Blackest Night #4

  • Writer: Geoff Johns
  • Penciller: Ivan Reis
  • Inkers: Joe Prado and 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): In the foreground on the right is Copperhead; then from the bottom left working up and back are: Brain Wave; Max Lord; Dr. Light; Alex Luthor of Earth-3; the Enforcer; Madame Rouge; Baron Blitzkrieg; the Gambler; Bug-Eyed Bandit; the Fiddler; and the Weasel (who looks a bit like Kilowog here!)

Variant Cover (on the right): The original Atom about to eat the second Atom.

Page 1 – Panel 1: This is the Flash crashing into a case containing Green Arrow’s trick arrows.

Page 1 – Panel 2: Black Hand walks through a graveyard. In the foreground are the graves of Martin and Jessica Jordan, the parents of Green Lantern (GL) Hal Jordan.

Page 1 – Panel 3: Hawkgirl fights Mera who mentions the Indigo Lanterns teleporting Jordan away; this was done in the previous issue and the results seen in GREEN LANTERN #46.

Page 1 – Panel 4: The Atom being attacked by Hawkman; ironic as they used to be such good friends. The Atom kindly gives us a recap of the Green/Indigo Lantern’s mission.

Pages 2 and 3: Top right is Firestorm; below him is the Cavalier; he’s holding the arm of Baron Blitzkrieg; below him is Brain Wave. Back to the top next to Firestorm’s leg is Madam Rouge; to the right and above her is the Gambler; to the right and below him is Maxwell Lord; over Max’s other shoulder is Black Bison; below and to the right of Bison is Killer Frost; in front of her is Alex Luthor of Earth-3; behind Frost is the Weasel; to the right of him is the Fiddler; behind and to the left of the Fiddler is the Martian Manhunter; below and to the right of the Fiddler is the Enforcer; in front of her is the Bug-Eyed Bandit; in front of him is Dr. Light; and on the far right is Copperhead.

Page 4 – Panel 2: Firestorm mentions being able to transmute organics with “Jason on board.” The original Firestorm (who is now this dead Black Lantern) couldn’t affect anything organic; the latest version (Jason Rusch) doesn’t have this restriction. Firestorm absorbed Jason in the previous issue.

Page 5 – Panel 1: Jason proves to be able to take control of the Firestorm body, if only temporarily.

Page 5 – Panel 3: Firestorm mentions “the Professor” – this is Professor Martin Stein who originally shared the Firestorm persona with Ronnie Raymond.

Page 5 – Panel 4: The voice in the Black Ring wants Barry Allen – this is the Flash’s real identity. Throughout this series, emphasis has been placed on those heroes in the DC Universe that, like the Flash, have returned from the dead.

Page 5 – Panels 5 and 6: Shotgun!

Page 5 – Panels 5 and 6: As Jason warns the heroes to evacuate the Earth, Firestorm takes control back from him.

Page 6 – Panel 1: The Black Lantern Aquaman returns to the fight, calling for his wife Mera.

Page 6 – Panel 3: The Atom’s usual mode of transport is riding on a telephone signal.

Page 7 – Panel 2: I’m guessing the emergency operator never had that happen before!

Page 7 – Panel 3: The Scarecrow, a long time Batman villain. While those around him are terrified (hence the yellow outlines) he feels nothing.

Page 8 – Panel 1: This is Azrael who, many years ago, took over as the Batman for a while.

Page 8 – Panel 2: Having dealt in fear for as long as he has, the Scarecrow has become unable to fear anything . . .

Page 8 – Panels 3 to 5: . . . and feeling no fear (or anything else) he is ignored by Azrael.

Page 9 – Panel 1: The hand belongs to Lex Luthor, archenemy of Superman. The voice is that of the Calculator who, prior to INFINITE CRISIS, was established as a villainous version of Oracle who deals in information which he then sold to fellow villains. He mentions in passing that the new Dr. Polaris (an enemy of the latest Blue Beetle) has been killed by the original Dr. Polaris, now a Black Lantern.

Page 9 – Panel 2: Note the Calculator’s face on the view screen.

Page 9 – Panel 5: The panels in front of Luthor presumably show the faces of those he has killed over the years. In the background can be seen the green and purple war suit he wore during INFINITE CRISIS. One of this site’s readers, Kevin, suggests “Luthor says, “As far as I’m concerned, it’s every man for himself.” I took this to be a reference to his Everyman project from 52 (in which he killed a ton of normal people by giving them superpowers and subsequently taking them away – the faces on the screen certainly seem like average joes).” which makes perfect sense to me.

Page 10 – Panel 1: The Flash mentions Alan Scott; this is the original Green Lantern who, while not a member of the GL Corps like Hal Jordan, has a similar power ring.

Page 10 – Panel 2: The Black Lanterns try to find the now vanished heroes. Left to right are Copperhead; Aquaman; Martian Manhunter; Firestorm; Hawkgirl; and Hawkman.

Page 10 – Panel 5: No pressure, then

Page 10 – Panel 4: The Atom says “The Justice League isn’t on anything yet,” At the time of writing, the League is in something of a state of flux. Most of the powerhouses have left or been killed and, frankly, the remainder is made up of second-stringers. It’s not quite the Detroit League but it’s not the Morrison-era JLA by a long shot.

Page 10 – Panel 5: As a motivational speaker, the Flash knows just what buttons to push!

Page 11 – Panel 1: I wonder if Mera is conscious of the pun she, as sometime queen of Atlantis, is making here?

Page 11 – Panel 2: Barry refers to what the Atom’s gone through with “Jean and Sue.” This is a subtle reference to when Jean Loring (Atom’s ex-wife) killed their friend Sue Dibny, wife of the Elongated Man, in an insane attempt at getting the Atom to return to Jean. This was detailed in IDENTITY CRISIS.

Page 11 – Panel 3: Mera refers to Arthur (Aquaman whom we saw earlier), her son (who died several years before) and Garth who, as we saw in issue #2, was killed and turned into a Black Lantern.

Page 11 – Panels 4 and 5: The Flash bigs up his best friend Hal Jordan.

Page 12 – Panel 1: The Atom calls Mr. Terrific, a member of the Justice Society of America.

Page 12 – Panel 5: The Michael Holt on the voicemail is Mr. Terrific’s identity.

Page 12 – Panel 6: Light show

Page 12 – Panel 6: With the emphasis in BLACKEST NIGHT on the emotional spectrum and various emotions projected using colours, I wonder if this light show bears any relevance to the greater story?

Page 13 – Panel 1: And here’s the reason Mr. Terrific isn’t answering his phone right now. In the top right corner are Stargirl and (apparently riding on her star-rod) is Wildcat; below them is Citizen Steel; left to right on the ground are Damage; Black Lantern (BL) Phantom Lady; BL Human Bomb; the Flash (Jay Garrick); GL Alan Scott; and Mr. Terrific. Above Scott and Terrific is Atom Smasher facing off against three Black Lanterns, the largest of which is the original Atom.

The Human Bomb’s statement refers to the events of INFINITE CRISIS #1 where he, Phantom Lady and Damage, along with the rest of the Freedom Fighters, were attacked by the Society. Phantom Lady and Human Bomb were killed while Damage’s face was so badly disfigured that he took to wearing a full-face mask.

Page 13 – Panel 3: The Atom and Mera arrive on the scene via one of Mr. Terrific’s T-spheres.

Page 14 – Panel 1: Want to get a message out fast to a lot of people? Here’s the best way!

Page 14 – Panel 2: Wonder Woman

Page 14 – Panel 2: This is Wonder Woman facing off against Black Lanterns. Coming in to land is Max Lord (whom Wonder Woman killed in the run up to INFINITE CRISIS) and, with his face wrapped in bandages, the Unknown Soldier. I’m uncertain as to the identity of the other soldiers behind him.

Page 14 – Panel 3: Black Canary and Green Arrow facing off against (on the far right) the original Black Canary, mother of the latest version.

Page 14 – Panel 5: The Teen Titans in a panel that ties in with the end of BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #3. In the air are Starfire and Beast Boy (who appears as a bird); left to right on the ground are Cyborg; Donna Troy; Dove; Wonder Girl; and Kid Flash. The Flash’s mention of “some of you out there might be able to weaken the [black power] rings enough with your own light” suggests he’s somehow aware of the events of BLACKEST NIGHT: TITANS #3 where Dove was shown to have the ability to destroy the black power rings.

Page 15 – Panel 2: Black Hand arrives at the Hand family undertakers/mortuary where he killed his family and then committed suicide. “The Guardians’ ultimate lie.” refers to the Guardians of the Universe who created the Green Lantern Corps; their lie presumably refers to Nekron, the power behind the Black Lanterns.

Page 15 – Panel 4: “Wally” is Wally West, Barry’s nephew and successor to the title of Flash; the red on yellow speech bubble is for Kid Flash.

Page 15 – Panel 5: As Andrew Dowdell points out in his notes on this issue, it seems likely that this attack by the Black Lantern Freedom Fighters will be depicted in more detail by the forthcoming BLACKEST NIGHT: JSA series. In the meantime, left to right are Black Condor; Sandman; the Atom; Johnny Thunder; Dr. Fate; Dr. Mid-Nite; Mr. Terriffic; Human Bomb; and Phantom Lady.

Page 16 – Panel 1: GL Alan Scott fires up his power ring; the Oa he mentions is the home planet of the Guardians of the Universe.

Page 16 – Panel 2: Watching the green flame are Power Girl; GL Alan Scott; Wildcat; Wildcat’s son also known as Wildcat; and Hourman.

Page 16 – Panel 3: Left to right: Sandman; Citizen Steel; Mera; and Stargirl.

Page 17 – Panel 1: In the top right, in front of Stargirl, is Damage; behind her is the Flash.

Page 17 – Panel 4: The Atom Family

Page 17 – Panel 3: The Atom mentions Al Pratt, the original (and now a Black Lantern) Atom; Damage is Pratt’s son.

Page 17 – Panel 4: Who the Hell wouldn’t be scared? Sensible question.

Page 18 – Panel 1: Al Pratt, the original Atom, attacks Atom Smasher. While Damage is Pratt’s son, Atom Smasher is his god-son.

Page 18 – Panel 3: Before his death, Al Pratt never knew Damage.

Page 19 – Panels 3 and 4: The Atom temporarily destroys Al Pratt.

Page 20 – Panel 1: Damage has his heart torn out by . . .

Page 20 – Panel 2: . . . the Black Lantern Jean Loring, Atom’s ex-wife and with Damage’s death the power levels of the Black Rings reaches 100%.

Page 20 – Panel 3: Jean refers to the events of IDENTITY CRISIS.

Page 21 – Panel 2: Floating in front of the Black Central Power Battery are Scar and the captured Guardians of the Universe. With Scar are the Black Lanterns Ash and Saarek who were taken by the Black Power battery at the start of BLACKEST NIGHT.

Page 21 – Panel 3: The Flash feels something probably because he’s been dead and returned, thus having some connection to the realm of the dead.

Page 22 – Panel 1: The Black Power Battery is transported to Earth . . .

Page 22 – Panel 2: . . . and Black Hand speaks the name of his Lord.

Page 23 – Panels 5 and 6: Nekron bids the dead (and there’s a lot of them) of Coast City to rise up.

Pages 24 and 25 – Panel 1: Nekron makes his first full appearance in BLACKEST NIGHT. It’s a safe bet that things will get worse before they get better after this.

Pages 26 and 27: More pages from the Book of the Black.