Friday, April 16, 2010

Comic Book Review: Brightest Day #0

Book Information
Written by Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Fernando Pasarin

With the power of foreshadowing, DC takes us on a journey of what is to come by jumping from one end of the globe to the next.  The artist formerly known as Deadman, or Boston Brand, becomes and unwilling victim to this perplexing trek across continents, trying to decipher why he and the other twelve risen heroes and villains have returned and what their purpose is.  It is as the thesis of this issue states…

“Once dead, twelve heroes and villains were resurrected by a white light expelled deep from within the center of the Earth. Deemed a miracle by many and a sign of the apocalypse by other, the reasons behind their rebirths remain a mystery.  But it will not be a mystery for long.  This is Brightest Day!

My Thoughts
Geoff Johns might very well be DC’s greatest tour guide in history as we go from page to page of wonderfully written literary excursions through the past while remaining conflictingly in the present.  The plan for Brightest Day seems to have a very clear and focused agenda which we don’t see in comics to often. Most of the time plots are driven by poetic dialogue, prose and beautiful artwork…oh, and then the plots resolve and no one knows how.  I can tell Johns and Tomasi has put a lot of work and planning into this series and I’m sure Johns is going to flop on his bed and sleep for a whole week from the exhausting efforts Blackest Night and Brightest Day require of DC’s most popular writer.

Typically, I don’t like comics with an issue number of zero.  It isn’t necessarily because the stories are bad, weird or ridiculous attempts to bleed more money out of their readers; there are enough of those out there without being labeled with a zero.  No, zero issues are typically nothing more than reminders of what has happened in the past in order to propel us into future issues, and for me, it’s an unnecessary purchase.  But with Brightest Day #0, that wasn’t the case. To be honest, there was really no need to make this issue #0, but I guess DC has to make this stick out more I guess.

There isn’t too much to complain about here, with exception to the complete idiocy of characters constantly using the phrase “Flash Fact.”  It sounds more like the title of a weekly opinion piece to a local news program…
“And it’s time for Flash Facts with your host Barry Allen!” 
“Well thank you Jim!  Today’s topic…what the hell does ‘Flash Fact’ actually mean?  Are villains talking to me or are they unsuccessfully trying to make themselves look smarter?”

The problem with Johns continually jumping Aliveman (heh heh, sorry, couldn’t resist) around at sporadic moments, going from place to place with no revealed agenda makes it difficult to for me to review all the events.  Boston Brand sees everything while no one sees him.  The white ring bestowed on Brand seems to have a knack for popping in at the most inappropriate time, especially during Mera’s skinny dipping scene along the beach, and the birdie-nookie scene shared by our lovely Hawks.  But not only that, Brand finds himself discovering Maxwell Lord lying a kiddie pool filled with Ice Cubes, (possibly Lazarus Cubes?) a lovers green lovers triangle, and a very unexpected union of two experienced Firestorm Matrix users.  I liked the flawless transitions from scene to scene, giving us enough information to stay intrigued while not revealing too much about what lies ahead.
Rating: 9

I find the title of this series, Brightest Day, to be interesting when the first page shows a baby bird falling from its nest, cracking open its skull.  Along with this follows a series of events that seem to only point to more disaster and despair.  No one seems to be happy, and everyone portrays a sense of confusion, ambiguity, and depression.  How do you tell a man you’re sorry for killing his wife?  What should you do when someone you loved comes back into your life while you’re in love with someone else, but you still retain feelings for that long lost lover?  How does someone so strong move past the uncertainty he has about himself?  So much of this story seems to deal with these very questions, and I have a feeling the next phase of evolutionary changes within the DCU will be based on how these questions are answered.

With the exception of a few risen characters, this issue’s focus seemed to be on the relationships.  Hawkman and Hawkgirl.  Kyle, Jade and Natu. Aquaman and Mera. Hawk and Dove. Ronnie and Jason and the connection they share.  Everything revolves around the intimate relationships of the risen ones and I can only deduce that this will play a significant part in the progression of the series.

To top everything off, can anyone tell me if they saw that ending coming?  Because I sure didn’t.  I know DC has continually been making claims that Star City will become the most important geographic location on the DCU map, but I wasn’t expecting that importance to begin like this.  The explosion of Star City was in a perfect star formation.  Coincidence…I think not!
Rating: 10

Apart from the cover being absolutely amazing, Fernando Pasarin puts together a set of absolutely stunning visuals that I was not expecting from him.  While I typically find his wooden, stiff approach to drawing people quite boring at times, the emotional impact is far from lacking on every page.  We have positive moments that we all would love to wake up too…

Dark and disturbing images that would scare the shit out of us in real life…

Incredibly nostalgic scenes in that sepia toned color…

And painfully gruesome portrayals of pain and torment…

Nothing but the best from Mr. Pasarin.
Rating: 10

Rating: 9.67 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming May 5, 2010
BRIGHTEST DAY continues, but in ways you can't possibly expect! What does BRIGHTEST DAY mean to the DC Universe? Is everything from here on out going to be bright and shiny? No, BRIGHTEST DAY means something else entirely, something we can't tell you...yet. But we can tell you our heroes will need to rise up more than ever to combat the forces of evil, and a select few will uncover a secret that binds them ALL.

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