Blackest Night #1 is so ridiculous that it has looped back around on itself and shot directly into the realm of absolute awesome. I pilfered a friend’s copy and enjoyed the hell out of that sucker. Well, I enjoyed half of it, anyway. There’s still one major problem.
I don’t give a damn about any DC character except for Batman—and he’s already sort-of-dead. That means that Johns can slice and dice every character in this story to ribbons, and as long as he does it in an interesting way, he’ll have my attention. I’m not emotionally invested in these characters. In fact, I kind of hate Hal Jordan. I’m just here for some explosions, some kicks to the face, and perhaps a limb or two being torn off. If you give me enough of that, I’ll buy the trade. And as soon as you stop giving it to me, I’m gone.
Something has altered the way I read mainstream superhero comics. I used to read them like I watched soap operas when I was a kid. I’d get attached to one character or family, and I’d root for them. I wanted to see them overcome any obstacle set before them. I wanted the good guys to win. And I’d plunk myself down for every episode and wait for it to happen.
Now I read comics like I watch wrestling matches. I don’t care who wins and I’m not really concerned about the events leading up to the big moment. Give me the gotcha. Show me something outrageous.
Unfortunately, that’ll only work for people like me. There’s some Hawkman fan probably looking for Geoff’s home address right now, and it’s not to write him a fan letter.
Shouldn’t that fan’s concerns be more important than my own? That fan is more loyal than I am. That fan is willing to spend his money. That fan is down for the long haul. I’m out the minute your “big bad” starts boring me. The only reason I even read Blackest Night to begin with was due to a friend drifting over to DC because he thought that Dark Reign was boring. Even with my official embargo on the mainstream, I knew that anything that could make a Marvel zombie change course was something I needed to see. I was right—because a little blue dude bit open another little blue dude’s neck, reached down into said neck, and pulled out the guy’s heart!
Still, there’s a minor problem here and I’m not sure what the solution is. Should fans know better than to get attached to B-list characters? Should companies cut back on the violence and stop killing second-tier characters for a cheap pop? I don’t know. Maybe there’s no problem at all? Fans are always going to complain about something, right? It’s only a problem when the sales start falling. And that won’t happen as long as a company keeps producing important earth-shattering events that never permanently change the status quo. I know that last line sounds improbable, but isn’t that what Marvel and DC have been successfully doing for decades?