Books Of Oa: Blackest Night Black Lantern Corps Volume One

Blackest Night Black Lantern Corps Volume One (DC)
Written by Peter J. Tomasi, James Robinson & J.T.Krul, drawn by Ardian Syaf, Eddy Barrows, Allan Goldman & Ed Benes
Collects Blackest Night: Batman #1-3, Blackest Night: Superman #1-3 & Blackest Night: Titans #1-3

After putting quite a distance between re-reading the three main Blackest Night collections, I finally went back to check out the Blackest Night miniseries’ collected in the pages of this trade. The reason I skipped it back then was because, first off, I had just read a TON of Green Lantern comics and wanted a break, but I also didn’t really have fond memories of these tie-ins from when they originally came out.

I was less critical this time around, but I think a big part of that is that I got this trade in a Swap. I think there’s a big factor that comes in to play when you pay for something and how you wind up feeling about it. I’m more forgiving when I get something for free or super cheap.

Anyway, this book collects three BN minis that basically zero in on specific groups of characters as they experience the Black Lanterns using their dead loved ones against them basically instead of doing in-series tie-ins. This makes sense when you remember that Grant Morrison was doing his Batman thing, the whole New Krypton thing was happening in the many, many Superman books and, well, I have no recollection of what was going on with Titans, that book got BAD.

I don’t want to get too far into the details of the stories. Basically, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake’s parents come back in the Batman one, Superman and Supergirl’s dads return in the Superman one and pretty much every dead Titan pops up in the last one. The basic idea is the same: how do these heroes deal with the idea that their loved ones are back and wicked mean. Here’s the problem with the series’ though: they are completely unimportant to the larger story and wind up all being, essentially, the same story. Hero’s doing their thing, encounters a Black Lantern, wants to save deceased loved on, realizes they can’t and eventually comes up with some last ditch way of getting rid of them. It would have been fantastic if the methods used in these books wound up being important in the main series but as far as I remember that wasn’t the case.

I understand that you can’t ignore what Superman or Batman were doing during a gigantic event like this, but the real question I have — and it’s a bad one to be left with after reading a trades — is, what’s the point? For some, it’s enough to just see how those characters responded given the situation and from a very specific period of time for each of them. But, from a larger story point of view, there really is no need for any of these three miniseries’ to exist, unless you just want to see Donna Troy feel bad. Speaking of which, I know Krul came under fire for knocking off Red Arrow’s daughter, but the way he throws Donna Troy’s dead husband and baby at her is also pretty cruel. No thanks.

Trade Post: Wonder Woman Odyssey Volume 1

Wonder Woman: The Odyssey Volume 1 (DC)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski & Phil Hester, drawn by Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Allan Goldman & Daniel Hdr
Collects Wonder Woman #600-606

A lot was made of JMS taking over Wonder Woman. People weren’t sure why yet another writer felt the need to screw with Diana’s origin again. Little did anyone know, at that time, that in a year or so it wouldn’t matter. Well, I kind of figured it wouldn’t matter, but in a different way. I assumed this would just be one of those stories with an ending that explained how everything was in an alternate universe and put things back to normal. You know, basic comic book stuff.

So, I went into reading this first volume of what would become Phil Hester completing the story from JMS’s outlines, with an open mind. And, honestly, it’s a fine comic. Diana gets re-envisioned as a younger member of the Amazons. In this new timeline, the Amazons have left Paradise Island and have moved all over the world. There’s also a kind of anti-Amazons causing trouble in various ways. And, of course, there’s enough hints dropped letting you know that something is wrong with this reality, which I assume lead back to the original WW coming back (or would have, if Flash Point/DCNu hadn’t gotten in the way, I really have no idea how this whole thing ended).

But, at the end of the day, does it matter? Considering the new direction DC has taken, probably not in a continuity sense. The real question is whether the story goes somewhere new and worthwhile, mattering artistically. I’m leaning towards no. I’ve read a lot of Wonder Woman comics over the years and nothing in this collection felt altogether interesting or groundbreaking. It doesn’t help that the original writer bailed on the book. If he didn’t care enough to finish, should the reader care enough to see it through to the end?

I don’t usually like JMS’s writing because he has a tendency to get Claremontian with his verbosity. However, I didn’t have that problem with whatever issues he actually wrote (Hester’s always solid in my book). On the other hand I love Don Kramer’s artwork. Unfortunately, he didn’t do the whole book and some of the fill-in guys lack basic composition and storytelling skills. Also, for whatever it’s worth, I had no problem with Wonder Woman’s new costume, even if I used it as a spring board for a Topless Robot list I wrote. I think it looked practical, modern and bad ass.

At the end of the day there wasn’t enough goodness in this book to get me excited about picking up the next volume. I’d probably read it eventually if someone gave me a copy, but I have no intention of seeking it out. If I get curious about how it ended or how it tied into the then-DCU, I’ll just check the Wiki page.