Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blackest Night

So I've been meaning to write this blog forever now. But I haven't. I am not really sure why but I just haven't really gotten around to it. Of all the major comic book events I've ever read I think I like this one the second most (first going to Final Crisis). However, it is the first major comic book event that I procured all of the side/suplimentary material for. As a result I have 7 hard back books that streach over all aspects of the DC universe. In many ways the Blackest Night is something that has been building in one way or another since the Infinite Crisis event which happened just before the Sinestro Corps War. Essentially, the theme of the Infinte Crisis is that life in the DC universe is really fucked up. Super Heroes die, families get killed in insanely awful ways, and general day to day crime fighting has huge risks involved. Now granted no one made that Tigra chick leap at Superboy prime so when he punched her head off acting suprised really isn't going to get you very far. However, once we release ourselves from the reality of the situation and revert back to comic book logic then, yeah the fact that she got her head punched off is really fucked up, the same with psycho pirate getting his face pushed out of the back of his head, or what happened to Kyle's wife. I mean jesus.

The Blackest Night event itself served as a massive reflection on the nature of death, grief, mourning, absoultion, and nearly indestructable superzombies punching the crap out of highly destructable super people. What more can a guy like me ask for? It isn't much really.

The strange thing about the event is while it contained insane amounts of action it was also very slow paced at the same time. When I said eariler that it served as a meditation on death I meant it. So there would be times where fight scenes would be driven to a halt while once charecter confronts his dead parents/children/lovers and is forced to work through the associated guilt that comes along with it. I liked this. I liked how the whole event forced both the charecters and the reader to realize how terrible some of these deaths were. For a long time DC has been criticised as being Death Comics. They have a callous lack of respect for low level super heros and villians and they tend to die with disturbing frequency. The teen titans book for examle became an endless string of deaths and sadness for so long that people began leaving the book because it just simply wasn't any fun to read. Also the fact that it was the TEEN titans didn't help any.

The death thing was cool but I'll leave it alone for a bit. Right now I want to talk about the ressurections. In many ways those make dealing with death so much worse than if death was forever. Looking back over the string of ressurections starting with the Hawk people on down the line it is almost impossible to not maintain some sort of hope that dead loved one X who got her ass stuffed in a refrigerator won't walk back through the door someday with a smile and a crazy story. Charecerters who have been through the entire grieving process now suddenly find themselves living with the Flash again, everyone trying to imagine that it didn't happen and ultimatly failing. If there is anything more arbitrary than death in the real world it is the randomness of the resurecctions in the DC universe. When Supergirl was faced with someone or other in Black Lantern form she just assumed it was a run of the mill resurrection and something went wrong somewhere, something that could be fixed though that was the key.

Ultimatly the book represented the ultimate fears of the DC universe, not death so much but ressurection. At the end of the series after the white light brought back a whole butt ton of people, those who still had dead parents and lovers are forced to wonder why is it that they have been left out? Why did only some of the dead heros come back and not all of them? Still the DC Universe just got a serious population boost in terms of super powered folks running around. Now comes the question of are they going to learn from all of this and stop killing each other? I hope so.

More and more often comics are starting to talk about the good old days where it was all sweetness and light. Hell in the punisher war zone (of all places) there was a love letter to silver age senibilities in the form of Stilt Man's Funeral a funeral that the punisher bombed marking the end of my interest in that writter's run on the book. The entirety of the Blackest Night was focused around dead people forcing the living to look back on how fucked up the last few years have been. There are others. However, can this cat be put back in the bag? Or will DC go back to funding underpreforming books with an endless parade of deaths and horrible tragedy? I hope not. I hope this marks a change in the company's line up. We will see though. December the Brightest Day trade comes out and I will be looking foward to it.

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