Blackest Night #1

  • Writer: Geoff Johns
  • Penciller: Ivan Reis
  • Inker: Oclair Albert
  • Colorist: Alex Sinclair
  • Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
  • Cover Penciller: Ivan Reis
  • Cover Inker: Oclair Albert
  • Cover Colorist: Alex Sinclair
  • Editors: Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman

Standard Cover (above): Despite the suspicion of some fans, the skull appears not to belong to Nekron, an old Green Lantern villain who has been revealed as the power behind the Black Lanterns. As the story shows, however, the skull here is Batman’s.

Variant Cover (on the right): In the background are various Black Lanterns – from left to right are: Aquaman; Martian Manhunter; Firestorm; Deadman; Earth-Two Superman; and Terra. In front of them is Black Hand.

In the foreground are the heroes Flash; Wonder Woman; Green Lantern Hal Jordan; Green Arrow; and Superman.

Page 1 – Panels 1 and 2: This picks up directly from the end of BLACKEST NIGHT #0 with Black Hand clutching the skull of Bruce Wayne. Black Hand talks to the entity behind the Black Lantern who, at this point, is still unrevealed.

Page 1 – Panel 3: Space Sector 666, the dead planet where Green Lanterns Saarek and Ash recently discovered the Black Central Power Battery that can be seen here.

Page 1 – Panel 4: “No one escapes death. That includes you.” Is Black Hand thinking of the voice he’s talking to? Is he aware that, at the end of everything, his mysterious benefactor / leader must die as well? And will it be at Black Hand’s . . . errr . . . hand? Or is he breaking the fourth wall and directly addressing the reader? After all, it’s not the first time he’s done that. Or is he addressing the skull of Bruce Wayne, somehow aware that while he’s buried here, he’s also in the past as shown in the last pages of FINAL CRISIS #7?

Page 2 – Panel 1: The Black Power Rings launch from the battery.

Page 2 – Panel 2: “The dead will rise. And you are connected to them all.” Again, I wonder if he is referring to the entity behind the Lantern? Or is he referring to Batman? Note that Batman’s skull appears to be regenerating flesh as Black Hand licks the bone.

Page 3 – Panels 1 to 3: Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s narration makes mention here of a day of celebration and honour for the fallen heroes. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time this has appeared but what the hey, it’s a nice idea. The celebration we’re seeing is taking place in Coast City, home to Jordan.

Page 3 – Panel 4: Amongst the crowd are Jordan’s relatives – his brother Jim in the white shirt and glasses; Jim’s wife Susan in the pink top holding their daughter Jane while their son Howard is in front of them.

Pages 4 and 5: Flying over the city are the Green Lanterns of Earth. The caption boxes name them so this might be a little redundant but on the left are John Stewart and below him Kyle Rayner; on the right is Guy Gardner; and front and centre is Hal Jordan himself. The pilot of the jet above Stewart is the Cowgirl Jordan is speaking to – Jillian Pearlman, Captain in the US Air Force and Jordan’s girlfriend. Jordan’s narration talks of the amount of death that accompanies those of the “caped community.”

Page 6 – Panel 1: Jordan (as a young boy) watches as the plane his father was piloting explodes, killing him. In the bottom left is the young Carol Ferris.

Page 6 – Panel 2: Green Lantern Abin Sur lays dying in the ruins of his spaceship, just before passing the power ring on to Jordan whose arm can be seen in the foreground.

Page 6 – Panel 3: The ruins of Coast City following its devastation by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman. Jordan wears a power ring-created sling having had his arm broken fighting Mongul.

Page 6 – Panels 4 and 5: The Lanterns light a tribute labelled “No fear” as part of the celebration. Green Lanterns are traditionally chosen because they are fearless.

Page 7 – Panel 1: Stewart and Green Lantern Katma Tui apprehend the Predator who, it was later revealed, was the male counterpart of Carol Ferris’s Star Sapphire persona. The Predator was glimpsed in the pages of GREEN LANTERN # 43 as being the personification of the Star Sapphire’s power, in the same way that the Parallax entity is behind the Sinestro Corps’ yellow rings.

Page 7 – Panel 2: Though Jordan’s narration states Katma was killed by “a Star Sapphire”, it was Carol Ferris who killed her. At the time, she was the only Star Sapphire (though there had been others previously) and they did not exist as a Corps in the same way as the Green Lanterns did.

Page 7 – Panel 3: Stewart stands in front of a huge bomb that in moments explodes, destroying the planet of Xanshi. This whole episode is detailed in the mini-series COSMIC ODYSSEY. Stewart wrestled with the guilt of Xanshi’s destruction for years to come.

Page 7 – Panel 4: The original Woman in a Refrigerator

Page 7 – Panel 4: Rayner is shown discovering the body of his then-girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt whose body was stuffed into his refrigerator by Major Force.

Page 7 – Panel 5: Top to bottom we have Rayner again, then Green Lantern Alan Scott who holds the body of his daughter Jade. Jade died during INFINITE CRISIS.

Page 7 – Panel 6: Here we have Gardner again kissing Ice. As Jordan’s narration states, Ice has recently “returned” – from the dead, that is.

Page 8 – Panel 1: As the Lanterns lead the celebration, Jordan muses on where each of them needs to go.

Page 8 – Panel 2: Rayner flies off to Jenny – Jade’s real name; he is off to pay respects at her grave.

Page 8 – Panel 3: Gardner flies off to be with Ice.

Page 8 – Panel 4: Stewart flies to the ruins of Xanshi.

Page 8 – Panel 5: And Jordan remains in Coast City with Cowgirl and, shown again in the crowd, his brother Jim and his family.

Page 9 – Panel 1: From left to right are Krypto, Superboy, Marth Kent and Superman. They are gathered at the grave of Jonathan Kent who was Martha’s husband and Superman’s adoptive father. Superboy, it’s worth noting, has recently returned from the dead as well.

Page 9 – Panel 3: Left to right are Professor Martin Stein, Gehenna and Firestorm (Jason Rusch). Stein and Ronnie Raymond (whose grave they are all visiting) were the first team to become Firestorm; Rusch is the latest and Gehenna is his girlfriend. Stein refers to her as “Miss Hewitt” in relation to her father, the long-time Firestorm foe Henry Hewitt.

Page 9 – Panels 4 and 5: Gehenna’s sharp enough to notice that everything around them, the trees and the plants, are dying.

Page 10 – Panel 1: At the Titans Tower another gathering takes place. From left to right are someone hidden behind the caption boxes (probably Eddie Bloomberg, formerly Red Devil); Cyborg; Raven; Wendy Harris; Kid Flash; Geo-Force; and Wonder Girl. Kid Flash is also another hero returned from the dead. The statues behind them are in memory of Marvin White (Wendy’s brother); Terra; and Jericho.

Page 10 – Panels 3 and 4: The Rogues, enemies of the Flash, gather for their own commemoration. From left to right are Trickster; Captain Boomerang; Mirror Master; Weather Wizard; Heat Wave; and Captain Cold. They’re here to mourn the first Captain Boomerang, the “Digger” that Cold mentions, who was the father of the Boomerang seen here.

Page 10 – Panels 5 and 6: Gathered at the grave of Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, are his friends from the time of Justice League International. From left to right are Fire; Booster Gold (with his robotic aide Skeets hovering behind him); Black Canary; Ice; and Guy Gardner again. Note that the flowers in Panel 5 are from Sherwood Florist – this is the name of the florists that Canary ran when she and Green Arrow lived in Seattle. A petal of the rose is shown falling, dying just as Gehenna mentioned on the previous page.

Page 11 – Panel 1: Valhalla

Page 11 – Panel 1: And here’s the first big crowd of heroes scene. I think this is the first time that the Valhalla Cemetery – which has appeared in various series over the years and was, I’m pretty sure, first shown in the Grant Morrison JLA series – has been definitively placed in Metropolis. Anyway, who’s here?

We’ll start with the fliers, from left to right: Starman; Cyclone; an unknown with a green body and dark cape who might be Ragman; Steel (Natasha Irons); Stargirl (hovering above the crowd); Power Girl; Steel (John Henry Irons); Green Lantern Kyle Rayner; Lightning; Plastic Man (not flying but very tall!); an unknown with dark body and blue cape; Thunderbolt; Jakeem and Thunder.

On the ground are Magog; S.T.R.I.P.E.; Wildcat (Tom Bronson); Wildcat (Ted Grant); Dr. Mid-Nite; Ma Hunkle; Obsidian; Green Lantern Alan Scott; Flash (Jay Garrick); Mr. Terrific; Liberty Belle; and Hourman.

The statues commemorate the first Dr. Mid-Nite; an unknown with a cape who might be Mr America; the first Sandman; what looks like the first Crimson Avenger; the first Mr. Terrific; Jade; and the first Dr. Fate.

Page 11 – Panel 2: On the left we have Damage and the right is Atom Smasher, both stood before a statue of the original Atom. Damage is Atom’s son while Atom Smasher was his god-son. In the background is a statue to Commander Steel and in front of it, we can just see the back of his head, is Citizen Steel.

Page 11 – Panel 3: At the bottom of the panel are the Freedom Fighters that Damage refers to – Uncle Sam on the left, the Ray on the right. They stand before the statues of the Freedom Fighters that were killed during INFINITE CRISIS: Phantom Lady at the bottom; Black Condor next to her; the Human Bomb at the top.

Page 11 – Panel 4: I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Damage meant to say he was left “with a crushed nasal cavity.” I’ve had a quick look on the net but can’t see anything about a naval cavity that makes sense here. Any doctors or medical students want to enlighten me otherwise?

Page 12 – Panel 2: Here we have Mera, the wife of Aquaman, and Tempest, the former Teen Titan Aqualad. As we can see, Tempest thinks it odd that the King of the Seas is buried on land.

Page 12 – Panel 5: Note the dead fish floating just off shore.

Page 13 – Panel 1: Alfred Pennyworth, butler, friend and advisor to Bruce Wayne for most of the latter’s life, arrives to pay respects at his grave.

Page 13 – Panel 5: Alfred’s “terrible mistake” will be expanded upon in just a moment.

Page 14 – Panel 2: Jordan and Allen stand in the morgue beneath the Justice League’s headquarters where at least twenty eight of their foes’ dead bodies are held. Of particular interest to me is the casket for Alexander Luthor of Earth-3, the main villain of INFINITE CRISIS.

Page 15 – Panel 1: Again, as he did in BLACKEST NIGHT #0, Jordan remarks that the world became a different, darker place since Allen died.

Page 15 – Panels 2 and 3: Allen wants to know who else died while he was “gone.

Pages 16 and 17: The numbered dead

Pages 16 and 17: Despite his reluctance, Jordan shows Allen all the other heroes who’ve died in the intervening years. Here’s the key to the image on the left:

1) Elongated Man 2) Sue Dibny 3) Phantom Lady 4) Skyman 5) Tarantula 6) Negative Woman 7) The Atom 8) Black Canary I (I think – I’m not a 100% though) 9) Human Bomb 10) Osiris 11) Wildcat 12) Hawk 13) Dove 14) Wildebeest 15) Vibe 16) Amazing Man 17) Fury 18) Aquaman 19) Kole 20) Dr. Fate (Hector Hall) 21) Sandman 22) Steel 23) Omen 24) Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) 25) Aztek 26) Green Lantern Katma Tui 27) Mr. America (I think) 28) Pantha 29) Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson) 30) Dr. Mid-Nite 31) Celsius 32) Airwave 33) Jade 34) Firestorm 35) Freedom Beast 36) Pariah 37) Dolphin 38) Azrael 39) Blue Beetle (Dan Garrett) 40) Dr. Midnight 41) Crimson Fox 42) Aquagirl 43) The Question 44) Black Condor 45) Tempest (Joshua Clay) 46) Bushido 47) Harbinger 48) Rocket Red 49) Commander Steel 50) Martian Manhunter 51) Batman

Page 18 – Panel 4: Allen’s particularly distraught at the deaths of Elongated Man and his wife, Sue Dibny. He and his own wife Iris were firm friends with the pair of them.

Page 18 – Panel 6: It’s unsurprising that Jordan isn’t sure where to start explaining how Sue died. If you don’t know why, the whole story was covered in IDENTITY CRISIS.

Page 19 – Panel 1: The Stonechat Museum in St. Roch is home to . . .

Page 19 – Panel 2: Hawkgirl and . . .

Page 19 – Panel 3: Hawkman. The “Ray” he’s on the phone to here is Ray Palmer, The Atom. Palmer’s usual mode of transport is to shrink himself down and ride the signal from one phone to the other which is why he asks Hawkman to move the phone away from his ear.

Page 20 – Panel 1: Hanging up

Page 20 – Panel 1: But Hawkman’s in no mood for talking with The Atom and punches the phone, killing the signal.

Page 20 – Panel 2: Hawkman tells Hawkgirl the reason he’s arguing with one of his best friends: Ray’s ex-wife Jean Loring had killed Sue Dibny in “some insane attempt to lure The Atom back to her.” Hawkman is enraged that The Atom would want to visit Loring’s grave, let alone have Hawkman accompany him.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl have been reincarnated throughout the ages and some of those lives are commemorated here. From left to right is Lady Celia Penbrook and the Silent Knight; Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara (their first lives); Nighthawk and Cinnamon.

Page 21 – Panels 1 to 3: As mentioned above, the Hawks have been reincarnated many times and have always found each other and fallen in love once more. This time, however, things are slightly different as Kendra has no memories of her previous lives and has spent some time resisting falling for Carter although that hasn’t always been successful.

Page 21 – Panel 5: The Atom sits beside his phone, rejected by his friend. On the left of the desk are two photos – a painting of Hawkman with The Atom on his shoulder which is taken from the cover of HAWKMAN #8, cover dated December 2002. The other is a group shot of the Justice League taken from the pages of IDENTITY CRISIS. The folders on the desk are labelled the Last Will and Testament of Jean Loring and the Palmer Divorce. The book beside them, The Murder of Sue Dibny, is by Roy Raymond Jr., an investigative journalist who hosted a day-time tabloid show. He has since become Owlman following Batman’s death.

Page 22 – Panel 1: Jordan’s reference to Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny’s breakdown and Felix Faust concerns the story told in 52.

Page 22 – Panels 2 and 3: Allen mentions Carol – this is Carol Ferris, long-time on again/off again girlfriend of Jordan. For a long time she was (as mentioned above) Star Sapphire, a separate persona that would take over Carol’s body. As far as Jordan is aware, the Star Sapphire is no longer a threat to Ferris.

Page 22 – Panel 4: Star Sapphire holds her own

Page 22 – Panel 4: Unknown to Jordan, Ferris fights in the War of Light as a member of the Star Sapphires (SS) against the Sinestro Corps (SC). In the picture to the right we have: SC Romat-Ru; SS Miri; SS Fatality; SC Moose; SS Carol Ferris; SC Slushh; SC Tekik; and SC Low.

Page 22 – Panel 5: Alfred Pennyworth contacts the JLA and, at the same time, explains the mistake he mentioned earlier – that of honoring Bruce Wayne’s wishes and burying him next to his parents. The Richard he mentions is, of course, Dick Grayson, once Robin, then Nightwing, now Batman.

Page 23 – Panel 2: On Oa, the Guardians of the Universe, founders of the Green Lantern Corps, look at a display showing explosions of light in many different colours. The Guardian in the top right hand corner is Scar.

Pages 24 and 25 – Panel 1: The Guardians view four close ups of the War of Light. The top left shows the Star Sapphire vs. the Sinestro Corps as mentioned above; the only new member not mentioned is to the right of SC Tekkik, the Sinestro Corps member Tri-Eye.

The next close up, in the top right hand corner of the panel, shows the Sinestro Corps. Mongul, the current leader, is front and centre and to the right, nearest the bottom, looks to be SC Arkillo. Not sure if the one on the left – the blue skinned, elongated head – has a name.

Below that are the Green Lanterns (GL) fighting the Red Lanterns (RL). From the top of the circle working clockwise are: an unknown Sinestro Corps member being blasted by Hannu; GL Graf Toren; GL Hannu; RL Bleeze; GL Tomar-Tu; Alpha Lantern Boodikka; RL Zilius Zox; RL Vice (possibly); another unknown Red Lantern.

The bottom shows the Orange Lanterns (OL) attacking the Blue Lanterns (BL). From the top right working clockwise are BL Sister Sersy; Ganthet; Sayd; BL Brother Warth; BL Saint Walker; various Orange Lanterns.

Pages 24 and 25 – Panel 2: The shadow from Sector 666 that the Guardians mention is the vast number of Black Rings heading for Oa.

Pages 24 and 25 – Panel 3: Flying in from the left are GL Kyle Rayner and GL Guy Gardner; GL Brik helps clean up the debris from the recent jail break on Oa; GL Salaak; GL Kilowog.

Pages 24 and 25 – Panel 5: Two rookie GLs (they have white circles on their chests but no GL symbols) watch the approach of the Black Rings.

Page 26 – Panel 1: Fancy a bite?

Page 26 – Panel 1: Scar launches herself at another Guardian, finally making her move.

Page 26 – Panel 2: Left to right are Alpha Lantern Green Man; a rookie; GL Guy Gardner and GL Kyle Rayner.

Page 26 – Panels 3 and 4: Scar tears open the Guardian’s chest and pulls out his heart.

Page 27 – Panels 1 and 2: GL Morro of Sector 666, who guards the crypts of the fallen Lanterns, attempts to keep the Black Rings from entering but fails.

Page 27 – Panel 3: GLs Kyle Rayner; Kilowog; Brik; Salaak; Alpha Lantern Green Man; and Guy Gardner.

Page 27 – Panel 5: Scar is easily able to repel an attack from another Guardian.

Page 27 – Panel 6: In the crypt of the Green Lanterns, the Black Rings find their first victims. On the left is Kreon; next is Gallius Zed; Ke’Haan; and Katma Tui.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 1: The Black Rings aren’t just targeting Oa; they are spread throughout the cosmos.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 2: Having been alerted by Alfred, Flash and GL Jordan head to the grave of Bruce Wayne where they find his skull missing.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panels 3 and 4: The Black Rings reach Mars where they find the body of the Martian Manhunter laying in state.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 6: The Rings break through the power ring monuments and find the corpses within; at the top of the panel is Ke’Haan, while below him is Katma Tui.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 8: Ronnie (Firestorm) Raymond is called into service.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 9: Unable to use the emotionless hearts of the Guardians, Scar sets about imprisoning them. Something tells me she’s going to regret that move a little later down the line.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 10: Back in the Valhalla Cemetery, the heroes we saw being honored earlier are about to be forcibly resurrected.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 11: Back with GL Jordan and Flash, someone has joined them at Batman’s grave.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 12: Here the villains that the Rogues honored in their own way are about to join the Black Lanterns. From the top down are The Top (Roscoe Dillon); Golden Glider (Lisa Snart) and Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness).

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 13: On Oa, the Lanterns are about to get a big surprise.

Pages 28 – 29 – Panel 14: Not even Aquaman is going to get out of being part of this.

Pages 30 and 31 – Panel 2: Rise!

Pages 30 and 31 – Panel 2: The crypt of the Green Lanterns has been raided and here’s the result. You might want to open the image on the left in a new window/tab; I’ve deliberately left it large and it’s been numbered from left to right and from the back of the crowd coming forward. Those I’ve numbered (with the number as close to their forehead as possible) are:

1) The Unknown Lantern 2) Bivvix 3) Cherniss 4) Chogar 5) Ebikar Hrui 6) Zharan Pel 7) Starkadr 8) Squagga 9) Spak Drom 10) Eddore 11) Tanakata Z 12) Adara 13) To-T-U-K 14) Priest 15) Hollika Rahn 16) K’ryssma 17) Quarzz Teranh 18) Avir 19) Branwilla 20) Archon Z’gmora 21) Zaneth or Cthos-Cthos Chthatis – there’s a difference of opinion which I need to investigate 22) Blish 23) Kendatha Kr’nek 24) Rori Dag 25) Flodo Span 26) Barin 27) Zborra 28) Cthos-Cthos Chthatis 29) Arx 30) Ki-Nilg 31) Rak Arranya 32) Kreon 33) Ayria 34) Jack T. Chance 35) Davo Yull 36) Reemuz 37) KT21 38) unknown 39) Cundiff Cood 40) Ahtier 41) Pelle 42) Galius Zed 43) Katma Tui 44) Diamalon 45) Arkkis Chummuck 46) Ch’p 47) Tylot 48) Remnant Nod 49) Ke’Haan 50) Bzzd

A note from Tenzel Kim who points out a couple I’ve missed: “Just below 17 you have Brin (the horse), just above number 20 (actually just behind the number) you have Dob Zagil, and just below number 41’s hand you have Skr’kl.

Page 32 – Panel 1: J’onn J’onnz the Martian Manhunter, has obviously made a quick trip from Mars back to Earth and is looking none too pleased about it!

Page 33 – Panels 2 and 3: Someone else, another Black Lantern, is in the Stonechat Museum with the Hawks.

Page 33 – Panel 5: From the point of view of the Black Lanterns we can see that they view the world in terms of the emotional colour spectrum. Here, Hawkman’s anger glows red, hence the mention of “Rage.

Page 34 – Panel 2: Hawkgirl says that, in their previous lives, whenever their love has been admitted, the Hawks inevitably died before their time.

Page 34 – Panels 3 and 4: Again from the Black Lantern’s viewpoint, the colour of rage changes to violet, that of love as Kendra’s feelings become all too clear.

Page 34 – Panel 7: Famous last words

Page 34 – Panel 7: And no sooner is Hawgirl about to give in and admit her feelings . . .

Page 35 – Panel 1: . . . she is brutally stabbed through the chest.

Page 35 – Panel 3: The Black Lantern, his hand elongated around the handle of the mace with which he hits Hawkman, calls out the name Sue.

Page 36 – Panel 1: No surprise then that the two Black Lanterns are Ralph (Elongated Man) Dibny and his wife Sue who still holds the spear with which she stabbed Hawkgirl.

Page 37 – Panel 3: Friend or no, Hawkman’s not above hitting Ralph for all the good it does.

Page 38 – Panels 5 to 7: Hawkgirl refutes Ralph’s claims that she hated Hawkman and, confessing her love, dies.

Page 39 – Panel 2: Sue Dibny bends over the corpse of Hawkgirl and opens her chest as Ralph . . .

Page 39 – Panels 3 to 5: . . . does the same to Hawkman.

Page 40 – Panel 3: Black Hand appears, still clutching the skull of Batman as the hearts of the Hawks wither in the hands of Ralph and Sue.

Page 40 – Panel 4: Two new black rings fly from Batman’s skull and the Black Lanterns are about to gain two more recruits.