Picking up from Blackest Night # 1, we find Batman and Robin at the graves of Bruce Wayne and his parents. Determined to protect the remains of the Waynes from further desecration, Batman plans to remove them to a bunker beneath Wayne Tower.
In the Himalayas, Deadman finds himself suddenly drawn back to Gothan and to his own grave where, as shown in Blackest Night # 2, a black power ring forces his earthly remains to rise against his will. He quickly merges with his own corpse and receives a flood of information before having to leave due to the pain. As his corpse flies off, he determines to find someone who can help.
Above Gotham, a federal plane transports the bodies of several dead villains to the Justice League. Before they can reach their destination, black power rings burst through and resurrect them, destroying the plane as the Black Lanterns rise.
As Batman and Robin drive the Batmobile back to their bunker, Deadman arrives and quickly possesses Batman’s body. He quickly realises that this is Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne is dead and the Robin sat next to him isn’t Tim Drake, but Damian, the son of Bruce Wayne. As Damian attacks him, the Batmobile crashes, the pair of them getting out. After a quick explanation, Deadman leaves Grayson’s body and enters Damian’s. He and Grayson swap information and head off into the night as black power rings claim the bodies of Grayson’s and Drake’s parents.
Deadman suffers a psychic fit, seeing dozens of Black Lanterns rising and wanting to feed on the living as they arrive at the cemetery where Drake’s parents were buried, only to find the graves empty. Grayson contacts Drake, now working as Red Robin, in France and explains what has happened; not surprisingly, Drake sets out to return.
In the sky above Gotham, the Batsignal is seen, partially covered by the silhouettes of other people.
The villains ressurected by the Black power rings rampage through Gotham, many of them congregating at Gotham PD headquarters and using the Batsignal to bring Batman to them.
In the sewers beneath the city, Batman and Robin – along with Deadman – find their way to the army reserve National Guard armoury and stock up on flamethrowers. These will be used to attreact the attention of the Black Lanterns while Deadman saves as many police officers as he can.
In the HQ, King Snake and the Trigger Twins attack the officers who bravely try and stop them. Realising they have to retreat, Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara head down the stairs and hole up. It’s only moments, though, before a Black Lantern finds them and they discover how difficult it is to kill one.
On the roof, Batman and Robin arrive, burning the Black Lanterns that were waiting for them.
King Snake finds Gordon and his daughter, threatening to kill Barbara in front of him. Deadman arrives and possesses her and manages to save her and Gordon, explaining who he is at the same time.
Leaving the Gordons, King Snake and the others head to the roof just in time for Red Robin to arrive in a hoverjet. In a series of passes, he rescues Batman, Robin and the Gordons. Escaping Gotham, however, the jet is attacked by more Black Lanterns – not only the parents of Red Robin, but of Batman himself, forcing the jet to crash land in a cemetery.
Concentrating on landing the jet in a deserted are, Batman is surprised to see the cemetery he had aimed for suddenly transformed into a circus big top with his dead parents atop their trapeze. Below them is a cut-away of Red Robin’s old house, his dead father waiting in the kitchen. Heading out of the jet, Batman has Robin see to Barbara and James Gordon; the cemetery wasn’t picked at random as it has a hidden tunnel to the Wayne Foundation building which Robin can use to rescue the Gordons. Before facing their parents, though, Batman has Deadman pay a visit.
Deadman contacts Jason Blood who, though reluctant to help, has no choice when Deadman possesses his body and raises Etrigan the Demon.
Back at the circus, Red Robin wonders if the black lanterns are a way of redeeming their past failures, whether he can save his father from being killed. Batman attempts to convince him otherwise before being swept up by his own father, finding himself part of their trapeze act once more.
As Red Robin’s father plays out his last moments once more, Red Robin is able to apparently save him from the attack of the Black Lantern Captain Boomerang. Overcome with rage, he attacks Boomerang.
Above them, the trapeze holding the Graysons snaps thanks to the Black Lantern Zucco who killed the years before. Years of anger boil up and Batman attacks him before both he and Red Robin realise this was what the Lanterns wanted all along: to feed off their rage and emotions.
Deadman, in the body of Etrigan, arrives and burns the Lanterns while Batman contacts Robin who by now had reached the bunker. Batman orders one of Mr. Freeze’s freeze guns sent to him just as Deadman’s control of Etrigan begins to wane. Using the gun, Batman freezes Red Robin and then himself long enough for the Black Lanterns to lose interest in them and leave the battle. With them gone, Deadman takes control of Batman and Red Robin and breaks them out of the ice, leaving them ready to fight once more.