-  You think you are strong. But death is stronger. It is the pure power of the far end of the Emotional Spectrum. The emptiness of space. The Blackest Night! 
- -- Black Hand
The Guardians' Book of Oa contains a prophecy called "The Blackest Night" which states:
- A face of metal and flesh shall speak of the secrets of the 52. Fear will rise. Willpower will gather. And a wave of light will unleash the truth behind the power of the ring.
The Guardians refer to it as the last and hidden chapter of the Book, describing their final fate and ultimate purpose because they did the forbidden - they felt fear. The meaning, or truth, of this prophecy remains to be seen.
The Final Prophecy?Ganthet called the Sinestro Corps invasion of Earth the second verse of the hidden chapter, with the Blackest Night being the third and final verse. Abin Sur uncovered the prophecy and was forbidden to speak of it. Ganthet further stated that the Guardians did not know exactly what the Blackest Night was.
Just as Parallax (now back in his monster form) attacks the Lanterns for freeing Kyle Rayner, Ganthet and the other guardian Sayd, arrive and draw Parallax into four separate lanterns (Hal, Kyle, John, and Guy's, respectively). As Ganthet explains, he and Sayd were kicked out of the Guardians of the Universe. Ganthet's final act as Guardian is to make Kyle a new power ring. He asks if Kyle is willing to downgrade himself to a normal Green lantern, which Kyle quickly agrees too. The four men then take their lanterns and hearing the Sinestro Corps oath, recite the classic Green Lantern oath, and depart to confront the Sinestro Corps.
Ganthet and Sayd also explain to the four about the Emotional Electromagnetic Spectrum created at the start of sentience that is separated into 7 colors: green (willpower), yellow (fear), violet (love), red (hate), indigo (compassion), orange (greed), and blue (hope), each representing different forms of emotion, with green being the most center balanced of the energies. The further at one end an energy color is, the more wild its power is to control, leading to a corruptive influence over the user. Ganthet also reveals that in the coming future, each color will have its own forces like the Lantern Corps, and these forces will fight against the others in a war across the universe that will lead into the event known as "The Blackest Night", the worst of the hidden prophecies of the Book of Oa.
"Seven corps will be at war."In the aftermath of the war, the Guardians decide to bring the second of the new laws into effect. After realizing that the "Blackest Night" prophecy will come to pass, Ganthet and Sayd depart after creating a blue power ring with the intention of creating their own Corps. The Anti-Monitor finds itself on a dark planet and is transformed by an unknown force into a Black Lantern Power Battery.
At the end of the Sinestro Corps War, Ganthet and Sayd are currently living on an unknown planet called Odym, where they harness the emotional blue energy spectrum of hope and make plans to create another intergalactic police force in order to aid the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps in their upcoming battle against "The Blackest Night" by creating blue power rings and batteries. Both Guardians have evolved into two new beings, capable of bringing hope to others and each other, as they are also apparently romantically involved.
Long ago, when the rogue Manhunters rampaged through space sector 666, Atrocitus was one of only five beings in the entire sector to escape death. He and the other four survivors formed a terrorist cabal known as the Five Inversions, bent on the destruction of the Guardians of the Universe and all who served them, and with Atrocitus serving as their leader. The Five Inversions performed a ritual which allowed them to peer into the future and discover the prophecy of the Blackest Night, which decreed that all life in the universe would end.
After Abin Sur began making periodic visits to the planet Ysmault, where the Five Inversions were imprisoned after the Guardians destroyed their Empire of Tears, he began to ask questions regarding the Blackest Night. Sur even went so far as to free Atrocitus from his imprisonment so he could lead the Green Lantern to Earth, the birthplace of "the black" that would end the universe. Caged in Sur's starship, Atrocitus instilled fear in Sur, allowing the yellow impurity to seep into his willpower constructs and weakening them enough to escape. After slashing the Green Lantern in the chest, mortally wounding him, Atrocitus jumped from a point high in Earth's atmosphere to escape Sur's failing ship.
William Hand's parents run a coroner's/funeral home, the logo of which is the same symbol William will adopt at the beginning of his criminal career. At the time a teenager, Hand was shown as having a severe preoccupation with death and the dead, including implied necrophilia. His energy-absorbing weapon is now portrayed as being built by Atrocitus, a fervent enemy of the Guardians of the Universe. He comes to Earth to seek out the being who will bring on the events to be known as The Blackest Night. This being is revealed to be William Hand. At this moment, is it revealed how these changes will affect later events in Hand's life, including the details of his career as Black Hand.
William Hand wakes up in a grave on Earth. He "hears" death speaking to him. He walks throughout the grave and discovers that he is at the Hand Family Mortuary, his childhood home. Upon entering, he kills his two brothers and mother, saving his father for last. When his father asks "Why?", Hand replies, "Because this is what I do." before killing his father. Hand then commits suicide and is resurrected by Scar as a Black Lantern. Hand then heads towards Gotham City, Scar at his side.
At the grave of Bruce Wayne in Gotham City, Hal Jordan and Barry Allen reflect on Batman's death and how the hero community is avoiding linking Wayne and Batman.
This reflection turns to the pair looking at their own deaths, comparing the sadness that Barry's engendered in others while Hal's produced anger. Hal sums it up by telling Barry, "I died a sinner. You died a saint." The conversation moves on to the world becoming "more dangerous" after Barry's death and observing that the deaths of Arthur Curry and J'onn J'onzz cost the Justice League its "heart and soul". As they leave the cemetery, Barry expresses hope that their dead comrades will be returned to them. He specifically cites Batman noting, "If there's an escape, you can bet Batman's already planning it."
Black Hand approaches the grave saying "Yes. This one." He then pushes his hand through the ground in front of the headstone and forcibly extracts Batman's skull. He then begins to recite: 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! Interspersed with this are scenes of the headstones of Ralph & Sue Dibny and Ronnie Raymond.
While reciting the oath, Black Hand's ring begins to glow and swirl as light shines in the eyes of the skull he is holding. Guardian Scar is shown watching and grinning.
Meanwhile, in Sector 666, the Black Rings are shown emerging from the Black Central Power Battery and spreading across the universe.
Hal Jordan meets up with John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and several members of the U.S. Air Force in Coast City to take part in the anniversary of Superman's death, which is now a day to honor the dead of the metahuman community.
After making an appearance and lighting a memorial statue honoring the inhabitants of Coast City before being destroyed by Mongul and the Cyborg-Superman, Kyle Rayner leaves to visit the grave of his deceased girlfriend, Jade, Guy Gardner goes to be with his girlfriend, Ice, and John Stewart goes to visit the remains of the planet Xanshi.
All across the world, superhumans are seen honoring their dead friends and family, and vice-versa.
In Smallville, Kansas, Clark, Connor, and Martha Kent visit the grave of Jonathan Kent. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jason Rusch, Gehenna Hewitt, and Martin Stein visit the grave of Ronald Raymond. Gehenna notices that even though it is raining, all the plant life in the cemetery is dying.
At Titans Tower, Cassie Sandsmark, Bart Allen, Victor Stone, Koriand'r, Holly Granger, Rachel Roth, Brion Markov, and Wendy Kuttler honor the graves of Marvin Kuttler and Tara Markov.
The Rogues gather at their own secret cemetery (Avernus) to honor the graves of Roscoe Dillon, Lisa Snart, and Digger Harkness.
At Valhalla National Cemetery, several superheroes (including Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott) gather at the graves of Charles McNider, Jenny Lynn-Hayden, Wesley Dodds, Lee Walter Travis, Kent Nelson, Max Mercury, and many others. Atom-Smasher berates Damage for ignoring Al Pratt's grave. Damage recounts how the Freedom Fighters (Dee Tyler, Ryan Kendall and Roy Lincoln) were murdered during Infinite Crisis while he was on their team.
In Amnesty Bay, Mera and Garth stand over the grave of Aquaman. Garth attempts to convince Mera to move Aquaman's remains to Atlantis, stating that "the dirt is no place for a king of the seas."
And in Gotham City, Alfred Pennyworth makes his way to the graves of Bruce, Martha, and Thomas Wayne. He discovers Black Hand's raid of Bruce's grave, and goes to alert the Justice League.
After the ceremonies, Jordan meets Barry Allen at the Hall of Justice in Washington, DC. Hal shows Barry the vaults beneath the Hall containing the remains of several dead supervillains. Barry demands to know who has died since he was lost to the Speed Force. Hal creates a construct with his ring that shows all the heroes that have died since the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
At the Stonechat Museum in St. Roch, Carter Hall argues with Ray Palmer over the phone about visiting the grave of Jean Loring. Carter smashes the phone in anger, but is then calmed down by Kendra Saunders.
Back at The Watchtower, Hal and Barry are informed of Bruce's missing skull and race to investigate.
On Oa, The Guardians of the Universe discover that the War of Light has broken out across the universe. The Sinestro Corps battle the Star Sapphires on Zamaron, while Mongul leads his recently defeated troops towards the planet Korugar. The Lost Lanterns fight the Red Lanterns on Ysmault for Laira's corpse. And on Odym, the Blue Lantern Corps face off against the Orange Lanterns. As it becomes apparent that the Blackest Night has fallen, Scar attacks one of her fellow Guardians and rips his heart out. She then imprisons her fellow Guardians with a black goo that she spits from her mouth, claiming "You abandoned emotion eons ago. Your hearts are useless. Empty. The darkness cannot feast on your hearts. They need to hunt full ones."
A swarm of black rings descend on Earth, while a single ring spirals off towards Mars. It blasts its way into J'onn J'onzz's crypt, and says, "J'onn J'onzz of Mars. Rise." J'onn blasts out of his tomb and heads to Earth, where Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are investigating Bruce Wayne's compromised crypt.
In Valhalla National Cemetery, the black rings swoop down and convert all the dead bodies in the cemetery. Jade escapes her grave and heads toward Oa.
Above Oa, Kyle Rayner confesses to Guy Gardner that when he looked into Star Sapphire Miri's crystal, he saw Jade, not Soranik Natu as he originally claimed. Guy convinces him to give the relationship a chance, and to value the hearts that are still beating. The two then meet up with Natu and Princess Iolande, and are approaching Oa when they encounter a swarm of black power rings headed towards the planet. After a failed attempt to halt the rings' progress, Natu and Iolande head off towards Oa's hospitals to evacuate them while Guy and Kyle alert the other Lanterns to the rings' presence.
Meanwhile, on Daxam, Arisia Rrab contemplates Sodam Yat's death and the nature of the Daxamite people. She then tearfully flies back towards Oa.
On Zamaron, Sinestro and Tekik attempt to free Kryb from her Zamaron transformation crystal.
On Korugar, Mongul sets an example to its population by executing several government leaders in public and renaming his soldiers the Mongul Corps.
On Oa, the other Lanterns try to head the black rings off, but they blaze past them and enter the crypt, where Morro prepares for battle. Although every single dead Lantern is compromised, Morro's dratures airlift him to safety. As the Green Lanterns combat the Black, Jade joins the army of Black Lanterns fighting Kyle Rayner.
At the Stonechat Museum, Hawkgirl is taken by surprise and killed by Black Lantern Sue Dibny. Hawkman, aware of the threat, holds out a little longer, but is eventually killed by Black Lantern Ralph Dibny. The two Black Lanterns rip out the heroes' hearts. The black rings they are wearing register 0.02% charged, 0.01% for each heart gathered. Black Hand appears, holding Bruce Wayne's skull. Two rings float out of it, commanding Hawkman and Hawkgirl to rise as Black Lanterns.
Meanwhile, at Bruce Wayne's grave, the Martian Manhunter descends on Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. Their fight eventually leads them to a fire station in Gotham City, where J'onn uses his telepathy to make Barry think that Hal is him. Barry pummels Hal to the point of unconsciousness. J'onzz then throws Hal towards the Bat-Signal and attempts to drown Barry.
On Oa, Scar witnesses the black rings descending across the universe--on Ysmault, on Okaara, on Zamaron. The black rings' power charge grows to 1.20%.
John Stewart sits on an asteroid in the remains of the planet Xanshi. The black rings suddenly rip through the field, reanimating the dead population of an entire planet.
In Ivy Town, Ray Palmer repeatedly calls Hawkman. The newly reanimated Black Lantern invites him to talk at St. Roch. Ray says, "I'll be right there."
In Gotham City, atop Gotham PD Headquarters, Jim Gordon and Barbara Gordon speculate about the uncannily black night that has fallen. Green Lantern then forcefully slams into the Bat-Signal.
In Amnesty Bay, Mera and Garth lead a cadre of Atlantian warriors to move Aquaman's remains to the ocean. They soon discover that his corpse his gone. Black Lantern Aquaman then reveals himself to them by killing one of the Atlantians.
In the Himalayas, Deadman becomes aware of the dead rising across the globe. He is then pulled to his grave in Gotham City and witnesses a black ring possess his corpse. He attempts to jump into it, but is forced out again. He then flees to find help from Dick Grayson.
At Georgetown University, black rings head toward the graves of Hank and Don Hall. Several rings attempt to possess Don, but are stopped by an invisible barrier, each one saying, " Don Hall of Earth. Ri-- Don Hall of Earth at peace." Hawk then rises from his grave and takes flight.
Tempest, Mera, and the other Atlantians continue to fight Arthur, but Dolphin and Tula ambush Garth and throw him into a lighthouse. Aquaman summons several undead sharks, which make quick work of the Atlantian warriors.
The Spectre, Blue Devil, Zatanna and the Phantom Stranger investigate the empty grave of Boston Brand in Gotham City. Black Lantern Pariah then appears and sends several black rings shooting towards the four. Black Hand then appears and witnesses a black ring possess Crispus Allen. As he is taken, the Spectre cries, "No! I will not be used! I am the spirit of vengeance! I am the Spectrrrrrrrrrrrrr . . . .". Upon rising, he sets out in search of Hal Jordan.
At Gotham PD, Hal Jordan borrows Jim Gordon's car and resumes the fight against the Martian Manhunter with the Flash.
Back at Amnesty Bay, Mera manages to fend off Aquaman and races to help Garth. After he freezes Dolphin's head with a spell, Mera shatters it with her trident. However, Dolphin merely reforms her head and continues to fight Mera. Tula manages to rip out Garth's heart and he is then inducted into the Black Lantern Corps. A hurricane throws Mera onto a parked car. Aquaman, Tula, Garth, and Dolphin then advance on her, but she flees into the fog.
Back in Gotham, Barry Allen mixes flammable chemicals to fend off the Martian Manhunter. Green Lantern then sends a police car into the mix, which Barry funnels into a tornado. Barry says that after the fire dies down, he wants to retrieve J'onn's remains. Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, and Firestorm then shoot out of the smoke towards the two.
Back at Bruce Wayne's grave, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne move the bodies of Thomas and Martha Wayne out of the graveyard. Deadman possesses Dick while he is driving the Batmobile away from the cemetery. Damian reacts in alarm to Deadman's presence, and punches him until the Batmobile flies off the road. Deadman then takes possession of Damian, and tells Dick what he knows about the Blackest Night. They drive to the graveyard of Jack and Janet Drake, only to find them empty. Dick alerts Tim to come back from France, but Damian notices the Batsignal with the silhouettes of many people in front of it. While the undead Gotham Rouges cutting their way to the police station to Jim & Barbara Gordon, Dick knows he cannot not stop the Black Lanterns with nothing less than a Shotgun but Batman's hatred of firearms did not die with Bruce, so Dick grabs some Flamethrowers and the Dynamic Duo make the way to the GCPD. Deadman enters the body of Barbara and rescues Jim as Dick and Damian arrive, unfortunately the creatures keep coming and the fuel is nearly depleted. Enter: Red Robin! Tim Drake arrives in a plane ready to pick up the the Duo and the Gordon's. The trio finally realise the scope of the crisis but find themselves with two undead parties on board The Graysons and The Drakes, with no other alternative Dick crashes the plane into a graveyard. Dick orders Damian to get help from someone when Tim and Dick are forced to live the worst days of their lives, Dick is made to watch his parents die again and begins to pummel Tony Zucco (also undead) while Tim is also made to watch his father's death but he sees it as a chance to save him and starts to beat Captain Boomerang, as they begin to glow red with Rage The Black Lanterns begin to strike until Jason Blood AKA Etrigan possessed by Deadman begins to fight the undead foes. Dick tells Damian to bring something from the armoury and Damian arrives with Mr.Freezes Freeze gun pointing it first at the Robins Batman then uses it on himself during their time frozen their hearts stop and all emotions vanish seeking new sustenance the Black Lanterns fly away and Deadman rescues the Boy Wonder's, as they are now ready to thwart the Black Menace!
In Smallville, Kal-L is inducted into the Black Lantern Corps. Pete Ross and his friends watch the sunset. They see Kal-L among the clouds, but he disappears immediately and they decide it was nothing. He then proceeds on a rampage through the town, killing 39 people and using their heart energies to charge his ring. In the household of Martha Kent, Martha, Connor, and Clark Kent wait with Krypto for Lois Lane to arrive. Upon hearing a strange sound at the grave of Jonathan Kent, Connor and Clark depart to find Kal-L digging it up. Kal-L knocks Superboy unconscious and flies towards the sky, Superman in hot pursuit.
Back at the Kent household, Martha washes dishes with Krypto at her side. Black Lantern Lois Lane of Earth-2 then breaks down the front of the house and retrieves Martha.
Superman punches a hole in Kal-L's head, making him drop Connor. Kal-El saves him, but the Superman of Earth-2 has disappeared. On Kandor, New Krypton, Alura Zor-El and Kara Zor-El honor the grave of Zor-El. A black ring shoots into his tomb and inducts him into the Corps. He bursts free of his tomb and advances upon Alura and Supergirl.
Clark and Connor hurry back to the Kent home, only to find it half-destroyed and Krypto wounded among the wreckage. They fly into downtown Smallville, and Connor surmises how the town is deathly quiet. Kal-L and Lois Lane of Earth-2 descend behind them, Martha Kent in Lois' arms.
Amongst the remains of Xanshi, John Stewart is knocked unconscious by Black Lantern Pariah. When he comes to, he sees the planet Xanshi recreated, a Black Hand gleaming up from it.
On Zamaron, the Star Sapphires fight against the Sinestro Corps. The Zamarons are impressed and somewhat disturbed to discover that Carol Ferris can resist the ring's control upon herself. Sinestro arrives and frees Kryb, Karu-Sil, and numerous other female Sinestros before fighting Carol.
On Ysmault, Boodikka kills every Red Lantern in sight with a shot to the head, including Veon. The other Lost Lanterns attempt to leave, but Hannu is attacked by Atrocitus trying to help Boodikka. Five black rings then appear and resurrect the four remaining Inversions and Laira.
Back on Zamaron, Sinestro and Carol seem relatively well matched until Carol imprisons Sinestro in a Star Sapphire crystal. This brings back the memory of his lost love, Arin Sur (sister of Abin Sur). Sinestro then breaks free of his crystal and pummels Carol close to the point of unconsciousness. Tekik and the Sinestro of Space Sector 11 are about to execute Carol with Sinestro when a black ring flies through the heart of Sinestro 11. The power levels are charged from 0.01% to 45.43%. Amon Sur and several deceased Sinestros descend from the sky on them.
On Qward, the Sinestro Corps fight for their lives against several Black Lantern Qwardians.
On Odym, the black rings hover in the sky, awaiting a death on the planet surface. The Orange Lanterns are on the verge of uprooting the Blue Lantern Power Battery and stealing it.
On Okaara, Agent Orange monitors his Lanterns on Odym. Several black rings shoot into his lair and resurrect the bodies of his Corps.
On Oa, Lyssa Drak bears witness to the Book of the Black, which shows numerous Black Lanterns standing around the Red Lantern Power Battery, Agent Orange surrounded by corpses, and Black Lantern Amon Sur, Sinestro, and Carol Ferris. Guardian Scar watches the imprisoned Guardians and the Universal Monitor. Speaking to an unknown presence, she states that the Indigo light will soon be theirs.
Deathstroke stands at the grave of his son, Grant Wilson. Deathstroke says "The H.I.V.E. never should have hired you to go after the Titans, son. That's what got you killed. They're still paying for that mistake."
On Oa Kyle Rayner is bravely fighting the Black Lanterns but there is a fissure in Oa which threatens to destroy The Alpha Lantern Battery which could in turn, destroy Oa. Kyle leads The Black Lanterns to the Battery and places an energy bubble around it, and kills all The Black Lanterns, but at a cost, himself.
Issue #5 opens on the planet Ryut of Space Sector 666, the homeworld of the Black Lantern Central Power Battery where we not only see the Guardians of the Blue Lanterns, Ganthet and Sayd, but also the heads of the 7 Lantern Corps (Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Saint Walker, Star Sapphire, Hal Jordan, Sinestro, and Indigo-1). They find that the Black Lantern Battery is no longer on the planet Ryut. So, in order to find out its location, the lanterns recite their respective Corps oaths and recharge their rings, except for Larfleeze who does not have an oath for the Orange Lantern Corps. Meanwhile on Earth, Black Hand resurrects, Batman who spits out Black Power Rings while Nekron explains that he was behind every resurrection and they are all still connected to him. Superman, Kid Flash, Superboy, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Animal Man and Ice are transformed into Black Lanterns with Barry and Hal fighting away the rings.