There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, that yesterday’s issue of Blackest Night reminded me of, and intensified my curiosity about.
If you’ve been reading DC’s superhero line for long, you know that the company has been actively promoting their Blackest Night miniseries and the surrounding story event for well over a year now.
If you’ve been reading Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern work, you know that he’s been writing his way toward this story for a very long time, perhaps as long as he’s been writing Hal Jordan stories.
As the event grew closer, it became apparent that some of the high profile characters the company was killing off were being killed off precisely so that they could return as undead Black Lantern.
Certainly Martian Manhunter and Aquaman were killed for this purpose, but how far back has DC been killing their characters with the expectation that they’d come back as zombie Lanterns in Blackest Night and then, perhaps, stay back once Hal Jordan is able to harness “white light of creation”…?
But what about The Question and Ralph Dibny, killed during the course of 52? Or the Freedom Fighters, Pantha and all the Infinite Crisis casualties? Or Max Lord, Sue Dibny and Blue Beetle II?
There are two relatively minor characters, both villains, that I was kinda shocked DC actually killed off, and I’ve been wondering and worrying about ever since Blackest Night started returning the dead.
That would be Monsieur Mallah, the intelligent gorilla who wears a beret and bandoliers and speaks with a French accent, and The Brain, who is just an evil brain that lives in an evil-looking gumball machine-esque support system.
They were two of the casualties of 2007-2008 miniseries Salvation Run. When I read the scene in which Gorilla Grodd beats Mallah to death with The Brain in #4, I couldn’t understand why it even existed. Not only was it a completely random scene in a completely unimportant miniseries that is unlikely to ever be mentioned again in other DC universe books, but the characters constituted about half of the Doom Patrol’s rogue’s gallery and have been around about 40 years.
Now I wonder if maybe they weren’t killed just so they could be brought back as Black Lanterns. And here’s the thing that’s been specifically bugging me.
Okay, Mallah would make a neat Black Lantern—he can have a little Black Hand symbol on the brim of his beret, and wear a ring on one of his toes. But how can The Brain become a Black Lantern, since he doesn’t have a single finger!
There are plenty of funny-shaped aliens in the Green Lantern Corps and the newer, differently colored versions of the GLC, and those without fingers or toes have rings on their tentacles, psuedopods, tails, flagella, antennae or whatever random, thin parts project form them. Some rings look more like bracelets, to be worn around big paws or flippers. I think there are some that are floating masses of liquid or gas that just have the rings floating inside them.
But what about The Brain? How would a Black Lantern ring get on him? He’s got nothing remotely able to hold a ring on his body, a body that is, remember, just a brain. Even his little metal support system is pretty much just a metal cylinder, with no appendages for rings.
Does this mean there can’t be a Black Lantern Brain?
Neither he nor Mallah showed up in this week’s Blackest Night #4, which featured a two-page spread full of undead Justice League villains, although their old pal Madam Rouge seemed to be one of them (I don’t know about you guys, but I’d prefer a character key in the back of these issues instead of that goofy Black Hand’s diary entry that’s accompanied each issue yet).
Next Wednesday Doom Patrol #4, a Blackest Night tie-in, is set to ship, so if there is going to be a Black Lantern Brain, I suppose that’s where he’ll ultimately show up. And if he does, I guess that means it will be up to Keith Giffen and Justiniano to answer the question of whether a brain can wear a ring or not and, if so, where.