REVIEW: Brightest Day #22

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DC Comic’s Brightest Day series is down to it’s final issues and the last individual story of the resurrected heroes from Blackest Night wraps up in issue #22. Firestorm confronts his Black Lantern analog, Deathstorm, and the cosmic Anti-Monitor with everything in Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch’s lives on the line. This was probably the second most interesting storyline of the series for us behind Deadman’s saga. Read on to see how it holds up compared to the recently concluded stories of Aquaman, the Hawkpeople, and the Martian Manhunter.

Spoilers ahead.

KevinMLD: Overall this is a strong issue with great art front to back. As always with Firestorm in this series, I feel the art probably relies more heavily on computers than I’d typically prefer, but it’s to great effect in this particular issue.

PTB: Everything down to the floating heads of the characters trapped within Firestorm/Deathstorm has been digitally manipulated. Still, the line work is strong here, but it really is the digital color and lighting that you mention that make this issue look spectacular. The two-page spread of the Black Lanterns and the Anti-Monitor may be the coolest looking piece of art from the entire series.

KevinMLD: “The Ronnie was here” gag was bad and added nothing to the characters or the story. Having Jason sell it as lame did nothing to help the joke get over either.

PTB: I was wondering if that was something that actually happened during the original Crisis, but even if it were I’m not sure that it’s worth even having there. Maybe it tells us something about Ronnie’s personality, but I think anyone reading the series should be pretty well informed on that at this point.

KevinMLD: You gotta love that the Anti-monitor, who is basically DC’s Galactus, is really only in the series for this issue. His whole plan is laid out by the professor in one panel. And he’s stopped with a giant match. Can you tell this series is running out of issues? How does your story run out of space when its 24 issues long?

PTB: The Anti-Monitor seemed like such a big deal when this series began, but his absence for 20+ issues and the fact that his story seems to wrap here along with Deathstorm’s is really disappointing. Although the Anti-Monitor is not really defeated, everyone just leaves. The White Lantern clearly took something from him regarding the anti-matter universe and that’s still unresolved.

KevinMLD: I’m a little unclear about the destruction of Deathstorm and the Black Lanterns. Were they ultimately just constructs of the White Lantern designed to test Firestorm and force Ronnie and Jason to learn to get along? Or were they resurrected by the White Lantern? It’s all very ambiguous but it seems like the White Lantern could have sent them away and saved Jason’s dad and the professor at any time.

PTB: That’s what I took away from it. The Anti-Monitor accuses the Black Lanterns of working together with the White Lantern (and by extension Firestorm) against him and it certainly seemed to be the case. Deathstorm spent much of the issue goading Ronnie into embracing his life as Firestorm and as soon as he committed to defeating the Black Lanterns his mission was accomplished and the enemies were blown apart by white light. The White Lantern set all this up.

KevinMLD: It’s kind of an interesting concept that the White Lantern has such a mean streak.

The issue ends with the big cliffhanger of Deadman confronting Firestorm. Will the ring kill yet another resurrected hero (and continue to ignore the resurrected villains?). Also, the final page confirms what we had previously discussed that the series has been cut to just 24 issues.

PTB: With two issues to go, it’s hard to believe the villains are going to be involved much at all. Even if they are, it’s going to be hard for me to care since they’ve only appeared on a handful of panels in this series. At this point, I have to think Firestorm is going the way of the other heroes the White Lantern has taken. Unless of course he’s the new protector. Either way, it’s all going down in the Star City Forest, you’re favorite place on the DC Earth.

KevinMLD: I wish you were reading the Green Arrow comics set in the forest so you could learn to love it just as much as I do.

PTB: We spent some time talking about the interior art, but I always like to mention what’s going on with the cover of the book. The regular Gary Frank cover with Firestorm fighting the Ant-Monitor is great although a little heavier than normal for him. What really stood out to me was the variant cover with Deathstorm and the White Lantern. Is that a fetus I’m seeing inside the lantern? If so, does this mean some type of entity may be emerging?

KevinMLD: Maybe. I’ve stared at the cover for the last five minutes and I’m not really sure what’s going on in it.

PTB: With the end of Brightest Day proper in sight, now might be a good time to talk about the recently announced Brightest Day Day Aftermath: The Search series. It’s a 3-issue miniseries and some of the characters on the cover to #1 are blacked out to hide their identities until the current series wraps. I guess I don’t understand why there’s a 3-issue series following out of a 26-issue series that seemed to spend a lot of time avoiding the “main” storyline and was ultimately cut to 24-issues. On the surface, it just seems like an attempt to get a new #1 out there and hope it sells better than a #25.

KevinMLD: Aftermath series are nothing new at DC. They date back at least as far as 52 which had an aftermath series which set a group of evil entities from 52, the Four Horsemen, against Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman who were absent during 52. Usually these books are pretty skippable, though I mostly enjoyed the Final Crisis aftermath title Dance which highlighted Japan’s newest superhero group the Super Young Team. Based on the solicitation alone, I’m guessing the Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search will feature Deadman leading a search for The Hawks, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman. That’s assuming they aren’t resurrected in the last two issues of Brightest Day.

Read our thoughts on:
Brightest Day #21 / Brightest Day #23

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

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