Brightest Day #1 Review

May 10, 2010 at 11:04 AM | Posted in (All Posts), Comic Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Brightest Day #1
Writers – Geoff Johns / Peter J. Tomasi
Artists – Ivan Reis / Patrick Gleason / Adrian Syaf / Scott Clark / Joe Prado

I think a lot of DC readers during Blackest Night were quite baffled what could possibly be done to follow up an event like that. Characters that were dead were returning to fight those of the living. How does anyone surviving that kind of event go on? DC decided that this answer was worth investigating in great detail and the end result is Brightest Day. 12 characters that were Black Lanterns during the events of Blackest Night have now returned to the living thanks to this mysterious White Light.

Issue #0 introduced the reader to what all of the characters are doing immediately after being brought back. Aquaman and Mera had something of a second honeymoon. Ronnie Raymond had a massive party at his college campus and got into a fight with Jason Rusch that resulted in them becoming the new Firestorm. Martian Manhunter returned to Mars to find that some sort of water supply had reemerged possibly as a result of the White Light. Hawkman and Hawkgirl spent their time rekindling their love as Carter slowly accepted that Shiera honestly remembered their past lives. Captain Boomerang got a visit from the Flash (Barry Allen) in which he warned him that he would no longer tolerate the “come and go” sort of policy that many of the Rogues are used to.

And so on and so forth — all 12 characters stepped back into the living with unexpected results.

But by far the most unexpected was Boston Brand (the former “Deadman”). Now being one of the living again, the White Light began to transport him around in some sort of ghost form so he could observe the other resurrected characters without being noticed.

So what happens in Brightest Day #1?

Although not the focus of Brightest Day, there is no denying that the corps of the Emotional Spectrum play a huge role in the series. The book opens up with Sinestro bringing Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Star Sapphire (Carol Ferris) to the crater that was made where the White Power Batter has landed. The theory they come to is that the batter cannot be lifted by just anyone — but someone with a connection to the White Light — and Sinestro believes that Hal may have the ability to lift it. To his surprise (and I’m sure some readers as well) Hal cannot lift the Power Battery.

Meanwhile, a group of pirates on the open sea have kidnapped children from a cruise ship. Evil tasks like these cannot be tolerated — especially with a living Aquaman ruling the oceans.

Aquaman and Mera kick some pirate butt. We even see more proof of how worthy Mera was of being inducted into the Red Lanterns temporarily with her use of the word “RAGE” as she forms two serpent-like water creations to take down some of the villains.

Aquaman takes a lot of bullets from the guns that the pirates are packing, yet his super strength and impenetrable skin allow them to just zip off before he hurls his trident into the shoulders of one of the kidnappers. He then calls for some assistance from a giant squid that he heard just below the surface — yet the squid is (more or less) a zombie. Why? Do Aquaman and the others that were brought back still have some connection to power of the Black Lanterns?

Martian Manhunter has a troubling vision. Jason and Ronnie continue to argue as they work with Ray Palmer and Professor Stein to try and separate from the Firestorm matrix. Hawkman and Hawkgirl run into a mysterious military organization taking the corpses of their first incarnations. And more happens — trust me. I wouldn’t spoil everything — especially considering that an old Aquaman foe plays a major role.

But enough summarizing — what did I like and dislike about the issue?

What did I like? Well, everything really. The art was consistently good. There was one panel involving a zombie-shark that I thought looked the least bit unfinished. I have no other complaints concerning anything else.

This series is focusing in on characters that have obviously been out of the spotlight for the past few years. Characters like Firestorm and Martian Manhunter have always been down in popularity when compared to the likes of Green Lantern or Flash. With Geoff Johns writing these characters however; we are able to see them get the attention that they  deserve on a grand scale.

There are lots of personal touches about this series that I like — such as Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch sharing the Firestorm matrix.

What an interesting dynamic. Having two college students of different race and different personalities come together to be Firestorm really draws in my attention. There is just so much drama in this one situation. Ronnie Raymond is your typical white college student who skips class and parties. At the same time he has great courage and a sense of responsibility that is unparalleled. He even sacrificed his own life to save others. Jason Rusch is a black college student who focused so much on his schooling that he took his relationship with his girlfriend for granted. She died at the hands of the Black Lantern Firestorm which was using Ronnie Raymond’s corpse as a puppet. Now both characters that despise each are stuck inside the Firestorm matrix and they want nothing more than to be away from one another.

That’s just one example of a character having a direction. So many of these characters needed this death and rebirth in order to tell a good story. For the first time in years we are seeing characters get a direction that desperately needed one. Aquaman is gaining popularity. The Martian Manhunter has a focus and a goal he has set for himself — to restore life on Mars. The Hawks are finally reunited in love after being teased for so long.

I can only imagine what the villains who have returned have in store for the world they have reawakened in.

Giving a calculated score to single issues like this isn’t easy for me. I’ve stated this before but people seem to like reviews better with a number they can focus on. I’m going to go against the grain a bit and focus on a letter grade. It seems to not carry as much pain if a lower score is given.

Brightest Day #1 gets an: A. A very solid issue all around.

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