One of the things I have really been looking forward to with the whole Blackest Night event was the hope that we’d get to see some very emotion stirring moments when the characters we’ve read about all these years interact with the people closest to them who’ve died. I think there’s such a potential for us to get to learn a lot about these characters through these interactions. We’d all love for Bruce Wayne to get a chance to talk to his parents one more time.
But as we’ve seen thus far, the Black Lantern version of our departed friends and family aren’t exactly the way we’d like to remember them, in fact they are downright vicious and vindictive…..and I love it! So in reading Blackest Night Batman #1 I anticipated getting to see some cool scenes, although I knew by recent events that we wouldn’t get to see Bruce Wayne interacting with his parents. But if we’re going to see those moments explored in these spin off series, this first issue doesn’t provide the reader with them as it’s pretty much all set up for what’s coming next.
Damian Wayne has been such a delighted little snot, but it was interesting to see underneath all that tough talk lies some common fears and misgivings about the death of loved ones as shown by his hesitation to wrap Bruce’s headless skeleton in his cape to transport it out of Gotham’s cemetery. Damian’s conversation with Dick Grayson in the subsequent ride was great and it reinforces why I’m liking this era of Batman – it just seems like a natural progression of what we would expect to happen. It’s both familiar enough to us to not be jarring, yet it’s new enough that we can experience something fresh and interesting with the characters knowing that Bruce will return at some point.
We also get treated to more on Deadman’s situation and I think that what he experiences underlines the fact that while the Black Lanterns may look like the people we know, and they have their memories, they aren’t really the dead brought back to life. Unless Boston Brand is an exception to the rules of course. But if he’s not that’s a piece of information that helps us try to figure out how the Black Lantern’s work. And the sequence where Deadman inhabits the bodies of the dynamic duo were a lot of fun.
As the plot thickens we see a number of old Batman villains get the Black Lantern treatment. Back from dead, well sort of, are Blockbuster, the original Ventriloquist, the KGBeast, Magpie, King Snake, Deacon Blackfire from , the Trigger Twins and Abattoir. Dick and Damian don’t make it to the graves of the Flying Grayson’s and Tim Drake’s parents and the issue ends as Tim is contacted and told to fly back home and we end with the image of a Batman, Robin and Deadman gazing on a batsignal with some foreboding body outlines around the edges.
I think Peter Tomasi does a great job of setting up for what I think will be a great second issue, and if I have a criticism of the issue it’s that nothing really happens other than setup for the next two issues. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ardian Syaf’s pencil work before, but he does a good job. All in all it’s a good first part to a story. Eight out of ten lanterns.