by Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Patrick Gleason (pencils), Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne & Tom Nguyen (inks), Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb (colors), and Steve Wands (letters)

The Story: Soranik teams with Kyle to fight Jade, Arisia wrestles with her family, and Kilowog is forced to battle an old friend.

What’s Good: This is basically 22 pages of almost  non-stop Lantern-related violence.  The huge blasts, numbers, and scope of what’s going on is impressive, as is some of the gore, which at times pushes the boundary of what you’d expect out of a mainstream DCU comic.

What GLC has done best with Blackest Night, however, is fully convey the emotional impact made possible by having the dead rise.  In fact, I’d say that Jade has made the best of use of a black ring in this regard. She and her mind games are downright evil.  Seeing Soranik team up with Kyle against her is as fun as it is troubling.  Tomasi makes use of every opportunity that raising a dead character provides in this scene: the guilt, lingering emotion, and history all come into play and are manipulated perfectly.

Arisia and Kilowog also provide a nice juxtaposition, as Tomasi shows the nature of a battle with the Black Lanterns.  If you don’t believe them to be real representations of the bodies they inhabit, you’re fine.  But the minute you start to talk to them or treat them like they really are your loved ones, you’re done for.  Tomasi makes this line very clear.  It’s also nice to see someone making use of those  Tales of the Corps stories that came out a while ago.  Readers who picked those up will really dig these two scenes, Kilowog’s surprise opponent in particular.

What’s Not So Good: Though it’ s not as bad in this respect as last month’s issue, as there aren’t any truly detached scenes, the fast and frenetic pace of this book again makes it feel as though its spread a little thin at some points.  While it’s all centered around a battle at Oa, it’s hard not to feel like every scene is its own separate story, treating its own separate characters.  As a result, GLC feels somewhat scattered.  Characters are off doing their own thing, and Tomasi seems to feel obligated to give us monthly updates on all of them.  The fact that I’d totally forgotten the two characters in the book’s final scene is a bit indicative of the book’s current state.  It’s just a bit “all over the place.”  I’m still not sure how necessary Gardner’s scene was.

Similarly chaotic is the artwork, which at times, particularly in the smaller panels, borders on being an incomprehensible tangle of limbs and light.  Though it’s generally all right, at times, it’s a bit hard to piece together what’s going on.

Conclusion: A generally enjoyable 22 pages of chaos with a nice surprise ending.

Grade: B –

-Alex Evans