Brightest Day #14
Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
So what we have here is an extended Boston Brand issue, one that spends it’s entire focus tracking the former Deadman. This is in opposition to the usual method of pacing this book, with either several character sharing semi-equal space, or one character dominating while another does a few pages (like last issue where Boston was given two pages). This issue though is all Boston, all the time. And yes, Dove is there too, and so is Batman, but it doesn’t jump to any of the other returnees for a change. The end result is a nicely done character piece about the character who, let’s be honest, needs the most characterization coming out of Brightest Day as he’s truly the most unexplored of the characters. After all, Deadman is finally alive, this is uncharted territory.
As the cover gives away, the premise of the issue is White Lantern Batman. Boston’s mission has been that he’s the bearer of the White Ring until it chooses someone to house the Entity. Now, tack on to that that Boston hates his mission and wants it to end, to the point where he sees Batman is back and bolts across Gotham City to go force the ring on to his finger. He’s impatient, and that’s something that has gotten across nicely so far in the run of this book. He’s in too big of a hurry to get his mission over with, presumably so he can go back to just being Deadman. This issue gets an excuse to revisit Boston’s past and gives us an indication to how the man lived before he died, and while it conveniently syncs up with his impatience, it also does a good job of setting up the kind of man that he was, and the kind of man he needs to be.
What kind of a man does stunt dives without a net? A man who doesn’t care about anything, not themselves, not those around them, nothing. That was Boston. In life all that mattered to him was getting it over with, and damned be any bridges burned along the way. The important part about this though, and why it’s being brought back to the forefront of his memory, is that he can’t return to being that guy just because he’s alive again. As Deadman he wasn’t that same guy, he was a ghost who helped people, who was offered a chance at everlasting peace and turned it down because he saw the good he could do for other people. He’s a guy who learned how to care about others due to his death, and who learns to care about himself due to a near death experience.
I dig the art in the issue, but that doesn’t surprise me. I mean, do I like Reis and Prado? Did I like Blackest Night? Or Green Lantern? This issue looks great, White Lantern Batman looks pretty awesome, Deadman in action is pretty cool, and hey, Dove isn’t half bad either. I’m a horrible art critic, but I know what I like.
This issue is all about Deadman having to acknowledge why he was brought back, and not just about finding a suitable host for the Entity. He was given a second chance at life, he wasn’t brought back just to do this mission and then go back to his grave. The White Lantern returned him with everyone else, and he just happens to have taken a little bit longer to appreciate the magnitude of this gift. Boston Brand isn’t Deadman anymore, and this issue marks the first time since it happened that he actually is happy about that.
Tags: Batman, Brightest Day, Deadman, Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Peter Tomasi, Reviews