REVIEW: Brightest Day #16

Posted by under *dislike, Comics |

Brightest Day keeps rolling along and the latest installment starts to stray (slightly) from the recent trend of telling a single story about one of the resurrected heroes in each issue. It’s mostly about Aquaman and the new Aqualad, but there’s a little Firestorm in there too. The shift to focusing on a single story in each issue has the downside of not being terribly interesting when it’s not a character you’re invested in. It’s been mentioned here before that “no one” reads Aquaman and the fact that this story has little to do with the central plot of the series doesn’t help. As a result, we end up talking about Batman.

PTB: This was the first issue of the series with a regular cover not drawn by David Finch. I was a little surprised to see this, and I’m wondering if this is due to his new Batman: The Dark Knight title (which is already delayed).

KevinMLD: That’s as good of an explanation as any other. I have no idea why Finch didn’t draw a cover.

PTB: The cover is instead drawn by veteran Gary Frank, who is just a great artist. I’m a fan from his Incredible Hulk days, but I’m not so crazy about this particular cover image. That could be the subject matter because a large part of why I’m so focused on the cover is that I’m not really into what’s inside this time around (although it’s better than having the incredibly misleading variant image).

KevinMLD: Gary Frank has spent the last few years basically working with Geoff Johns exclusively at DC on Superman titles and he really rocked at that stuff. Superman by Frank looked like a resurrected Christopher Reeve. It was kind of great. He’s currently working with Johns on Batman – Earth One, which I don’t believe has a release date yet. I kind of like this Aquaman vs. Aqualad cover image. It’s just unfortunate that it reflects the utter stupidity of the events that take place in this issue.

PTB: We get more details (really a confirmation of the details) of Aqualad’s origins and Aquaman seems to have gone from knowing seemingly nothing about Mera and her people to knowing every detail. This could absolutely be me projecting how little I know onto Aquaman since before now he hasn’t said much about them and has been surprised by some of what he’s learned on panel.

KevinMLD: I’ve said it before, no one knows anything about Aquaman because no one reads his books.

PTB: The scenes with Aquaman and the new Aqualad suffer really clunky dialogue, particularly the “which world do YOU belong to?” bit. It got worse though with Aquaman asking Jackson “are you sure you’re ready?” How can he seriously be asking this question? The kid never gave a single indication that he thought he was ready for any of this.

KevinMLD: This whole scene is terrible. I hate that the new Aqualad immediately lashes out at Aquaman and that afterwards, Aquaman even considers bringing him along. This kid has no skills or training. How can he be prepared for anything. But this childish brat is very different from the Young Justice version we discussed last time. That version of Aqualad was reverent towards Aquaman.

PTB: We also get more dead fish summoned by Aquaman during their altercation. That seems a little counterproductive when trying to calm a teenager that’s just learned he’s the son of a super villain and not entirely human. I do like the symmetry of their origins though, with both being raised away from the water only to be dragged back in.

KevinMLD: Yeah, I wonder if its too similar. I think I need time to sit with it.

PTB: The artwork is great once again in this issue, particularly the scenes in the JLA Watchtower. I know this part of the book was supposed to be compelling, but again the dialogue felt a little on the nose with Deathstorm, the Professor and Jason’s father.

KevinMLD: The art is the best part of the issue, hands down. I really liked it.

PTB: Are we to take it that Deathstorm’s Black Lantern associates were indeed dirt and by their absence are now dirt again? I know we were wondering how they came to be and whether they were really the Black Lanterns we’ve seen before. I suppose it’s still not clear.

KevinMLD: I think our complaints about this lack of clarity must have been common, leading to this piece of dialogue explaining his powers.

PTB: What I really want to know is if we’re going to get any payoff with Deathstorm turning Firestorm’s skin into oatmeal.

KevinMLD: Maybe he ate himself at the end of the issue.

PTB: We get another tease regarding who Deathstorm is working for/delivering the White Lantern to, any guesses? It seems like this is going to be a somewhat significant revelation.

KevinMLD: My only guess would be Krona the renegade Guardian who it turns out was the cloaked figure collecting the entities over in Green Lantern.

PTB: Any chance it’s Lex Luthor? or Death?

KevinMLD: None.

Well I guess it could be, how would I know? But I stand by my answer. No.

Also another Brightest Day plot point that played out in another title, Maxwell Lord set Magog up to fight Captain Atom and Captain Atom killed him. As a result, Maxwell Lord has met the conditions of his resurrection by the White Ring and it seems to be officially permanent.

PTB: Interesting. I hate that anything with the resurrected characters is happening outside of Brightest Day, but I get that they want to sell books. We could at least get some acknowledgment of those events in the title though. We learned about Max Lord’s mission, but don’t get to see its completion. That seems wrong.

Getting back to the issue, who exactly is this Metamorpho the JLA are calling in to help with Firestorm?

KevinMLD: Metamorpho is the Element Man. He’s awesome. How do you not know Metamorpho? You may remember him from Wednesday Comics. His story was written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Mike Allred. It might have been my favorite of the series, but I never finished it.

PTB: Wednesday Comics was a little overwhelming for me. There were a lot of things that were new to me, and that doesn’t stand out. The most memorable stuff for me were the Kammandi, Doc Savage and Hawkman stories, but I only read the first part of all of those.

The issue ends with Firestorm alone in the darkness thinking he may have destroyed the universe and the tease “Next issue: The death of…?” Everyone?

KevinMLD: Is it too much to hope that Firestorm really destroyed the DC Universe? Or at least to find out that Brightest Day took place on some alternate Earth that has now been destroyed and we can stop reading this garbage?

PTB: Oh, that would not be good. I’m already starting to question whether this is money well spent.

Again, I couldn’t help but notice lots of Bat-ads. What is Batman Europa?

KevinMLD: If I remember my facts correctly, this is a long in the works four-issue mini series. Long as in like six years long. It features a bunch of European artists taking the art duties on one issue with Jim Lee involved somehow too. I think it’s a Batman-Joker team up.

PTB: I see lots of artists listed (Lee, Camuncoli, Jock, Latorre), any idea how that breaks down?

KevinMLD: I think each team handles one issue and I think there’s something weird about Jim Lee’s involvement. Like someone is painting over his pencils or he’s painting over someone else’s pencils.

PTB: It absolutely says something about painted art by Jim Lee. I also see that a new Batwoman series is launching. Batwoman is a character i know zero about. Is she a relatively new character?

KevinMLD: This is another character I don’t know how you’re not more aware of. She’s been kind of a lightning rod for attention as she’s the most high profile lesbian character DC has. She debuted during 52 with a costume designed by Alex Ross, but nothing major was really done with her until after Batman R.I.P. when Greg Rucka and JH Williams III wrote her as the main character in Detective Comics. This series followed years where it was rumored that Rucka and Williams were working on a Batwoman series that DC was afraid to publish due to the potential bad publicity associated with a Lesbian Bat-Title character. When the series finally saw print it received an amazing amount of positive reviews. The art in it was SPECTACULAR. To the point that I’m pretty convinced Williams is the best artist working today. The story, however, left much to be desired.

PTB: JH Williams III is listed as both the writer and artist for the book, is this becoming a trend at DC?

KevinMLD: William’s former Batwoman partner Greg Rucka walked away from comics last year to work on prose novels or something. As a result Williams took over both duties on the character. The Bat-writer/artist trend is definitely one I’m concerned about. Did we learn nothing from Image Comics?

Read our thoughts on:
Brightest Day #15 / Brightest Day #17

More on the series can be found at our Brightest Day hub.

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