Brightest Day #19
Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Answers and action, that’s how you describe this issue. A lot of exposition, and then a few pages of big action, and with potential to go two issues straight of just Aquaman. There’s a lot of exposition about the White Lantern, and why things are happening the way they are. We find out why the Hawk’s were turned to ash, what Boston’s purpose is, and even the reason behind the Star City forest. A lot of nice facts to get out in the open.
The expositional pages with Boston Brand and his ring are what they are, the art is nice, but it’s done pretty quickly. This is to the advantage of the story, to be honest, as there’s a lot of talking, and powering it out in five pages means you get the other fifteen to devote elsewhere. Not to devalue the infodump that the White Ring gave to Boston, but it was nice to have it and have it over with. There are some good answers given, but I’m still a bit underwhelmed. The planet wants to kill all humans? There’s more dark evil mojo floating around and the returnees are there to stop it? I expect it to play out better than it prereads, because so far I’m just wondering if Brightest Day leads to Blackest Night II.
The meat of this issue is Aquaman, plain and simple. Despite Aqualad being around for a few months now, and spending a little time with Aquaman, this issue feels like their first real conversation, and it happens to be Aqualad dispensing relationship advice. Nice little moment of hilarity as the King of the Seas is given woman advice by his brand new teen sidekick, and kid has a point! I understand that there are lot of awkward situations and bad times between Aquaman and Mera, so it does make sense to me that maybe Aquaman might be a little hesitant with being understanding, or giving extra chances right off the bat. At the same time, he comes across as more devoted to the cause at hand and prioritizing their issues for later.
The Aquawar kicked off with a bang this issue as Siren leads an army to attack the Florida coast, the barrier holding them back in the Bermuda Triangle having been broken. So it’s Aquaman and Aqualad against an army from Xebel that’s got the familiar “Destroy all humans” mentality, and the justification that they’re from the sea and all life comes from the sea, so they have a claim to stake. Admittedly you don’t need too great of a justification for a war between a banished prison population and the rest of the world, just being free should be more than enough to make them go on the warpath. The action is pretty sweet though, and Aqualad gets a nice little showcase for a page or two.
The art in the issue is great, but that’s what you should expect from Reis and Prado. It’s a rarity in this book to see one consistent art team go through the entire issue, and while I’m not sure what Prado pencils exactly, the entire issue looks great. From the expositional Boston Brand scenes, to the nice sublte and human touches of Arthur and Jackson’s talk, up until the big fight scene to cap the issue off. The art is awesome, and they do a great job balancing all the different tones throughout the story while keeping the artistic flow seeming natural. Also, the scene with Aquaman at the end was masterfully handled, with his reactions.
This issue was one of the better ones to come out of this series in a while, and I’m happy with that. Aquaman has had one of the best stories thus far in the title, and it’s really nice to see his plots coming to a head. I’m still waiting for the new Aqualad to establish why he matters, but I figure it will come in the next issue or two. The biggest moment of the entire issue I cover in a spoiler post, and all I can really say about it here is that it’s ironic, it’s perfect, and Black Manta has the best one liners.
Tags: Aquaman, Brightest Day, Deadman, Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, Reviews