Green Lantern #43 Sets the Terrifying Stage for Blackest Night

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The Green Lantern series has seen a major renaissance over the past few years, due to its bold, groundbreaking storytelling and willingness to take major risks with storylines, history and the established and long-standing relationships between major characters. Stories involving the Sinestro Corps, the Red Lanterns and the test of wills between the Guardians and the rest of the Lanterns have framed this renewed interest and, dare I say, relevance to a title and a hero that had fallen out of the major forefront of the DC universe heavyweights. All of that has led us to the beginning of Blackest Night, a major, grim storyline emerging out of the pages of Green Lantern this summer and hitting all the major heroes and titles. As a lead up to this event, Green Lantern #43 gives us an amazingly complex and harrowing set-up in the form of an origin story for Black Hand, one of Hal Jordan's oldest foes. Showing us a gruesome and morbid fascination with death at an early age, Black Hand, known as William Hand, narrates the beginnings of his development as a lover of death and his pathological need to be away from people he describes as "moving." The narrative continues to move at an appropriately paced speed, giving us intimate detail into the development of the young man who would one day try to take down the Green Lantern. A particularly telling scene is depicted of his encounter with Atrocitus, the creature who would become a Red Lantern, when Hand was a child, an encounter which would lead to his discovery of a deadly power. The issue continues, showing Black Hand's early battles with Green Lantern and his creation of a costume, appropriately from a body bag, and his evolution from another costumed villain into a being wielding a hand that could grant him the power to drain the life force from other beings. It's also interesting that writer Geoff Johns uses Black Hand as a means to remind us of just how many figures have been lost over the past few years, and with that, he sets up an interesting roster of potential Black Lanterns to join him, now that his suicide has made him the first Black Lantern, in an all out assault on the world. This issue makes another interesting commentary on the nature of death in the comic book world, as another one of Black Hand's thoughts comes in the form of showing us just how many heroes over the years have been able to cheat death. Will Blackest Night continue to make us as readers reexamine how we view the death of fictional superbeings? It seems like an interesting proposal of the story itself, and the impact this will have on the living members of DC's community seems profound. This issue is a fascinating and disturbing prologue to what promises to be one of the most emotionally wrenching stories DC has ever done. Hats off to Johns and company on building up interest in this series, and for delivering an issue such as this that promises so much.