This is the issue where things start to come together. Sure, some folks will complain about the revelations not truly being revelations or the story itself being too short, but the cast of characters here is no less than a baker’s dozen. The book itself is twenty-two pages. Quite simply not everyone is going to get sufficient coverage. The coverage the characters get here, though, offers up some revelations and some foreshadowing of things to (possibly) come. Towards the end of the book, there is a spread of “White Lantern Vision” that provides a sliver of insight for the resurrected characters. Each of the characters receives an assignment. This is one of Geoff Johns’ favorite things to do: tease the future with a single panel.
Those panels are drawn by artists that are relevant to the titles the characters appear in: Francis Manapul offers an image of Captain Boomerang and another of Professor Zoom. Mark Bagley drops a slice of Jade’s future on us. Mike Mayhew shares his interpretation of a possible scene for Osiris. Max Lord appears courtesy of Aaron Lopresti, and Hawk is delivered by Ivan Reis with Joe Prado. Nice stuff. This combined with the White Lantern reaching out to all of the other heroes in their own installments make this the first absolute must-read issue of the series. My wife has jumped on now, thanks to a conversation over cheeseburgers. Well, actually, it was Hank Hall’s comments about a jukebox that truly won her over.
They’ve promised it for a few issues now, this revelation of why the heroes have returned. This issue pays that promise note a bit, but doesn’t solve anything. Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, Aquaman, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl get some moments in the spotlight, but the biggest star of this issue is by far Boston Brand, along with his fine feathered friends, Hawk and Dove.
Hawkman’s and Hawkgirl’s portion of this issue is surprisingly more interesting than four pages should be, but this Hawkworld they are on, complete with Lion-Mane-type characters and Manhawks, is intriguing, but also mysterious. I get the feeling that this is somewhere we may have visited had Geoff Johns stayed on the volume of “Hawkman” after Rags Morales departed from the book. Johns didn’t stay, and we didn’t get those stories. Until now. “Brightest Day” is better for it.
Additionally, the rays of the White Lantern have reached far and wide to bring in the character destined to be the new Aqualad and Miss Martian as well. The cast may be growing, but it is starting to feel more vital.
The art on the book is what we’ve come to expect from this series: moments of brilliance balanced with moments of not-so-brilliant art. Steigerwald and Starr make this book glow with white light once the White Lantern is hefted. The revelations following range from deepest darkest shadows of the soul to the most brilliant hues of the ocean, and it looks good all the way through.
Clark does a stunning job of lettering the heck out of this book, with its myriad of styles, hues, tones, and speech patterns. There is no doubt who is speaking when, and each voice has a unique resonance that needs to stick with these characters once they leave this title.
I’ve been hankering to get into this title since it was announced. That hankering was enhanced once I saw the lineup of returned heroes. Now, with some payoff starting to shine through, I’m itching to get my mitts on the next issue. There aren’t very many days of summer left, but this issue hits the bigness of summer comics for all it’s worth.