you to keep a picture of something in your mind when you read this section – Batman, Robin and Red Robin, with flamethrowers, fighting zombies.
Just let that settle while I get into the banal stuff.
The story in this miniseries is pretty standard for Blackest Night fare: Black Lanterns are invading, some old characters we know are resurrected – in this case, Dick Grayson’s and Tim Drake’s parents respectively – and our Gothamites have to save the day once again. The status quo is upset, however, with the inclusion of Deadman, who’s basically a benevolent ghost that possesses people at will.
This is not a Batman story that read for Batman, but more for Deadman. His quips every now and then, particularly after possessing some hapless character, give a lot of sarcastic edge to the story, against the always-annoying Damian and starting-to-get-on-my-nerves Dick.
Plus it has Red Robin, which is always cool.
Did I mention the flamethrowers?
It’s not a humungous story in terms of either Batman or Blackest Night, but it was certainly enjoyable than my next piece to review.
Oh. My. Freaking. God.
Someone needs to depower Superman. Now.
I really tried to put aside my prejudices against Superman and his Krytopian Mary Sues, and enjoy this is as more of a Blackest Night story, but alas I found I could not. Supes is still too damn powerful. Superboy is an annoying, angsty bitch. Supergirl is still only there for fanservice, and the occasional eye-beam. Krypto the motherfucking Superdog is still one of the worst comic-related inventions since bat nipples.
I didn’t like this, if you couldn’t tell already.
As with Batman it’s a fairly standard BN story, with Superman and Co fighting off a few revived inhabitants of Smallville. Amongst this is a fight between our Superman and Superman of Earth-2 (I think – I wasn’t quite clear on that), which had some lovely visuals but was far too predictable. They did touch on the New Krypton story a bit with that cutaway to Supergirl and her mother(?) but otherwise mostly stayed on Earth.
This felt pointless, from start to finish. We already know Supes is gonna kick the Black Lanterns’ asses and experience little to no setbacks. We already know that New Krypton is going to be decimated by the Blacks. We already know that nothing really substantial is going to happen here, and that the characters aren’t going to be able to stop the black rings seeing as they don’t have an indigo and other colour Lantern present.
I really found few redeeming factors in this story, with a notable one being Superdog burning down a farm just to get at the Black Lantern terrorizing Ma Kent. As much as I hate Superdog, I have to admit that was pretty cool.
Other than that though, completely superfluous to the story.
Out of the four segments in these two volumes that are from series’ I don’t read (being Superman, Titans, JSA and Wonder Woman) this was the one I enjoyed the most. If the aim, in part, of these stories was to get you to read the actual series after Blackest Night, the Titans one certainly fulfilled that task.
I found the Titans section to be absolutely fantastic from start to finish. I’d never read a Titans book before, and had no idea what to expect apart from maybe a bit of teen angst and some token appearances by Cyborg, who for me seems to be the team’s second mascot (beside Robin).
Of course I got both of those things, but what I also got as an engrossing and engaging story that made it really easy for me to understand what was going on. I wasn’t going “WTF?” with the bits relating to Don and Hank Hall, or with Beast Boy having to face down Black Lantern Terra whilst ruminating about his past relationship with her. I found the plot, besides the Black Lantern elements I already knew about, to be thoroughly enjoyable and easily accessible for newbies to the book.
I also figured it was a pretty bold move to kill off Holly Granger, the current Hawk, as she seemed to be a rather well-established character. After doing some research and discovering that she was, in fact, around since 2003, and was a fairly major character in Titans, I’m doubly as pleased that the BN story managed to include such a radical twist to it. I always like it when they kill off a major character unexpectedly – sure, they revive a few years later, but it’s still awesome to see this twist pulled off well.
After the mediocre and downright appalling sections of Batman and Superman respectively, the Titans section was a refreshing change and a great way to end the book. Definitely the best out of the first three.