Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Blackest Night Primer - Black Lantern Corps

The final entry in our Blackest Night primer comes by way of our corps spotlight on the death empowered Black Lantern Corps. These corps primers will cover the basics of each corps, from their oath to their leaders to their homeworlds, as well as their strengths, weaknesses and noteworthy members heading into the event.

If you missed any of our Blackest Night primer, make sure to check out the index post for basic information, links to all the other posts and the schedule for upcoming posts. When you're ready, hit the jump for everything you need to know about the Black Lantern Corps.

Corps Colour: Black
Emotional Spectrum: Death
First Appearance: Blackest Night #1 (as a Corps)
Homeplanet: Ryut (Sector 666)
Leader: Black Hand
Key Stories: Green Lantern #25 & 43, Blackest Night
The Blackest Night falls from the skies,
The darkness grows as all light dies,
We crave your hearts and your demise,
By my Black Hand--the dead shall rise!

Origin: At the conclusion to the Sinestro Corps War, Superboy-Prime flung the dying body of the Anti-Monitor into space. The Anti-Monitor, weakened but still alive, landed on the dead planet of Ryut, one of the planets wiped off all life by the Manhunters during the Massacre of Sector 666. There, the yet to be revealed mystery villain behind the Black Lanterns imprisoned the fallen Anti-Monitor inside a giant, black lantern, which now acts as the Black Lanterns' Central Power Battery.

Over the past year, the mystery villain has guided Black Hand and the corrupted Guardian of the Universe, Scar, speaking to both and compelling them to do its bidding. This ranged from the desecration of Bruce Wayne's grave and theft of his skull to Scar's manipulation of her other Guardian peers and culminated with the events of Blackest Night #1, which saw the mass recruitment of hundreds of new Black Lanterns and the birth of their corps.

Initiation: The Black Lantern rings seek out the dead and, once the ring is placed on their finger, reanimates the fallen corpse for service as a Black Lantern. It is unknown if the rings seek out any and all dead or if there is an agenda behind who is chosen. It is speculated that the rings may be guided to certain individuals, which is based on Black Hand's mentioning that Bruce Wayne's skull is "connected to them all". If this is true, those being revived would be chosen based on past connections to Batman, explaining the predominantly Earth-based selection process.

Powers: As of Blackest Night #1, it appears the Black Lantern rings have no actual powers of their own outside of resurrecting the dead. The rings revive the fallen with full use of their past powers and abilities and each person is revived with the knowledge of their past lives. However, the revived are evil, twisted versions of their past personalities, which allows them to attack their friends and loved ones without remorse, all in service of the Black Lanterns.

Furthermore, while not a power, per se, the rings allow their users to see the emotions of their victims in the form of multi-coloured auras, each corresponding to the colours of the emotional spectrum, such as red for rage or violet for love.

Weaknesses: The rings appear to require the user to kill and tear out the heart of the living so that they can absorb, for lack of a better word, the emotional energy of their victims. Based on what was seen at the end of Blackest Night #1, it appears each heart only charges the ring by 0.01%. Also, it is speculated that removing the ring will result in the reanimation process ending.

Notable Black Lanterns

Black Hand (Sector 2814)

William Hand's father ran a funeral home and from an early age, William showed a severe preoccupation with death, including implied necrophilia. It was revealed in Secret Origin that Black Hand's energy absorbing weapon was actually created by Atrocitus and William came into possession of it during an extended fight between Sinestro, the rookie Hal Jordan and Atrocitus.

Hand's preoccupation with death and the dark caused him to resent the beacon of light he saw Green Lantern as and caused him to don a costume, which he fashioned from a body bag, and use his energy absorbing weapon to fight against Green Lantern throughout the years.

Recently, Black Hand has been experiencing the calling of a mysterious voice, which even teleported him to Ryut, and the Black Lantern Central Power Battery located there, before sending him back to Earth, where he went on, at the urging of the 'voice', to kill his family and, finally, himself before being resurrected by a Black Lantern ring, brought to him by Scar, in Green Lantern #43. He went on to steal Bruce Wayne's skull from his grave and now leads the Black Lantern Corps.

Scar (Sector 0)

Former Guardian of the Universe, Scar was a nameless, emotionless Oan like the rest of the Guardians until the Sinestro Corps War, where she was attacked by the Anti-Monitor, which left her face scarred. The evil touch of the Anti-Monitor corrupted the Guardian and she took the name, Scar, which she kept secret from her fellow Guardians. From that point on, her goals and motives all served the Black Lantern Corps. Of note, Scar is the only member of the Black Lantern Corps that has not died.

Martian Manhunter (Sector 2814)

J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, before his death in Final Crisis, was the last surviving Green Martian. He was one of the founding members of the JLA and one of the team's power houses. His powers included telepathy, invisibility, shapeshifting, super strength, speed and durability, flight, intangibility, Martian vision and more. As a Martian, his lone weakness was fire, which was ultimately used to kill him. His dead body was entombed in a pyramid on his homeplanet, Mars, where his rest was short lived. Reanimated as a Black Lantern in Blackest Night #1 and his story will be followed up in Green Lantern #44 where he is shown fighting Barry Allen and Hal Jordan.

Sue & Ralph Dibny (Sector 2814)

The Dibny's were one of the few happy and trouble free couples in comics and had been happily married for many years. That is, up until the darkening of the DC Universe iny Identit Crisis, where Sue Dibny was brutally murdered by the Atom's ex-wife, Jean Loring. Ralph, better known as the Mr Fantastic-like Elongated Man, was devestated by the loss of his wife and would not be long for this world, as he would go on to die in DC's weekly series, 52, where he trapped Faustus and Neron in Dr Fate's invisible tower before his death. He was last seen as a pile of bones on the floor of that tower before appearing, along with his wife, as Black Lanterns in Blackest Night #1.

Other Notables

As there are so many Black Lanterns, most of which are merely bit players lined up for use in the various tie-ins, I've decided to only spotlight the ones currently important to the story and that have played a major roll at this point in time. If you're interested in knowing every Black Lantern, check back later today for a full list of confirmed Black Lanterns as of Blackest Night #1, who they are, when they died and what roles they are expected to play in the Blackest Night as well as speculation on other possible Black Lanterns.

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One6Six said...

I was thinking that the black lantern power level is a running total of ALL black lanterns combined and once it reaches 100% the BIG BAD will RISE!!!!!!!!!!!

Kirk Warren said...

I was thinking it might have something to do with that as well, but it'd be kind of disappointing if it amounted to only requiring 10,000 kills to revive whoever the big bad is. Heck, Kal-L or Martian Manhunter move could crack the planet in half if they wanted and kill 6 billion+ instantly to meet that total. HOpefully we find out more in next week's Green Lantern.

Andrenn said...

Going to just pick up GL #44 for the fight of J'onn and Hal/Barry. Outside of that I'm sticking to just Blackest Night.

Thanks for this Primer you guys, very helpful and awesome.

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