January 10, 2010

Turn on the Blackest Night

(Obligatory Graham Parker reference for The Comic Treadmill. Haven't given them props lately, so here you go.)

Ah, Blackest Night, you increasingly engage me so...not only with your "Zombies-who-tear-your-heart-out-metaphorically-and-physically" premise, but with the fact that it allows for the resurrection of now dead characters, armed with black rings, and basically giving us a good glimpse back into the past. With your new "one-shots" as continuations of now canceled/ended comics. With minimal spoilers, I would like to talk about the first releases - Suicide Squad # 67 and Weird Western Tales.

I was a hardcore Suicide Squad fan back in the day, so it was refreshing to see this title released...however, it read more like a "missing issue" of Secret Six. Granted, it's because Gail Simone co-wrote with John Ostrander, but in a way, this book works because the plot does involve some players from Suicide Squad (any more would be spoiling). It's an obvious "first chapter" for an upcoming storyline, but the story has some really cool moments (Bronze Tiger vs. Catman, anyone?), a wicked, dark sense of humor (which, I think, all Gail Simone books must have by law, or something), and J. Calafiore's art? Pretty darn cool. (I loved his art since his work on Exiles).

However, I wish the same could be said about Weird Western Tales # 71, written by Dan DiDio and drawn by Renato Arlem. Yes, I liked Arlem's art a lot, but DiDio....really should reconsider his writing career.

(Yes, I know he'll be writing Outsiders with Phillip Tan doing art. No, I probably won't be buying it).

Admittedly, a zombie version of DC's Western characters might have seemed rather cool...however, I kind of thought the story was a little too by-the-numbers. It seemed almost as if DiDio used a quick-and-dirty formula to write this book, involving old issues of Who's Who in The DC Universe (which is getting a facelift for DC's 75th Anniversary) and repeated viewings of The Twilight Zone.
There's a twist ending that, quite frankly, you'll see a mile away. It's not a bad book, necessarily - just one that doesn't seem to quite come together. Granted, Black Lantern Jonah Hex is cool...but this could have easily been another zombie story. The Blackest Night tie-in only seemed tangential, and it didn't seem that like solid a read.

However, both issues have cover previews of other Blackest Night tie-ins....and I think I may have called it for Blackest Night: Starman # 81, based on the cover.

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