Brightest Day #0 Review
- Published on Thursday, 15 April 2010 13:36
- Written by Rokk
The members at The Revolution were largely unimpressed with Blackest Night and the ending that Johns gave us for that big event. However, I must admit that Johns did succeed on using Blackest Night #8 to sell me on Brightest Day. I like several of the characters that are set to star in Brightest Day. I believe that this title has plenty of potential to be an interesting and enjoyable read. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Brightest Day #0.
Writers: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
Inks: Fernando Pasarin, John Dell, Cam Smith, Prentis Rollins, Dexter Vines and Art Thibert
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Deadman narrating how it is a new day and that some people are calling it the “brightest” day. Deadman says that he is not too sure about that. We see a nest full of baby birds. One of the baby birds falls out of the nest and breaks its neck and dies when it hits a tombstone under the tree.
We see that the tombstone is Boston Brand’s tombstone. Deadman is standing there with a sledgehammer looking at his own grave. Deadman recounts how he was a high wire artist who was shot during one of his acts. The fall after he was shot was what killed him. However, Brand’s spirit stuck around after his death. Brand operated as Deadman and was able to possess the bodies of the living and fight crime.
Deadman then takes the sledgehammer and smashes his tombstone. Brand says that in a flash of white that Deadman was gone. Brand drops his Deadman mask to the ground. Brand thinks how he has no job and no money. Brand thinks how he was a bastard when he was alive and never really cared about life until he died.
Brand then sees the dead baby bird next to his tombstone. Brand picks up the dead baby bird. The white light voice says “LIVE.” The white light then says to Brand “Help me.” Brand then is enveloped in white light and transports away from the scene.
We slide over to Amnesty Bay where Mera is waking up in bed alone after what was clearly a night of some wild and rough sex with Aquaman. Mera walks outside of the light tower and sees Aquaman staring at the water. Aquaman wonders why he was brought back to life and Garth and Tula were not.
Mera tells Aquaman that they will probably never get the answers as to why the twelve people were brought back to life. Mera tells Aquaman to enjoy life and to come take a swim with her. Mera dives into the water.
Aquaman says that he has not gotten in the water since he came back to life. Aquaman stares into the water and we see a reflection of Black Lantern Aquaman. Aquaman says that he has a bad feeling.
We see Deadman teleport onto the scene at Amnesty Bay. Deadman is invisible to everyone around him. Deadman then teleports away from the scene.
We cut to Iron Heights Penitentiary and see Deadman teleporting onto the scene. We see The Flash arriving outside of Captain Boomerang’s cell. Flash says that he does not know why Captain Boomerang, of all people, was brought back to life. Flash says that Boomerang will probably not use this second chance at life to learn from his previous mistakes and forsake a life of crime. Flash says that he is here to tell Boomerang to not bother.
Flash then phases through the cell door and enters Boomerang’s cell. Flash tells Boomerang to not pull anymore jobs or try and hurt anyone. Flash tells Boomerang to not make Flash run after him.
Boomerang says that a man with nothing to lose has two choices: To get busy living or get busy dying. Boomerang says that he has no idea why he came back to life and not his son or Cold’s sister or Elongated Man. Boomerang says he is not going to sit here letting those thoughts rot his brain. Flash asks if that is a threat. Boomerang says “No, that it is a Flash Fact.”
We cut to Hawkman and Hawkgirl talking about all of their past lives. Hawkgirl now remembers everything. The two lovebirds start getting it on. Deadman then teleports into the room. Deadman is less than pleased with the white power ring’s timing.
Suddenly, Carter sees all the ghosts of their past lives standing in front of them. Carter says that he hates not knowing when the curse is going to pull them apart again. Shiera says that curse is actually a blessing. That history is an incredibly strong weapon that can be used to their advantage. Shiera says that she is tired of remembering their deaths. Shiera says that it is time to start remembering their lives.
Suddenly, the pink shard from Shiera’s heart from Zamaron given to her by a Star Sapphire rips out of Shiera’s pouch and magnetically attaches itself to Hawkman’s Claw of Horus. Hawkman is unable to remove the shard from the Claw of Horus. The Claw then points upward into the sky. Carter puts the Claw of Horus on his hand and tells Hawkgirl that they should follow where the Claw takes them.
The Hawks fly off into the air. Suddenly, Hawkman gets a chill and asks if Hawkgirl felt that. Hawkgirl says “Yes.” That it felt like someone just touched her soul.
We cut to a team of explorers in snowsuits in a cold and snowy environment. They finally find the bodies of Kufu and Chay-ara: The original bodies of the Hawks. The explorers say to each other that they found the bodies and that the bodies now belong to them.
We hop over to the abandoned Justice League International Embassy in New York City. Maxwell Lord has hooked himself up to machines full of plasma. Lord says that this will be his biggest telepathic push ever. That he has taken every precaution to avoid bleeding out. Lord then engages his powers. Blood gushes from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Lord then collapses backward in a pool of ice that he had set up behind himself. The machines start pumping fresh blood into his body.
Deadman then teleports onto the scene. Deadman wonders why Lord would have ever been brought back to life. Deadman thinks that Lord has to be up to something. That Lord always has a plan.
We then see Deadman being zipped over to Mars by his white power ring. On Mars we see Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner visiting Martian Manhunter. Guy brought with him a huge container of Oreos and milk with him. J’onn is quite pleased to see his friends and the cookies.
J’onn tells the Lanterns that he has discovered a deep Martian Aquifer. That Mars will once again have water and life. J’onn says that he has set aside his old fatalistic attitude. Also, that after deep meditation he has set aside his anger over his wife and daughter not being brought back to life like he was.
J’onn says that he loves both Mars and Earth and is ready to resume his duties with the JLA. Hal and Guy say that J’onn’s death left a hole that they could never fill. The Lanterns say that it is nice to have their favorite Martian back. J’onn replies that he is the only Martian. For now.
We cut to Oa where Soranik is running a ton of tests on Jade and her powers. Jade tells Soranik that she has nothing to worry about. Jade says that she saw it in Kyle’s eyes. That he has changed. That he now loves Soranik. Jade says that she and Kyle had their time together and it just was not destined to work out.
Kyle appears on the scene and says that Jade will always be important to him. Kyle says that Alan Scott has been grieving for Jade ever since she died. Jade wonders why the white light picked her to come back to life. Jade asks what is so special about her. Jade wonders about what place she has in this current world. Jade also feels bad for all the people she killed as a Black Lantern.
Kyle reminds Jade that she was being used by Nekron. Kyle tells Jade that now she is back that it is all about forgetting the past and embracing the present. Suddenly, Jade’s palm crystal glows the White Lantern Symbol. Jade wonders what is going on.
We hop over to New York City where the wake for Gen is taking place. We see Jason crushed and sad. The Atom (Ray Palmer) asks where Ronnie Raymond is. That Ronnie was not at the funeral. Professor Stein says that Ronnie has barely said anything to him since returning. Stein says that Ronnie does not remember anything since he died. That Ronnie is having a tough time that his body was used to kill Gen.
Suddenly, Ronnie enters the room. Ronnie apologizes for not being at Gen’s funeral. Ronnie says that he was reconnecting with family and friends. We see a flashback of Ronnie partying at a wild “Welcome Back” party.
Ronnie then walks over to Jason and apologizes that “she” died. Jason snaps that Ronnie doesn’t even know Gen’s name. Jason then goes to punch Ronnie. The second Jason’s fist touches Ronnie the two of them merge into Firestorm.
We see Deadman teleport onto the scene. Deadman thinks how Jason and Ronnie are going to kill each other as the new Firestorm. Deadman then teleports away from the scene.
We then cut to Kahndaq and see Osiris returning to the palace and his people. Deadman teleports onto the scene. Osiris promises to help his people who are still in the same impoverished condition that they were when Osiris died. Osiris then walks to the stone figures of Black Adam and Isis. Osiris picks up the stone figures and flies off into the air to go and restore his family. Osiris then says that he will help bring about a Golden Age of prosperity and power.
We zip over to Arlington, Virginia where Hawk and Dove are tracking some arms dealers. Hawk impulsively attacks the van full of arms dealers despite Dove’s protests to the contrary. Hawk viciously takes out all of the criminals. Dove is less than approving of Hawk’s proactive nature of tracking down criminals and taking them out. Deadman teleports onto the scene.
Hawk tells Dove that they are complete opposites. Hawk says that might makes right and that is the only thing these evil people will understand. Hawk tells Dove to consider this one of his first preemptive strikes.
Deadman then teleports away from the scene. Deadman reappears in Star City in the middle of where the bomb went off and destroyed part of the city. (See Cry for Justice).
Mera chaining up Aquaman.
Maxwell Lord hiding a gun behind his back while he shakes hands with the new Blue Beetle.
Hawkman and Hawkgirl fighting each other.
Jade wearing a Green Lantern power ring.
Reverse Flash on a cosmic treadmill.
Osiris holding the broken stone figures of Black Adam and Isis.
Captain Cold and Mirror Master beating up Captain Boomerang.
Hawk and Dove kissing.
A shadowy figure holding the skin of Martian Manhunter.
Deadman snaps out of the white light power surge. We pan back and see that Deadman has turned the bomb blast area into a lush green garden in the shape of a star in the middle of Star City. Deadman yells at his white power ring and asks it why it brought them back to life. Deadman asks the white power ring what it wants. Deadman asks what they were brought back to stop. The white power ring answers “Help me live.”
We cut to Silver City, New Mexico where the white power battery in the middle of a crater in the road. The police approach the white power battery. Suddenly, Sinestro appears on the scene and says “Ah, there you are.” End of issue.
The Good: Brightest Day #0 was a disappointing read. However, there were several enjoyable aspects to this issue. Johns and Tomasi must be commended with delivering an issue that was incredibly new reader friendly. This is vitally important to the success of Brightest Day. This title needs to build off the massive momentum that DC gained through Blackest Night.
There is no doubt that Blackest Night was a sales juggernaut. If DC hopes to retain those readers and pull in new readers then Brightest Day #0 had to be new reader friendly. Often, new readers complain that DC’s titles are too steeped in their confusing continuity and, therefore, are nearly impenetrable for new readers to enjoy. That is certainly not the case with Brightest Day #0.
Johns and Tomasi employ convenient narration boxes that give the names and powers to each of the twelve characters that star in this title. Johns and Tomasi also use the short scenes with each character in this issue to concisely convey the various characters’ personalities. This helps to bring the reader up to speed on these characters that they may have never read about before. The writers also do a good job quickly establishing the specific “mission” or “challenge” for each of the twelve characters in this title.
Johns and Tomasi also do an excellent job recapping the pertinent aspects of Blackest Night in this issue. This means that it is not necessary to have read Blackest Night in order to enjoy Brightest Day. Even though Brightest Day spins out of Blackest Night, the writers do their best to quickly make Brightest Day its own independent story.
Johns and Tomasi deliver some solid character work. It is certainly nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done. The writers at least get across the basic personality traits of each character. The writers crank out the dialogue in a workman like fashion. It is nothing incredibly, but it is serviceable and gives each character a fairly well done external voice.
I am curious to learn more about what Johns and Tomasi have in store for Aquaman. Mera is a character that Johns got me to like during Blackest Night. The chemistry between Mera and Aquaman was well done. Hopefully, Johns and Tomasi can use Brightest Day to properly establish Aquaman as a serious player in the DCU.
I also enjoyed the small scene dealing with Firestorm. I continue to find the combination of Ronnie and Jason to be a stroke of genius. The obvious tension between the two characters should make for a compelling storyline.
Johns and Tomasi do an excellent job contrasting Jason and Ronnie’s characters in just a few panels. Obviously, Jason is a more grounded character who has emerged from Blackest Night carrying a heavy heart due to Gen’s death. Ronnie, on the other hand, comes out of Blackest Night with a new lease on life.
I thought it was a smart move to show Ronnie partying like a madman with his friends instead of coming to Gen’s funeral. It was just one panel, but it conveyed more to the reader than a page full of dialogue. This was an impressive job of letting the art tell the story and showing the reader rather than telling the reader. This is certainly an approach that we do not often get in current day comic books.
I found Ronnie’s reaction to be perfectly understandable. If I was brought back to life, I know I would probably embrace life and revel in my resurrection with a huge party with my friends as well. Life is for the living and should be enjoyed. Still, Ronnie missing Gen’s funeral only served to strain the relationship between Ronnie and Jason. It certainly will be interesting to see Ronnie and Jason trying to coexist as Firestorm.
I also enjoyed the storyline involving Hawkman and Hawkgirl. I love these two characters and it is great seeing them together again. The writers do a fine job explaining the jumbled continuity of the Hawks in a rather streamlined fashion. Hopefully, Johns and Tomasi will be able to use Brightest Day to refine the Hawks’ messy continuity and give them a proper and important place within the DCU.
I like the plotline concerning the Star Sapphire shard. I am glad that the writers wasted no time kicking off the plotline involving Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Out of all the characters, the Hawks got by far and away the most plot progression. I also loved the plot wrinkle involving the mysterious group of explorers who have found the original bodies of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. At this point, the writers have given the Hawks the most interesting plotline in this title.
I loved seeing Martian Manhunter back and better than ever. I am glad that J’onn is back in his classic form. I also like that J’onn has his classic personality rather than his dark and angry personality that he had in his mini-series leading up to Final Crisis. J’onn as a dark and violent character who was angry at Earth and Earthlings was never anything that appealed to me. Hopefully, Johns and Tomasi will quickly establish J’onn as the true heart and soul of the Justice League of America.
Johns and Tomasi ended Brightest Day #0 with a solid hook ending as we learn that the white energy voice wants the twelve reincarnated characters to save him. Just who is the white energy voice? That is the question that is going to hook me to coming back for the next issue.
I do not think it is the white light avatar speaking. It was already freed at the end of Blackest Night #8. Therefore, it must be someone else. Could it be another dead character? Or will it be a new character that we have never seen before. Who knows? What I do know is that this plot twist did succeed in piquing my interest.
Fernando Pasarin does an excellent job with the artwork in Brightest Day #0. Without a doubt, the most enjoyable aspect of Brightest Day #0 is the beautiful looking artwork. Pasarin has a wonderfully clean look to his artwork that is perfectly suited to a classic super hero title. Pasarin’s attention to detail is impressive. The panel layouts are well done as Pasarin takes the effort to vary the point of view perspectives and the design of the panel layouts.
The Bad: Even though I had my problems with Blackest Night and its unimpressive ending, Johns still succeeded in getting me interested in the upcoming Brightest Day title. Unfortunately, Johns and Tomasi utterly failed to capitalize on that initial interest and very nearly lost me with what was a rather dull debut issue to this title.
Brightest Day #0 was a double-sized issue. Ordinarily, that would make me happy. However, with Brightest Day #0 that just means that we get twice the amount of filler and time wasting. Brightest Day #0 begins with 39 pages of people standing around and talking. We then get a two page action scene involving Hawk. Then we get 8 more pages of people standing around and talking.
Now, I am perfectly fine with an issue that has little to no action and is dialogue heavy. However, that kind of issue must present me with scintillating dialogue and an engrossing plot that captivates my attention in order to make up for the slow pace and the lack of action. Brightest Day #0 utterly fails to do that. Instead, the story is largely uninteresting and shallow and the dialogue is simply average. The result is a story that bores the reader for the majority of this issue.
The result is that Brightest Day #0 is a slow and dull read. The story bored me for large stretches of this issue. The pacing is poor as the story plods along as if it can barely move due to its own bloated weight. The plotting was poor as the story moves along at Johns’ default setting of a snail’s pace. There is extremely little plot progression at all in this issue. That is absolutely unforgiveable in a double-sized issue.
Other than the Hawks’ scene, the reader can certainly go from Blackest Night #8, skip Brightest Day #0 and begin with reading Brightest Day #1 and not miss anything at all. That is ridiculous that a double-sized debut issue is largely unnecessary due to the lack of plot progression.
The vast majority of the characters and plotlines in Brightest Day #0 completely failed to hook me. Deadman did very little for me. This is one character that I do not believe deserves the spotlight. I questioned bringing Deadman back to life in Blackest Night #8. Johns and Tomasi did nothing in this issue to change my opinion concerning Deadman. Deadman seems to be more of a convenient story telling plot device than an actual character.
I found the Jade plotline to be uninteresting. I have never been much of a fan of her character. Johns and Tomasi did absolutely nothing to get me to be interested in her character with this issue. The tired and unoriginal angle of having Jade wonder about her role in the present day DCU is a plotline that we have seen way too many times before. The writers better come up with something superior than that concept for Jade in this story.
The White Lantern symbol in Jade’s palm did little for me. We already know she has a connection to the white light. I found this one panel teaser to be nothing new.
The scene involving Captain Boomerang was boring and seemed absolutely pointless. This is another character that I questioned why Johns would ever bother bringing back. Outside of being one of Johns’ pet characters, I have no idea why the reader should care in the least bit about Boomerang’s character. Boomerang adds little to nothing to the story. Johns and Tomasi showed me nothing at all in this issue with Boomerang that I do not already get from the other Rogues over in Flash’s title.
The same goes for Reverse-Flash. As far as I can tell, Reverse-Flash was brought back to life just because he is another one of Johns’ pet characters. Reverse-Flash fails to interest me in the least bit. I have already gotten more than enough of Reverse-Flash for a lifetime over in the painfully slow Flash: Rebirth. This is certainly one character that I do not feel that Johns had to shoehorn into Brightest Day.
The plotline involving Maxwell Lord did nothing to pique my interest. The Justice League International was a mildly humorous punch line in its day. However, it is certainly a gimmick that should stay where it belongs: In the past. I have no interest at all in a plotline involving Lord trying to exact some revenge or attempting to control the old members of the JLI. Of course, I still believe that Lord should never have been brought back to life. Lord’s death was a great moment and I simply see nothing to gain by having Lord alive and active once again in the DCU.
While I love that Martian Manhunter is back and better than ever, I absolutely loathe the idea of bringing back Mars and the Martians. This is nothing more than Johns repeating himself. We have just seen this storyline with New Krypton and the Kandorians. Do we really need to see this story played out once again? I would much rather Johns and Tomasi find some other more unique and interesting direction to take J’onns’ character rather than ripping off what DC is doing with Superman at the moment.
Now, I was thrilled that Johns brought Osiris back to life in Blackest Night #8. I always thought that Osiris’ character had tons of potential and that Johns completely wasted that potential with Osiris’ death in 52. Osiris was one of the characters that I was most excited to read about in Brightest Day #0. Unfortunately, Johns and Tomasi totally missed the mark with Osiris’ plotline in this issue.
I have no interest in revisiting the incredibly stale and old plotline involving Khandaq and rebuilding the country and the people. This moldy storyline has been going on since JSA #45 back in 2003. It was then drug through the lead-in to Infinite Crisis and through 52. Let this story die already.
I wish Johns would head his own advice. Johns has made a point in Blackest Night #8 and in Brightest Day #0 about how the characters (and ostensibly the reader) should forget about the past, embrace the present and look toward the future. I wish Johns would do that with Osiris and give him a more interesting plotline than the Khandaq plotline.
Having said that, as long as we end up getting the reunion of the Black Marvel family with Black Adam, Isis and Osiris all together and better than ever then I will be happy. Of course, while I do want Black Adam and Isis back, I hope that Johns then breaks Osiris off from the Black Adam Family and makes him a renegade. I would rather see Osiris be a true hero and operate as a Teen Titan than simply being a junior version of Black Adam.
The Hawk and Dove scene did provide for the only action in this issue. However, outside of some cool action bits, this plotline seems to be nothing new. We have seen this same dialogue and this same “tension” between Hawk and Dove many times before in all the various incarnations of Hawk and Dove. This is certainly well worn territory. One could pull out an old issue of Hawk and Dove from 1969 and get pretty much what we got in this issue. This scene certainly read as a re-tread from the old 1988 Hawk and Dove mini-series starring Hank Hall and Dawn Granger.
Of course, I suspect that new readers will find this dynamic between Hawk and Dove in Brightest Day #0 much more interesting than I did. In all fairness, the vast majority of the readers purchasing Brightest Day #0 will have never read the 1988 mini-series starring Hank and Dawn. Therefore, this scene in Brightest Day #0 was something of a necessary evil.
However, my worry is that this scene also points out what the previous stories starring Hawk and Dove over the past 35 years have shown: That these characters are extremely limited in their range and potential. That is why Hawk and Dove are almost always a failure when it comes to being a marketable team. I am not sure than Johns and Tomasi can do anything in Brightest Day to change that fact.
The ending to Brightest Day #0 lacked any real impact. The scene in Star City was a miss with me. We already know that the white light can generate life so seeing the trees being formed in the bomb blast in Star City did little for me. The teaser scenes that we got in this final scene completely failed to excite my imagination and get me interested in future issues of Brightest Day.
The panel of Hawkman and Hawkgirl fighting and the panel of Mera and Aquaman fighting were random and simply not enough to pique my interest. Is Brightest Day going to be the Jerry Springer show of the DCU where we get to see married couples collide? The panel with Jade wielding a Green Lantern power ring did nothing to interest me. Who doesn’t wear a power ring of some color nowadays?
The panel with Maxwell Lord with a gun behind his back while shaking the new Blue Beetle’s hand did little for me since I have no connection with either character. The only thing that could interest me in this teaser panel is if it results in a plotline involving Lord killing the new Blue Beetle and Ted Kord coming back to life to exact revenge on Lord. Short of that I have zero interest in this teaser panel.
The panel with Osiris mourning next to the broken stone figures of Black Adam and Isis was not that interesting. I am ready for Johns to move Osiris past the constantly being sad about something stage of his character. All we have seen Osiris do since he appeared in 52 is be sad or mournful or feel out of place. I would rather have seen a teaser panel that showed that Osiris will experience some kind of actual character growth during Brightest Day.
The panel of Captain Cold and Mirror Master beating up Captain Boomerang did absolutely nothing for me at all. Who cares about this? I think that Boomerang could get killed off in Brightest Day and nobody outside of Johns would really care one way or the other. Honestly, this is a story that should be taking place over on Flash if anywhere at all.
Reverse-Flash on a cosmic treadmill did little to interest me. Again, this is a character that Johns probably likes way more than most readers of this title. I also think that, much like the plotline involving Boomerang, that Reverse-Flash’s story should be over on Flash.
The panel of Hawk and Dove kissing was completely predictable. It is the old opposites attract gimmick. Hopefully, this romance might actually succeed in making the two characters a bit more interesting and compelling. I cannot even being to discuss the panel of the shadowy person holding what appears to be Martian Manhunter’s skin. That was just too nebulous of a teaser panel to get my interest.
All in all, Brightest Day #0 lacked that feeling of excitement that I was expecting. There was no sense of creativity or originality with the story in Brightest Day #0. Instead, I got the impression that DC was just trying to crank out a perfunctory title designed to simply milk the Blackest Night hysteria in order to make some more cash. There does not seem like there is much of a real unique or interesting story to be told with Brightest Day. Instead, it seems that this is more of a gimmick title designed to make money off hype rather than actual quality content.
Overall: Brightest Day #0 was a disappointing read. This was a slow and relatively boring read. Johns and Tomasi failed to kick this title off with a dynamic and exciting story that immediately captivates the reader’s attention. Having said that, Johns and Tomasi did just enough, barely, to get me to come back for more.
I would certainly recommend Brightest Day #0 to fans of any of the characters who appear in this issue. If you are a fan of Hawk, Dove, Jade, Boomerang, Reverse-Flash or Deadman then you will more than likely enjoy this issue much more than me. Newer readers may also enjoy Brightest Day #0 more than longtime readers and will not be as annoyed by the retreading of well worn territory in this issue.
However, the real question is will readers of Blackest Night want to jump on board of Brightest Day #0. At this point, I am going to say no. I am not sure that there is enough of an original and exciting story in Brightest Day to warrant me recommending readers of Blackest Night to pick up Brightest Day.
Still, this is only the first issue and Brightest Day very well may become a wonderful read. Sometimes titles start off with mediocre debut issues and simply take a while to gain momentum and becoming interesting. Brightest Day very well may be one of those titles.