Review by Karl Verhoven
At the end of Blackest Night twelve dead individuals were restored to life, but each found complications about their renewed existence. The final chapter to Brightest Day volume one revealed that each has a specific task to perform, and their remaining among the living is contingent on them successfully completing that task. The wild card is former Deadman, Boston Brand, who wears a white ring able to restore life.
Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi’s genre straddling writing is clever. The Hawkman and Hawkgirl scenes drawn by Ardian Syaf border on fantasy, while Scott Clark’s Firestorm pages are SF action thriller, and Patrick Gleason is moving toward horror on the Martian Manhunter sequences. One of those is an especially chilling tour through a supermarket where everyone’s been murdered, yet the special offers are still being run through the public address system. Ivan Reis’ impeccable layouts still carry the bulk of the story, with greater signs of individuality from the other artists, the sample pages being the work of Syaf and Joe Prado.
Because twelve individuals have been revived, there’s a lot of ground to cover as each has their purpose, which leads to some frustrating storytelling decisions, and no matter how fast paced the story, the absences nag. Nothing has been seen of Maxwell Lord since the opening chapter to the previous book, nor Captain Boomerang or Osiris, and here Hawkman and Hawkgirl are unseen in four consecutive chapters, then again absent for the final few. Perhaps mitigating that to some extent is that so many of the revived characters find themselves involved in plots that could threaten an entire world, although that world isn’t necessarily Earth. It is in the case of Firestorm, whose Black Lantern counterpart returns to good effect, offering a neat encapsulation of what’s at stake with “Let me tell you the secret of the universe, Professor. There’s no good and evil, there’s only dead and alive”.
For all the frustrations of so many characters missing in action, Johns and Tomasi maintain interest in the plots they have going, and finish with a stunner if everything we’ve been told is true. All will be revealed as Brightest Day concludes in volume three.