I hope everyone has had a chance to read this latest Blackest Night title as Batman and Robin are back to do battle with DC Comics’ most horrific villains to date. I hardly no where to start with this issue. After my first read I thought to myself, “Well, this book reads like some summer blockbuster movie. Plenty of action, our heroes on the defensive, bad guys everywhere, unmatched courage, a thrilling rescue, and a cliffhanger to set up the next chapter.”
So why was I having a problem with this book? Twofold. First, like any other summer blockbuster movie it is all flash and bang and little substance. Perhaps it is like any other trilogy where the middle chapter is the weakest (Star Wars fans are saying, “Hold on now!”) But I ask you, where was the depth of sadness we felt in the first issue where we saw the pain of desecrated graves, missing loved ones and the emptiness of those who must live on? So then (secondly) it hit me. Some summer movies are pure action while others can delve into the occult or horror genres. What we have is not just an empty action movie but a horror movie to boot! And there are two things that can give definition to a horror movie. One is physical revulsion the other is mental terror.
Physical revulsion is the mainstay of the “slasher” flicks. See the Halloween, Scream, or Friday the 13th movies as an example. True mental terror comes in the form of movies such as, The Ring, Silence of the Lambs, or the Exorcist. When Blackest Night: Batman #2 opens up we see firefighters, priests, policemen and civilians basically being harvested for their still beating hearts. That’s physical revulsion and I didn’t much like it. I think in the first six or eight pages we get four eviscerated hearts and at least one decapitation. I know, repeat after me, it’s only a movie, er, I mean comic.
I’m not squeamish but I would rather have the fear of the unseen and unknown versus the splatter fest we got.
So what did I like about this book? How about the unrivaled courage of the Gordon’s as they faced down certain death. (Even though the Commish was blasting away at zombies like it was a “Day of the Dead” remake.) And for once I liked Deadman’s role in all of this. Possessing Barbara and using her to rescue her father was terrific and must have made many a Batgirl fan happy to see her swing into action again. How about Red Robin's entrance? Now that was dramatic! It reminded me of rescue scenes from such movies as “Rescue Dawn” (Christian Bale! See it!), Bat-21 (with Gene Hackman) and “Black Hawk Down” where men put their lives on the line to help their fallen comrades. Awesome and inspirational.
So, yes, it wasn’t all empty. The question I asked in my issue two preview on the effectiveness of flame on the Black Lanterns was answered. Little to none. Cops still died. But the end, ah yes, the end. We finally get to see the Black Lantern Graysons and Drakes. A bit late perhaps but no less welcome. Now we’ll see how Dick and Tim deal with the resurrection of their parents. Some mental terror please!
My rating is based on the amped up action but it still should have been more.
Trivia question! Speaking of “Black Hawk Down” can you find the future movie versions of The Incredible Hulk, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four in that movie?
Reviewed by Dark Knight Dave