I usually file my writing on Brightest Day under review/RANTS because I find this series so insufferable that I refuse to be bothered to write anything that might resemble a cohesive and objective review of its flaws and merits. However, much to my chagrin, I didn’t actually abhor this issue. Oh my god, what is that strange tingling feeling? Holy $&#@, dare I say it? I think I actually enjoyed this issue. What?!
Okay, before any of you get some crazy ideas I still thought there were plenty of problems with this issue. However before I get into those I want to give this book it dues. I enjoyed this issue largely in faction because the narrative narrowed its frame to focus on what I think are the two most interesting and compelling stories: Aquaman’s (who has been severely underused despite Johns et al earlier promise that this would be primarily an Aquaman story) and Martian Manhunter’s.
Although I am a bit unhappy about the fact that Arthur seems to be an incidental figure in his own story, I can’t complain about the love Mera is receiving right now. This story is finally gaining some cohesive forward momentum. I usually complain about ret-cons but after reading this issue I think I actually like Mera’s minor retcon (her former sleeper-solider status introduced earlier in the series) as it anchors her in the emerging Xebel-Black Manta alliance storyline quite nicely. It’s also nice to see the political-militaristic maneuvererings of the underwater world as I think a common reason that prevents readers from picking up Aquaman is that they just can’t conceive of an interesting storyline that could unfold under water.
Martian Manhunter’s storyline also seems to be coming together, though I can’t quite say I enjoyed it as much as Aquaman’s portion of the book (however it wasn’t terrible). After receiving a vision from the Entity instructing him to burn down the forest (I believe two issues ago) J’onn assumed, as did most readers, that such forrest was the one created in Star City by the white light itself in Brightest Day # 0. This turns out to be a red herring, which relives my worry as it would have amounted to something as stupid as Captain Boomerang resurrection for the purpose to throw a boomrang and Hawk’s resurrection to catch it. After some sort of violent contact with the mystical white lantern tree in Star City Forrest, J’onn learns he must return to Mars to resume his mission to bring back life to Mars. Although that particularly plot point was what innitially drew my attention with J’onn’s story it now seems unnecessarily convoluted to have him go through all this just to have him return to the activity he was engaged with at the beginning of the story. None-the-less I still believe it is a promising storyline and hopes it gains some traction.
Stuff that didn’t work so much for me:
- I hate Cry For Justice and I hate that stupid contrived forest that is the shape of a star (in Star City). Although it’s good seeing Ollie, a lot of J’onn’s story seemed like a plug for Green Arrow. This is a book which I refuse to read let alone buy on the grounds that its whole plot seems to center around putting Ollie in this stupid forrest (a plot point which misses the whole point of Green Arrow character which is that of Robin Hood in a CITY) and is written by the author of what is arguably the worst comic book ever published (Rise and Fall of Arsenal)
- Every single time this new Green Martian has appeared it has been accompanied by gratuitous violence. We get it; this martian has no regard for human life. I am not even skirmish about violence in comics. I just think its time this character actually get some development beyond “it kills people.” I also thought it was in bad taste that it slaughtered a whole supermarket in search of Oreos as this is something I always thought added fun whimsy to J’onn’s story. Its unfortunate to see the authors of this book pervert it with their superhero cynicism.
- Aqualand is the son of Black Manta. I actually like this however I don’t like the pattern which it is just the latest entry in. Hila is Mera’s Sister, the Queen of Hawkword is Hawkgirl’s mother and now Aqualad is Black Manta’s Son. Making an unstablished character the relative of a well established one does not equal character development.
Final Grade: C+