We now enter the third week of DC comics Villain month, and the Crime Syndicate has taken over the world and all seems to be break lose. However we ignore all this with this particular spotlight issue focuses on our favorite undead but not really dead villain in William Hand better known to readers as Black Hand. Black Hand at least under Geoff Johns has gained become more recognition then in previous years. So what kinda story can we expect with Black Hand under the creative team of Charles Soule and Alberto Ponticelli? Let’s open page one and find out shall we.
Our opening scene takes place in a mortuary where two workers are disposing of unclaimed bodies. In a well done move by Charles Soule, this one page really sets up what the entire issue will be about, acting as a meta commentary to how readers should think of death in the DCU. Soon Green Lanterns are treated to a familiar looking black ring resurrect Black Hand from the ashes. Alberto adds a creepy look to Black Hand, his skins looks weathered, his missing hand is a nice touch. A nice creepy opening scene that feels like the opening to a horror movie.
With his body at full form, his memory is at a lost. It is clear that Soule understands what has made Black Hand such a unsettling fiend and it’s even more unsettling as the issue progresses forward. Little lines of him loving how a funeral smells, as always it’s the little things that can make or break a comic on occasion. Black Hand is quickly taken down by the cops he is thrown into a jail cell while all hell is breaking loose due to events of Forever Evil.
This page between the random jailer and Black Hand himself is a interesting scene, it establishes what sorta person he is and what he clearly doesn’t care about, but also does a subtle job of cluing readers who happen to not be reading Forever Evil but it doesn’t take away from the scene at hand. The next two pages are perhaps the best two sets of storytelling from Ponticelli. The six page panel sequence of Black Hand is just plain creepy and it has nice transitions between Black Hand’s frown and his unnerving smile as he wills a dead roach back to life.
So with this issue Black Hand has a new power set, he can now control or manipulate anything that is dead and not a single Black Ring is used. While this isn’t exactly a new power set for the superhero genre, it does add a new dimension for Black Hand and while he does have a Ring on his finger it seems to only be there too maintain him and the power is coming from inside him, What seals the deal for Black Hand’s new power set is that now he can even now control dead viruses from an individuals body. It’s not clear on what the range for this is but the art made it’s impact is made known.
We conclude this issue with Black Hand still without his memory is lead to the grave of Martin Jordan and a odd conversation between to the two undead characters. It’s not clear if Hand can actually communicate with the Dead or is he simply a deranged, it’s up for the reader to decide.
Overall this issue was an interesting read and if you are curious about Black Hand it should be a buy. It does it’s job on telling you his power set and where he comes from without unneeded baggage. However if you are familiar with Black Hand then this issue is something you can skip.
Green Lantern #23.3: Black Hand receives a 3/5