7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
When DC's summer event Blackest Night ended, it left readers with an incredible tease - 12 heroes and villains resurrected in a brilliant flash of light, all revived for a specific-yet-unknown purpose. Now learn the fate of the 12 as Brightest Day Vol. 1 kicks off with issues #0-7 in the series. I'd held off on reviewing this anthology series until the final issue was out - after all there's no point in advising readers to sink coin into volume 1 if the story doesn't live up to expectations (the whole saga in collected form will span 3 volumes total). And really, at the end of the day this is a conflicted review - there's a lot to like about Brightest Day, but whether it lived up to its full potential (and is worth your money) is up for debate.
First, the good. Having already gotten several year-long series under its belt, DC has learned from experience and banked some of its best talent for this project. Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi co-write Brightest Day, bringing the same accessibility and ease of prose that made the current Green Lantern books such a success. Artistic collaborators Ivan Reis and Patrick Gleason are also on board, as well as Scott Clark, Joe Prado and Adrian Syaf. It's an impressive roster, and unlike 52 and Countdown to Final Crisis, here each artist is assigned a specific set of characters and their story arc. So all the Aquaman segments are drawn by Reis, all of Martian Manhunter's odyssey is handled by Gleason, and so forth. In addition to maintaining the visual continuity, the breakdown of artistic chores gives each artist a bit more time to refine their pages. You'd never know Brightest Day was running on a twice-monthly schedule with its quality of art. DC also rethought the way their year long "spine" titles should operate - whereas 52 had the benefit of operating in its own continuity bubble and Countdown to Final Crisis tried and failed to mesh disparate elements from various concurrent titles, here Brightest Day is the focus with the other titles brancing out and taking notes from it. You'll never feel like you're missing a plot point because you're not reading Justice League of America: The Dark Things, The Flash, Vol. 1: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues, Titans: Villains for Hire, Green Arrow Vol. 1: Into the Woods (Green Arrow (Graphic Novels)), etc. The focus on 2nd-tier characters is appreciated. Johns has made a career at DC out of resurrecting the intriguing-yet-underused players, and it's great seeing Aquaman, Deadman, Firestorm and Hawkman handled with the same reverence as the big guns. All the arcs are generally intriguing with their own highs and lows, my favourite being the Aquaman story. The occasional revisionist history (a staple of Johns' work) is a concession most fans have learned to live with.
So why the 3-star rating? I mentioned I generally liked all the individual story arcs, but the series doesn't make a strong case for why they needed to be presented together (as opposed to individual minis with bookends, much like Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory series. None of the arcs really tie into each other, and in turn the pacing suffers when you spend time away from one set of characters to focus on another. There's not a lot of logic in how Brightest Day chooses to dictate its focus. And without spoiling the ending, Brightest Day sets up a sense of reader involvement that it never really pays off. This is, at its most basic level, a missing persons mystery story. There's the detective (Deadman) the suspects (all the returnees, and a few others) and a person to find (the Chosen One). But unlike other stories in the genre that lay out clues along the way and reward readers for paying attention to details, there's really nothing here in the beginning that is relevant in the endgame. There are several opportunities for Johns and Tomasi to layer in foreshadowing, and none of it is really taken advantage of. This is a *huge* disappointment in a story that purposefully asks readers to guess a mystery character, and undermines what should have been the high point of an exposition-heavy volume 1.
The trade edition comes with a variant cover gallery, as well as the special character-themed variants from all the tie-in books that form a larger spread. I can't totally write off Brightest Day, but it's also not the crowning success that all the talent involved could've made it to be. At the very least wait for paperback - DC's attempt to peddle this out in 3 volumes versus 2 (see the companion series : Justice League: Generation Lost, Vol. 1) reeks a bit of money grab.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Hopefully this doesn't contain spoilers because I try not to, but it might so be careful.
Brightest Day coninutes right after the mega-event Blackest Night, and explores the new lives of most of the reborn heroes and villains(Max Lord is postlighted in Jstice League: Generation Lost, Zoom & Captain Boomerang in Flash, Jade in JLA and GLC I think.) I does a big amount of jumping around between characters at first but then goes into large chunks of story being focused onto one character. The larger chunks that are fosuced on just one or two characters are great and do a little bit of retconning to provide new wrinkles to the characters or new threats, especially in the case of Firestorm. The story telling is great at points but personally I don't really care for the Deadman/Dove storyline. It just doesn't appeal to me. I never really got into these characters before this series but find myself really enjoying the stories. I never thought I'd be excited about a Hawkman or Aquaman story. The art team also does a good job of blending their styles to fit the story-telling.
Just because it says Brightest Day doesn't mean the stories are light either, so expect the same gritty kind of story-telling that you usually read in other DC books. I am really liking the direction that Johns and Tomasi are taking these characters and look forward the the future of them as well. Also, check out the other books under the Brightest Day banner like Green Lantern, Flash, and Justice League Generation Lost.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi set the pot simmering. Again we see the advantage the trade collection has over the single magazine format. BRIGHTEST DAY Volume 1 collects issues #0-7 and the story flows so much better when the issues are read one right after the other. Of course you and I and all the cool kids have read BLACKEST NIGHT and so we know the aftermath, how the obscure death god Nekron was taken down, and the resurrection of twelve dead heroes and villains. BRIGHTEST DAY follows these twelve alive-agains and their impact on the DC universe. Only, some revenants are more interesting than others. Turns out, given a second chance, Hawk is still a detestable tool.
Tapping into the 52 formula, BRIGHTEST DAY aims for 26 issues, is published twice a month, opts for the slow burn approach, strives to inject relevance into predominantly second tier characters. In Silver City, New Mexico perches the unliftable White Lantern battery and we first caught a glimpse of it at the end of BLACKEST NIGHT and the immediate thought was: "So who's the White Lantern then?" There's a White Lantern ring on Boston Brand's finger, and maybe the assumption is that the ex-Deadman is the first White Lantern, but not so fast. Boston Brand provides the connecting thread to the other story arcs as the ring teleports him across the globe (and even into space), forcing him to observe (unseen) what's been going down with the other eleven revived characters, most of whom are still haunted by the atrocities they committed as the murderous Black Lanterns. The ring instructs Deadman to "Help them."
A sense of mystery surrounds each of the core characters, never mind the elephant in the room which is why these deaders were restored to life in the first place. Thru Deadman's eyes, we catch up with a pensive Aquaman who can now summon dead rotting sea life, and we also note a sort of retconning job done on Mera.
J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, seems more at peace now as he goes about his plans to nurture life back on his home planet Mars. But then he learns of a Martian entity that preceded his arrival to Earth years ago, and this creature tends to rip the skin off her victims.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are fed up with Hath-Set's existence, the fiend what had been murdering their past incarnations; Hawkman aims to kill him. There are also scenes of Carter and Shiera Hall catching up. For fans of the Hawk, this is good stuff (and I'm a fan of the Hawks).
Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, hating on each other, are now forced to co-exist as Firestorm but they may not be the only ones inhabiting the Firestorm matrix. Someone or something keeps insinuating itself into their conversations, making those ominous remarks.
Deadman (now Aliveman?) can suddenly bring things to life, and I'm still not sure if this is his natural power or brought about by the ring. But when the always angry Hawk learns of this power, it's the most natural thing in the world for him to ask Deadman that one favor. Hawk has never read "The Monkey's Paw."
Professor Zoom (a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash), Boomerang, Maxwell Lord, Jade, and Osiris aren't featured as much. They'll get theirs later or they make their mark by popping up in other comic book titles (Jade in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA, Maxwell Lord in JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST, Hawk in BIRDS OF PREY, etc.). Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi make the story arcs accessible, explain enough backstory that new readers won't drown coming in. They set up a good pace - or a pace that benefits from the trade format, anyway - and, for the most part, the various story arcs pique my interest. To be honest, I still don't give a what about Hawk or Osiris or Firestorm. But I'm glad Aquaman, J'onn J'onzz, and the Hawks are back, and that there's spotlight on Boston Brand and that Hawkgirl's done tripping with her "I don't remember our past" cr@p. But there's a solid sense that a plan is in the works, some sort of core narrative that'll weave all these threads together. Just because these twelve cats get a second shot at life doesn't mean they'll all earn it... or even get to keep it. The White Lantern entity has cryptic plans for each of them. Issue #7 gives us an inside peek to events in store for our players, and what we glimpse isn't all pretty. Right now, color me curious, man. But Brightest Day? Not so fast.
If it were up to me, Ivan Reis would be drawing everything in sight. This trade comes with a wagonload of artists, including Reis. Thankfully, all these artists are pretty good. It's key that there's enough commonality in their styles that they don't distract from the narrative.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
"BRIGHTEST DAY VOL. 1-3 Please note that suggested reading before diving into BRIGHTEST DAY are the bigger DC Universe events leading up to the 2011 NEW 52 reboot. This includes the Rebirth of the Flash and Green Lantern Hal Jordan as well as The Simestro Corps War and most importantly BLACKEST NIGHT. Without Blackest Night, Brightest Day has little context and the conclusion especially leaves the reader adrift. The color spectrum and the nature of the power rings must be understood. This story superficially relates the tale of the 12 heroes and villains miraculously brought back to life by the White Lantern's light in the aftermath of Blackest Night. Specifically it deals with Deadman, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter with Hank Hall aka Hawk and Resurrected Flash rogue Boomerang looming tangentially in the background. Other crossovers and tie-ins, of which there are many, deal with the other returned heroes and villains more specifically. Though they are part of this story and serve the purpose and plan of the White Lantern, they are ancillary. I haven't read the tie-ins in makes me wonder why some of those characters were returned at all. BRIGHEST DAY is part of the NEW 52 continuity as writers and editors got to pick and choose what original stories to keep. Indeed some of the characters actions and rebirths lead well into the status quo of the NEW 52. Others, notable Jade and Firestorm, have been completely "retconned" in the latest iteration of the DC Universe. "Retconning" is a term that stands for retroactive continuity, essentially changing or ignoring stories that have come before in favor of keeping titles and characters up to date and fresh. This is necessary in comics, otherwise in real time, Batman would be a very old, very brutalized old man and Spider-Man would be swinging about the New York Skyline in his 70's. Marvel subtly retcons while DC tends to do events that hit the reset button. So, in the new universe some of it is there, and some of it isn't. Let's not get sidelined further. Lets discuss the finer points of the story, which is, on its surface, a tale of mystery. Why have these individuals escaped death? What is the purpose of the White Lantern? That narrative is neatly finished by Volume 3, however the real interesting stories and moments within are character driven. Without spoiling anything, I'll discuss theses within the overall narrative. Deadman, who was dead spirit (shocking?) has been roaming the earth since his demise possessing bodies of living beings in order to write wrongs. His resurrection is the most troublesome personally. In life, as arrogant acrobat Boston Brand, he really only cared for himself. He only found purpose in death, now he must adjust and find purpose in life. That personal confusing and conflicted journey was the most compelling and heartbreaking, though I began the series with little investment in Deadman as a character previously. Hawkman and Hawkgirl embark on a revenge fueled road (sky?) trip. This has all the hallmarks of brutal comic book action and villainy. And while I still have little to say about Hawkman, ever a one-note character for me personally, their adventure was satisfying. With regard to the road to the NEW 52, Brightest Day gives you a look into superstar writer Geoff Johns love of Aquaman. Johns work on Aquaman's NEW 52 book makes the character much more than fodder for fish jokes, Brightest Day begins that transformation. Aquaman is not the all powerful monarch of Atlantis or the protector of the land. He is conflicted and caught in between. He is seemingly besieged on all sides, physical and personal, and yet he finds he purpose while being the outcast. Firestorm, like Flash and Superman, has always struck me as far, far too powerful. His weakness is in the nature of his power manifestation- two people must merge to become Firestorm. Both of whom have their own motivations and personalities. In this Firestorm, the two people, Ronnie and Jason, actually have deep emotional conflicts. Watching them work through this and become a greater force was compelling, but ultimately diminished by character changes later in the NEW 52. Overall, BRIGHTEST DAY allows reader to see glimpses of the direction the NEW 52 would take, but moreover provides an opportunity to showcase "second tier" characters in a meaningful way. This was done before in DC maxi-series like the brilliant 52 and the cash grab series COUNTDOWN. Unlike COUNTDOWN, BRIGHEST DAY does not truly set up the next big DC event, nor is it required reading to understand what comes before or after. It is simply an opportunity for remarkable writers and a pool of talented artist to add texture to BLACKEST NIGHT but also to the less remarkable heroes and villains of the DC Universe. Johns has said that it is about "second chances" and what we make of them. in this title there is failure and success. and eventhough these fictional heroes may get a third, fifth, or ninety-eighth chance, unlike we poor mortals, BRIGHEST DAY convincingly hightens the stakes and breaths a second life into characters often sidelined or mocked. Recommended for fans of writer Geoff Johns, Aquaman, or the BLACKEST NIGHT DC event. RECOMMENDED READING: GREEN LATERN REBIRTH, THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, BLACKEST NIGHT and, after you've finished BRIGHTEST DAY, FLASHPOINT and issues of the NEW 52
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
A disappointing follow up to the very enjoyable Blackest Night story. IGN said it best: "Brightest Day has perhaps the most bizarre sense of pacing of any book on the market right now. The book frequently focuses on certain subplots over others, leaving some characters and conflicts by the wayside of entire issues at a stretch." A very slow read that made me lose interest in some of the characters Johns was attempting to make relevant.