Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corp

The Blackest Night series goes from strength to strength: having really enjoyed the 'teaser' zero issue (published as part of Free Comic Book Day back in May) and last months issue #1 I thought I'd pick up the 3 part mini series Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps.

I'd hoped that the series would give me some background to the world of the various Corps and that's exactly what I got - plus a lot more.

The titles, which were published during July over 3 consecutive weeks, comprise a series of short stories about characters from the various Corps involved in the War of Light.

Issue #1 (published 16 July) begins with Tales of the Blue Lantern: Saint Walker which was written by Geoff Johns with pencils from Jerry Ordway. A story about hope and faith, beautifully told, beautifully drawn.

Next we had Tales of the Sinestro Corps Mongul: For Your Love, written by Peter Tomasi with art from Chris Samnee, featuring a tale of the young child Mongul and tells us a little about his relationship with his father.

The issue closes with Tales of the Indigo Tribe, again written by Johns with pencils from Rags Morales, which features a fierce battle between a Green Lantern and a Sinestro: through this short story we (I) learn that the Indigo Tribe are a compassionate people.

Issue #2 again features 3 short stories, this time focusing on the Red, Violet, and Orange Corps.

Tales of the Red Lantern Corps: Fly Away, written by Johns with pencils from Eddy Barrows, possibly my favourite story through the 3 books, tells of Bleez, an beautiful angelic creature who, it transpires, has been chosen as a 'partner' by a member of the Sinestro Corps. Let's just say we see how quickly peace and serenity can turn into rage and destruction.

Tales of the Star Sapphires: Lost Love written by Johns with art by Gene Ha, features Carol Ferris and explores her long, fractured relationship with Hal Jordan.

The issue concludes with Tales of the Orange Lanterns: Blume Godhead written by Peter Tomasi with art from Tom Mandrake. The Orange Lanterns, namely Agent Orange Larfleeze, appear to be about destruction and greed and this was a solid story with excellent art.

On to issue #3, two Green Lantern stories written by Peter Tomasi featuring the origin stories of two of the more popular alien Green Lanterns, Kilowog and Arisia, along with some 'bonus' Blackest Night material.

New Blood, with art from Chris Samnee, shows Green Lantern Kilowog during training as he steps up in a crisis, takes responsibility and finally receives an acknowledgement of respect from his trainer.

Daddy's Girl, featuring beautiful art from Mike Mayhew, follows Arisia through personal tragedy to the moment she is welcomed as a Green Lantern. A nice story and - did I mention the great art from Mike Mayhew?

The 'bonus' material featured a 'director’s commentary' version of the story that appeared as the Free Comic Book Day Blackest Night #0. Through uninked pencils with text comments from Geoff Johns and editors Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman, we learn a little about what shaped the book - story, the artwork, and so on. Very interesting and a nice idea to include this material.

Throughout the 3 books we get one or two page illustrations featuring the various Corp line-ups with a few details about their histories, strengths and weaknesses that were previously included in issue #0.

In summary, three really good reads: good, and at times excellent, storytelling with brilliant, at times stunning, accompanying artwork. Furthermore, each issue has a wonderful cover featuring, as with the interior art, amazing colouring.

Hugely enjoyable, highly recommended.

Further information and preview pages: DC Comics