Brightest Day #24
Written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi
Art by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Norm Rapmund, Vicente Cifuentes, Oclair Albert, Tom Nguyen, Mick Gray, Mark Irwin, & David Beaty
Has it really been a year? A year of reviews, and spoilers, and White Lanterns and missions? A year of an interesting story bogged down by shoddy pacing, building towards a conclusion that has finally arrived? It’s astonishing how the time seems to have flied by, but at the same time…I’m kinda glad this beast is done. Johns and Tomasi give us a final issue jam packed with action but also go ahead and answer a lot of our remaining questions at the same time. The real question, however, is whether or not they did a good job at achieving the goal or bringing Brightest Day to a close.
Last issue left us with the reveal that the White Lantern was to be Alec Holland, while the Dark Avatar was a Black Lantern Swamp Thing. This issue opens up explaining to the readers, particularly those unfamiliar with these famously Vertigo characters, just who we’re dealing with and why they matter. Essentially they establish that Alan Moore’s version of Swamp Thing is the one they’re going with, where Swamp Thing absorbed the life and memories of Alec Holland, where it believes itself to be Alec though Alec is dead. That the Dark Avatar was created when Nekron tainted the Earth, that while for years Swamp Thing believed itself to be Holland…now it believes itself Nekron. Boston’s purpose comes out here as well, his being a ghost at the time of Nekron’s arrival meant his life force meant that his life force remained absolutely pure, which is why he was so important. This is as much about Boston Brand, our true lead character in this title, as it is about the Champion and the White Lantern missions, and everything that built to this issue. The Brightest Day chapter of Boston’s story comes to a close here, and it’s not exactly a blissful or perfect moment, but Johns and Tomasi did one good job with it…they made me care about what happened to Deadman.
There are some fights in this issue, from the Elementals attempts at fighting the Dark Avatar, to Captain Boomerang finally throwing the boomerang, but it all culminates in the big epic fight. Swamp Thing vs Swamp Thing for the fate of the Earth. While I can’t claim to have been emotionally invested in a fight between two of the same character that I have only the most basic of familiarity with, but it looked pretty cool for as brief as it was. Two giant Plant elementals brawling at colossal size.
As the book winds into a close we are given back our main characters from the series, sans one…thought Aquaman does have his hand back. Their lives restored, their bodies and minds, it’s a second (more if you’re a Hawk) chance at life. Unfortunately, this is when the book begins to fall apart again as it falls into the original pacing of the title…vignettes. Now, obviously, this was to be expected as you can’t truly bring this book to a close without a final visit with all of our characters, but by breaking down their stories to a final page a piece it becomes clear that…well, there are going to be some ongoing series for everyone not named J’onn. I won’t spoil, but J’onn’s finale is far and away the weakest, as it boils down to him thanking someone we haven’t seen since the early issues for something I’d already forgotten they were apart of. J’onn will do well in a Justice League title, where he belongs. Aquaman and Firestorm have the most interesting pages, though considering they had the most interesting (non-Boston) stories in this title over the past year, that isn’t surprising. I’m not going to delve into the world of the Hawks, save for to say that DC is going to need to announce a series shortly to maintain the momentum…as Hawkman is a famed killer of momentum.
The art is hard to judge in this book. That isn’t to say I don’t like it, but read that list of artists I credited, there are five pencillers and seven inkers, and I’ll be damned if I could keep who did what straight. The issue looks great, however, and I do enjoy a lot of the stuff with Swamp Thing, especially a two page spread that I can’t fathom being by anyone other than Ivan Reis (so watch me be wrong). It’s a pretty book, a few pages and panels are a bit lacking in the consistency, but visually I’d say the good outweighs the bad.
I could wrap this review up by reviewing the series as a whole, but I’ll save that for another day. This issue closes the book on the Brightest Day, and while it leaves plenty of room to be built from, the White Lantern doesn’t seem to be a part of that. I’m not judging the future though, I’m judging now, and for as much as I did enjoy this issue, I’m not about to lie to myself. Johns and Tomasi did a great job wrapping everything up, but quite a bit of it felt rushed or thrown together. The Swamp Thing and Boston stuff is far and away the story telling highlight reel, and the only aspects of the story to not really feel rushed. The single page vignettes at the end are hit or miss, and again, I only really came out of this book caring about Aquaman and Firestorm as far as what’s to come. This isn’t to say that the book is bad, or a failure, it was just…I know it could have been better, and even with the added page count it felt as if they could have used a few more. There is so little closure to be found.
Oh, and the White Lantern can go screw itself. I’ve been trying so freaking hard to not spoil this, but after what happened to Boston Brand in this issue I just can’t feel good about the thing. The Lantern is the epitome of a douche bag, and Boston deserved far better. This isn’t a knock on the writers, or even a story, if anything it’s a compliment to them for making me care enough to get actually pissed off.
Tags: Aquaman, Brightest Day, Deadman, Firestorm, Geoff Johns, Hawkman, Ivan Reis, J'onn J'onzz, Joe Prado, Martian Manhunter, Patrick Gleason, Peter Tomasi, Reviews, Scott Clark, Swamp Thing, White Lantern