Thursday, May 31, 2018

Brightest Day #7 (2010)

Brightest Day #7 (Early October, 2010)
"The Secret of Life"
Writers - Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Artists - Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark & Joe Prado
Inkers - Vicente Cifuentes, David Beaty & Mark Irwin
Colors - Aspen MLT's Peter Steigerwald w/John Starr
Letterer - Rob Clark, Jr.
Assistant Editor - Rex Ogle
Associate Editor - Adam Schlagman
Editor - Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99

And so, we wrap up #BrightestMay... with, kind of a bang?

I wanna thank the folks who stuck around for this weird themed month... judging from the numbers, not all that many people really cared to read about this strange time in DC Comics.

Oh well, if I wanted a bigger audience... I'd probably have just become a famous actor or professional athlete or something.  Ya live, ya learn.

Speaking of living (and learning), Boston Brand's about to have quite the day!


We open with some hot cheeseburger eatin' action.  I mean, this stuff is intense... just look at ol' Boston's face!  He sinks his teeth into that mass o' meat... and, well, he likes it.  Better than he remembers to boot!  He and Dawn then proceed to get to know each other a little better.  She seems to be really interesting in what makes... or made, Boston Brand tick.

Their chat is cut short by the return of Hank Hall, who just took out some of his aggression on a Dixie Chicks-playin' jukebox.  Were people still talking about them in 2010?  Never let it be said that comics are behind the times!

Suddenly... the White Lantern Entity speaks!  Asks the gang if they enjoyed their meal (seriously) then teleports them to the White Lantern Battery in Silver City, New Mexico... all without paying for their food!  Hawk tries giving the battery a tug, and it won't even budge.  Then, it's Boston's turn... and wouldn'tcha know it, he's able to lift it!  Worth mentioning that a nearby Aqualad-to-be feels a bit... weird.

In a pretty great full-page splash, Boston is transformed back into Deadman, though with a White Lantern twist.

The Lantern tells Brand that it (the entity) is dying, and he must find a replacement.  Then, Hawk gets a White Lantern makeover...

We pop over to the Tanami Desert in Australia, where we last left the Martian Manhunter happening across the badly beaten body of Miss Martian.  The White Lantern Entity tells him to "burn it down".  Suddenly, he's surrounded with fire... and M'Gann appears to have made one heckuva recovery!

Next stop Pittsburgh University, where Professor Stein tells the Firestorms that everything that is going on is... his fault.  As he goes to "show them something" the White Entity speaks!  It tells Ronnie to study more, and Jason to study less.  Okay, mom.

As this happens... that third member of the Matrix creeps up... holding a Black Lantern.

Off to Hawkworld, where Hawkman is reconnoitering with the beast men who tried to kill him not too long ago.  He is suddenly bathed in white... and given a White Lantern upgrade.  He is instructed to "stop the Queen".  Hmm... couldn't be, right?  Nah, probably not.

Meanwhile, in the Nth City... Hawkgirl gets Whited-up as well.

She is warned that if Hath-Set happens to kill them here, there will be no more resurrection.  Wouldn'tcha know it... Hath-Set just so happens to be her captor.

Back on Earth, Mera continues to apologize to Aquaman... and I really just want this story thread to end.  Arthur is then summoned by the White Entity... and advised to "find him" (Aqualad).  Just then, the waters go clean... and all of the fish start flopping around alive!

Then we kick the vignette-a-palooza into overdrive... with a single-panel look at everything else going on in the Brightest Day crossovent!  Captain Boomerang is told to throw a boomerang, which we saw in the pages of Flash.  Jade is told to "balance the darkness", which... unfortunately we saw in the never ending "The Dark Things".  Osiris must free his sister, which we saw a bit of in Titans.  Max Lord is told to stop a Magog-led World War... which, happens in Justice League: Generation Lost... we just didn't get there this time around.  Also, Eobard Thawne is back... and Hawk is told to "catch" Digger's boomerang.

We wrap up with Boston Brand being given the order to find "the chosen one" to be the White Entity's "replacement".  Well, talk about a case of being "always the bridesmaid...".


Lotsa loose threads coming together here... probably one of the (few) "must reads" of the Brightest Day crossovent (so far).  So many of the things we've been reading about converge here... and kinda "get into place" to move into the middle-third of the story.

Off the top of my head... it's gotta suck to be Deadman, right?  The White Ring won't leave ya alone... actually drops you in front of the freaking Anti-Monitor just to teach you a lesson... then you come to learn that you're not the chosen one?!  Jerk move, Ring... jerk move.  What's wrong with Boston?  He not good enough for you?

One of the things I've taken this crossovent to task for is a bit of bait-and-switch cliffhangers... and this issue is no different.  We closed out yesterday with Martian Manhunter's discovery of Miss Martian's body... and now?  She's just a-okay?  I suppose it'll be elaborated on as we proceed... but, still... kind of annoying.

I'm not sure I've mentioned it (or mentioned it enough), but the art all throughout this series... is really fantastic.  Each art team has their own "segments", but it never looks jarring when we shift from one to another.  The whole artistic end of this was really very well done.

About Brightest Day as a whole (or at least the first third of it).  I'm not quite sure what I think of it.  After immersing myself in it over the past 31 days... I just dunno.  Ya know how Blackest Night was supposed to be "just" a Green Lantern event?  DC felt it could support a line-wide crossover extravaganza... and let it completely dominate the shelves for the better part of a year.

This is kind of the inverse of that.  This was intended as a line-wide extravaganza... but, if you ask me, could barely even support it's two "main" titles.  If we look at the tie-ins... the non-Brightest Day or Justice League: Generation Lost books... the Brightest Day "bits" feel forced... and at the same time, kind of like an afterthought.

We had eight-issues of Justice League/Justice Society crossover... and had, I dunno... less than a half-dozen panels that showed Jade in her White Lantern gear?  A six-issue Flash arc (which was fantastic, mind you) that Captain Boomerang (and poor Thawne) only get a smattering of appearances?

I'd call Brightest Day ambitious... if only it showed a little... ya know, ambition.  I leave this crossovent (for now) disappointed.  I recall being "all in" on this back in 2010-2011... it's only in reading it in a big "glop" and looking at what's come since that I can truly see what a middling event it really was.

Does this mean I feel like The New-52! was justified?  Hell no.  These are still great characters... and had this event not been so diluted throughout the line, we might've had something really special.

Oh well... tomorrow, the #BrightestMay "chains" are off... which means I'll have to actually put some thought into what I'm going to cover!  Scary thought!


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Brightest Day #6 (2010)

Brightest Day #6 (Late September, 2010)
"Dead Zone"
Writers - Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Artists - Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Scott Clark & Joe Prado
Inkers - Vicente Cifuentes, David Beaty, Mark Irwin & Christian Alamy
Colorist - Aspen MLT's Peter Steigerwald w/John Starr
Letterer - Rob Clark, Jr.
Assistant Editor - Rex Ogle
Associate Editor - Adam Schlagman
Editor - Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99

Welcome to the... ahem, penultimate day of #BrightestMay!

I was hoping to organize this in such a way as we'd end up with a little bit of "closure"... but, planning ain't exactly my bag.  Looks like we'll probably wrap up with "just another issue" from the Brightest Day box!


We open in Big Hendy Park in California, where a couple are having a peaceful picnic... sounds like the start of just about every horror movie there is, doesn't it?  Well... if you think this scene is about to get dark... you're right!  A multi-mouthed martian-ish creature rises from the stream... and kills 'em up real good!  This beastie is looking for J'onn... and has a little chat with itself (multi-mouths, donchaknow) to decide their next stop.

Speaking of J'onn, we next join him in Denver, Colorado as he visits the remains of Professor Erdel's Laboratory... which doesn't look like it's been touched in years.  I suppose that's convenient.  J'onn notices as he makes his approach that everything he comes into contact with... withers.  Hmm...

Next, we return to Georgetown... where Deadman, Hawk and Dove are... still knelt before the graves of the fallen Don "Dove" Hall and Holly "Hawk" Granger.  As Boston tries to raise Holly, the White Ring reminds him that he... er, loved cheeseburgers.  Anyhoo, Holly does rise... as a Black Lantern.  Before she can do much damage, a glowing white version of Dove (Don) interjects... and in a flash, everything goes back to "normal".  After the dust settles, Boston and the birds decide to go out for burgers.  It's as though they were bad enough dudes to rescue the President from ninjas.

We shift scenes to Pittsburgh University, where Jason Rusch is declining the advances of a pretty young thing who'd really like nothing more than to "study" with him.  As he walks by a construction site, a crane's molecular structure changes to that of... bubble gum?!

Jason taps into the Firestorm Matrix and rouses Ronnie Raymond from his... er, hangover.  Together they manage to save the day... but not without Ronnie puking on one of the construction workers... because, ya know... hangovers.

Jason lectures Ronnie on his irresponsibility... which Raymond kinda excuses away, because he's had so much on his mind... including what he did to Gehenna.  Jason is surprised to learn that Ronnie remembers... but before they can dig any deeper, they're interrupted by that mysterious third voice in the Matrix.  Ruh-roh.

We next rejoin Aquaman and Mera.  If you recall, we ended last issue with Mera confessing that she was originally sent to kill Aquaman.  Riveting stuff.  Turns out, she didn't quite have the stomach for it... and instead, fell in love with Aquaman.  It's then confirmed that the mysterious Mera-looking baddie is, in fact, Siren... Mera's sister.

We rejoin J'onn... who's still killing everything he touches.  That is, until a squirrel runs up his arm... and doesn't die.  Hmm...

After a brief stop at "the Still Zone" to check on his, uh, collection of White Martians... J'onn swings by the Batcave to have a chat with Oracle about the odd and brutal murder we witnessed a few issues back and J'onn used doggie-vision to "witness" an issue after that.  Babs tells J'onn that these are the kind of killings that scare the Feds so much that they often "bury" them... covering them up as accidents.

Suddenly, J'onn is struck by a familiarity about the case... and asks Oracle to patch him over to the... Teen Titans?!  Superboy answers the call... and J'onn asks to speak with M'gann M'orzz... Miss Martian!  Kon tells him she ain't around... and to check her little dwelling in Tanami, Australia.

Which is exactly where we end this outing... and it looks like M'gann ain't having the best walkabout.


Feels like things are going to get rolling here... but, it's starting to feel like... ya know when you "miss" a sneeze?  Like, you're expecting it... you feel it coming on... you might even stare into a bright light to prompt it, then... nothing.  It's kinda like when you're listening to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"... and you feel like nearly every single line should be followed up with Steve Whatshisface belting out the chorus... then he doesn't!  That's Brightest Day to me.  Every time it feels like we're getting somewhere... the sneeze gets stifled.

Let's talk up some good points here.

Even though the scene at the gravesite felt a bit "off", I do appreciate the fact that Deadman has to relearn what it means to... ya know, not be dead.  His stomach rumbles... and he has to be reminded by the Ring to eat something.  I dig that... even if we took a roundabout way of getting there.

J'onn's walkabout was pretty neat, and is the first time we get the impression that Brightest Day and the Parliament of Trees might be crossing paths before all is said and done.  I can't remember if I picked up on these clues my first time through... but this time around, it's definitely telegraphed.  If you don't know what I'm alluding to... notice that J'onn's touch is killing things associated with "The Green" (plants and whatnot), but not "The Red" (the squirrel).

That was pretty cool... but, I still can't shake the feeling that we're wasting too many pages.  From here, we get a page of J'onn checking in at "The Still Zone"... then for a multi-page chat with Oracle which amounts to... J'onn just remembering something on his own.  Oh well... I guess it's always cool to see Oracle.

The Firestorm scene confused me a bit because... didn't we just spend a couple of issues prying Ronnie and Jason apart?  Seems kinda soon to bring 'em back together, also a little anticlimactic... but, what do I know?

The requisite Didio-DC gore is here in spades.  I mean, when we have a graphic decapitation on page 1... you'd assume that we can only go "up" from there.  That's not the case though... because on the last page we get a look at a bloody and beaten Miss Martian.  I dunno what it is, but it doesn't feel like such brutality should be used with M'gann.  Just doesn't feel right... which is probably exactly why they did it.

Overall... ehh.  Read it in trade.


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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Green Arrow (vol.5) #3 (2010)

Green Arrow (vol.5) #3 (October, 2010)
"Character Assassination"
Writer - J.T. Krul
Penciller - Diogenes Neves
Inker - Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist - Ulises Arreola
Letterer - Rob Leigh
Editor - Adam Schlagman
Cover Price: $2.99

Wouldja lookit that... today marks our EIGHT-HUNDRED AND FIFTIETH daily discussion!

It's also... still #BrightestMay, where last we left our man Oliver Queen he was... dead... ish.  That ain't gonna stick, right?



We open with Ollie... shot in the head.  He flashes back to the time he was washed up on that island all them years ago.  While his mind wanders, a pack of wolves descend on his location (where they came from, I'll never know).  Before they can make a meal outta our hero, that stranger from last issue arrives on the scene to shoo 'em off.  We don't know it yet, but this is Galahad.

He lifts Oliver's prone body and proceeds to walk him over to a small pond.  He is so sure that the forest can restore Green Arrow's life... that he dunks the body into the drink.  The White Lantern entity... begins to judge Ollie's worth.  Does he even deserve to live?  As this happens, Oliver recounts many of the more pivotal points in his life.

We shift to a flashback of a young Oliver accompanying his mother to visit his father at Queen Tower.  It's alluded to here that Robert Queen wasn't the most fidelity-havin' fella.  Not sure if Ollie is seeing this in his flashback, though, because as it rolls on, we see him locked in combat with his "shadow self".

The flashback ends with a somber Moira Queen watching Robert head off on a "business trip".  She holds young Ollie in her arms... and tells him to not just be a "good boy", but to grow up and be a "good man"... at which point, Galahad nyoinks him out of the drink.

Ollie comes to... and immediately suspects Galahad as the dead-shot archer that plugged him betwixt the eyes.  Galahad (there's no organic way of shortening that name, is there?) judo tosses a confused Ollie, and insists that he is a friend.

We shift scenes into Star City proper, where we learn that Queen Industries have taken over the contract to supply medication and medical equipment to the victims of the Star City Disaster... and since taking over, haven't done all that much.  A woman vows to send them a message.

We then pop over to a press conference which may or may not be presented a Queen Industries.  The conference is to announce a new state of the art entertainment facility... which, is kind of a hamfisted way of illustrating that the "powers that be" don't care about the common rabble.  We see that Evan Gibson from the Star Gazette is there reporting on the event... and then... a woman shoots the presenter with her tape recorder?  Not sure if this is the same woman from the medical tent... hell, I'm not even sure it's actually a woman!

We head back into the woods for Galahad to do some 'splainin'.  He claims to be a (displaced?) knight, whose mind had been clouded by modern medication.  He's only become "lucid" since the forest sprouted.  While he drones on, Ollie takes a gander at his reflection in the pond... and finds that he has no scarring where the arrow pierced his dome.

Time for another flashback... this time to Siberia, 30 years ago.  This, I would assume, is the first meeting between Robert Queen and "The Queen".  She claims to have taken him... body and soul.

Back in the woods, Ollie and Galahad continue their chat.  Suddenly Oliver notices a white light behind the Knight... then the entire forest becomes bathed in it.  Ollie runs to get a better look, and notices that, in a matter of seconds, the forest experienced a years worth of maturity... all four seasons in the blink of an eye.

He heads back to Galahad, unsure if the forest means to save him... or kill him.  Worth noting that Ollie's shadow has taken the form of a beast-like critter.


Okay, not as much fun as the first two issues... but, I suppose we do need an issue to fill in some background beats.

I definitely appreciate the fact that the forest is still one of the main focuses of this series.  In looking though so many Brightest Day tie-ins over this past month, it's refreshing to see one that actually... ya know, keeps Brightest Day at the fore!  It feels like so many of the other books almost forget that they're part of something bigger... leaving all Brightest Day allusions feeling like a forced afterthought.  This series keeps the "crossovent" rolling, and even builds upon it... and I dig that a lot.

The (proper) introduction of Galahad was... okay.  We did get a teaser at the end of Green Arrow (vol.5) #1 (which I neglected to include for some silly reason) that Ollie was putting together a crew of "Merry Men".  I think we can assume that Galahad (and likely the woman at the med-tent, and Evan from the Gazette) will fill out that number.  Makes me wonder just what kind of series this would have grown into if not for The New-52!.

Ollie's father's infidelity... ehh.  I don't know how much of that had already been established at this point... or if it was something gleaned from the CW show (if that was even a thing at this point), or just a hamfisted way of introducing some (more) trauma into Ollie's life... either way, this kind of thing's been done before... almost too often.

The scenes at the med-tent/press conference... well, I guess it got the point across... but it's severely lacking in the subtlety department.  I mean, Neves (who still absolutely kills it here) may as well draw all of the suits with horns and hooves.  They're bad dudes... we get it.  Hell, we got it two issues ago!  I get what we're going for here... but, there's gotta be a better way.

Overall... even though this was less exciting than the issues that came before it, we do get a fair amount of forward momentum.  I'm still keen on recommending this, however... might suggest you check it out in trade. 


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