Blackest Night #1 

When they say "Blackest Night," they mean it. This eight-issue miniseries event is nothing if not dark.

It opens on the annual superhero version of Memorial Day, when the public gathers to remember fallen do-gooders, including Batman, Aquaman, Elongated Man and Firestorm. In Coast City, Green Lantern and his fellow Corps members attend such a celebration. But elsewhere in the universe, the "war of light" erupts, and a sinister force descends upon Earth to make the dead rise again "? heroes in life, villains in death.

Or at least that's what I got out of it. Geoff Johns' story sets itself up by introducing a ton of characters, most of whom were new to me. That goes for the bad guy who shows up on the first and last pages "? I had to consult Wikipedia to figure out who he was.

That lack of familiarity may keep "Blackest Night" from being truly accessible to the mainstream. That's a shame, because one can't help but think DC created this event in response to Marvel's massively popular "Marvel Zombies" franchise. Two can play the undead game, but DC aims to play it smarter.

But the book is not completely alienating, by any means, providing enough intrigue for even confused readers, and promising greater things to come. Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert is terrific and, when it needs to be, terrifying. DC Comics"?Rod Lott

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