Blackest Night began to turn a major plot corner with three significant issues hitting stands last week. The yellow, violet, indigo and yellow rings joined together for in Green Lantern #47. Meanwhile, in other Blackest Night Titans #3, the Teen Titans’ Dove exhibited an interesting new ability: snuffing out Black Lanterns while reclining. And, of course, in Blackest Night #4, the Flash played his traditional crisis role as the central rallying figure for the forces of good. In non-zombie news, Marvel Divas, mercifully, came to a close, while its counterpart, Gotham City Sirens, cranked up a new arc. Red She-Hulk delivered Red Hulk directly into the hands of Leonard Samson, and Reed Richards turned away from solving Everything and simply decided to Do Better.Here are some of the highlights. Click on the thumbnails for a full-page excerpt.

The Joker’s Mild


Gotham City Sirens #5

Joker takes center stage in this issue, with writer Paul Dini pulling a deft doff-of-the-cap to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight:

Joker: Steady, old man! It would be a bitter joke to break your own neck now! Heh!

Of course, that was also a little hint of the other surprise Dini had planned for the arc as he pulled off a little in-story retconning of the Joker he’s been writing to make the character fit better with the more serious Joker that is appearing elsewhere in the DC Universe. See, the jokey Joker wasn’t really the Joker after all, rather it was Gaggy, the Joker’s original sidekick.

More importantly, Dini gave us a subtler look at the Joker/Harley relationship — with Joker as an aging man trying to impress is much-younger paramour. Harley recounts Mr. J taking her to a warehouse see a bunch of his old gags, including the old Jokermobile:

Catwoman: How was the ride?
Harley: Fine, until some punks yelled, ‘Hey, get a load of the Weinermobile!'” … Heh. yeah. He shot them. I always felt kinda bad about that.

In case you get confused and think for a moment that Harley’s pity falls towards the victims of Joker’s wrath, artist Guillem March does an excellent job of drawing Joker behind the wheel of the old heap, hunched up, wizened and crotchety. This is not the young, joie-de-mort Joker. He’s old, kinda frail, and somewhat past his prime. And being with Harley only makes that more obvious.

The Divas Take a Dive


Marvel Divas #4

In the opening pages of the final Divas, three of Our Heroes realize that the fourth member of their group is trapped in Hell as a result of making a deal with Daimon Hellstrom. Now, I’ve spoken before about how the dialogue in this book has been hackneyed and forced. And maybe I was off-base. Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I was too hard on the writer.

Photon: Deal or no deal, we are not gonna take a powder while Patsy rots in some disco inferno.

Then again, maybe I wasn’t hard enough.

I’m just thankful the sentence didn’t end in “, girlfriend.”

Meanwhile, I’ve been grappling with the idea of a non-Stephen Dr. Strange, and I’ve decided that I don’t like Brother Doctor Voodoo in the Sorcerer Supreme role. Nope. Not one little bit. And I’ve been having a hard time putting my finger on it until the Divas approached him for help with their problem:

Voodoo: Wait a minute. Daimon, as in… Hellstrom?
Firestar: Yes.
Photon: Maybe. What difference would it make?
Voodoo: The difference is… Hellstrom’s a bad-#%@. If I can avoid messing with that juju, I do.

See, the Dr. Strange that I know and love would never fail a comely trio of help-seekers. He would never back down from a fight. He isn’t scared of a second-stringer like Daimon Hellstrom.

AND HE DOESN’T SAY ‘JUJU!’

Enough of this. BRING BACK DR. STRANGE!

Do You See It?


Green Lantern #47

For the first time, I believe, four colors of the emotional spectrum have combined to defeat the Black Lanterns. Indigo, Green, Violet and Yellow all joined together to vanquish evil.

And if you were paying attention, you saw something very interesting happen in those panels. Maybe I shouldn’t even point it out. But it was there. Right there for the discerning eye to pick up. I’ll tell you what. I’m not even going to point it out. See for yourself. I’ll show you the scene I’m talking about and you’ll see it. I know you will. Heck, if you don’t see it right away, click on the thumbnail and you’ll get a larger version. I promise you’ll see it in the larger version if you look hard enough. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

WWLD?


Blackest Night #4

Meanwhile, in BN#4, we’re given the answer to the question that’s been on everyone’s mind for the past few months: Where’s Luthor? He’s been strangely absent in the Blackest Night storyline. I’ve been expecting him to rise up and save the entire universe, gaining control of the Justice League of America in the process and installing a group of villains pretending to be JLAers.

I’m kidding, of course. That would be a blatant rip-off.

Aaaaaanyway, the answer to “WWLD?” Hole up in a bunker and quietly mess his Giorgio Armani slacks, evidently.

Luthor (to Calculator): Do you know how many people I’ve killed over the years? If the dead are rising, I’ll have my own problems.

Lane Bryant Does Leather?


Hulk #16

Meanwhile, Deadpool, too, was reaping what he had sown — although it looks as if the actual sewing was done by Fredericks of Hollywood. As he eyed the new Red She-Hulk, clad in a revealing, ripped, leather outfit, he went from Deadpool to deadpan in under ten seconds:

Deadpool: Love the outfit. It’s so hard to find things in plus sizes that looks good on you big gals.

Red-She responds by demurely shish-ka-bobbing the merc-with-a-mouth with one of Electra’s sword-thingies. Later, she leads the recently blinded Red Hulk away from the fray with a little war logic about how to respond to an opponent with whom you are evenly matched.

Red Hulk: You know Sun-Tzu.
Red She-Hulk: Bud Fox, actually.

Nu-World? Doesn’t Sound So ‘Nu’ To Me…


Fantastic Four #572

Of course, the central thrust of the issue was that Reed Richards has decided that he doesn’t want to Solve Everything. He just wants to Do Better. The other Reeds in the All-Reed Squad taunt him as he leaves: “You’ll be back. You always come back!” Meanwhile, Johnny Storm and the Thing prepare for a vacation on Nu-World. Lessee…

Swimsuit?
Check.
Trashy novel?
Check.
Beach blankets?
Check.
Overwrought foreshortening…?

Thing: You sure it’s okay for us to be goin’ Sue — ’cause you ain’t gonna be able to reach us if you need us.

Check.

Sue: Go. have a good time. You deserve it.
Thing: All right, then… you heard the lady.
Johnny Storm: No way to be bothered —

Double-check.

— and stuck on a world that has never known the love of one Johnny Storm…

Just imagine. An entire planet full of women you’ve never had sex with.

I’ve been there. It’s not so hot.

Dove: 99.44% Awesome


Blackest Night Titans #3

Finally, I’ll leave you with this striking visual. Dove has discovered that there’s something inside her that makes the DC zombies pop like soap bubbles. I’d say Blackest Night is headed for Dawn.