Brightest Day #1 (Early July, 2010)
Writers – Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Pencillers – Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark & Joe Prado
Inkers – Vicente Cifuentes, Mark Irwin, Oclair Albert & David Beaty
Color – Aspen MLT’s Scott Williams & Steigerwald
Letterer – Rob Clark, Jr.
Assistant Editor – Rex Ogle
Associate Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Welcome back to #BrightestMay!
Yesterday we laid a bit of a foundation for this post Blackest Night DC Universe. We met our cast… and got them ready to be divvied up among the other books bearing the Brightest Day branding.
I feel like this issue will be more what we can expect going forward. Still chock full of vignettes, but not nearly to the (nearly overwhelming) extent of issue #0. Today’s subjects will include the Lanterns, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, the Firestorms, and the Hawks.
Just noticed that Ardian Syaf is a part of this… so not only do we need to comb this thing for the exact moment DC decided to no longer care… we can also see if he left us any secret messages as well! Oh what fun.
We pick up where we left off last issue… we’re in Silver City, New Mexico where the White Lantern Power Battery has appeared in that crater. The locals edge up close and try to lift the thing… but to no avail. If you recall, Sinestro showed up last issue… well, he’s here too, but he isn’t alone. He is flanked by Hal Jordan and Star Sapphire… actually, Hal’s front and center… but that probably goes without saying. (I guess the camera angle “left them out” last time around).
After “making nice” with the New Mexicans, Hal and the Gang set to make an attempt at lifting the White Lantern. They compare such a feat to the Sword in the Stone, but it’s probably more like lifting Mjölnir… suppose I can’t blame them for not making that nod. Anyhoo, it looks as thought Hal is… unworthy.
We shift scenes to rejoin Deadman… this time, he’s aboard a hijacked boat, where bad dudes are trafficking children. Brand goes to act, however the white ring holds him back. A moment later, Aquaman and Mera emerge from the drink.
They make quick work of the baddies aboard that ship, unfortunately, they seem to have a fleet! Amid incoming fire, Aquaman summons… a Kraken?! Not just any kraken either… a decomposing undead one!
The beastie wraps itself around the other ship… and starts killing everybody on board. Arthur and Mera are pretty mortified. In that moment of distraction, one of the bad dudes aboard their ship aims a harpoon in their direction. Before he can fire, however, a zombified shark pops out of the water, says “hey”, and eats the poor bastard. There’s definitely something a bit askew about Aquaman’s powers… don’t you think?
We zip over to a dockside fish market in Westport, Massachusetts where news of Aquaman’s return is being played over the news. One of the patrons takes this news as a sign to… well, slaughter everybody in the building.
We next check in with Firestorm the Nuclear Men, as they visit with Professor Stein and Ray Palmer. Ronnie and Jason are, of course, interested in finding a way to split out again. Well boys, the big brains might have some bad news for ya.
Meanwhile on Mars, J’onn has flown a giant chunk of ice over in order to trigger some vegetation growth on the red planet.
As a seedling spouts from the ground, his head becomes flooded with imagery regarding his initial arrival on Earth. He sees himself with his hands wrapped around the throat of Professor Saul Erdel… the man who accidentally transported him to Earth. This (choking bit) never happened… which is troubling to J’onn. Even more troubling is the fact that this vision also showed a woman lying on the floor. Believing she might be a key to… something… J’onn takes off in search of her.
Next, we follow up with the Hawks. They were following the Star Sapphire-infused Claw of Horus… somewhere. Turns out (shocker), it was leading them to that odd expedition where those dudes in coats uncovered Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s original skeletons. There’s a scuffle with the diggers… which the Hawks win handily. They then see their bones. They don’t get too long to soak in the sight, however, as one of the men sets off an explosive charge.
While Hawkman attends to Hawkgirl (who took the brunt of the explosion) the explorers wind up getting away. The heroes wonder just who could want their bones… and it’s revealed (to us) that they’re headed to Hath-Set.
We wrap up back in Massachusetts, where that lunatic has burned down that fish market. He then walks into the water… bubbles around a bit… then resurfaces as, dun-dun-dunnnn Black Manta! Are you shocked? I’m shocked.
As we enter the series proper, many interesting questions are raised. Let’s look at them case by case
First… the White Lantern cannot be lifted. We can make allusions to King Arthur or Thor of course… the Lantern will only allow itself to be lifted by the one it sees as “worthy”. Worth noting (and without spoiling anything), right now, Deadman is the only person (that we know of) who is still wearing the White Lantern Ring. That’s what we know so far.
I think many of us reading at the time figured that Hal would get some time as the White Lantern… so, it was pretty neat seeing him unable to lift the thing. This is a neat enough (sub)plot to run alongside the revived characters trying to find their way.
The Aquaman bits were probably the highlight this time around. There’s definitely something up with his powers… although he is back “among the living”, he’s still very much connected to “the dead”. I don’t remember how this works itself out… if it even does. I’m glad I waited so long to revisit this, as so much time has passed that it almost feels brand new to me!
The Black Manta reveal was… expected. I guess maybe there was somebody out there whose jaw dropped for that last page… but I wasn’t that somebody. Black Manta has always been something of a bore to me… never really took him all that seriously. Even here, he’s depicted as highly dangerous… but dangerous only because he’s a psychopath, not because of any powers.
The Firestorms get the briefest of bits… all we know is that they’re still not getting along, and that their “association” might be longer lived than either of them are prepared for.
Martian Manhunter is another short-vignette. I really appreciate that they’re digging so far back in his history. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear anything about Professor Erdel. This story might just have the potential of being the “sleeper hit” of the series.
The Hawkman and Hawkgirl scene was… okay. I mean, we’re not wasting any time… and I always appreciate that. I was afraid for a minute that they wouldn’t find the bones until like six issues in or something. So, at least it’s moving at a brisker than expected pace (for now). Unfortunately, it’s just not all that interesting (to me). Never really glommed onto the Hawks. Outside of that Geoff Johns written solo-ongoing, I’ve never found the character all that intriguing.
Overall, a neat issue… that raises a ton of interesting questions. A great way to open the series proper. The art is also really good throughout. I feel like DC chose some really complimentary artists here, as the transitions between scenes aren’t nearly as jarring as they might’ve been. Hell, I hardly even noticed!
Definitely worth a look!
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