DC Comics’ Blackest Night crossover event is working…and it shouldn’t be. The whole premise is ridiculous (even by comic-book standards). The established Green Lantern Corps has been patrolling the universe for decades in the DCU, but now there are a total of seven lantern corps duking it out in the War of Light. The seven corps are based off of different emotions. You have green (willpower), yellow (fear), blue (hope), red (rage), orange (green), violet (love), and indigo (compassion). When you add in the fact that all these lanterns recharge their powers by reciting a rhyming oath, the whole thing sounds stupid…yet it’s working so well.
A large part of why it’s working is that Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi have done an outstanding job with the Green Lantern and Blackest Night books. The whole thing feels epic and the pair have made the “emotional spectrum” thing plausible. Despite the facts that willpower isn’t an emotion (as previously used in the Green Lantern books) and the various lantern combat mechanics are straight out of Pokemon, these masterful writers are making a silly premise terribly compelling.
Even though Blackest Night is a universal threat, the writers aren’t afraid to poke fun at the absurdity of it all. A lot of it is done through green lantern Guy Gardner — the lovable jackass of the Green Lantern Corps. When Guy learned about the existence of a blue lantern named Walker he asked, “As in Johnny Walker Blue?” When a member of the Indigo Tribe suddenly appeared to aid the Green Lantern Corps, Guy asked if he was “Deep Purple”. These are small, single-panel instances, but they help strike a balance between the galactic threat being presented and the premise by Crayola.
When plans were first announced for Blackest Night and the new lantern corps were revealed, I thought it was amazingly stupid. I ranted to all my comic-book friends that this storyline would bury Green Lantern. Surprisingly, I’m enjoying the hell out of it. In the past, I’ve called Geoff Johns a poor man’s Mark Waid, but I’m thoroughly impressed with his work (and Tomasi’s) in Blackest Night and Green Lantern. I’m totally eating crow on this one.