Review: Brightest Day #22 By Geoff Johns And Peter Tomasi

Brightest Day #22

Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi

Art by Scott Clark, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado

The Hawks are done, Aquaman’s done, J’onn is done, so that leaves us with Firestorm and Deadman, and given how important Deadman is to the finale, it’s no wonder why they went with Firestorm for this issue. The plot of him on Qward picks back up as Ronnie and Jason find themselves face to face with not only Deathstorm and his army of Black Lantern’s, but also the Anti-Monitor! So you know what that means? That’s right, it means that we’ve got an issue featuring the unbridled Fury of Firestorm!

The story of the day is Ronnie and Jason finally truly coming together to be the best Firestorm that they can be and reminding us, the readers, just how effective the character can be. After issues of self doubt and insecurities, Firestorm isn’t going to get a second chance to stop Deathstorm and save Professor Stein and Alvin Rusch. This leads to some inventive methods of fighting, as Firestorm first has to get past the Anti-Monitor, and Ronnie incredibly quick to point out how little effect he and Stein had on him during the original Crisis. Their method of attack is smart, original, and most importantly, a very Firestorm thing to do. The two of them have grown into a well balanced combination, between Jason’s brains and Ronnie’s impulsiveness, I can’t imagine any other character making a giant match stick to attack someone with, and then the attack actually work.

Of course, we still needed some time with our heroes powerless and vulnerable, so they do get forced into a split at one point in the issue. Deathstorm returns to his Black Lantern tricks, trying to prey on the emotions of Ronnie, Jason, Professor Stein, and Jason’s dad, and it winds up turning into a death. I won’t spoil the victim in this review, but it was nicely handled as the character was allowed their last words, and they wound up being used well. It was a farewell to things past as the door to the future grew more inviting, and we find ourselves at the end of the journey to build a better Firestorm.

Unfortunately, the book sort of rushes to its conclusion as the death is resolved and within three pages the book has already wrapped up all of Firestorm’s subplots and moved him to a last page cliffhanger. This needed to be two issues, or at least one and a half. The conclusion feels jumped to, not rushed to, it feels as if a few steps are just flat out skipped for the sake of convenience. I mean, rereading the issue, I understand why they were skipped, but it’s just…yes, I understand what would have happened had they not been skipped, but even an extra page to split up the jarring transition would have been nice. Just something to ease the fact that the story gets cut off at its most badass moment.

Scott Clark has been rocking this book with his Firestorm pages, and this issue is no different. Firestorm himself looks great, the Anti-Monitor is a giant imposing badass and the scale just makes it even better. There’s a lot of detail in this issue, a lot of nice touches, especially in the death scene. I don’t know what Clark is set to work on next, with his tenure in this title coming to a close, but he’ll be a bonus for that title…especially if it’s a Firestorm ongoing series. He’s been one of my favorite artists in this title.

This is a pretty good issue, we’ve got action, drama, death, and a giant match. It had all the pieces of an even better issue, but the ending just sort of happened right as the story felt like it was getting ready to kick into the next gear. I’ll also note that, despite that, and despite that the past few issues have been marked by wrapping up the story for the contained hero, that doesn’t happen here. It looks like we’re getting some more Firestorm next issue, though what he’ll do is the real mystery. Sure, the last two pages give you a general idea, but this book has so far done a pretty damn good job at swerving us. Two issues left….so I guess that means it’s time for the book to finally pull back the curtain and let us all in on the secrets of Brightest Day.



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