Comic Book Review – The Atom and Hawkman #46 (March 2010)

Writer- Geoff Johns

Artists – Ryan Sook and Fernando Pasarin

“Bye Bye Birdie!”

During the Blackest Night miniseries, several heroes were deputized as members of the multi-colored Corps for 24 hours. Ray Palmer, the Atom, was chosen by the Indigo Tribe for his caring and compassionate personality.

The issue opens with Ray Palmer fighting his undead friends Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Ray is soon joined by Indigo-1 to help even the odds. Indigo-1 informs Ray that in order to survive against the Black Lanterns that he’ll need to access the full scope of his ring’s powers. The Indigo Power Ring has the ability to teleport to those in need and heal them, as well as, reconfiguring Indigo light to tap into the power of other Lanterns in close proximity. Indigo-1 uses her staff to channel the Red Lantern power of Rage to incapacitate Hawkman.

Indigo-1 tells Ray she must contact the other members of the Indigo Tribe to have them teleport to the home worlds of the other Corps to bring reinforcements to Earth. Ray must protect Indigo-1 from harm so she can send out this message.

Ray tries to tap into the power of Hal’s Will to destroy the Black Lanterns advancing on Indigo-1 but inadvertently uses the Orange Power of Avarice instead. Black Lantern Jean Loring springs from the ring of Black Lantern Hawkman and sucker punches Ray. Jean shrinks and enters Indigo-1’s ring, which causes her to writhe in pain. Ray shakes off Jean’s attack and goes after her to save Indigo-1.

Inside the ring, Ray enters a familiar looking kitchen and realizes he’s about to relive the death of Sue Dibny. He tries to save Sue by calling out to her, but she doesn’t notice his presence. As Ray consoles Sue’s body, Jean mocks Ray. As Ray tries to strike Jean with his ring, she dodges his attack and unleashes Black Lantern Laethwen and her microscopic army on Ray. Ray shakes off these tiny terrors and stabs Jean with his staff. He is able to channel the Green Power of Will and destroys Black Lantern Jean for good. Ray exits Indigo-1’s ring. She successfully sends her message to the Indigo Tribe. Indigo Tribe members visit Oa, Korugar, Zamaron, Odym, and Ysmault to help fight Black Lanterns.

Indigo-1 tells Ray he just saved the universe. Ray doesn’t want anyone to find out because he wants to maintain a low profile. Since Ray helped Indigo-1, he asks for a favor of his own. Ray asks Indigo-1 to help him figure out a way to bring Black Lantern Hawkman and Hawkgirl back to life.

Several cancelled comic book series were resurrected during the Blackest Night crossover as one-shots. The cover of The Atom and Hawkman drew me in thanks to Black Lantern Hawkman’s gaping, bloody maw. I also like the iconic pose of Atom on Hawkman’s shoulder. Two heroes standing tall, ready for action.

I, for one, thought Ray Palmer would die during the Blackest Night miniseries. Ryan Choi took up the mantle as the new Atom and was quickly becoming a fan favorite. I expected Ray Palmer to get the send off he deserved after playing an integral part in the Countdown to Final Crisis and Blackest Night, but that wasn’t the case.

I was shocked they recreated Sue Dibny’s death from Identity Crisis in this issue. To this day, Identity Crisis remains one of the most controversial storylines in DC Comics history. I’m sure Geoff Johns could have worked around it. Johns did a good job playing up Ray and Jean’s doomed relationship in the recap of Ray’s life at the beginning of the issue. I’m guessing the recreated death scene was included to have a more emotional impact for the reader, to show Ray’s previous failures, and to have him finally triumph over Jean once and for all. Johns took a big risk, and thankfully, it paid off.

For those that didn’t read Blackest Night, Ray would get his wish to see Hawkman and Hawkgirl brought back to life. The White Lantern Ring would restore undead heroes and villains back to life and the reasons why would be explained in the Brightest Day maxiseries.

The Road to Halloween has begun! I will have more Halloween centric and Horror themed reviews for you during the month of October. As always, thanks for taking time to read and comment. You are in for a few treats over the next few weeks so strap in for the ride of your life!