Thursday, December 24, 2009
The Silver Age Hawkman and Elongated Man represent a decade and a half of the prime years of the Justice League of America; they were among the first and the last, respectively, JLA members to have joined during the Satellite Era when the comics showed a bit more complexity than in the feel-good early Sixties, but were still a venue in which the good guys always won. Moreover, Elongated Man was always a very light-hearted hero, smiling and wisecracking his way through cases. When you put a character like that into a dark situation, the darkness is felt all the more so. This added to the impact of the Dibnys' victimization at the hands of Doctor Light in Identity Crisis. And to the impact of the Black Lantern Dibnys attacking Hawkman and Hawkgirl as the first appearance we'd seen of a Black Lantern in action. We didn't know what the rules were, but it proved to be about as dark as possible: Black Lantern Ralph Dibny spoke with whimsy ("Hiya, Winged Wonder!") while his actions spelled bloody murder. Carter Hall's bloodied face and Ralph Dibny's rotted, grinning maw turned the whole genre from superhero to horror.
However, this affair ends (potentially, any of the foursome could end up resurrected; but then again, they could remain dead), this scene will never be forgotten by DC comic fans.
At #6, we'll see a scene that plays the opposite end of our expectations -- a story that sold us an unhappy ending all the way, and then showed us just what the hero was made of.