Barry Allen has been getting some good face time since Blackest Night started, so I have been looking forward to seeing what Geoff Johns was going to do with the Blackest Night: Flash mini-series given the amount of exposure the Flash has been given in the main event book. Blackest Night: Flash #1 came out last week and it looks like we’re going to see more of the rogues in this series than we are the Flash.
That’s not really a bad thing in my book since I think that Geoff’s work on the Flash villains has been so strong, and seeing some of the interactions between the current versions of some of the rogues and their departed predecessors is going to be a lot of fun to read. And no John’s Flash book would be complete without Scott Kollins on pencils. But, to be honest, before I can go any further I have to geek out on the Ethan Van Sciver inspired cover and the next reference it makes to Flash: Rebirth #1. Like the Wonder Woman issue that came out, the regular cover was better than the variant in my opinion. Here’s Kollins’ Black Lantern Zoom issue next to Ethan’s Rebirth cover – you gotta love the mirror image effect!
In terms of story, this issue is a mixture of Barry Allen’s confrontation with Black Lantern Zoom and the rogues dealing with the Black Lantern crisis and deciding to go zombie hunting. The timing of the issue doesn’t fit in with the events of Blackest Night #5, instead, they take place before Nekron’s Central Power Battery reaches the 100% charge, ending at the time when Barry heads to Coast City after he sensed that something was going to happen there in Blackest Night #4.
For those who aren’t reading Flash: Rebirth, there’s a nice explanation of what’s gone on in that series here in a nice two-page spread. It was also a really nice touch to get a similar explanation from Zoom’s perspective for people who don’t know the history. Although seeing him as a Black Lantern is kinda weird since he’s alive and kicking in Rebirth – the fun and headache-inducing complexities of time travel stories!
After evading Zoom, Barry heads to Gorilla City just in time to see Black Lantern Solovar doing a number on the residents. Barry didn’t know that Solovar, once the King of Gorilla City, was killed back in 1999’s “JLApe” storyline that kicked off in that year’s JLA Annual (#3). Barry fought very hard to not let emotion get the best of him, knowing that doing so would allow Zoom to locate him, but is unable to contain his rage at the sight of his old friend turned into a Black Lantern. Barry manages to remove Solovar’s ring after Solovar manages to control the Black Lantern version of himself to plead with Barry to help him escape. The Black Lantern Central Power Battery hits tilt and Flash speeds to Coast City.
Meanwhile, the rogues are holed up in their lair, however, Captain Cold makes the decision to go hunt the zombies before they can take over, preferring to be the hunters before they become the hunted. Moments, after they leave the Black Lantern Mirror Master (the Sam Scudder version), reach the lair and he breaks the mirror that the rogues used to exit their hideout, potentially preventing them from returning.
Missing from the rogues gallery are Tar Pit and the new Captain Boomerang, Owen Mercer. Earlier in the issue, the two are at the now empty resting place of Mercer’s father, the original Boomerang Digger Harkness. Mercer has questions for his father and he expects Tar Pit to help him find Harkness.
There’s a lot of set up here for the next two issues, and given that the Flash plays such a large role in the main event, I don’t expect to see a whole lot of him in this mini. The next issue teaser seems to support this with the tease that we’ll be seeing a “Black Lantern Rogue War” in issue two. Like the other minis, this one doesn’t attempt to flesh out the main story since they aren’t required reading to follow the Blackest Night event. It serves the purpose of shining a light in a corner of the DCU not shown in the main event, allowing for us to see how the story affects characters that aren’t going to have the spotlight on them in the Blackest Night title.
Eight out of ten lanterns.