The creators involved on “Brightest Day” have definitely found a groove, and it doesn’t involve splitting twenty-two pages between twelve characters. While there have been peeks into the lives of Max Lord, Jade, Professor Zoom, Captain Boomerang, and Osiris in these pages, the majority of the content over eleven issues has been around Deadman, Aquaman, Firestorm, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter. Hawk has made a handful of appearances with Dove, but of late, the decision has been made to focus on a pair of characters.
Part of this issue delivers the knock-down drag-out fight between Black Manta and Aquaman. Neither one of them holds back, including Manta taunting Aquaman with a graphic retelling of how Manta killed Aquaman’s son. Johns and Tomasi leave that segment in an awkward manner, taking Aquaman out of his element in more ways than one, but setting a clear course for where the King of the Seven Seas is headed next.
Firestorm is a major factor in this issue, as is the returned Black Lantern Firestorm, or Deathstorm as he declares himself in the first few pages that you can see in preview format right here on CBR. The character comes across as a dark reflection of 1990s type characters, but he is also menacing and unpredictable enough to come across as a sincere threat. I doubt he’ll be a character with much relevance outside of this series, but if he winds up as an addition to the collection of Firestorm foes, more’s the better.
Within this issue, however, Deathstorm drives the story, forcing Ronnie and Jason into action. Their battle endangers Professor Stein and Jason’s father as Deathstorm initiates those two into his own nuclear matrix. The scuffle from there brings Deathstorm and Firestorm to what Alex Segura over on DC’s The Source page refers to as “a double-page spread that will make your jaw drop. Twice.”
The story ends with a major revelation in the immovable nature of the White Lantern and also drops a Mars-sized surprise on us.
Things are really starting to pick up in this series, as some of the characters seem plotted on a collision course. “Brightest Day” is closing in on its halfway point, and while I don’t know exactly where it is going, I’m definitely interested in jumping in for the ride, much like Aquaman does to the unsuspecting truck driver in this issue. In the immortal words of Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.”