REVIEW: Brightest Day #24

Posted by under *dislike, Comics |

Last week saw the conclusion to DC Comics’ Brightest Day maxi-series that spilled out of the wildly popular Blackest Night story. Blackest Night was the culmination of years of Green Lantern stories by writer Geoff Johns, while Brightest Day turned the spotlight to other DC mainstays like Aquaman, Hawkman, Maritan Manhunter and Firestorm. The story was driven entirely by the recently discovered White Lantern Battery that represents life and is the opposite of the zombie generating Black Lantern Battery that plagued the cosmos during Blackest Night. Brightest Day is the latest in a line of year long maxi-series from DC that unfortunately couldn’t stick the landing. After seeing the run cut from 26 issues to 24 and the unexpected reintroduction of the Swamp Thing in issue #23, a shaky ending shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

PTB: A $4.99 cover price… I feel as though that crossed a line. What’s worse is that the book was really disappointing and not at all what I was hoping for.

KevinMLD: Yes, the price was higher but the page count was higher as well… so I’d be OK with the price if the story delivered on any level.

PTB: I agree. I’m only half kidding around about the price, but the added pages didn’t really help this book. It’s primarily Swamp Thing versus Swamp Thing and why after 20 plus issues of not that should I care?

KevinMLD: This was a massive failure on the part of the writers. Swamp Thing shows up completely out of nowhere in issue #23 which was exciting, but when it came time to find out why, we’re left with page after page of exposition from a Lantern. Seriously. Not even from an actual character. A lantern explains what’s happening. We should have seen the Green be corrupted by Nekron somewhere earlier in the series, but they obviously wanted the return of Swamp Thing to be a surprise and it was one… But ultimately a hollow one.

PTB: The recap of swamp thing’s history is appreciated, but it’s as if the character has essentially been deleted.

KevinMLD: I’m not sure what you mean by “essentially been deleted.”

PTB: I may be wrong about this, but we knew the Swamp Thing thought he was Alec Holland after Holland died. Holland has now returned and has become the Swamp Thing with no memories of anything that happened after he died. So to me that translates to “forget all the Swamp Thing stories that happened with the impostor” now that the Black Lantern/Nekron Swamp Thing has been destroyed and the White Lantern/Alec Holland Swamp Thing has been put in place.

KevinMLD: This is a reasonable interpretation of the new status quo. I’m sure we’ll learn more in the coming months, but it definitely feels like this is NOT currently the Swamp Thing I’m interested in reading about. I don’t see the previous stories as being about an imposter as much as DC now has a new Swamp Thing in addition to the one who existed in the past, similar to the way they get a new Robin every few years.

PTB: How did Nekron get to the Swamp Thing and why? Was it to get to the White Lantern and the entity while they were in the ground during Blackest Night? It seems way too late for that.

KevinMLD: Why did Nekron corrupt the Swamp Thing? Because the Lantern told us it did. If it’s consistent with how Holland’s essence was absorbed by the original Swamp Thing, it wasn’t intentional. The Green would basically have just absorbed Nekron’s essence and come to believe it was Nekron.

PTB: That makes a lot of sense, but it wasn’t clear to me from reading the book though.

KevinMLD: The Why’s behind this whole series were what needed to be great for the comic to be at all satisfying. We found out very early in the run what each character was going to have to do in the end, the important question was why… and the answer as far as I can tell is because the White Lantern said so. Nothing the Lantern foretold went wrong with the possible exception of Hawk not catching the boomerang. As a result there was never any real tension in the issue. And why was Digger throwing the boomerang? Because in order for Alec Holland to join the land of the living, someone must die. Why? Because the magic White Lantern said so. Too much of this series involved fate at the expense of free will. Even if the Lantern itself was intervening in the characters lives to push them towards their fate.

PTB: Hawk’s failure led to Deadman’s death and Dove surviving. What comes next for Hawk and Dove isn’t the least bit compelling to me, but I feel like Deadman got some nice development here. He’s back where he started, but this was a nice way to give him a modern refresh. It seems like that was the point of the whole series.

KevinMLD: First off, the boomerang went through Hawk’s hand. I’m not sure what else he could have done. Secondly, I kind of hate that the Lantern gave Deadman a new duty to help the people of Earth who have given up on living. That almost seems like a TV series concept. Where each week he jumps into a new body to help depressed people solve their problems. Actually, it’s basically Quantum Leap.

PTB: It’s exactly Quantum Leap, but I don’t remember this new mission being so directly stated in Brightest Day #24. Is this something coming from previews for a new Deadman series or did I completely miss something?

KevinMLD: After Deadman’s death, the White Lantern states, “Your time on this world is not done. The people of this planet who have given up on life still need your help…”

PTB: No Hawkgirl at the end? Why even have her there as an air elemental? It would have been far better to just have Hawkman at that point since we only saw one elemental for Fire, Water, and Earth. It just seems so dumb.

KevinMLD: I’m wondering if she’s remained an air elemental. The inability of Hawkman and Hawkgirl to be together has been a large part of their status quo over the last decade. This might just be a new spin on that concept.

Regardless it’s still dumb.

PTB: Hawk really got it handed to him by the White Lantern for failing in his mission. I guess it’s good that at least one of the resurrected heroes didn’t accomplish what the White Lantern asked, but I hated the recap of what happened to Jade, Osiris and Max Lord. What about Zoom?

KevinMLD: I was really annoyed about the Hawk situation. What’s the consequence for not succeeding at his mission? His life is not his own? What does that even mean? Deadman succeeded at his mission and his life was still not his own, as the White Lantern let him die again so quickly. What’s the difference?

As for Osiris, yes he brought his sister back from the dead over in Titans, but she came back crazy and out of control because her return was the result of Osiris killing so many people. Max Lord avoided one superhero war supposedly, but what did that have to do with Brightest Day? Besides, he’s basically leading his own personal war on superheroes. This page is just exposition grasping at straws trying to tie those other stories to Brightest Day.

PTB: Having those stories in two books was terrible. There was plenty of room here.

KevinMLD: Those stories took place in three other books: Justice League: Generation Lost, Justice League of America, and Titans. Plus, Zoom’s story played out in Flash and Jade’s in Justice League of America, I believe.

PTB: That’s even worse. The “zero” issue for Brightest Day showed us all of the resurrected heroes and set the stage for what was next. We saw half of them on about 6 pages over the next 24 issues.

We also never found out what information the White Lantern took from the Anti-Monitor. There were two issues (at least) dedicated to this plot point and we never find out what it was about. I want it to be about the Anit-Life Equation, but I have no idea whether that makes any sense. I just like writing Anti-Life Equation.

KevinMLD: I’m not aware of any ties between Nekron and the Anti-life Equation, so I’m guessing it’s not that… But you’re right, that’s one more major let down from Brightest Day.

PTB: We’ve been fairly impressed with the art on this series throughout and it’s really one of the few strengths of the title. There were a number of issues that were among the best looking books I’ve bought over the past year. Unfortunately, things fell apart in the final issue. Some of it just wasn’t to my tastes (like the two-page giant Swamp Thing battle), but there were pages that just paled by comparison to the rest. The appearance of John Constantine (the last page of the book) really stood out to me as having a clashing style that wasn’t appropriate for the character or the title.

KevinMLD: Agreed. This is not a good looking issue. For Swamp Thing in particular to look cool, he needs to be cloaked in the shadows of the swamp. In the sun he looks kind of dumb.

The worst part of the issue for me is the “return” of John Constantine to the DC Universe along with what looks like an evolution of Swamp Thing into some sort of vengeful spirit of the Earth; striking out at evil corporations. John Constantine never really played much of a role in the DC Universe. He appeared in Swamp Thing while it was still a DCU title, but that book under Alan Moore was NEVER a superhero book. And did we really need Swamp Thing to return to the DC Universe just so he can act like Poison Ivy? He’s been back for one month and he’s already looking completely redundant.

Seeing the cover of the Brightest Day Aftermath: Search for Swamp Thing series and knowing that DC is immediately dragging Batman and Superman into Swamp Thing and Constantine’s world… It’s just not want I want for those characters. The series is written by a former Vertigo editor though, so hopefully some of that imprint’s sensibilities will make into this new series, but I’m not optimistic.

Mostly, I can’t believe that a title that was so focused on the White Lantern, which was so important to Hal Jordan and Sinestro at its outset, finished without those characters being involved whatsoever.

PTB: That’s a really good point. I know War of the Green Lanterns is being published simultaneously, but not connecting the resolution to the Green Lantern characters is wrong. I really tried to evaluate this book in the best possible light, but this final issue, and by extension the rest of the series, didn’t really leave me feeling good about it at all.

Read our thoughts on:
Brightest Day #23

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

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