“You’ve gotta be joking.” That’s the last line of Brightest Day 2, spoken by Deadman. It also sums up my exasperated reaction to this crapfest.
Let me start out with some positive feedback. In my last review I derided the Atom/Firestorm pages as bland; well, this week Firestorm fared much better. Johns creatively deploys the Atom’s power to explore some freaky properties that Professor Stein believes the firestorm matrix has begun to display. This comes as a huge improvement since the story shows potential in growing away from merely some cliche opposites buddy comedy to actually being instrumental in disclosing some of the unseen ramifications of Blackest Night. The other good thing is Hal Jordan isn’t in this book. Okay that does it for positive feedback.
This book is so bad, and reads even more disjointed than the first issue (if thats even possible to believe), that I can’t even be bothered to narrate its flaws. Therefore, I have decided to just go through the book and just cite its more heinous crimes against comic book craft:
- The only thing that is good about this book is basically a recycling of last issue twist on Aquaman’s power. Again a former black lantern shows to be afflicted with some distorted version of his/their abilities. I gave it a pass earlier only because this is something that Johns has been building towards. If you reread some of the Atom parts of Blackest Night you will see John sowing the seeds for understanding the black lanterns as automatons engineered at the the atomic level. Its an interesting plot thread that jibes well with both the Atom and Firstromm so I am glad that he is following through. However, the way this thread is unfolding leads a lot to be desired.
- It seems Johns has never read any Jason Rusch stories as Jason comes off completely out of character. In fact he shows no personality what-so-ever and is written as generic angry/whiny black kid.
At one point Jason inexplicably (I guess the justification is some desperate frustration) calls Ronnie whitey. Jason is a strong, smart and resourceful character. I don’t buy that this situation has left him feeling so powerless that he would resort to a racial slur in some delusional bid to feel in control. And even if he did, whitey? If you’re going to write him completely out of character at least give him some pzaz and go for honkey.
- The ridiculous black manta scene is also recycled only this time we have a White Martian brutally slaughtering her family after realizing Martian Manhunter has returned.
- I came to Brightest Day hoping to see a story about J’onn trying to rebuild his civilization but instead Johns, in typical Johns fashion, give us a boorish retcon about daughters and White Martians and saviors. I can’t really remember as it was so bad I have already started repressing it.
- The Hawks are this week’s happy recipients of most bland story. Hawkman goes all cry for justice after seeing deathmasks Hath-Set has made of previous incarnations of both Hawkgirl(woman?) and him. There’s actually nothing exceptionally bad about these scence except I don’t see any reason to be invested in this story. This scene feels like it is misplaced in the narrative. The scene doesn’t work because Johns and Tomasi haven’t reestablished Hath-Set and his motivations yet. Hath-Set, like all the other villians so far, are just caricatures that want to see this arch-rivals dead because, well, they are their arch-rivals and that’s what arches do. I can’t seem to make myself care.
- Deadman is again reduced to an expository narrative device. Lame.
- Oh and if anyone was wondering if DC is run by hacks that wouldn’t know what creative writing looked like if Superboy-Prime punched them in the face, the big reveal is that the Anti-monitor is back from his long (almost three issues) hiatus.
Final Verdict: F+