What I’m Reading: Brightest Day, Blackest Addendum

It’s that time again, friends. I’m stepping up this week to give you a selection of reviews of the recent Brightest Day comic books from DC… but before I do that, there’s a straggler from Blackest Night that’s waiting to be reviewed.

Blackest Night Director’s Cut #1

I don’t always get these “Director’s Cut” comics… in fact, I almost never do, but being the huge fan that I was of Blackest Night, it was hard to pass this one up. This isn’t merely an annotated reprint of the first issue, friends, this is actually a heavily loaded special full of behind-the-scenes goodies from throughout the recently-concluded Blackest Night event. It begins with a “commentary track,” where the entire creative team (that’s writer Geoff Johns, penciller Ivan Reis, inkers Oclair Albert and Joe Prado, colorist Alex Sinclair, letterer Nick J. Napolitano, assistant editor Adam Schlagman and editor Eddie Berganza) all offer up comments and thoughts on different panels, Easter Eggs, snippets of dialogue and story beats from throughout the series. Some of this commentary gets a little too “mutual admiration society” and times — not that the team doesn’t deserve the accolades, but it gets a little dull to read — but there’s enough good stuff in here to justify reading through the whole thing. If anything, there are moments that I wish had been expanded a bit — Berganza, for instance, reveals that other candidates were considered for the Sinestro Corps “deputy” instead of the Scarecrow, but doesn’t tell us who the other candidates were. I would have liked to read that. On the other hand, they also point out little things that I didn’t even catch when I read the book, like hidden bat-signals and the coloring tricks that made certain things stand out. We also get a gallery of every cover of every Blackest Night issue, crossover, tie-in, and variant, and the complete script for Blackest Night #1, both of which are fun. It’s quite impressive how heavily annotated Johns’ scripts are in and of themselves. In “Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor” we’re presented the script for two scenes that were removed from the issue before they were drawn (both of which would have been great) and a fantastic Greg Horn cover that was tossed out because a story decision eliminated the character it features, which happens. There’s a look  at the scuplting of the Hal Jordan action figure and a spread of the entire Blackest Night toy line, then tons of concept sketches for the various Black Lanterns and deputy Lanterns, some of which turned up in the series, others did not. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an essential book. Fans of the series can skip it entirely and not miss a thing. But if you are a big fan and you like the behind-the-scenes looks, there’s definite worth in this book. I hope most of these features are included in the inevitable collected edition of the series.

Rating: 7.5/10

Green Lantern #53

Kicking off what I imagine will the the core (no pun intended) tie-in to Brightest Day, Green Lantern #53 began a storyline titled “The New Guardians,” which seems to feature the leaders of the seven Corps, most of whom have remained on Earth after the revelation of the White Lantern. In deep space, someone is planning a move against the Lanterns of all colors. On Earth, Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris begin an uneasy alliance to seek the truth of the White Lantern. We also check in with the other “New Guardians” here, including a Larfleeze beat that makes me more excited than ever to see more of the character and a wonderful beat with the Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, and Barry Allen trying to clean up after Black Hand’s destruction. The book also sets up things for the two other GL titles (Green Lantern Corps and the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors). No surprise, I’m enjoying this title. The new Lanterns we’ve been introduced to are too interesting to be one-off characters, and it’s great to see a continued focus on them… their powers, their personalities, and most importantly, how they interact with one another and the rest of the DC Universe. Just a few weeks into the event, it’s becoming clear what each tie-in b00k is bringing to the table — this is the one exploring the newly-discovered emotional spectrum and its agents. And that’s very cool.

Rating: 8/10

Justice League of America #44

The biggest problem with James Robinson‘s Justice League so far has ben the lack of stability of the team. We seem to have a “core four” of Batman (Dick Grayson), Donna Troy, Starman (Mikaal) and Congorilla, which is an interesting group in its own right, but doesn’t seem enough for the League. Fortunately, Robinson has promised links to the other big “families” of the DCU, including Supergirl, Jesse Quick (representing the Flashes) and a character who turns up here that both represents the Green Lanterns and gives this book a link to Brightest Day. The JLA is training when a massive chunk of the Starheart falls to Earth. The Starheart, for the unititiated, is the magic artifact that emulates the abilities of the Green Lantern Corps and powers both the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott, and his newly-resurrected daughter, Jade. Along with a couple of guest-stars, the League and the Justice Society seem destined for a classic team-up (all of which, by the way, will be done by the JLA team of Robinson and artist Mark Bagley). There’s a good mix of characters here and a logical reason to bring the two teams together, and if it can help reestablish the JLA as the alpha dogs they should be, all the better. This is definitely the best issue of the book since its two-part Blackest Night crossover concluded.

Rating: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #47

This issue is listed both as a Brightest Day crossover and a Blackest Night epilogue, and it fills both those functions. On Oa, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and the rest of the Corps is picking up the pieces from the Black Lantern attack, slowly rebuilding, while on the GL Planet Mogo a memorial is held for the fallen Lanterns and the search for their replacements begins. There are a couple of weird bits here, including a very amusing scene between Vath of Rann and Isamot of Thanagar — GLs and reluctant partners who have gained a slow respect for one another even though their planets are at war. Kilowog, easily the greatest non-human GL ever written, gets a new mission in life, and Kyle Rayner steps up and faces the Guardians over one of the mistakes they’ve made in recent months. This is Peter Tomasi‘s last issue of this title, before moving over to the new series Green Lantern: Emerald Warrior, and he goes out with class. This is a low-action issue — no big bangs — but that’s just fine. He manages to spend a little time with each member of the cast he’s played with for 20-odd issues now, showing just where he’s leaving each of them (even those he’s not leaving, as they’re coming with him into the new title) and making it wonderfully clear what the current status of the Green Lantern Corps is. Tony Bedard should be a worthy successor for Tomasi on this book, but man, I can’t wait for Emerald Warriors.

Rating: 8/10

Brightest Day #1

Finally, the main event. After a nice zero issue prologue, Brightest Day #1 follows up on Hal, Carol and Sinestro as they examine the mysterious White Lantern that has crashed into the Earth in New Mexico. They may not be sure exactly what it is, but it soon becomes clear that removing it won’t be so easy. We also look in on several of the other heroes who were resurrected in the climax of Blackest Night, most likely those that won’t have their stories told in full in spin-off books. Deadman — still alive, still being led around by his White Lantern ring — witnesses a rather chilling display of new powers for Aquaman, while Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch, the reluctant Firestorm, finds out that their partnership may be permanent. Old favorites J’onn J’onzz and Hawkman and Hawkgirl also get some development in their stories. I’m going to get a little spoilery now, so I’m going to conclude this paragraph with a rating, and if you don’t want the spoilers, stop reading at that.

Rating: 7.5/10

SPOILERS START HERE: So evidently, the “White Lantern” is the equivalent of Excalibur. It’s sitting there in the desert and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be moved until the “true” White Lantern places his or her hands on it and claims the power of the Entity. The question that should be asked, obviously, is who that person is. Several people have suggested Deadman, but I don’t think that’s the case. If that was it, why wouldn’t the Entity just bring him straight to the Lantern instead of giving him the runaround. I think one of two things is more likely. First, either Boston Brand’s task is to find the “true” White Lantern or — perhaps even more interesting — to choose which of the other resurrected is most worthy to become the White Lantern. I don’t have specific candidates in mind for either of these theories, but I think they work (especially the second one). I also find it interesting that Aquaman and J’onn J’onzz are both still having Black Lantern moments. What does that mean, exactly? Frankly, I got no clue, but I’m enjoying the

2 Responses to “What I’m Reading: Brightest Day, Blackest Addendum”

  1. 1 nonsense
    May 10, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    I think its Emerald Warriors. Makes more sense with Guy’s past Warrior nomenclature.

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