DC’s Blackest Night and Brightest Day

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As Brightest Day, the follow up to DC Comics‘ hit miniseries Blackest Night, officially begins today (issue zero was released last month), ptb and I have taken few moments to reflect on what has come and speculate on what’s ahead.

ptb: The thing that stood out most to me about Blackest Night was the way it made me realize how little I know about the DC Universe. The major players and surface details I get, but as soon as you go a little deeper I’m lost. After reading issue one, we talked a bit about who was who and clarified a lot of civilian/code names. Knowing who people are is one thing, but understanding why they’re important is another. Barry Allen being back is kind of lost on me, but resurrections of guys like Max Lord are a complete mystery. The appearance of the Monitor (or was it the Anti-Monitor?) also didn’t mean much to me although I know it’s a big deal.

KevinMLD: Now you know how I feel when I read about Bastian!

The reason for Barry Allen being back is a mystery to me and so far DC has done very little to demonstrate why he’s something special beyond the fact that he was on the Super Friends when Geoff Johns was a kid.

The Anti-Monitor has played major roles in both Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis as well as the Sinestro Corps War. He single-handedly destroyed the original DC multiverse. That’s literally all you need to know about him. He’s the biggest of the big bads.

Max Lord is a little more complicated and stupid. He kind of ran or financed the Justice League during the 80’s sitcom years from what I know. He has some mind control powers. He was basically ignored as a character for years, but made a comeback just prior to Infinite Crisis. He turned heel in a big way and took over the organization Checkmate, which is a DC universe spy organization similar to Marvel’s SHIELD. He had big evil plans that involved using his mind control powers on Superman to do some supervillainy stuff until Wonder Woman snapped his neck on national television. This led to people distrusting Wonder Woman because no one knew how naughty Max Lord had been.

ptb: A second major issue I had with Blackest Night was the fact that throughout it, I was hearing about what was happening in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps and those seemed to be the books I should have been reading. Blackest Night gave the main story from a DCU-wide perspective, but I’m honestly more interested in the spectrum of Lanterns than how Blackest Night affects the Atom (and he may be a bad example since he became a Lantern).

KevinMLD: The Blackest Night story obviously concluded in the Blackest Night main book, but I definitely think most of the major story beats took place in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps. The main War of Light stuff took place in GLC, with the adventures of Hal Jordan and the main allied rainbow corps members taking place in the GL book. In fact, the Blackest Night main series felt like it was a tacked on, money grab on DC’s part until the last two issues.

This also reminds me of how I felt reading Civil War. Why did Spider-man side with Tony Stark again? If these companies are going to run major events like this, they need the information that is most important to the story to take place in the main title.

ptb: I read the whole thing and I definitely liked it, but I know there was a lot that I missed. Brightest Day #0 didn’t really change much of this. The tone and perspective of this issue may have been different from what’s to come in order to set things up since it is a zero issue, but it’s going to have a hard time maintaining my interest if it focuses only on the White Ring resurrected characters. The covers indicate that Hal Jordan is involved so maybe that will help.

Both series look great and that’s a big plus, but I’m definitely unsure of how long I’ll be sticking around from here. How many issues does this series run?

KevinMLD: I like that Aquaman is back, but a lot of the other resurrections aren’t very exciting… Especially Hawkman and Hawkgirl (not to be confused with Hawk who was also resurrected) who were killed twice in the last year and Martian Manhunter who just died during Final Crisis. But I am really excited about the resurrection of Deadman. That’s a brilliant concept. Deadman is a character who was completely content being dead. Being dead has always been his gimmick. This is brand new ground for the character. I’m kind of sad that the now “Aliveman” has powers. I wanted to see him just be human for awhile and come to grips with his new life. I hope there are interesting plans in place for him.

Anyway, even as a big DC fan I’m not totally sold on Brightest Day yet as there has been very little revealed about the story and due to the fact that it’s going to run for 26 issues. I’ll be there for the first few issues though.

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


X-Men v. Avengers

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It’s Wednesday and that’s big day for comic book fans everywhere.  This particular Wednesday, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next chapter of Marvel‘s X-Men/Dark Avengers Utopia crossover.  To explain why, here’s some recent history.

Some yahoo “super heroes” filming a reality television show blew up 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut.  The government responded by requiring all costumed heroes to be registered and licensed in order to operate.  Some heroes agree (Iron Man) and some do not (Captain America) and a super-human Civil War breaks out.  The pro-registration side wins out and Iron Man becomes the director of SHIELD and all things related to registration.  His 50 State Initiative to put a team of heroes in every state is the perfect opportunity for a group of shape-shifting alien religious zealots to infiltrate and take over.  They believe the Earth is theirs by divine right and Stark is unable to stop their Secret Invasion.  In the heat of the battle  to drive back the alien hordes, Norman Osborn (the once and future Green Goblin) delivers the killing shot to the invaders’ leader and is elevated from his position leading a team of super villains seeking rehabilitation (right…) in the Thunderbolts program, to Stark’s replacement as master of all things super human.  In order to solidify his Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe, Orborn creates his own team of Avengers to back him up and forms a cabal with some heavy hitters (Doctor Doom, Namor, Loki, The Hood, and Emma Frost) to control the world under his watchful eye.  In the meantime, the Scarlet Witch went crazy and used her magic to reduce the powered mutant community to about 200 individuals after altering the world during the House of M.  The remaining mutants became in that moment an endangered species and Cyclops gathered all the willing in San Francisco to create a safe haven under the protection of the X-Men.

Emma Frost and Norman Osborn had an agreement.  She keeps the mutants quiet and he’ll leave them be in their new home.  Only they didn’t stay quiet, and now Norman is bringing in his Dark Avengers to regulate.  Chapter One of Utopia shipped last Wednesday and was a wild start to this confrontation and Chapter Two is available today in Uncanny X-Men #513.  I highly recommend it.