Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ghosts of Blackest Night in the 30th Century!

DC's latest epic crossover, Blackest Night has been pretty good so far, though the second issue seemed featherlight compared to the first, and told us nothing we didn't already know. Except, of course, that we've already been here. A couple of times.

In 1998, DC's JLA annuals were haunted by "GHOSTS", as the various JLA'ers were haunted by the dead from their pasts. (Note that by now, many of those "dead" have since returned.) I don't have most of these, but if the Green Lantern, Flash, and JLA Annuals I do have are any indication, it looks like the Bernie Wrightson covers were the best things about 'em.

Ignore that innacurate-but-excellent cover; Flash Annual #7 saw the Flash, haunted by the flickering, barely coherent speed force ghost of Johnny Quick. He finally has a heartwarming ghost-hug with Jessie Quick, but no point does Johnny become a zombie and attack Flash.

Green Lantern Annual#7 is a different story however, as Kyle Rayner finds himself meeting his fellow Green Lanterns for the first time, as hideous, undead revenants! You'll recall that in 1998, the Green Lantern Corps were still dead, Mogo was destroyed, and the Corps disbanded, leaving Kyle Rayner the sole Green Lantern. Nekron shows up, taking advantage of the supernatural forces behind the larger "Ghosts" storyline to elbow his way back into our universe, and sics the Lantern Corpses on Kyle, before being subdued. We'll be talking more about that guy soon.

No, the true force behind the haunting in the Annuals is revealed in JLA Annual #2. It turns out Felix Faust, in one of his many bids for immortality has awakened an ancient Egyptian wizard, Hermes Trismegistus, and angered him enough to cause all this mess with the ghosts.

All of this, indeed, all events in the story so far, is of secondary importance to the GHOST OF VIBE:

Yes, Paco Ramone returns, looking for his former team mate, Aquaman. The Ghost of Vibe is accompanied by eerie strains of old school electro Break dance music wherever he goes, and soon Ice, Steel, and other dead JLA members re-emerge as well. At the end, Vibe leads them to dog-pile on the evil-wizard-possessed Faust:

Five years earlier, in the 30th century, The Legion of Superheroes 43-48 (1993) saw a multi-issue saga that had the 30th century heroes caught in a struggle between Mordru and the White Witch. Mordru raised an army of the undead, among whom were such dead Earth heroes as Vigilante, the Justice Society, and Jason Todd:

As if that weren't bad enough, the Legion had racked up quite a body count by this time in this continuity, so eventually, all of the dead Legionaries showed up for a Live Legion versus Dead Legion showdown:

So yeah, DC has done the "Undead Heroes return" thing before, albeit never on the Scale of Blackest Night. It remains to be seen how Blackest Night turns out, but lets hope we at least get Black Lantern Vibe out of it, before we're through.



Phillyradiogeek said...

Great post, Brian. I'm surprised no one else has brought this up yet.

I wonder if Johns will acknowledge these events and tie them into BL, or if it's an unfortunate coincidence.

Anonymous said...

This just in...Dark Reign isint very original either!

I used to be big on comics when it seemed like something new. I loved dc one million and even liked civil warbut with the dissapointment of secret invasion , dark reign and even blackest night Im done with the mainstream stuff. Ive been spending my money on essential books or indie comics. Im also lookin for the old HERBIE trades thanks to your column.

Anonymous said...

Очень жду постов на эту тему! Огромное вам Спасибо

Scipio said...

Thanks, Brian; this is both important and useful.

And has Vibe in it...!

Brian Hughes said...

I thought chu might like that, meng.

Doug said...

Not sure if you've covered this, but wasn't there a TEEN TITANS story by Johns where all the dead Titans came back already?