It look like it is that time again for my bi-weekly public flagella…. er, Brightest Day review. I keed you Johns fans, I didn’t think this week was that bad. Or maybe I have just acclimated to the mediocrity of this book. Anyway I digress.
This book begins immediately where last week’s spellbinding conclusion left us off — THE (re)(re) return of the unstopable Anti-Monitor. Turns out his early presence in the story is premature as the White Lantern merely brought Deadman to a foe completely out of his league so that he would appreciate his new found life and understand the necessity to safeguard it. It was cute, real bromantic with the safety net and all.
The next story (or vignette) is Firestorm. It turns out everyone survived the explosion that managed to turn all inorganic matter in its blast radius into table salt. Johmasi uses Dr. Stien to deliver an exposition on the limitations of the firestorm matrix which enable it only to manipulate inorgaic matter ( and reminds us that Black Lantern Firestorm did not share this limitation). There’s also a bunch of dudes crying/angry/yelling, which is really an immaculate recipe for profound pathos.
Next we have Aquaman trying to summon living sea life and epically failing. On the bright side, this segment provides my favorite scene of the book:
Bad ass! This part of the book also has Mera telling Aquman that she will always be there for him. But then …. (drum roll please):
The rest of the book is Martian Manhunter asking puppies for clues and the Hawks finding their dead bodies or something else that doesn’t really make any sense/ nobody cares about.
The fragmented nature of this book hits an all time high here. This sincerely feels like the literary equivalent of watching robot chicken. Its not merely that the authors are juggling multiple storylines in one book. What I really don’t like is that so much of these stories unfolds off page. It always feel like I have started watching a movie 30 minutes into it and have to turn off the t.v. an hours before it concludes. The Hawkman/Hawkwoman is the most egregious example of this problem in this week’s installment. There is no sense of narrative for the reader to sink his moorings into. As a result there is no sense of closure or even investment in the progress of the story.
The writing also suffers from elementary characterizations. It seems that our authors think that character depth is synonymous with emotional trauma (which doesn’t come as a surprise as this is pretty much John’s defining motif). I understand that as a result of blackest night there’s a lot of emotional fallout however not once have we seen a character portrayal that doesn’t revolve around their irreducible emotional damage. Its tiresome.
On the bright side the art is pretty solid this week. To be fair, if you can ignore the jarring discontinuity between stories, the amateurish characterization and the fact that the overall plot isn’t advanced in the slightest, this book is a pretty fun dumb superhero book that I am sure many would enjoy.
Final Verdict: D+
P.S. Oh I complete forgot. I really don’t know anything about Hawkman but is this something a JSAer would do?