Review: Brightest Day #13 By Geoff Johns And Peter Tomasi

Brightest Day #13
Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art by Ardian Syaf, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado

Man, even when it’s supposed to be my break from reviewing this book I wind up having to do it, what does that tell you?

I actually really wanted an excuse to not review this issue as, while I do generally like this book, the Hawks do nothing for me, and this issue is all about the Hawks. Hawkworld, while a cool little concept, has fallen more or less completely flat for me just by nature of….I don’t get the point. Aren’t there enough random planets of Hawk-like people and crazy origins of Nth metal? And are the origins of the Hawks convoluted enough without an issue that, I think, is telling me that in their original lives that Chay-Ara’s mother remarried Khufu’s father so she could be queen, essentially making the ancient Hawks into late in life step siblings who….ew.

This little reveal really didn’t add anything. At all. I mean, sure, it paints Hawkgirl’s mother as a power hungry bitch, especially given that she is tied directly into the assassination that started their resurrection curse. Normally I would say that if I cared more about the Hawks this would probably sit better with me as far as impact goes, but here’s the thing, I don’t really like Firestorm or Aquaman and I love their parts in Brightest Day, but I’ve historically (thanks to Geoff Johns, James Robinson, JSA, and the Hawkman solo from a few years ago) tried to give the Hawks a chance. And they just keep disappointing me. Everything starts to feel like some sort of retcon after a while, and even though I can tell that Johns and Tomasi are trying to make readers care, they just aren’t working with me.

There’s another universe that you can access if you gather up a bunch of corpses belonging to Carter and Shiera, and then if you mount the still living versions of them to it along with Hath-Set then you can let a bunch of Hawk monsters out into the real world. There are stakes, and I can respect that, but I just don’t care. Yes, these things are a big threat for Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but if they attacked DC’s Earth? Well, for starters; Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Power Girl, Hal Jordan, The Flash (Barry), The Flash (Wally), The Flash (Jay). Need me to go on? Your threat is an army of hawk creatures attacking the Earth, and Carter can take them out two or three at a time with his bare hands and a mace. What trouble would the super hero population have with them?

And then I hit a giant groan with just how contrived of a villain the queen winds up being. I mean, it’s not enough that she’s a gold digger, or that she’s guilty of regicide so that she could be in charge, or that she called for the murders of her daughter and step son (her daughters betrothed). No, I could live with that, that’s pretty classic villain material. But no, I think what gets me the most is that she’s spent so much time being Queen in this world that not only did she have herself made more bird like, but she can PSYCHICALLY CONTROL NTH METAL! You know, the stuff Carter and Shiera use for….everything that they do. And she shows, with Carter, that she can throw him around like Magneto does Wolverine because of his exposure to it. It’s just like….we get it, she’s a big bad, she can do anything and everything, and most likely she’ll get hers in a few issues.

All of that said, Ardian Syaf hits a home run with the art in this issue as it was truly the most impressive part. There are some great fight moments, some intense visuals, and one of the most badass images of Hawkman I’ve ever seen. Seriously, the art makes me wish I got into the story more, because this is a really good looking issue, easily some of the best work I’ve seen out of Syaf.

I’d judge the rest of the issue in this juncture of the review, but to be honest, there are a grand total of two pages not devoted to the Hawk story, and I’m touching on those in my best moments of the week post in a day or two.

I should also add that the end isn’t quite the W.T.F. moment that it implies itself to be, as while the location they wind up is surprising, it’s really not if you’ve read what Johns and Tomasi have been doing with the Hawks in relation to the rest of the DC Universe. Not saying I dig it, but it should be interesting, and I do always like it when a book like this ties into something else the company is publishing in a coherent manner. What can I say, I’m a fan of continuity?

So to sum it all up, it’s by no means the worst issue ever, but my own indifference towards the Hawks and their convoluted history at this juncture really hurts my ability to like it. The art is great, and the fights are fun, but the story and exposition are just headache inducing for all the wrong reasons. This is twice now that we’ve had a two page spread of super exposition massaging the bumps in the Hawks continuity since this book began. I hope to God we don’t have a third one.



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