Blackest Night (Greatest Stories Ever Told)
When Geoff Johns, the architect of some of the greatest Green Lantern stories, set out to create Blackest Night, a part of me believes he has no idea how influential the work would become. Not only did The Blackest Night turn the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman into Lanterns, it also introduced the world to seven additional Lantern Corps.
The story picks up with Barry Allen and Hal Jordan standing inside the walls of a graveyard. The two are there recounting all the heroes they’ve lost over the years and that they wish they could return. Simultaneously, Black Hand begins to fulfill the Blackest Night Prophecy by dispersing Black Power Rings throughout the Universe. The Black Power Ring is capable of bringing back to life those who had died. The Rings immediately sought out Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Ronnie Raymond, and many other deceased heroes and villains. Two new recruits of the Black Corps, Elongated Man and Sue Dibny, set their sights on and successfully kill both Hawkman and Hawkgirl. This, of course, adds the two to the ranks.
A now “alive” Martian Manhunter begins to question both Hal and Barry as to why they are still human. Before they two could answer the question, he begins an assault on the city. The heroes look to stop him, however, due to his power set, they become tricked and start to battle each another. The scene shifts to the Universe where many members of the various Lantern Corps are watching their fallen brethren rise from the dead.
As war rages on, Sinestro rejoins the Sinestro Corps and Hal Jordan attempts to find a way to end the Blackest Night Prophecy. Just as thing looks bleak, the Indigo Lanterns show up and transport the two heroes to the Hall of Justice. They then explain that the Black Lanterns can be defeated. She then tells them that the darkness has been around for all of eternity but kept in check by the Emotional Spectrum. Now, unfortunately, Nekron has begun to rise and push against that which held him back.
Before anything else could be said, the Black Lanterns find the heroes and cause them to disperse. Before they could flee, the current girlfriend of Firestorm was left slain. With the Hall empty, the Lanterns fulfill the reason they came…to awaken the dead villains that lie beneath. The Indigo Lanterns then assemble the leaders of the other Corps and explain that the only way to achieve victory is to work together.
On the distant Ysmault, Atrocitus is seen defending himself and his Red Lanterns against those whom he betrayed long ago, the Four Inversions. The Four Inversions successfully apprehend Atrocitus and look to remove his heart thereby adding him to their ranks. Although they were successful in apprehending Atrocitus, they quickly learned that he did not need his heart to survive. This was because he was being powered by the Red Ring.
At this juncture of the story, the Black Lanterns have increased their power levels to 100% and at 100% Nekron, the Embodiment of Death returns. Upon his arrival,Nekron proceeds to raise all from the dead.
The heroes, along with the Lantern groups unleash a furious attack on their enemy. Just as things look to be swinging in favor of the group, Batman rises from the dead. And with Batman comes a slew of new Black Rings. These rings, like all before them, search for a new user. These rings, unlike all before them, attach themselves to the once dead but now living. Some of the new recruits include:
- Wonder Woman
- Green Arrow
The Rings then look to attach themselves to Barry and Hal. Luckily they are unable to because Barry’s super speed allows him to break any sort of connection to the Rings. At this moment, Ganthet of the Guardians forces each of the Leaders Power Rings to duplicate themselves and seek out new members…
- Lex Luthor – Orange Lanterns
- Scarecrow – Sinestro Corps
- Mera – Red Lantern
- Barry Allen – Blue Lantern
- The Atom – Indigo Tribe
- Wonder Woman – Star Sapphire Corps
Not over yet
As the 7 Lantern Groups arrive to battle Black Hand, Black Hand and Atrocitus get into a heated exchange. During the exchange, Black Hand forces his hand into the chest of Atrocitus and immediately questions where his heart is. Hal Jordan responds by telling him that Atrocitus does not need a heart as he is powered by the Red Ring.
Scarecrow then plunges his pitchfork into Black Hand and just as victory seems all but certain, Lex Luthor pushes him out of the way. He does so because not only does he want the glory the moment brings but he feels that he should possess all the Rings. As panic and mayhem break out, the Lanterns begin to attack one another. Sensing his victory within reach, Nekron kills one of the Guardians and beckons a creature simply know as “Trespasser”. In actuality, the Trespasser is a powerful being known as Entity and Entity unleashes a White Light that doubles over each hero in a world of pain.
Thinking that this instance is similar to that of the Parallax that Hal Jordan possessed, Sinestro flies into the creature and commands that it bestows him with its power. The creature grants the wish and Sinestro becomes a White Lantern. Now near invincible, Sinestro stops the other Lanterns from attacking and he, himself makes an attack against Nekron. Unfortunately, even the White Lantern Sinestro was incapable of stopping Nekron.
Hal explains to Nekron that although he wanted to wipe out life itself and replace it with death, everybody involved each chose life over death. The Entity, seeing and hearing this, takes it upon itself to give each person affected by the Black Power Ring the power of the White Lantern. Most importantly, the Entity revived William Hand or the connection that Nekron has to the living world, thus severing his connection.
Without any sort of connection to the living world and the heroes choosing life over death, Nekron is defeated and the Blackest Night Prophecy brought to an end.