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The Dead Shall Rise

"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!"

Blackest Night TV Tropes Page of Earth-Prime. RISE.

Now that we have your attention...

Blackest Night is the big Crisis Crossover event for The DCU in 2009, written by Geoff Johns, intended to take a serious look at death in comics. It's a gigantic Zombie Apocalypse featuring superheroes and supervillains being forced to fight against their loved ones risen from the grave. This involves plenty of Nightmare Fuel and Crowning Moments of Awesome for everybody involved. The whole series is a detailed examination on what the Comic Book Death actually means for the character involved, mixed with a nonstop intense thrill ride of action and kickass personal battles, fueled by a cosmic terror.

Largely focusing on the Green Lantern mythos, the villain is an Eldritch Abomination named Nekron who represents the forces of death on a cosmic level, and wishes to consume all positive and negative life force in the universe. To take it, he needs to draw everyone into his realm... effectively making him an Omnicidal Maniac.

It's also part of Geoff Johns' cycle of epic Green Lantern stories (the others being Green Lantern: Rebirth and the Sinestro Corps War, followed up by Brightest Day) Along with having major impact on the Lanterns, it's used the concept of the dead rising to force many heroes to confront their dearly departed in unexpected ways, leading to some surprisingly emotional stories for a crossover.

Following the events of Blackest Night is Brightest Day, which not only further chronicled Johns' Green Lantern work, but dealt with the repercussions of the post-Blackest Night DCU.

On the 10th anniversary, it had a Dark Multiverse spinoff, where everything goes wrong.

It also became a significant plot point in Star Trek/Green Lantern, where Nekron attempts another one and succeeds, resulting in the surviving Lanterns being transplanted into the Kelvin Timeline from Star Trek (2009).

Tropes from TV Tropes... RISE.

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    A - F 
  • Aborted Arc: The War of Light was intended to be significantly longer than just the introductions and opening battles between the Corps, as the Splash Page in Sinestro Corps War implied. Instead, elements like Mongul's implied quest for each Corps' rings, and Evil Star's presence in backstories for Black Hand and a Blue Lantern were simply abandoned to make way for the Crisis Crossover.
  • Above Good and Evil: Nekron, according to Johns.
  • All There in the Manual: When the Black Lantern Central Power Battery is activated, two Black Lanterns can be seen hovering by it, but their presence isn't explained. They were two Green Lanterns sent on a mission to explore Sector 666 for the Anti-Monitor's corpse by the Guardians, and stumbled on the power battery, their exploits shown through the issues of Green Lantern leading up to the event.
  • All Your Colors Combined: The White Light which is created by combining the light of all seven Corps. It was supposed to be the only way to destroy Nekron (instead it helped him). Carol lampshades this, saying "I think I saw this on a Saturday morning cartoon." A regular Black Lantern can only be destroyed by being hit by a blast of light from at least two of the Corps, and one of them has to be a Green Lantern one.
  • All Your Powers Combined: As mentioned, the White Light.
  • An Arm and a Leg: During the Doom Patrol tie-in, Niles Caulder's legs are frozen by his undead ex-wife. And then they're shattered. Ouch.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The Black Lanterns don't just raise the dead, they also go after those heroes that died and were brought back for whatever reason, and those resurrected heroes who are made into Black Lanterns are forced to watch their bodies kill and operate out of their control. All the while, they are slowly dying as the Black Rings are completely killing them.
    • At the end of the story, Black Hand is kidnapped by the Indigo Tribe and is forced to feel compassion to counteract his natural sociopathic detachment from life. Considering the actions which he had caused through out the arc, the reader is less inclined to feel sorry for this fate.
    • When Jason Rusch, the second Firestorm, is absorbed by the undead Ronnie Raymond as his new Firestorm matrix, Jason is trapped inside Ronnie's head. Ronnie then proceeds to turn Jason's girlfriend into salt, while Jason is screaming in agony inside Ronnie's head. The fact that Ronnie's a dumb lug and only remembered the chemical formula for salt by reading it from Jason's mind and that Ronnie could not affect organic matter until he absorbed Jason, who COULD affect organic matter, made it infinitely worse.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jason confesses his feelings for Gehenna as Black Lantern Firestorm kills her, with him trapped in the Firestorm matrix against his will.
  • Anyone Can Die: Seriously. They really aren't pulling punches with this one.… Death is Cheap remains in effect, however, so they don't really punch that hard, either. Half of the onscreen deaths turn out to be negated by the powers of the characters involved one way or another, and most of the others are undone at the end of the arc.
  • Aura Vision: The Black Lanterns see strong emotions via colors also covered by the Lantern Corps.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Mera deduces on her own that the Black Lanterns kill by first triggering strong emotional reactions from their prey and ripping their hearts out, and concludes the best way to evade them is to conceal one's emotions. That she does this for a while is remarkable given her frequent hotheadedness.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The Black Lantern Corps - kind of. Previous resurrections are also deconstructed, as Nekron permitted them in order to have Manchurian Agents among the living.
    • A number of people are legitimately back at the end: Osiris, Jade, the first Captain Boomerang, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), Hawk (Hank Hall), Maxwell Lord, the Reverse-Flash, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, and just to complicate matters, Deadman. Oh, and The Anti-Monitor.
  • Backstory: Green Lantern issues #49 and 52 are tie-ins to the crossover, and bring explanations, respectively, about Nekron's origin and the birth of the seven avatars of the emotional spectrum.
  • Badass Creed: The Black Lantern Oath.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work:
    • Hal's desperate attempt to stop the rampaging Spectre by letting Parallax take him over again.
    • Sinestro, of all people, getting the White Lantern power. Subverted, as he's smacked away soon enough after and has to be backed up by the others.
  • Big Bad: Nekron
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Indigo Lanterns first appear in the main miniseries this way, teleporting into the Hall of Justice and destroying the Black Latnern Dibneys.
  • Body Surf: When the heroes manage to destroy Nekron's body, another Black Lantern simply picks up Nekron's scythe and is physically warped into Nekron's next host.
  • Break Them by Talking: As they feed on the emotions of their victims, the Black Lanterns give these pretty much nonstop trying to draw a reaction from their former loved ones. Gets really old after a while for both the characters and reader, the former of which get annoyed and react accordingly. Of course this puts the characters right where the Corp want them. As Damage puts it: "For the last time, shut your rotten face!" And then he gets his heart completely torn out when the Atom inspires him to fight on. It doesn't really matter what emotion you are feeling for the Black Lanterns to steal your heart. Just as long as it is a strong one. Damned if you do...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In Adventure Comics #4 (and presumably #5), since Superboy-Prime lives on Earth-Prime (essentially our world) he knows what's going to happen because he's read the issue you're reading right now. This builds on the Metafiction that was assigned to Prime since the end of Legion of 3 Worlds.
    • Black Lantern Alexander Luthor tells Superboy-Prime that he dies next issue. Of course not before Superboy-Prime tries to kill Dan Didio (and all the other writers and artists in the DC building).
  • Breakout Character: Mera, normally a side character, becomes one of the leads here, and becomes a prominent figure in both Aquaman and Justice League storylines from this very point. Geoff Johns himself admitted to her breakout status here.
  • Brick Joke: Back in Agent Orange, Hal's first reaction to Larfleeze was that the greedy glutton reminded him one of The Muppets. He couldn't remember which one until later in their fight (it was Gonzo). When Hal and the 'Rainbow Rodeo' catch up to Larfleeze here during the Black Lantern attack on Okarra, Hal again compares him to Gonzo (with Carol lampshading that analogy doesn't work; if anything, he's Uncle Scooge with a Power Ring).
  • Call-Back: Once again, the inhabitants of Coast City have green lights in their windows in a crisis.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Done metafictionally, with Superboy-Prime calling out the writers for all the crap that he and the rest of the DCU are going through.
  • Came Back Wrong: The Black Lanterns. Most of the people revived in Blackest Night #8 after being a Black Lantern have something wrong with them, related to the black ring. See Brightest Day.
  • Catchphrase: The Black Power Rings, whenever they create a new Lantern:
    Ring: [New Lantern] of [Native Planet]. RISE
  • Chainsaw Good: Guy Gardner, taken over by the Red Lantern Ring, uses chainsaw constructs in his attacks.
  • Character Development: Amazingly, Superboy-Prime goes through a lot of this.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: Before BN, Mera was a mostly a neutral if more than competent leading figure who mostly served as a source of relationship angst for Aquaman. From this point on, she becomes a key DC superhero in her own right, taking part in many major conflicts including this one, in equal standing to Aquaman who himself gets a major level of badass both here and the subsequent arc. Her fiery, no nonsense personality also takes root here.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lantern Ermey, Kilowog's old drill sergeant; he is introduced in "Tales of The Lanterns" as being responsible for Kilowog becoming the hard-nosed drill instructor he is today. So of course, he returns as a Black Lantern.
  • Chest Insignia:
    • This is done for maximum horrific effect. When a corpse rises as a Black Lantern, the Black Hand symbol is always incorporated into their new costume or clothes; sometimes in extremely imaginative ways (Tempest's, for example, is skewed in conformity to the diagonal pattern of his uniform - also, he has the symbol tattooed over his right eye, where those scars were before).
    • When Black Hand is imprisoned by the Indigo Tribe, his markings are replaced by that of the Indigo Lanterns.
  • The Chosen Many: There are eight Corps, the seven that feed off one part of the emotional spectrum and the Black Corps, who… don't. There's a ninth, at least temporarily.
  • Clark Kenting: Discussed Trope in a conversation between Hal and the Flash:
    The Flash: I still don't get why you don't do more to protect your identity. This new Lantern? Kyle? His mask covers most of his face. Smart kid.
    Hal: Clark hides behind a pair of glasses and you're worried about me?
    The Flash: Clark slouches, wears clothes two sizes too big and raises his voice an octave.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Hal even refers to his group with terms like the "color-coded cavalry" and the "rainbow rodeo".
  • Comic Book Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: According to BN, life originated on Earth. However Earth is only 5 billion years old, while the universe as a whole is about 13. Many other lifeforms besides the Guardians already existed by then - the Old Gods from the New Gods saga for example.
  • Continuity Porn: It's a Geoff Johns story dealing with dead heroes and villains Coming Back Wrong. What did you expect?
  • Counterspell: When Black Lantern Zatara shows up he gets into a Wizard Duel with Zatanna that largely consists of him trying to enchant her into killing the other heroes and taking their hearts and her counterspelling him, and him counterspelling her counterspell again back and forth. All in reversed speech.
  • Cowardly Lion: Gypsy, of the JLA. Her initial reaction to Black Lantern Vibe is total fear, until she summons up the courage to draw a knife.
  • Creepy Child: "The Book of the Black Hand", featured at the end of the main issues, portray William Hand, during his childhood and teenage years, as one very disturbed person.
  • Creepy Mortician: Green Lantern villain Black Hand was reinvented as one of these in the lead-up to Blackest Night.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Played with in a couple of ways. Nekron invokes this, citing life itself as the invader into a previously dark and empty universe. Black Hand legitimately believes that the Blackest Night is for the best, because death will put an end to the chaos and pain in the universe that has no meaning.
    • On a less-literal level, the Corps that represent more negative emotions and that had been enemies of the Green Lanterns fought together against the Black Lanterns. Sinestro and Larfleeze fought valiantly, if for selfish reasons. Atrocitus, meanwhile, joined the combined Lantern corps without having to be bribed or motivated by a quest for glory; he wasn't lying when he claimed that he fought to protect life. It's also important to note that while Atrocitus is the head of the Red Lanterns - beings who are fueled by anger and rage - it's established that Atrocitus is at the very least very justified for the anger he feels, as he is the sole survivor of the extermination of his entire sector by the Manhunters. His breakdown shows that - while not completely innocent - his sector did not deserve the punishment wrought upon it.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The event as a whole was one for the various Lantern Corps, whilst the main series featured Hal Jordan and Barry Allen as the primary characters, with Mera & The Atom as secondary characters.
  • Dead All Along: Scar; she's been dead and serving Nekron ever since she was scarred by the Anti-Monitor.
  • Death by Origin Story: Subverted, as these characters are back with a vengeance.
  • Death is Cheap: It isn't, actually. As Nekron says, "you owe me a life". This series is a deconstruction of this trope. It turns out that the resurrections of various heroes in the DC Universe were an Evil Plan on the part of Nekron to give him thralls to control. A character discussion at the end indicates that "death is death" from now on. It doesn't, but methods of resurrection are standardized to avoid Nekron until the New 52 erased the event from every mythos but the Lanterns'.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Inverted with Deadman, who turns out to be the most important, non-Lantern Corps affiliated, character in the entire story. He's the one who figured out how to beat Nekron!
  • Dem Bones: In his Black Lantern form, Deadman becomes a skeleton. Half of the Black Lantern Corps are skeletal as well, depending on how decayed they are. Batman's clone comes back as a skull.
  • Demonic Possession: Due to the utter hopelessness of trying to fight him any other way, Hal has once again become the host for Parallax so he can fight the Black Lantern Spectre.
  • Disney Death: Kyle Rayner at one point seemingly sacrifices himself during the Black Lantern Corps' attack on Oa and came close to becoming a Black Lantern himself. Fortunately, Munk was able to fend off the incoming black rings and Soranik Natu and Star Sapphire Miri Riam were successfully able to resuscitate Kyle.
  • Dramatic Irony: A good chunk of the Green Lantern Corps issues focused on Kyle/Soranik scenes, but Kyle revealed to Guy and the readers in the first issue that while Soranik thinks a Star Sapphire showed them each other as their One True Loves, Kyle actually saw his dead ex-girlfriend Jade instead. This adds ironic subtext to the scenes with Black Lantern Jade, but nothing else would happen - even after Jade's resurrection - until after the next Bat Family Crossover, "War of the Green Lanterns".
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Barry succumbs to one after Hal shows him all the heroes who have died since his death.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Kendra gives one to Carter when they are dying after being stabbed and bludgeoned and after their killer zombified Ralph Dibny claims she always hated him.
    Kendra: I...never hated...I...I..I
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Reconstructed: Besides being the center of the multiverse, life originated on Earth, which is why Nekron is attacking it - the source of life remains there.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The various alien entities that are incarnations of the various colors of the emotional spectrum, which has led to some fan speculating that these beasts may be like infant Chaos Gods from Warhammer 40,000 in training, all except for The Entity, which was born on Earth. Nekron especially counts; born from the original darkness of the universe itself to consume life and the Emotional Spectrum it created, Nekron had been subtly moving pieces to his advent since Hal Jordan first became Green Lantern, and it has tried on one or two occasions to expand it's realm into ours. Nekron fits the bill of an E.A. so much, it shouldn't be able to exist in the physical universe. It is only able to do so through an avatar, a link to the Living World: Black Hand. Arguably a subversion, since Nekron is displayed as being mostly powerless on his own. He needs Black Hand to exist in the physical universe (and actually have a body), and needed to use the power of the Anti-Monitor (who was trapped inside the Black Battery at the time, and was what powered it) in order to create the Black Rings, control dead heroes and villains, and (temporarily) keep The Spectre at bay. Without those things, he's reduced to being an empty spirit locked at the bottom of whatever hole he was tossed down in Blackest Night #8.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Used in Blackest Night: The Flash issue #3.
  • Enemy Mine: The various corps must put aside their individual conflicts and unite for the sake of saving the universe. Several terrestrial heroes and villains team up as well.
  • Episode of the Dead: This Crisis Crossover event is this for The DCU, having the universe-scale menace of the "Black Lanterns", reanimated corpses of dead people, not limited to heroes or villains, metahumans or common folks, from every part of the universe. If it's dead, it can be a Black Lantern (resurrected included, that count as Manchurian Agents).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Again, from Blackest Night: The Flash issue #3: "The Rogues don't kill women and children." They even proceed to kill Captain Boomerang II for breaking this rule.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Justified; it happens automatically when a dead superhero get a black power ring.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Nekron.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Parallax gladly saves everyone from Black Lantern Spectre. However, as soon as he's done, he goes back to being a homicidal maniac.
  • Fighting from the Inside: The Spectre tries doing this. Emphasis on tries.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The only dead person who does not come back? Don Hall. Why? "Don Hall of Earth is at peace". This also ends up being the reason how Dawn manages to destroy many of those zombies for good - kind of a variation on Good Hurts Evil.
    • In the Black Hand's annotations at the end of the first issue, he comments about the love of the Hawks' Egyptian incarnations mirrored the love fossilized in the Star Sapphire's power battery. [[In Green Lantern #46, the black rings resurrect the corpses of Chay-era and Khufu, which were the Hawks' previous incarnations.]]
  • Forgot About His Powers: The murder of Firestorm's girlfriend gets pretty weird if you remember that Gehenna learned to teleport before even learning to walk. Subverted in that she is mentioned as trying to teleport but the power of Black Lantern Firestorm currently holding her by the throat is preventing her from doing so.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: A meta example occurs in the Justice League of America tie-ins. A villain tells B-list heroine Doctor Light that once he kills her, the superhero community will briefly mourn but quickly forget about her. He then cites several superheroes (such as Triumph) who were all quickly forgotten about after their deaths.
  • From a Single Cell: "even a few cells left on a black ring will grow back a whole Black Lantern."
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • What's that? The dead are rising? The Spectre, quite possibly the most powerful being in the universe, was possessed by the Black Lanterns? Only one thing to do! Let the Anthropomorphic Personification of fear out of its can and possess Hal Jordan! Yes, Parallax is back! Anyone remember the last time that happened?
    • A zombie apocalypse? Shouldn't be too hard to get rid of Black Hand's Mooks... oh, hang on, he's backed by the personification of Death. No problem, we've got the Justice League — oh, wait, no we don't, Nekron made them zombies, too. OK, the combined Lanterns have bolstered their ranks with new deputies, and... Cool! A White Lantern... Sinestro. I'm sure HE won't abuse such power.
    • The Spectre himself says that the only being worse than Nekron is the Anti-Monitor, and the series ends with Nekron defeated but the Anti-Monitor alive and well.
    • The Green Lanterns Corps tie-in. So, all the dead on Oa are back? And the Guardians are missing? Well, just figure out a way around it. They let loose a Red Lantern, which works, and then one of the Alpha Lanterns kills them. Then the Black Lanterns start going after the Central Power Battery. Kyle manages to slow them down... and dies. Which makes Guy angry enough to attract that dead red's ring... And even when Kyle comes back, he refuses to believe it's true.

    G - L 
  • Godzilla Threshold: Again, reviving Parallax to fight Black Lantern Spectre.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Atom and Hawkman #46. Indigo-1 sends out a mental summons to the homeworlds of all the various Lantern Corps, summoning them to Earth to participate in the battle with the Black Lanterns.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Nekron tries to split Sinestro in half. Sinestro uses the power of the white light to heal himself and resume his attacks.
  • Heel–Face Turn: To a certain extent, the Red, Orange (meaning Larfleeze), and Yellow Corps as a whole. Out of all of them, though, Atrocitus seems to be the only one making a genuine one, mostly due to his backstory making him a bit of an Anti-Villain.
  • Heroic Dog: Krypto the Superdog saves Ma Kent and blasts the living hell out of a Black Lantern. And he helped Superboy's Batman Gambit to get free from the black ring controlling his body, while preventing Conner from killing Wonder Girl.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kyle Rayner, who takes hundreds of Black Lanterns with him. The Power of Love makes him get better.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Literally. Superboy-Prime surrenders to the Black Lanterns and puts on a black ring to become one of them, but his wild emotions end up saving him, destroying the ring and all the zombies around him. His ex-girlfriend Laurie forgives him for his past misdeeds and they hug, Prime sobbing on her shoulder, but the last shot reveals that Laurie is actually one of them, and is poised to kill him. It was all a plot to fill his heart with hope, before feeding on it.
    • Used with Damage, as well. Since Infinite Crisis, he's generally been a brooding anti-hero, fuelled mainly by his rage. Ray Palmer manages to talk to him, convincing the young man to set aside his anger, and he begins to feel hope again... and then Black Lantern Jean Loring punches his heart out. Just to make things worse, his is the final heart needed to activate the Black Lantern's central power battery.
      • The JSA tie-in takes it further, with the newly-minted Black Lantern Damage pretending it's free of the same programming as the others, and sacrifices his "life" to take out the undead JSA. It was all part of the plan to re-revive Earth-Two's Superman.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Nekron's attack occurs on a superhero equivalent to Memorial Day.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Indigo Tribe in relation to the six other more developed corps.
  • Human Cannon Ball: The various Corps used Dove as one against the Anti-Monitor.
  • Hypocrite: Captain Cold justifies killing the second Captain Boomerang by claiming "Rogues don't kill women and children." Trouble is the lineup at the time includes the second Mirror Master (who definitely killed Rachel Rathaway as well as the Rathaways' female housekeeper), the second Trickster (unless all the homeless people he blew up happened to be adult men), and Heat Wave (again, unless he somehow only caught adult men in his numerous acts of arson).
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Larfleeze was trying to grab SCAR and take her with him. Hey, an undead Guardian is rarer and thus worth more than a regular one! In the end, he contents himself with Sayd, who offered her servitude to him in return for his help.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Ganthet already knows that when two or more people wear the light of avarice, they will inevitably end up fighting each other and no one else. Jordan has also heard this tale, first-hand from Larfleeze himself. Yet, they go ahead and send out an orange ring which deputizes Lex frickin' Luthor. Not surprisingly, him and Larfleeze spend the entire showdown fighting with each other and make themselves completely useless; the Avarice light seems to have been brought along only for obligatory purposes. Justified for Red and Yellow rings, as they at least had some measure of control and had been helping to take out Black Lanterns.
    • Pretty much all of the JSA fall for the Black Lanterns' manipulations hook, line and sinker.
  • Implacable Man: Black Lanterns don't die if you cut off their heads. They don't die if they have their hearts torn out, get cut to ribbons, or are immolated down to dust. Even if you figure out that the ring is the really dangerous part, the strength of Superman or a concentrated attack by several Green Lanterns cannot be relied upon to destroy the ring for good. And most of them, being superheroes, are strong enough to break out of ice or even solid stone when people try to trap them (of particular note, the ring hunting Superboy kept on flying towards him even once it was trapped in ice, and when Wonder Girl threw it to the moon, everyone knew it was only a delaying tactic). The reader will spend the first third of this crossover wonder how it could ever be possible to beat these things.
  • Indy Ploy: With the Lanterns off of Earth recruiting their Corps, the remaining Earth heroes have to improvise against the Black Lanterns for a while:
    • Batman and Robin recruit Deadman and Etrigan, neither of whom the Black Lanterns can see, to bring them Mr. Freeze's cold gun, which they use to freeze themselves solid.
    • Superboy steals Black Lantern Psycho-Pirate's emotion controlling Medusa Mask and forces both the Pirate and Black Lantern Kal-L to feel emotion; the resulting Reality-Breaking Paradox shuts them down.
    • The Justice Society of America weaponizes the power of the Thunderbolt genie against the Black Lanterns of their former members.
    • Bizarro throws Black Lantern Solomon Grundy into the sun.
    • Poison Ivy has one of her Man Eating Plants swallow Black Lantern Black Mask, with the plant digesting him faster than he can regenerate.
    • The Shade seals off Black Lantern Starman into the Darkforce Dimension.
    • The Ray, Dr. Light, and Halo of The Outsiders discover by accident that, since they command the full light spectrum already, they can destroy Black Lanterns on their own.
  • In Name Only: Deadman, after being one of the twelve revived by the White Light. Even he is aware of this.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Both Doves exhibit this. The rings fail to turn the deceased Don Hall into a Black Lantern because his soul is completely at peace and is apparently so pure that it cannot be controlled by evil. Dawn Granger, the current and alive Dove, is completely immune to the Black Lanterns' attempts to corrupt her and they literally explode when they try. The various corps eventually weaponize this - more than Dawn had been doing already - by launching her right into the Black Lantern Anti-Monitor.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Guy Gardner has a long, long, long history of being this, but it's on full display when he's attacked by a Black Ring-controlled Ice, who gives him a prolonged What the Hell, Hero? and asks for a Mercy Kill. From her P.O.V., Guy is shown not to be filled with anger (in fact, there's none whatsoever), but pure compassion.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Most characters, when seen via the Black Lantern's viewpoint, have several different emotions. Niles Caulder is just pure greed.
  • Just One Second Out of Sync: Hal and Barry's escape from the Black Lantern rings isn't exactly this, but very similar. Barry sends him and Hal two minutes into the future, and not existing in those two minutes is enough for the rings to end their pursuit.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • In Blackest Night #0, Black Hand destroys Bruce Wayne's grave. That skull in the image is Bruce's. It's being used to create rings to help kill his former friends. It gets worse. In the next issue, he licks it.
    • The kicking doesn't end there. In Blackest Night #5, Nekron and Black Hand finally make Batman a Black Lantern for one sole purpose: to use the emotions people had for him to turn the heroes who had been killed and resurrected into Black Lanterns themselves. And, after he's served his purpose, they disintegrate him.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Black Hand establishes his position as Nekron's herald by murdering his family then killing himself, beginning in the Blackest Night.
  • Laughably Evil:
    • Larfleeze is a psychotic, murderous, cannibalistic glutton completely devoid of any redeeming qualities (unlike Sinestro or Atrocitus). But that doesn't stop him from stealing the spotlight in this entire event, because he's just so darn funny.
    • Not to mention Black Lantern Firestorm. He manages to be funny even while forcing the current Firestorm to turn his girlfriend into salt.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Guy Gardner's memories of Maxwell Lord are erased when he tries to catch the man, allowing Max to escape.

    M - R 
  • The Millstone: Orange Lantern Lex Luthor, who spends more time attacking fellow ringbearers than he does the zombies.
  • The Mole: Due to a previous experience as an "undead being", the former Green Lantern Driq retains his own personality while in Black Lantern form. He helps John Stewart and the other Lanterns by finding and leading them to Xanshi's core so they can destroy it.
  • Mortality Grey Area: Black Lanterns see through looking at people's emotions, usually getting something from living, ignore those who suppress their emotions or see their fellow undead as simple grays. However they have a hard time figuring what to do with beings without a heart like Etrigan. The Phantom Stranger, who's a mysterious and enigmatic yet powerful entity, isn't considered either living or dead by their forces. One Black Lantern who tries to take his heart only gets horribly burned.
  • Mythology Gag: "I guess Mogo does socialize after all."
  • Never Mess with Granny: In Blackest Night: Superman #3, Black Lantern Lois Kent from Earth-2 (died of old age in Infinite Crisis) gives a Breaking Speech to Ma Kent. Ma Kent makes a torch and burns her and then sics Krypto on her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The Guardians of the Green Lantern Corps. Even without Scar manipulating things, the rest of the Guardians (sans Ganthet and Sayd) just couldn't stop screwing up. With the useless Alpha-Lanterns, censoring of the prophecy of the Blackest Night, polarizing new laws in the Book of Oa, and their hand in fully igniting the War of Light by directing Larfleeze and his Orange Lantern Corps to the location of the Blue Lanterns, the Guardians almost seemed to be begging for the Zombie Apocalypse!
    • Hal Jordan and the Lanterns of the other emotion spectrum Corps combining their powers to form the white light of creation actually made Nekron stronger. Nekron uses this increased power to create Black Lantern Batman just long enough to turn the heroes who cheated death in the past into Black Lanterns.
    • Speaking of Hal, his merging with the White Entity to trigger the creation of White Rings. Sure, it stops Nekron and brings back a lot of deceased characters. But one of those resurrected is Barry's arch-enemy, the Reverse-Flash. That means Hal's indirectly responsible for the events of The Flash: Rebirth and the murder of Barry's mom at Thawne's hands.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Black Hand and Scarecrow, though they have different tastes. The former has a rather unhealthy obsession with death and the latter is obsessed with experiencing fear. Ironically, this becomes a point of contention between the two when Black Hand states that once everyone is dead they won't be afraid anymore. To which Scarecrow retorts (while attacking him with a pitchfork) "What if we want to be afraid?!" In fact, Black Hand licking the skull of the Batman clone is the trope picture.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the JLA tie-in, Zatanna is dragged away by the Black Lantern version of her father. She reappears at the end, having won. We never see how, though.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Nekron's not just out to kill all forms of life, he's out to kill Life itself.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Black Lanterns are not the actual characters; the rings are the ones in total control.
    • What is really important is that the Black Lanterns only kill specific victims, namely those feeling strong levels of one or more of the seven emotions; they do not kill with abandon. A Black Lantern will not harm (or even detect) someone who feels no emotion at all (i.e. Jonathan Crane AKA Scarecrow) or who can empty themselves of emotion (i.e. Shiva and Renee Montoya), nor will they initially go after someone who doesn't have a heart to take (i.e. Tarpit and Robotman).
    • There's even some internal variation of types: partway through the story Nekron manages to zombify all the heroes who have previously returned from the dead like Superman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman etc. by forcing black rings onto their hands, thus instantaneously "killing" and transforming them into Black Lanterns. However, these "living" Black Lanterns are apparently not really dead so much as "possessed" by their black rings (as evidenced by returning to a living state upon their removal like Connor, rather than becoming an inanimate corpse as with regular vanquished BL's). Thus they effectively qualify as a different category of zombie within the larger zombie ranks. This is partly indicated by these possessed-BL's not looking like decaying reanimated corpses like all the other BL's, but instead just have pallid gray skin, although this varies slightly Depending on the Artist. As a result you get a "sexy undead goth Wonder Woman" (plus Donna Troy, and Ice, who doesn't appear in the picture) instead of the "heinous rotting cadaver Wonder Woman" you might have expected/feared. Again Depending on the Artist, some of the already dead female Black Lanterns do give off some Fetish Fuel as of their appearance (e.g. Jade).
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: When Owen Mercer is sacrificing people to his Black Lantern father in an attempt to restore him back to life, one of his victims is a villain called Sandblast, who is mentioned to be a sex offender just before Owen leaves him at his father's mercy.
  • People Puppets: Most Black Lanterns are puppeteered corpses. The handful that aren't are still puppeteered, just not quite dead yet - A "living" Black Lantern's soul is quite literally trapped; they can feel their body moving and hear the Breaking Speeches the ring spouts out, but cannot do anything to stop it.
  • The Plan: To no one's surprise, Hal unites the seven corps, beaming the White Light of Creation at Nekron. It makes him stronger. There is no way he did not plan this. In addition, the whole thing ends with Black Lantern Batman. So... Lampshading? Turns out Nekron allowed people to come Back from the Dead. All so that he could eventually use them for his own purposes. See Kick The Dog.
  • Planet of Hats: According to Ganthet, Earth's Hat is its lack of a Hat, being the most diverse planet in the universe. Lex Luthor, however, argues to Larfleeze that Earth's hat is greed, consumerism, and getting stuff - so he should claim the Orange Light.
  • Planetary Relocation: After The Reveal that the White/Life Entity is on Earth, the whole Black Lantern Corps go to Earth, including a reanimated planet Xanshi also serves as Planet Spaceship for the rest of Black Lanterns.
  • The Power of Love: Basically, the Star Sapphires' schtick: A Star Sapphire helps revive Kyle using the love in Soranik's heart, and Carol revived Mera using Aquaman's love after Mera's Red Ring rejected her. It also helps to free Hal from Parallax possession. Carol's love "anchored" Hal on her, allowing the Spectre to separate entity from host.
  • Preorder Bonus: Depending on where you purchased it, some copies of Blackest Night #1 came with a free Black Lantern Ring. Other comics included rings for the other seven corps. The Blackest Night rings were such a success that DC made more rings for the Brightest Day followup: Green Lantern (again), The Flash, and White Lantern.
  • Primordial Chaos: Nekron's origin. It turns out he is a "defense mechanism" created by the Primordial Chaos to fight back against light and life.
  • Rage Against the Author: Superboy-Prime calls the writers at DC Comics out for continuing the story and giving the Black Lanterns the advantage even though he already proved that the comic book characters all exist and really are in serious danger. It doesn't work.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Mera's rage is finally triggered when she goes up against a Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Amazingly this doesn't lead to her death, even though she's beaten within an inch of her life. It does attract one of the Red Lantern Rings to her, which empowers her against the Black Lanterns at the cost of turning her rage up to eleven.
  • Rasputinian Death: Not as elaborate as Darkseid's in Final Crisis, but the way that Nekron was stopped was by having the White Lanterns bring Black Hand to life, which caused Black Hand to vomit up White Rings. After one of them managed to destroy the Black Central Power Battery by resurrecting the Anti-Monitor, the rest of the White Rings vanquished Nekron completely. Even then, it doesn't really kill Nekron - it just sent him back to the Land of the Unliving.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Most of the Black Lanterns did this to the heroes they were fighting, in order to damage them psychologically alongside the physically. Black Lantern Aquaman gave a rather brutal one to the Atlanteans that came to retrieve his body, calling them out for shunning him because he was blond and trying to kill him when he returned to Atlantis to claim the throne.
  • ReCut: The "DC Essential Edition" for the crossover added some snippets featuring Ragman and the Rainbow Raiders in between Ivan Reis's artwork for the main mini-series. These snippets were previously published independently in one-shot Untold Tales of Blackest Night (dated October 2010).
  • The Reveal: Earth has been targeted because it is where the Entity, the source of the White Light of Creation, first arrived in the universe and where it's hiding, meaning that life began on Earth, not Maltus (the Guardians' homeworld) and the Guardians tried to keep Earth off other races' radar to prevent them from threatening the Entity. Abin Sur learned this, but the Guardians' cover-up meant everyone thought he had lost it. Learning that his best friend was right when believed insane, Sinestro took this revelation poorly.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Averted — being blasted with the white light of creation didn't do jack to Nekron. Played straight in the finale: Nekron is undone after his link to the physical world (Black Hand) and his power source (the Anti-Monitor) are revived.

    S - Z 
  • Save the Villain: In the end, the day is saved by Black Hand being brought back to life.
  • Scenery Porn: Ivan Reis' work in the core series is so detailed, it's almost unbelievable. Seriously, it reaches main Crisis levels of detail.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: The way every hero reacts to the Black Lantern speeches. There are a ton of these.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Star Sapphire Wonder Woman senses the pain and emptiness inside Red Lantern Mera, and using her Lasso of Truth, realizes how much self-directed anger and regret Mera had for the things she could no longer confess to her now deceased husband Arthur.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Black Lanterns are very similar to the Marvel Zombies, to the extent that Blackest Night is sometimes thought of as DC's Alternate Company Equivalent to that particular event.
  • The Stoic: Mera of all people manages to keep her emotions in check to keep the Black Lanterns off her back, even as she skirts the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Supporting the Monster Loved One: The second Captain Boomerang killed people for his undead Black Lantern father to eat.
  • Sympathy for the Devil:
    • We get a heart-to-heart moment between Saint Walker and, of all people, Atrocitus, as they commiserate that the paths that led them to their respective corps are actually quite similar. Mind you, Atrocitus points out just how different he thinks they are by showing that unlike Walker, he knows that specific individuals are to blame for his misery, and that they haven't ever been brought to justice.
    • Saint Walker temporarily gives Larfleeze some hope as to the whereabouts of his parents.
    • Superboy-Prime gets some, being forced to admit that he hates the monster he's become by a Black Lantern ring.
  • Taking You with Me: Kyle, to the Black Lanterns attacking Oa. Superboy-Prime tries this with everyone at DC Comics, but the Black Lanterns teleport him away before he can kill anyone.
  • Targeted to Hurt the Hero: Gehenna, who was killed in the most horrific manner possible, turned into salt, just to torment her boyfriend.
  • There Can Be Only One: Larfleeze and Lex Luthor battle to the death to be the sole owner of the Orange Light of Avarice.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: As Donna Troy fights off the Black Lantern infection, we see from her POV Wonder Woman in front of her with a pink light representing the emotion of love, a sign that the former is losing herself to the Black Lantern.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Before Geoff Johns took some Character Development to him, Black Hand was a seldom used character who had turned into more of a joke in his later appearances. His original shtick was as the "cliche villain". He based his plans on trite sayings. Like The Riddler without being remotely interesting. While Nekron has always been taken seriously, the number of appearances he's made since his debut in the 80s could literally be counted on one hand and even most hardcore fans had never heard of him. Geoff Johns is now in the process of turning him into one of the DCU's ultimate Big Bads. Lampshaded by the Flash in issue 5.
    • Mera as well. If anyone even knew who she was, it was usually just as Aquaman's wife. Now there's talk of her own spin-off after Blackest Night. She gets some gut-wrenching character development: "I never wanted children." Mera is so hardcore that Atrocitus complements her.
    • What about Ma Kent and Krypto? Ma uses a torch to take down Lois Kent, leaving Krypto to finish her off.
  • Twist Ending: To issue 7. A White Lantern? I Knew It!! White Lantern SINESTRO? ... Well, that was unexpected. It's even lampshaded on this cover.
  • Undead Child: Aquababy and Donna Troy's baby, both revived as Black Lanterns.
  • The Unreveal:
    • In issue 5, the various Corps leaders all charge up their rings, having a roll call of their oaths - except for Larfleeze, who's hungry again. The Indigo Tribe oath can count, too; this is the first time we've heard it, but it's in an alien language. Unlike Larfleeze's, though, the Indigo Tribe one DOES come with a reveal. Abin Sur's name is part of the oath.
    • Driq, an undead Green Lantern whose will was so great that death could not sway him from his duty, briefly shows up wearing a mix of both Green and Black Lantern uniforms, and both rings. While he acts as an advisor for John Stewart, it's not clear if he survived the event, much less whether he was honestly aiding John or simply pretending the way other Black Lanterns often did.
    • During the Phantom Stranger's tie-in, one Black Lantern tries taking his heart, and gets a glimpse of all four versions of the Stranger's origins that have been given over the years. He just says it has seen "everything and nothing".
  • Villain Decay: While this could be considered literally true for all the zombied Black Lanterns, other villains like Larfleeze are getting this treatment. In his first appearance he ruled over an entire solar system, possessed the power of an entire corps, dictated terms to the Guardians of the Universe and commanded his own army of wrathful shades. Now he appears much diminished after his first confrontation with the Black Lanterns and his artwork has changed as a result. He is also drawn much smaller and less menacing and seems now to be comic relief than anything. Justified as well. Saint Walker offers to curb Larfleeze's hunger with his blue ring for as long as he helps in the fight. Not the most sane choice when the man's power directly stems from how hungry he is. He also builds his Corps on the identities of people he's killed with his ring & constructs, which alone can't really do much against already dead beings. And Depending on the Artist is effect for his size, of course.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Sinestro has had more than one of these in the series. Whenever he finds out that the Guardians made Abin Sur (his only true friend) look like he had gone insane when he really was the only one who knew the truths behind Blackest Night, he gets really pissed off. Understandably so! Also his reaction to Hal getting the Parallax entity again instead of himself and the part around the end with his need to get the White Lantern battery.
    • Nekron has a minor one when he realizes that the Lantern Corps are about to win.
    • Black Hand also has a minor one, but has periodical flashes back to sanity as the attacks wear on his psyche. In the aftermath, he's braindead and led about by the Indigo Corps.
  • Weapon Wields You: The Black Lantern Rings are wielding the people they are attached to, not the other way around.
  • Wham Episode: None of the core issues draw their punches, but perhaps the first one was the strongest: in Blackest Night #1, Barry is still trying to deal with how much things had changed since he died. When he learns about the villain morgue and the hero cemeteries, he asks Hal who else had died since he was gone. Hal uses his ring to show everyone. When Barry sees Ralph and Sue, he actually sits down in sorrow. And then in Blackest Night #5, when every major hero who has ever returned from the dead (Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, etc) are killed again by Black Lantern Batman and become Black Lanterns themselves. Oh, and the "white light of creation" actually helped Nekron instead of destroying him like it should have. Uh-oh.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Where did the Spectre go when Nekron brushed him off? And if Nekron wasn't responsible for it, who took Parallax? These questions were answered in Brightest Day: The Spectre was recombined with the soul of Crispus Allen, who then began searching for the Butcher; and Parallax was summoned and imprisoned by Krona.
    • In the tie-in Green Lantern #47, the action on Ysmault cuts away after the Black Lanterns' failed attempt to kill Atrocitus. At the end of the issue, Atrocitus suddenly appears on Okarra, with no indication of what happened to the other Red Lanterns, or the "Lost Lanterns" who had also been on Ysmault. The Lost Lanterns reappear after the event no worse for wear, but they never say what happened.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Atrocitus. His entire race, including his wife and daughter were killed by Manhunters. Small wonder he's been on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge ever since.
    • Mera as a Red Lantern is a milder case.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The Spectre, just like the last couple of times. At least there was a somewhat believable reason: Nekron doesn't have a soul to punish.
    • Nekron also One-Hit KO's the Anti-Monitor, who it took five universes worth of superheroes to defeat in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Mind, he did take quite the beating during the Sinestro Corps War, allowing Nekron to capture him in the first place. (Being crushed by the Warworld, having it and the Yellow Central Power Battery detonate in one's face and getting a hole punched in one's chest by Superboy-Prime cannot be very good for one's general health).
    • For some reason, Superman couldn't hurt the Black Lanterns very much, while Superboy could. Superman only had heat vision and super strength to use against them. Superboy has his tactile telekinesis. One would assume he was basically ripping them apart cell by cell from the inside out every time he touched them.
  • Writing for the Trade: While this crossover is not so bad on its own (the first few issues could've been condensed without missing much), this storyline lasted eight issues (nine months!) despite being only one night long. To make matters worse, Hal's storylines from Final Crisis to Blackest Night led right into one another, so a week at most passed for Hal while everything else in the DCU took place in clearly longer segments of time, even the nominally parallel Green Lantern Corps book. It's not a bad read, but it's clearly written with an eye towards the collections, rather than allowing any breathing room between stories or accounting for characters' appearances elsewhere in the DCU.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Hawkgirl finally gets up the nerve to confess that she loves Hawkman in Blackest Night #1. Then both she and Hawkman die brutally. Carter gets brought back at the end, but Kendra stays dead.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: The comic is all about this. When the Black Lantern Corps is created, rings reanimate the dead (mostly meta-humans as well as alien races) and the carriers gaining a quick regeneration and Nigh-Invulnerability. Discovered during the series that the only way to kill Black Lanterns are combining two or more Lantern powers, one of which must be Green, or being a White Lantern.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: When Kyle Rayner dies, Soranik and the rest of the GL Corps that were in Oa defend his body ferociously against the Black Lantern Rings.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • Initially, only the dead with emotional ties to the world's superheroes and supervillains get up and walk. Then Nekron arrives. "Coast City. Rise." Remembering that the dead of Coast City number seven million, that's a pretty decent-sized attack.
    • Also, Xanshi, an entire planet and its population, as John Stewart discovers. (You read that right - the planet itself is a Black Lantern, like Mogo is a Green.)
    • And all of the dead children of the Green Lanterns. Seriously, the Black Lanterns really know how to get their enemies riled up.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted. These zombies have power rings and everything that entails — flying, constructs of whatever they think of, energy blasts, the usual. And if they had superpowers before they died? They still have them.
  • Zombify the Living: Nekron does this, but only on those who came Back from the Dead (e.g. Superman). Green Lantern and The Flash avoid this by being Just One Second Out of Sync.