You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We thought this would be easy, but we’ve had to bring in a bunch of experts to help us out and explain all the really confusing bits!

Things were really kicking off and we could all but smell the Pulitzer when Scott Cederlund told us that there was some kind of very dark period where all these zombies showed up and caused problems? Halt the Infinite Crisis for a moment- we’re going to have to speak to Ron Cacace about this… this Blackest Night!

 

Ron, I’m hearing there was apparently a story where all the dead DC characters came back to life as ZOMBIES? And started attacking everyone? What’s that all about?

 

Ron Cacace: Steve, thanks so much for asking me this question and giving me the chance to listen to myself speak. Way back in 2009, before all mainstream comics were just storyboard pitches for TV shows and movies, and when I had just started working at a comic book store, there was a comic book crossover event published by DC Comics called Blackest Night. It was the culmination of years of storytelling by Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns and a host of artists including Ivan Reis which basically asked and answered the questions of: “What if instead of just Green and Yellow Lanterns, there were MORE of these guys with different colored rings? And they all had different powers? And what if there was a Black Lantern, somebody who embodied the absence of light and life, who could resurrect the dead with Black Lantern rings?”

Honestly, for 19 year-old Ron, this was the coolest thing ever. It was also really cool because DC Comics ran these promotions where if you ordered a certain number of comics, they would send you a bunch of plastic lantern rings representing all the different colors. So you KNOW that we ordered all of them and I re-enacted the cover to 1994’s “Emerald Twilight” and took a bunch of selfies on my old Macbook Pro.

Anyway, the way the story goes is that the “War of Light” had been foretold in an ancient prophecy, AKA a short Alan Moore story from the 1980s that Geoff and the folks at DC used as inspiration for the relaunched Green Lantern series, now starring a redeemed and resurrected Hal Jordan at the helm. A villain named “Black Hand” got his hand cut off and spent a dozen issues muttering around in the background searching for something, I can’t really remember, but he basically died and came back to life as a kind of Alpha Zombie or something. He was working in service of some ancient being called “Nekron” which was like the God of the Dead, and he could create these Black Lantern rings that could bring back dead characters from across the DC Universe. So, yeah, ZOMBIES! Their goal, as with all bad guys, was to blot out all light in the universe, turn everyone into zombie slaves, end everything as we know it, etc.

So in order to do this, they start shooting out these Black Lantern rings all across the DC Universe searching for corpses to reanimate. And because this was a crossover event, it means we got to see a ton of dead DC characters who hadn’t been seen in ages (or who died in the last crossover just a few months prior) like Captain Boomerang, Tim Drake’s dad, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawk & Dove, Max Lord, Ted Kord, etc. They weren’t just zombies intent on eating flesh, they were also really mean and would bully their victims with psychological torture! So if it wasn’t bad enough seeing your old friend as a shambling corpse with superpowers, guess what?! They will also blame you for their death and for not feeding their cat when they went on vacation that one time. Awesome stuff.

How did this “Blackest Night” end? Did the dead go back to, uh, bed?

Cacace: It’s really complicated but since there’s a “Black Lantern” which represents the absence of light & the embodiment of death, it makes sense for there to be a “White Lantern” which represents all the colors of the rainbow and life itself. We’re getting into Captain Planet / Care Bears territory here but trust me this was all really neat!!! Anyway, a bunch of the superheroes all get lantern rings, so you get to see The Flash as a Blue Lantern, etc, so they can sell a new line of action figures and t-shirts (I bought them all.) and they all use their powers to take on the Black Lantern Corps.

It’s really difficult to explain what happens because I’ve skipped over a ton of the details but essentially, Hal Jordan, the DC Universe’s Lord and Savior, uses the power of The Entity which represents life to become a White Lantern, creates a bunch of White Lantern rings that he uses to restores some heroes (and that Black Hand guy) and resurrects the Anti-Monitor (a big-bad from the 1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover!) which was trapped inside the Black Lantern power battery. Black Hand, having been restored to life after being a Black Lantern, vomits a bunch of White Lantern rings and they all destroy Nekron and subsequently revive a bunch of characters that the folks at DC probably regretted killing in previous stories.

So, surprise, we get a bunch of old characters back in the land of the living like Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawk & Dove, Deadman, Professor Zoom, Jade, Firestorm, and others, so they can go on into the next big weekly crossover event called Brightest Day! Comic books!!!! You gotta love this stuff.

Is this the strangest crossover DC have ever had? Unexpected characters showing up from the unlikeliest of places?

Cacace: This is far from the strangest crossover that DC has done. One of the best and most under-the-radar series from the past few years has been Scooby-Doo Team-Up which featured Scooby-Doo (of course!) teaming up (that’s right!) with various DC superheroes. It’s pure comic book fun. Beyond that, there’s plenty of odd stuff like multiple Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series and a few very wacky crossovers with Archie Comics, including Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica and Archie Meets Batman ’66.

The DC Universe is such a fun playground because of how well some things match up and how well some things don’t. And I haven’t even gotten into all the really out-there custom comics where Batman eats a Snickers bar or signs up for car insurance or whatever. Those are wild too. Eventually, we will all end up in the pages of a DC Comic. In fact, how do we know that we’re not in one right now? I think I’m crossing over…

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I think that’s just the feeling of a cold sweat coming on, Ron. That was… a lot to deal with. And dealt with admirably! I think there are a few questions people are going to have about this, though….

Ron Cacace has a handful of power rings and one of them grants him power over Archie Comics’ PR. Hey! Is that why he mentioned those Archie crossover comics?! You can find Ron on Twitter here!