Like 'Special Features' on a DVD
The Good: The framing scene for this works out really well. It starts to make it seem relevant rather than riding the coattails of the tumbleweed chasing Blackest Night arriving too late.
The 2 'Deleted Scenes From Blackest Night' were both really cool and interesting scenes. In the end they don't amount to much, being about 2-3 pages each, but reading them both made me really sad that they WEREN'T included in Blackest Night. Especially the second one for just how downright CREEPY it is. It's pretty messed up, in an awesome way, and functions amazingly as a solo story, especially compared to the first.
I know very little about Animal Man but his story was surprisingly enjoyable. I kind of feel like this was a rejected 'Resurrected Title' but at the same time it goes through the end of Blackest Night, so I can kind of see why it belongs here. It was filled with some really awesome imagery and some decently touching emotional scenes as well.
OH MY GOD. Scarecrow's chapter alone receives a 5/5 from me. It was an absolutely brilliant execution. An expansion of the scene in Blackest Night, we get a longer intro to his life and current motivations, and an actual look at what the Yellow Ring showed him. Frankly, it was completely BAMF and utterly genius, and the art did a phenomenal job capturing the mood of the story.
The last little segment is rather nice. I get the feeling I've seen it before, but it is pretty different than most of the Blackest Night tales.
The ending framing sequence, even more so than the first, does a nice job of adding relevance and context to this One-Shot. Rather than being a collection of stories, there is some sort of thread tying it into the current storyline.
The cover actually looks really nice. I don't know what it is but I just can't help but absolutely love the art on the cover. The picture's not extremely interesting, but the art itself has me strangely captivated.
The Bad: As a deleted scene, Ragman's bit works really well, but in the context of this issue its a bit of a downer. I thought there'd be a lot more to this scene, it had enormous potential for some epic stuff but boiled down to nothing. If it WAS in Blackest Night, it'd actually be fine the way it is. But as a story here it leaves something to be desired.
You'd think being the most prominently featured on the cover would indicate you had the biggest part, but really, Donna Troy's story is completely useless. All it really does is show us a string of Donna's thoughts from being bitten to becoming a Black Lantern. She really showed us absolutely nothing she hasn't show us before and all it did was leave me bored and wondering why it even exists.
At least it's interesting, but the last tale does feel a bit out of place here. This one more than most begs the question, why couldn't this one have been shown before? Like maybe as one of those bonus stories that were in a few issues?
The last story also relies heavily on one of the Tales of the Sinestro Corps. If you hadn't read the previous tale, this one would mostly go over your head. Luckily I had and thus enjoyed it, but other readers might feel lost.
The character who shows up at the end looks a bit out of proportion compared to his other appearances.
In Conclusion: 4/5
I wasn't sure how I felt about this going in, but I was getting so OCD about Brightest Day/Blackest Night I thought, what the hell? I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of nearly every tale in this issue, and even more surprised that nearly all of them managed to show us new things and new approaches to Blackest Night, which is partially the intention. So it actual succeeds in what it was meant to do. Show us a few more things that we never got to see in Blackest Night and even show us different sides to the event that we haven't seen, even after how massive it was. On top of that it even makes itself feel in place with the continuity rather than being a random collection of stories with no framing for them other than being in the issue itself.