Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Really Late, Yet Spoiler Free Blackest Night #8 Review

(I originally wrote the review below for the Newsarama Best Shots Extra coverage, but I got it in just a little too late for it to be included. I'm not going to flesh it out with specific plot point references and the like. Feel free to discuss "spoiler" bits in the comments section, as it has been out for 2 weeks now.)

Well, Blackest Night is over. That’s probably the only thing that everyone reading this issue will agree on. As conclusions go, I think this issue was rather weak and that it exposes some weaknesses in the event overall.

I normally strive to judge an issue on its own merits, rather than putting the weight of the rest of its arc on top of it. But, in this case, there are some elements of the larger story that you can’t ignore in looking at this individual issue.

With how many issues/pages were kept locked on the pitched battle with Nekron and his Black Lanterns, the resolution seems too neat, tidy, quick and unsatisfying. There are more costume changes that seem designed to sell action figures rather than service the story. The handling of the happy little side effects to the light beating the darkness, with each getting a few panels of attention, seems like just enough room to acknowledge that something happened and so little room as to boil down to kind of annoying quick hits. In a final issue of an event that already had a somewhat unmanageable number of characters and subplots to focus on, devoting eight (not always efficiently used) pages to reactions and “telling” instead of “showing” would appear to have hurt the ability for the first part of the issue to breathe and flow.

Now, I’m fully aware that the final issues of events often suffer due to having to tie a pretty bow on the wrap up. But I don’t know that it has to always be that way. In fact, I think that expectation has helped perpetuate the trend. Instead of languishing over making the flow tight, it is as if creators and editors are liberated by the idea that the audience will complain of a letdown to some degree regardless, so they put more of a priority on making sure they clearly spell out how everything has changed and what comes next. That they seemed to have failed to create much excitement for what comes next through how they presented it here just underscores the problems with this final issue.

1 comment:

  1. You have to wonder exactly how many of these characters will stay alive through Brightest Day. Johns was noncomittal in his response at Wonder Con.

    The whole who stays dead/alive gimmick reminds me of Secret Invasion. Sure some characters did in fact come back like Mockingbird but having to explain everything required reading another mini and so on and so forth. These stories didn't mesh well at all. I'm guessing the same thing will happen with Brightest Day even though we have a different publisher and set of creators at the wheel.

    "There is no continuity."


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