Blackest Night #4
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Joe Prado
Coloring by Alex Sinclair
Published by DC Comics
"But I also know you came back. You're here. And, sorry for the pun, Pal, but it's time to grow the hell up and be the Atom again." -- Barry Allen, The Flash
Blackest Night #4 differs from the previous installments since Hal Jordan is being focused on in "Green Lantern," this issue has Barry Allen being the centerpiece. Rallying the troops, handing out advice, you know, basically what the character is all about. However, how it's the same is that the fourth installment of this event definitely doesn't pull any punches or hold anything back.
Barry is joined by the Atom and Aquaman's former flame, Mera as they are constantly trying to outrun the Black Lanterns. Of course, Ray Palmer proves he is the smartest man in the DC universe and the trio manage to stay one step ahead. They are eventually joined by the Justice Society, unfortunately, they are also joined by living-impaired members of the JSA and Freedom Fighters. There's an almost heartbreaking moment between a father and a son and, as one would expect from this event, the casualties continue to rise.
Johns continues his reign as one of DC's top storytellers, though the word balloons do get a bit distracting at times. There is a great balance between great superhero moments in addition to memorable character-driven ones. This no-holds-barred script had me finding a nice assortment of "DC's deceased Who's Who" throughout the pages, including a few I never thought I'd see. Ivan Reis and company nail the story's mood and atmosphere splendidly, though there weren't too many pages where I pored over the art like I have before, but nothing constructed too awkwardly or confusing.
I guess the major disappointment was knowing who the baddie is behind the curtains, as the final page reveals. If you don't know, then I will not spoil it. Blackest Night continues to be a thrilling event, but twenty-five pages of story for $3.99 seems a bit hefty. I could have done without the gun-toting "Batman/Doc Savage" preview.