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Synopsis "Reunion By My Black Hand -- The Dead Shall Rise Part One"
Blackest Night Catch-Up
On the anniversary of Superman’s death, mysterious black rings descended from the sky. The rings reanimate dead bodies turning them into Black Lanterns – cunning and vicious perversions of the corpses’ original identities. These are not created at random, each Black Lantern is chosen to create the greatest emotional distress in a targeted person or group. The Black Lanterns taunt you until they elicit a strong emotional response (fear, hate, love, anger, etc) and then they rip out your heart. Each heart adds incrementally to the power that the Nekron, Lord of the Dead, needs to enter the living world (Blackest Night #1-4).
More more details see my Blackest Night #1-4 catch-up.
In Justice League of America #38: At the time of the attack on the Hall of Justice, the current roster of the Justice League had been meeting in the Secret Sanctuary, the League’s original headquarters. They had suffered a series of crises that had depleted their roster and left them dangerously under resourced. Furthermore, attacks by the villain Promethius had left bones and wills broken. Their deliberations were cut short by a sudden attack by Despero, but he vanished as mysteriously as he had appeared. Zatanna arrived to alert Vixen and the League of the threat of the Black Lanterns and to bring them back to the Hall of Justice.
Reunion Part One: By My Black Hand The Dead Shall Rise (30-page)
The convention that DC uses when introducing Black Lanterns – particularly old, obscure characters that newer readers won’t have heard of – is to include a prologue wherein that character’s memories are downloaded into the Black Lantern. In this issue we see the life story of Vibe – a nineteen-year old Hispanic meta-human wannabe-gangbanger/superhero who was inducted into the Justice League after Aquaman just happened to move the League’s headquarters into his neighbourhood. Vibe ran with the League for a while, but ended up dead on the streets of Brooklyn, strangled by a pair of disembodied robotic hands. With the command of “Paco Ramone of Earth. Rise!”, Black Lantern Vibe bursts out of his grave.
Zatanna returns to the Hall of Justice with Vixen, Gypsy, Doctor Light, Plastic Man, and the Red Tornado. They find the Hall in darkness, the power out, the doors broken open, and wreckage strewn through the corridors. Their biggest concern is the Morgue buried beneath the central Meeting Room. It contained the bodies of deceased supervillains whose remains had been moved there after Nightwing discovered an illegal laboratory that was using meta-human remains to create Frankenstein-like super soldiers.
Doctor Light illuminates the darkness as the heroes make their way deeper into the Hall. They fully expect to meet the villains resurrected as Black Lanterns, but it’s Black Lantern Zatara – Zatanna’s father – who actually blocks their way. Zatanna rejects BL Zatara’s assertion that he is her father (she witnessed the destruction of the real Zatara’s immortal soul). He keeps up a steady stream of offensive spells which lock Zatanna into a magical duel. He almost tears out her heart before she manages to repel him. A weakened Zatanna then teleports herself and BL Zatara away from the Hall.
Doctor Light races a head of her team-mates, leaving them on their own. As the remaining heroes pass through the Trophy Room they discuss how the Black Lanterns are emotionally tied to their victims. Vixen and Gypsy are about to mention Vibe and Steel’s names when Black Lantern Vibe reveals himself. The Red Tornado and Plastic Man immediately attack. The Tornado’s winds rips BL Vibe’s corpse to pieces, but the Black Lantern ring almost instantly pulls its pieces back together again. BL Vibe lunges at Plastic Man ripping out his heart while simultaneously shattering the Tornado with a blast of solid sound. With the Tornado and Plastic Man dead Vixen and Gypsy are cornered by Black Lantern Vibe and the newly arrived Black Lantern Steel.
Doctor Light (Kimiyo) had raced away from the other heroes as she had sensed the presence of a particular Black Lantern – the villainous Doctor Light (Arthur Light). She finds him hunched over the remains of Firestorm’s girlfriend licking the salt. He then turns his attention on Kimiyo knocking her back with a blast of darkness.
This is the second issue of James Robinson and Mark Bagley’s JLA run. The first issue wasn’t anything too special. It set up a few plots and bridged a couple of stories, but otherwise wasn’t very engaging in its own right. This second issue is definitely stronger as the League actually have something to do whilst chatting. There is no disguising that this story, maybe more than most other Blackest Night tie-ins, is following the classic horror/zombie movie tropes – there is a darkened mansion illuminated by lightning, zombies in the shadows, a troop of kids who get picked off one by one, etc. It’s great fun to see the horror clichés used so unreservedly.
Doug Zawisza’s review for Comic Book Resources begins by saying that his review of Robinson and Bagley’s first issue may have “seemed a little harsh.” It’s an admission that could be at home in almost any of the reviews of this issue. The first issue wasn’t as good as people expected it to be and that led to some pretty heavily pelting from the gallery. This second issue is a lot better and is forcing people to reevaluated their earlier opinions.
There are a surprising number of Vibe fans out there – as Gerry Conway, the character’s creator, once remarked, “Vibe has fans???” – and it seems that Doug is one of them:
The issue starts off with what my cohort, Jeffrey Renaud, affectionately refers to as “Vibe: Rebirth” -– a tale very few comic fans would have requested. As a fan of the Motor City Justice League (or Justice League Detroit) from the days of fueling my comic habits with lawn-mowing money, I was quite pleased to see Vibe get some page time
Mart Gray was also impressed that Robinson is respectful of Vibe’s League,
writer James Robinson doesn’t take the opportunity to knock the Detroit League, they’re presented as nothing less than a valid incarnation of the team.
Comic Reviews by Walt comments on the Zatanna versus Black Lantern Zatara where they were both using spells announced in reverse english
Though it got incredibly annoying trying to read the backwards-speak of Zatanna and Zatarra and I was taken out of the story entirely by the thought, I had a good chuckle when I realized their battle had all but come down to a “yo mamma” spitting contest, their magic given power by what they said: “Disregard what she said!” “No, disregard what HE said!” “No, disregard what SHE said!”
Personally I thought this was a great issue. As I said before it’s a lot stronger than the first issue. Not only that, but it has several fun moments including the reverse speak magic battle.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3/5|
|Reviews Portal||Comics Bulletin||Shawn Hill||3/5|
|Reviews Portal||IGN||Miguel Perez||5.6/10|
|Community Reviews||Comics Vine User Reviews||Av. of 6 reviews||3.33333333333333/5|
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||488 Pulls||3.2/5|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Michael Bailey||3 (story) & 4 (art)/5|
|Reviews Blog||Comic Book Bin||Herve St-Louis--||/10|
|Reviews Blog||A Comic Book Blog||Wayland||60/100|
|Reviews Blog||Comics Per Day Reviews||Timbotron||Good|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3/5|
- Doctor Light IV (Kimiyo Hoshi, appeared last issue)
- Plastic Man (Eel O’Brien, appeared last issue)
- Red Tornado (John Smith, appeared last issue)
- Vixen (Mari Jiwe McCabe, appeared last issue)
- Zatanna Zatara (appeared last issue)
- Gypsy (Cindy Reynolds, appeared last issue)
- Black Lantern Doctor Light III (Arthur Light, cameoed last issue)
- Black Lantern Giovanni Zatara (first appearance as a Black Lantern)
- Black Lantern Steel (Hank Heywood, first appearance as a Black Lantern, this the grandson of the WWII Commander Steel and the cousin of the JSA’s Citizen Steel)
- Black Lantern Vibe (Paco Ramone, first appearance as a Black Lantern)
- Gehenna’s corpse (Firestorm’s girlfriend, killed in Blackest Night #3)
Numbers count for page dot panel.
- 1.1-1.2: I have a hard time believing that Vibe was ever the Los Lobos’s actual leader. The only note of him previously running the gang is a line from an elderly supporting character who says “I remember as you ran those Lobos all the time you should’ve been schoolin’ yourself.” Seems fairly conclusive, but his older brother, Armando, was presented as the gang’s leader in their original appearance in Justice League of America vol. 1 #233 (Dec 1984). Paco could have run the gang before Armando, but I just can’t imagine the an older brother being part of his younger brother’s gang.
- 1.2, 2.1: Vibe – in his original costume – and the Detroit Justice League saving Superman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman from the Maestro. This is from Justice League of America vol 1. #237-238 (April-May 1985).
- 3.1: The Detroit League fought Amazo in Justice League of America vol 1. #241-243 (Aug-Oct 1985). This particular scene is a recreation of the cover of #241 which featured Vibe’s original costume (yellow pants), but the interior art of that issue featured the début of Vibe’s second costume (black pants).
- 3.2: This is really how Vibe died in Justice League of America vol. 1 #258 (Jan 1987). He thought he’d defeated one of Professor Ivo’s androids, but he let his guard down and it strangled him with its detachable hands.
- Missing fuzz: When Vibe was drawn by Chuck Patton, the original Detroit League artist, he had one of those tiny, tufty soul patch beards, but its missing in this flashback. George Tuska, the second regular penciler on the Detroit League, doesn’t seem to have bothered with it or he eliminated it when he redesigned Vibe’s costume.
The rest of the book
- 8-9.4: Gypsy says her people bury their dead upright. This is probably an allusion to a Gypsy proverb which states “Bury me standing, as I’ve been on my knees my whole life.” It gave title to the book “Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and their Journey” by Isabel Fonseca.
- 15.2 Zatanna says that Giovanni Zatara’s soul was destroyed by Lobo. This was during the Reign in Hell mini-series in which Neron and Lord Satanus/Blaze battled for the kingdom of Hell. Zatara had Zatanna destroy his soul – casting it into the abyss – to make sure that it wouldn’t remain in Hell.
- 18-19.2 Vixen creates light by calling on the powers of a Hatchetfish. The Deep Sea Hatchetfishs live at a depth where no daylight reaches. In common with many species at that depth, the Hatchetfish is capable of producing light via bio-luminescence in much the same way as a Firefly. What they use this light for is not precisely known, but ideas include courtship, confusing predators, or luring prey.
- 18-19.6 Spotted in the Trophy Room: Metron’s Chair.
- 26.1 Black Lantern Steel standing in front of the Trophy Room statue of Aquaman, Vibe, and himself. The statue was shown on page 15 of Blackest Night #3 (Nov 2009) foreshadowing the return of Vibe and Steel.
- 27.1 Doctor Light: “I hear you, Curry.” Who does Doctor Light mean? The evil Doctor Light’s name is/was Arthur Light. Arthur Curry would be Aquaman.
- 28-29.2 Interesting twist to Doctor Light. Whilst alive he could control light, but now a Black Lantern he appears to control darkness instead.